What do you know about craft beer? That small brewery output that refreshes the parts other beers cannot reach. Do you know where to find the best-of-the-best in London?
If you’re an aficionado of that sort of thing, you will already know where to find some of the dozens of well-meaning breweries churning out the good stuff for the discerning London visitor.
Microbreweries are, for want of a better word, ‘MACRO’ in London. In other words, they’re big, especially in the East End (where traditionally the big breweries have plied their trade for centuries). A glut of small-but-perfectly-formed producers have, over the past ten years, set up shop all across the city. Furthermore, all of the breweries we’ve selected are within easy walking distance of hotels in Shoreditch, including our own M By Montcalm London City.
Thanks to these enterprising men and women, the microbrewery renaissance is upon us. A healthy surge of non-mass-marketed beers flows lovingly from taps in taverns and inns painstakingly reclaimed from the industrial heartland of the capital.
Take a look at this handful of hand-picked breweries all within a few miles of the Montcalm Shoreditch London.
Draft House, Old Street
Located at 211, Old Street just north of Old Street tube station this particular Draft House is one of a small chain of pubs. The Draft House prides itself on its aim to ‘do for beer what our culture has done for food and wine over the past twenty years’.
Clearly, the Draft House takes their craft very seriously. There are almost 20 beers on draught and the fridges contain a plethora of international beers including some well-known Belgians and less well-known British mash-ups. There are various other Draft Houses dotted around London.
The Strongroom has a good selection of European beers. Their Belgian beers are ‘not for the uninitiated’ apparently, although you must decide that for yourself.
The Strongroom isn’t far from any of the hotels in Shoreditch: it’s located just north of Shoreditch High Street railway station. The Strongroom’s selection of eight draught beers changes daily but usually on offer are Belgian, Austrian and British beers. IPAs include Manchester’s Cloudwater and Huddersfield’s Magic Rock. Their lagers come from Mexico, Germany and Austria.
The Old Fountain, Old Street
The Old Fountain is located on Baldwin Street just a few yards from the Draft House. A blackboard above the main bar states which beers and ales are on offer on any particular day. Most are selected from the ever-growing variety of liquid products of independent breweries from around London. There are 28 fine beers to choose from including European and British offerings. The old-times sure do roll in this throwback palace to the pump.
Five Points, Hackney
This pub’s brewery base in Hackney Downs produces unpasteurised and unfiltered beers and ales. Doing so allows the flavour of the drink to pile up. Five Points is an award-winning pub in the heart of Hackney just four miles from the Montcalm Shoreditch London. Pale ales are bursting with citrus flavours while European beers chosen by the crew offer light, bitter and energetic hits to the palate. Smaller batches of English hand-pulls such as Derailed Porter and London Smoke are available.
Toast, Sumner Street
Because Toast’s brewers use leftover bread from around the world the beer on offer is malty, ‘biscuity’ and rich in flavour. Toast attempts to tackle food waste by their unique stance with leftovers. The flavours of their pale ale are something to behold too. The majority of the range found at Toast includes pale ale, craft lager, IPA and American pale ale. Try Wiper and True: made in Bristol from ‘brewed bread with brandy-soaked currants infused with Bourbon vanilla and cinnamon’. Toast can be found on 105 Sumner Street, London SE1 9HZ.
Tap East, Stratford
Tap East is located in Stratford Westfield which is still within easy walking distance of hotels near Shoreditch. Tap East has a reputation for creating some of the most unusual blends of beer and ale in London. The East End Mild is malty and full of flavour and the citrus hops used in the American make it perfect for summer. Jonny Park Bitter is a ‘traditional bitter with caramel malt flavours and a bitter hop finish’. Coffee in the Morning is sold as a dark smooth stout but its traditional flavour is enhanced by ‘freshly ground coffee beans from our friends at Grind’.
CRATE, Hackney Wick
CRATE’s venue is located at Hackney Wick on the banks of the picturesque river Lea, making it within an easy walk of the Montcalm Shoreditch London. On offer are some exceptionally refreshing pale ales, some of which have a mellow citrus tang. The IPA is not too bitter but packs plenty of malty punch, having been loaded with plenty of hops. Stouts have a full-bodied fruity taste; CRATE’s stouts are full of richness. ‘A liquid hug,’ reads the website. CRATE also offers anyone interested a tour around its brew shed.
The Dovetail, Clerkenwell
If you are a fan of Belgian beers then head for The Dovetail in Broadway Market, Clerkenwell. The Dovetail offers a rotating stock of European and international beers. On the whole, it specialises in Belgian beer. There are over 100 bottles of Belgian to choose from including ‘Trappist, Lambic, Flanders, Blonde, Amber, dubbel, tripel, quadrupel, red, saison and fruit beers’. The Dovetail’s Triple golden ale selection includes such popular brews as Triple Karmalite and Barbar.
The Arbitrager, the City
Located right in the middle of the City of London is the Arbitrager; about a mile from the Montcalm Shoreditch London. A refreshing oasis in the midst of a bustling commercial quarter, the Arbitrager offers 12 keg taps with draughts selected from some of the very best London-based craft brewers. From these breweries, the Arbitrager buys only a small selection and from day to day the beers on offer change. The Arbitrager also sells an impressive array of gins. The nearest tube station to the pub is Bank.