Apparently, arranging the proverbial piss-up is not that difficult, if these London breweries are anything to go by.
The city’s long, illustrious history of brewing is continued today by envelope-pushing craft outfits, microbreweries and the long-standing stalwarts that have been here for literally centuries. And not only do many of them open the doors for tours, you can also just pop into their taprooms for a keg-fresh bev. After all, sipping suds in a brewery is a connective experience. There are the vibrant smells, the pride and information spilling from the heads of tapsters/brewers, plus the exquisite freshness of the drink itself.
But breweries can also be dark, and damp, and offer soapy tastes no one asked for. So here are the best breweries in London with taprooms and tours that are genuinely worth a visit…
Five Points Brewery | Hackney
This is what happens when craft beer trims its beard and replaces its Grateful Dead t-shirt with a button-down Oxford shirt. It’s good independent craft beer with an effective business plan, and this is by no means a slander. The expansive, sleek taproom is sheltered under railway arches, is expansive and has ample outdoor seating. Ace Pizzas fills the “food hole” section of your stomach and if you want to scrub up on your beer knowledge, they run an hour and a half brewery tour + tasting package for £20.
Details: 61 Mare Street, Hackney, London, E8 4RG | Find out more here
Gipsy Hill Brewery | Crystal Palace & Anerley
The key features of Gipsy Hill Brewery. 1) They have cool people on the front of their beer cans. 2) It’s been employee-owned since 2021. 3) The large outdoor space seems adept at hosting a harem of cyclists (including us). 4) They have a run club every Thursday (not including us). 5) They have their own pub in Crystal Palace. 6) Yard Sale Pizza can be delivered… for free!
Oh and their beers… We recommend their famous Session IPA “Hepcat”, but also the juicy three-hop blend “Baller” IPA and the more funky/zippy alcoholic ginger beer.
Details: The Taproom, Unit 5, 160 Hamilton Road, London, SE27 9SF | The Douglas Fir, 144 Anerley Road, London, SE20 8DL | Find out more here
Beavertown Brewery | Tottenham & Enfield
Beavertown has captured the craft beer zeitgeist in London so effectively that it’s now the punchline of Twitter jokes. So, they must be doing something right. The CEO and founder Logan Plant (who is the son of Robert Plant, Led Zeppelin’s lead singer) launched in 2012 and the brand’s name is inspired by the ‘De Beauvoir Town’ area of East London. In recent years, the rumoured transfer links to Spurs have proven true, and it became the world’s first microbrewery/taproom inside a football stadium. Beavertown also has its own glorious taproom in Tottenham, reviving a much-loved three-tier pub near the stadium. There are now so many ways to enjoy a freshly brewed Neck Oil, that you’d be rude not to.
Details: Beavertown Brewery & Taproom, Unit 17, Lockwood Industrial Park, Mill Mead Rd, London N17 9QP | Beavertown Corner Pin, 732 High Rd, London N17 0AG | Find out more here
Crate Brewery | Hackney
Imagine, if you will, kayaking up to a brewery, having a freshly squeezed pint, and then casually kayaking off again into the watery-nothingness. How elusive! How mysterious! Well, at Crate Brewery, dreams do come true. Not only does the brewery house an eclectic range of juicy pale ales and lagers for you to enjoy with a view of the canal, but housed in the very same White Building is the world’s first zero-waste restaurant, Silo. So, if you’re after something a little more upmarket than a freshly baked pizza, you can zero-waste your pint and then float into one of the finest restaurants in Hackney.
Details: Unit 7 Queen’s Yard, London E9 5EN | Find out more here
The Kernel | Bermondsey
Imagine someone seven pints deep sitting next to you, shouting in your ear, “I tell you what mate… I tell you what… Bermondsey Beer Mile would be nothing… nothing with The Kernel.” Two things about that statement. Firstly, the beer is so damn delicious that that person might well be you come closing time. And secondly, The Kernel was one of the first to do West Coast meets East Coast IPAs with a London spin… so, you have a point. Being one of the first and best on the Bermondsey Beer Mile they lay claim to igniting the whole thing. Scuttle along and visit the Bermondsey OG for yourself.
Details: Arch 11, Dockley Road Industrial Estate, Dockley Rd, London SE16 3SF | Find out more here
Brick Brewery | Peckham
Thankfully, they’ve given up trying to brew bricks and have moved on to brewing the alliterative Peckham Pils and Peckham Pales, which have become famous all over the Greater Peckham area. The brewery sits under Peckham Rye station, has a cosy outdoor space out the front and back, and inside has a 20-strong range of draught beers. It’s always buzzy, bright and enjoyable when we head down. As for sustenance, Mikos Gyros provides addictive gyros, which pair perfectly with Peckham Pils. And what a pint it is. You must visit, simply to have a Peckham Pils straight from the source. Guarantee, this time next year… they’ll be millionaires because of it.
Details: 209 Blenheim Grove, London SE15 4QL | Find out more here
Meantime Brewing | Greenwich
This is not a specific Space-Time dedicated to being nasty, but a well-oiled and large-scale brewery on the outskirts of Greenwich dedicated to providing beery education and lubrication. Alistair Hook set up Meantime Brewery in 1999, making it one of the first craft breweries in London. The business has multiplied, and now they run regular tours of the brewery, covering fermentation, maturation and bottling, plus you may see a wild brewer going about their potions. We recommend trying the Maine IPA and the Yakima Red Ale; they’re real treats for the tastebuds.
Details: Lawrence Trading Estate, Blackwall Lane, London SE10 0AR | Find out more here
Camden Beer Hall | Camden
This place is pure Hells on Earth. The home of Camden Town Brewery is efficiently tucked beneath a set of old Victorian railway arches (a.k.a Kentish Town West overground), and somehow manages to pack in an entire brewery, a vast Bavarian-inspired beer hall and a shed-load of outdoor tables. You can take a tasting-heavy tour of the brewery for £25, or come down any day of the week to enjoy tank-fresh beers on tap, including some pretty gnarly collaborations (try the ice cream lager if it’s on). There’s a menu of Italian drinking food courtesy of chef Theo Randall, and experimental new beers to try every Thursday.
Details: 55-59 Wilkin Street Mews, Camden, NW5 3NN | Find out more here
Villages | Deptford
Villages is a peek into the small-scale, sparkling brewery scene in the further reaches of South-East London. Alongside Brockley Brewery (worth a mention), Brick Brewery and Gipsy Hill Brewery (already mentioned), Villages is a welcome addition to the fold. The brewery is nestled under the railway arches near Deptford and they are, without doubt, the cleanest brewery premises you will experience. The beers include their popular and moreish “Rafiki” Session IPA, “Rodeo” Pale Ale and “Big Salad” IPAs, plus sours, stouts, lagers and porters. If you’re into very up-and-coming but equally immaculate breweries, look no further.
Details: 21-22 Resolution Way, London SE8 4NT | Find out more here
Hiver | Bermondsey
Hiver is a brewery born out of respect for London’s urban beekeepers and a love of craft beer. They brew their beer using only British ingredients and use honey in the fermentation process. If you link Britain’s earliest drinking habits back to mead (honey wine), honey beer just makes sense historically, nationally and in flavour. Hiver offers this sublime honey beer at their London Bridge taproom, but they also offer urban beekeeping tours and tasting sessions in Kennington Park. [Bee pun sign-off redacted.]
Details: Hiver Beers Taproom, Arch 56, Stanworth Street, London SE1 3NY | Find out more here
Fuller’s Brewery | Chiswick
It’s no secret that Fuller’s has London Pride. When London’s public houses transitioned from home-brews to standardisation, Fuller’s (est. 1845) was one of the original brewers, and has survived the decimation of that industry by imported European lagers throughout the late 20th C. The brewery is a bastion of London brewing history, and you can learn all about it down at the Griffin brewery via extensive tours and through the ancient information exchange known as… tasting.
Details: Griffin Brewery, London W4 2QB | Find out more here
Brixton Brewery | Brixton
The foundations for Brixton Brewery were laid – as all solid foundations are – in a local bar when two couples struck up a conversation over their mutual love for beer. The group then got into home-brewing, realised they were naturals at it, and full-on commercial brewery by Brixton Village Market followed where they brew small-batch beers that nod to important parts of Brixton (the big two are the hoppy Electric IPA, named after Electric Avenue, and the pilsner-style ColdHarbour Lager, named after Coldharbour Lane). While tours at the brewery are a no-go at the minute, you can test out their core creations a few doors down at the taproom, plus changing specials that are on the wilder side of flavour profiles.
Details: Brewery, Units 1-2 Dylan Road, SE24 0HL | Taproom 548 Brixton Station Road, SW9 8PF | Find out more here
Hackney Church Brew Co. | Hackney
Hackney Church Brew Co.’s name comes from its location – in Hackney (obvs) and across the road from St John Church (presumably, they didn’t fancy constant mix-ups with the restaurant). Here they’re spreading the gospel of pale ale, IPAs and so on where all their crafts are brewed in-house under the watchful eye of head brewer Jacob Hobbs, using locally-sourced ingredients (most of which they say are taken from ‘within walking distance of the brewery’). They’ve also taken into consideration that long sessions on the pints require good grub, and so have made an effort with the food, currently Indian-tuned dishes from former Masterchef Professionals semi-finalist Aaron Thomas.
NOTE: It’s also got a big alfresco seating area. Not having a beer under the sun at some point over summer here would be, well, sacrilege…
Details: 16 & 17 Bohemia Place, E8 1DU | Find out more here
40FT Dalston | Dalston
The beer-makers at 40FT are clearly crafty people, having turned a bunch of shipping containers into the site of one of the best breweries in London. The vibe they’re shooting for is ‘Dalston’s living room’ – more in the community sense than the way it actually looks – with seating space in the containers and outside among benches when the weather’s playing ball. You’ve got ten options from the tap, including their American IPA (‘Neighbourhood’) that has whiffs of pine, mango and caramel, as well as the odd guest collaboration (a previous partnership with St John saw ingredients from the restaurant’s famous eccles cakes going into a dry Irish stout). The bar has also been raised in terms of food – the exceptional Acme Fire Cult now has a permanent space here. Again, crafty people…
Details: Bootyard, Abbot St, Dalston, E8 3DP | Find out more here
Blackhorse Beer Mile
This trail of breweries in Walthamstow has been playing host to unofficial crawls for what feels like ages now – giving Bermondsey some competition for epicentre of craft beer rights – but it was only in summer ‘22 that the area was anointed with the official ‘Blackhorse Beer Mile’ title. There are six in total – Big Penny Social, Signature Brew, Beerblefish Brewing, Exale Brewing, Wild Card Brewery and Hackney Brewery – all within stumbling distance of one another (ten minutes or so) and with huge taprooms where you can sample their suds among the tanks (sometimes even straight from the tanks).
Details: The recommended starting point is Big Penny Social, Priestley Way, E17 6AL | Find out more here
Fancy an alfresco pint? You’ll want to have a look at our quintessential guide to the best beer gardens in London…
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