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Alex Merwin

The best craft beers London has on offer

23 July 2014 Chris Mugan

Chances are we will never return to the good old days of horse-drawn drays carrying barrels of beer from local breweries to pubs. Yet the recent proliferation of microbreweries across London mean you can once more enjoy local brews.

Wherever you travel, you won't be far from artisan producers recreating long-lost recipes, devising new twists on traditional thirst-quenchers or simply displaying their passion for seasonal beers made from high-quality ingredients.

Several of these new-wave brewers offer tours or have tap rooms on their premises to spread the word, or supply the city's more discerning public houses. Here is our guide to some of the best brews around and where to find great selections of craft beers.

Central - Kernel Brewery

One of London's most respected new-breed brewers, Kernel specialises in bottle-conditioned nectar. You can find its Indian Pale Ale (IPA) behind the bars of many of the capital's more tasteful locals, though do look out for its rather special stouts and traditional porters.

To get the low-down on Kernel's latest brews, head to its Bermondsey HQ on Saturdays before 2pm. Combine the visit with a trip to Maltby Street Market, while nearby you will find SE16 is now home to two more classy breweries – Brew By Numbers and Partizan Brewing.

East - London Fields Brewery

Hackney's hipster community are fond of a craft beer, especially when the zingy Hackney Hopster is brewed right in the heart of their neighbourhood. With its own vibrant tap room, London Fields is also a key social hub, tucked away between that eponymous green space and busy Mare Street, hosting fine pub grub and live music.

Special events include the hotly contested beer challenges, where you can compare local heroes with examples from further afield and fiesta parties. Watch out too for happenings in the adjacent Brewhouse, with plenty to occupy non-ale fans, including pop-up food stalls and DJs.

South - Late Knights Brewery

From their base in Penge, south London, Late Knights have been celebrating craft beer, not only through their own delectable brews, but also a small chain of bars that allow you to sample fine examples from around the country.

A recent trip to their Brockley outpost, London Beer Dispensary, unearthed not only Late Knight's refreshing Crack Of Dawn American-style Pale Ale, but also Fubar from Welsh wizards Tiny Rebel, Alechemy's summery Amarillo Burst and a hoppy N7 beer from Hammerton.

Furthermore, Late Knights run bars in Gypsy Hill and Brighton, with their latest emporium soon to open in trendy Peckham. Another south-of-the-river mainstay to look out for is Sambrook's Brewery - you may find on tap its well structured Wandle and Junction brews. Their annual Beer By The River festival (August 30) at Morden Hall Park features live music, food and more.

West - Weird Beard Brew Co.

Gregg and Bryan are two mates living the dream: they started brewing in the kitchen, upgraded to a garage and after winning various competitions are now based in a Hanwell industrial estate, working their magic on a range of quality beers with the emphasis on specialist hop varieties.

You may struggle to track down their produce, though one place to start should be BrewDog Shepherds Bush. The west London outpost of this Aberdonian outfit boasts 40 taps and rows of bottles to offer one of the widest selections of brews in the capital.

North - Beavertown Brewery

They may have expanded to a premises in Tottenham, but the passionate team behind this artisan microbrewery still have roots in De Beauvoir Town (wot Cockneys called Beavertown, geddit?).

Their pub, Duke's Brew & Que, is famed as much for the quality of its BBQ menu and brunch as the drinks selection. Especially notable are its Deep South-style sticky ribs. And for this summer, Beavertown have opened a tap room on Saturdays at their new home in N17.

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