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London - Best beer spots in central London

Steve_K Oct 10, 2010 02:27 PM

I have spent around 4 holidays a year traveling to London, primarily for the food and wine destinations... but why not beers?
I know that anywhere can stock a bottle of X, Y and Z; but where are the hotbeds of quality beer on tap?

I should state that I enjoy ales and whatnot at home, but my true love is Belgian. De Hems is the best place I have found so far. Also a fan of seriously hoppy IPA/Extra IPA/Quadruple IPA styles.

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  1. limster RE: Steve_K Oct 10, 2010 02:38 PM

    Does the White Horse in Parson's Green qualify geographically? I also vaguely remember seeing aged Belgian beers there, but don't have details. Anyone to confirm or deny?

    1. PhilD RE: Steve_K Oct 10, 2010 11:49 PM

      There is lots of excellent beer in London (and The White Horse used to stock good beer), and probably more than enough locally brewed to keep you going instead of looking for Belgium beers. There has been a micro-brewery revolution in the UK so lots and lots of variety.

      Where to start? I suggest getting hold of the CAMRA "Good Beer Guide" (http://www.camra.org.uk/page.aspx?o=gbg), it is a guide produced by one of the original consumer movements who can be credited with saving much of the UK craft beer industry. The pubs may not always be the best pubs but they usually serve good well kept beer.

      1. s
        souljacker RE: Steve_K Oct 11, 2010 02:06 AM

        The Lowlander between Covent Garden and Holborn has an excellent selection of Belgian beers on tap: http://www.lowlander.com/our-beers

        1. r
          r.vacapinta RE: Steve_K Oct 11, 2010 02:11 AM

          Try the Dovetail in Clerkenwell. They have a wide selection of Belgian beers and do regular Belgian beer tastings.

          1. alexthepink RE: Steve_K Oct 12, 2010 07:44 AM

            Try one of the Draft House pubs - they have lots of interesting beers on tap. There's one near Tower Bridge.

            Also, not central, but Greenwich has the Meantime Brewery restaurant & bar.

            1 Reply
            1. re: alexthepink
              brokentelephone RE: alexthepink Oct 13, 2010 03:30 AM

              Seconded. Esp. the Tower Bridge location, I love that place!

            2. alexthepink RE: Steve_K Oct 12, 2010 07:46 AM

              Oh, and I just found this too - the real ale trail.

              1. t
                thecriticalcouple RE: Steve_K Oct 13, 2010 10:05 AM

                Fantastic Pubs: The Blackfriar on Queen Victoria Street, Prospect of Whitby in Wapping, The Counting House in The City, Ye Old Cheshire Cheese in The City and The Coach and Horses in Soho

                Happy drinking.

                2 Replies
                1. re: thecriticalcouple
                  aintnothingbutachowhound RE: thecriticalcouple Oct 13, 2010 12:33 PM

                  Not the most central, but Brouge in Richmond has a very great range of Belgian beers

                  1. re: thecriticalcouple
                    Paprikaboy RE: thecriticalcouple Oct 13, 2010 01:21 PM

                    The Blackfriar is indeed a fantastic pub and last time I was there they had Jaipur IPA which is a really hoppy fragrant IPA which may satisfy the OPs love of IPA.

                  2. a
                    amini1 RE: Steve_K Oct 18, 2010 04:21 AM

                    Cask Pub & Kitchen in Pimlico is my new favorite.
                    The Rake at Borough Market is great but tiny.
                    Wenlock Arms is out of the way but has a great selection of English Ales.

                    Here's a map I made of many of the good beer bars. Some are just plain cool pubs with better than average beers on tap and others are great beer bars.
                    I don't have any of the Belgian places on here but this website can help with that.

                    The Rake and Cask Pub will more than satiate your thirst for IPA's, Imperials, etc.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: amini1
                      iheartcupcakes RE: amini1 Oct 18, 2010 08:19 AM

                      We went to Cask for the first time on Saturday and it definitely will not be the last. Good range of Oktoberfest beers on cask, along with a great range of real ales, a kriek (my favourite) and some ciders. No Fosters/Stella type of beers. Also a massive range of bottled beers including old favourites like Orval and some other more obscure ones and some good looking food.

                      I'd also recommend the Draught House, the Rake and the Wenlock (although not to everyones taste). We've also had some fabulous Belgian beers in Belgos!

                    2. g
                      gemuse RE: Steve_K Oct 18, 2010 08:59 AM

                      I third the Blackfriars Pub, just north of the bridge. Good selection of real ales and an absolutely stunning 1905 arts & crafts setting to boot. Weekends are quieter than during the week, when it gets mobbed with businesspeople. Pub grub is pretty decent too—a big selection of pies.

                      Also a little off the beaten track is the Dog and Bell at 116 Prince Street in Deptford, near Greenwich. This pub has the feel of a real local (in fact, it feels more like a small town pub than a London pub). It's quiet and old-timey. They do several real ales, and they also have a pretty fantastic selection of bottled Belgian beers, including a thick binder to guide you through the choices. The landlord and his wife are Irish, but they take a special interest in Belgian beers. If you want to make it a Chow evening, you can have dinner at Chung Viet in Deptford High Street and then walk over to the pub.

                      1. h
                        Hasan RE: Steve_K Oct 20, 2010 05:06 PM

                        Cask is good and the Rake does Brewdog beers which are about as hoppy as they get here. For a great range of varied beers and mighty fine pies try the Bree Louise in Euston

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