London Beer Week 2015 Guide

London beer week high resIt has begun: London Beer Week is officially on so you better HOP into the festivities (sorry, we couldn’t resist). To make things easier, we’ve rounded up the BEST activities and bars so you don’t miss one frothy bit. From 16-22 February, you will have a huge array of tastings, tours and tipples around Londontown to keep you busy (and all you need to do is get a £10 wristband).

MONDAY

London beer week barrel aged ihlBarrel Aged IHL Launch Party

For one night only, you’ll discover a brand new beer that’s be aged for six months in one tequila and six bourbon barrels. Plus you’ll get to check out the all-too-lovely The Kings Arms in Bethnal Green.
Free, 6pm, The Kings Arms Pub, 11A Buckfast Street, Bethnal Green, E2 6EY.

TUESDAY

London beer week brewhouse islington

The Big Flavour Beer Dinner

Enjoy a tasting with head brewer Pete Hughes of original house-brewed Brewhouse & Kitchen beers plus adventurous international guest beers from the experts at Boutique Bar Brands. They will be matched with chef’s seven-course taster dinner.
£25, 7.30pm, Brewhouse and Kitchen Islington, Torrens Street, EC1V 1NQ.

WEDNESDAY

London beer week crate brewery

Meet The Brewer with CRATE Brewery

Whether you’re an experienced home brewer or simply an enthusiastic craft beer drinker you’ll love the in-depth knowledge and comedy stylings of CRATE brewers Calum Bennet and Mark Peather at this special event. CRATE will also be taking over the taps at the Windsor Castle with their wide range of cask and kegged beers for your pleasure. And if you’ve never been to CRATE, you better believe you’ll want to go now.
Free, 7pm, The Windsor Castle, 135 Lower Clapton Road, E5 8EQ.

THURSDAY

london beer week the hops and glory

Brewery Launch at The Hops & Glory

One of the best pubs London has to offer has decided to launch its very own ON-SITE brewery. You’ll get to taste the beginning of their upcoming range of beers ranging from crisp, clean Pale Ales to Belgian Tripels.
Free, 8pm, The Hops & Glory, 382 Essex Road, Islington.

FRIDAY

London beer week beekeeper#BeeFactFriday Meet The Beekeeper and Hiver Tasting

Beers + bees = one hell of a buzz. Hiver Beers Founder, Hannah Rhodes, will be introducing Barnaby Shaw of Bee Urban London, who will offer an insight into the life of urban beekeeping and answering any questions you might have. There’ll be bee suits to try on, honeys to sample, a beehive to peer into and of course samples of award-winning Hiver for LBW wristband holders to enjoy.
Free, 7.30pm, Translate, 12-14 Kingsland Road, E2 8DA.

SATURDAY & SUNDAY

london beer week craft beer rising

Craft Beer Rising

Now this list wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t include Craft Beer Rising. 70 breweries, 450 different beers, and an onslaught of adventurous innovations and bold new flavours. Expect more craft beer than you could ever imagine (duh), lots of smoky street food, and a party pumping with DJs spinning tunes all weekend long.
Tickets £18.70-£22. Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, E1 6QL.

BEST BEER WEEK BARS

The Sun Tavern London Beer Week

The Sun Tavern

go and check out one of our favourite east London haunts and sip down on Camden Town Brewery’s Pale Ale for £3 … until its gone. Or have a boilermaker and try poitin (it’s like Irish moonshine) with half a beer for just a fiver.

big easy covent gardenBig Easy Covent Garden

Big, bold and beautiful — this Americana-styled hot spot has won the hearts of Covent Garden dwellers with its saucy ribs and frosty beers. Come by for £3 Meantime Brewery Fresh London Lager.

The Blues Kitchen ShoreditchThe Blues Kitchen — Shoreditch

A temple to the coolest B’s in the book: blues, BBQ and booze. Drop in for a taste of Innis and Gunn Original. And if we were you, we’d DEFINITELY upgrade to the £5 Woodford Reserve boilermaker.

Hawksmoor Spitalfields Bar Hawksmoor Spitalfields

An underground haven for all things meat and booze. This is a sophisticated Spitalfields spot that’s just the right amount of trendy — with bang on burgers and BBQ too. Order yourself a bottle of Hibernation White IPA to go with those meaty eats.

Oskar's Bar in Dabbous interiorOskar’s Bar in Dabbous

A cocktail master, Oskar knows how to churn out some of the tastiest hoptails in town. Keep it simple and order the Pale Ale OR upgrade to The Drink With No Name, made with Woodford Reserve bourbon, greengage, ginger ale, lemon and Einstök pale ale.

The Cocktail Trading Company interior

 

The Cocktail Trading Company

Cosy pub vibes, party drinks and an intimate atmosphere tucked underneath Central & Co. This tiny basement bar is an incredible addition to the Soho drinking scene, and you need to swing by for their hoptail Boiler Baker (only a bang for your buck fiver!).

— Sasha Filimonov, @SashaSips

Black Swan

Black Swan Leeds interiorThe masterminds behind Sandinista and Smokestack take on Call Lane with the elegant new opening, Black Swan. Moving away from the themed stylings of its infamous Latino and Prohibition-inspired sister bars, Black Swan is Yorkshire-bred through and through. It’s the perfect spot for laid-back drinking and despite being a 450-capacity, spacious two-floor venue — the bar maintains the intimate feel of a local pub with excellent service and incredible attention to detail.

The drinks menu not only boasts over 52 craft beers, six rotating draught ales, an on-site microbrewery and accessible two-page wine list, its cocktails also showcase the unquestionable talents of owner Si Ord’s bar team. Based on twists of classic serves, each cocktail recipe is credited to individual bartenders working for the group — from the sweet and moreish Mai Tai by Loren Holmes (Sandinista) to Niall McGloin’s (Smokestack) bitter kick Amaretto Sour. You’ll even find Mr Ord putting his own specs forward for an Espresso Martini pick-me-up. Catering for afternoon to late night boozing, you’ll find an upstairs restaurant serving up delicious, best of British cuisine — including kids menus and sharing platters — while the downstairs pizza kitchen cooks up light bites.

The bar’s exposed brick walls are decorated with varying designs — from Si’s antique suitcases and metal liquor ad signs to intricate hand-painted artwork by local artists. There are unique features wherever you look — such as the upstairs restored wood bar, array of vintage-style tables and chairs, projector beaming out old classic films and a roaring fireplace found in the Black Swan’s intimate side room. True to the venue’s heart, chilled out indie tunes play out in the day and turn into pumped up indie anthems, both old and new, as the night goes on.

Best Bars Tip: As tempting as it is to stay at the bar working your way through the drinks menu, the Pizza Kitchen cannot be missed. Its copper furnace serves up sourdough deliciousness until 10pm every night and the Yorkshire chorizo is one of our favourite Leeds’ bar bites to date.

— Mieke-Kyra Smith, @mieke_chu

Black Swan Leeds fireplace

London Beer Dispensary

London Beer DispensaryThe south-east of London has its own form of medicine: craft beer, dispensed at new relaxed boozer London Beer Dispensary, where the bar is replaced by a barrel and the ale is poured right out of the casks.

The guys of Late Knights Brewery are behind the Dispensary, so except quite a few of their brews – bitter Morning Glory will give you the kick you need. Other interesting names, all from small, independent brewers, include Heavy Industry’s Nelson’s Eye, citrusy with notes of tropical fruits, or the pink lady cider.

The food comes in the shape of buns and patties with pints of chips that you can enjoy in the beer garden on warm days and nights.

Best Bars tip: The place packs out pretty quickly, but you can take booze and grub away.

– Gaëlle Laforest, @gaellelaforest

London Beer Dispensary

Prince of Wales

Prince of Wales Birmingham MoTiki 3An “old man’s pub” given a new lease of life, The Prince Of Wales’ clientele boasts a beautiful mix of traditional cask ale lovers and hip, young Moseleyites looking for cocktails and street food. More proof they can live in harmony! From the classic boozer to the Tiki bar to the shed du vin, there’s a bit of everything at this mish-mash venue.

The cocktail must-have is the Ocean Colour Scream named after local band of the Britpop era, Ocean Colour Scene. It includes their Mo-Tiki homemade grog, lime juice, blue curaçao, cranberry and guava juice.

Check out the incredible cigar shop and winery out back, both of which face into the colossal beer garden that houses the Mo-Tiki bar (and heaters!).

Best Bars tip: Gourmet hot dog specialists Chilli Dog Dog are on hand Thursday through to Saturday nights serving jaw-dropping dogs made with local award-winning “Lashford” snags. Get involved.

— Tom Cullen

Prince of Wales Birmingham pub fireplace

Cherry Reds

Cherry Reds Birmingham barDoes it get any homelier? We’ll answer that. No. A range of soft, comforting chairs, 60s style tables and kitsch wallpaper make Cherry Reds an absolute delight. In a weird way it feels like the coffee shop from Friends, only replace cappuccinos with obscure craft beers from countries like Norway and Japan.

The standard food menu is ace (try the halloumi sandwich), but the invitation to some of Birmingham’s best street food vendors to cook in their kitchen, pop-up style, makes Cherry Reds one to keep a constant eye on.

Throughout the day, park up next to laptop laden freelancers supping coffees and casually-dressed business people talking – well business we guess, or join the revellers post-work for what is always a friendly knees up.

Best Bars tip: The San Franciscan beer Anchor Steam Liberty Ale (the bottle, not the draft, although the draft is also stunning) is insatiably moreish.    

— Tom Cullen

Cherry Reds Birmingham live music

People’s Park Tavern

People's Park Tavern Victoria ParkPeople’s Park Tavern is one of those pubs that you’re not sure you want to tell your friends about because it’s oh so special. But with it’s huge beer garden overlooking Victoria Park, there’s plenty of space for all your pals.

Beer lovers, this place is calling your name. With its on-site brewery, you’re going to get some of the freshest ales and lagers in town. Just tell the staff what you’re looking for, and they’ll guide you toward your beer of choice. The nosh here is solidly delicious pub grub with dishes like wild mushroom and chestnut cottage pie or indulgent Sunday roasts.

Whether or not you live in the neighbourhood, enjoy this spot as if it were your local. From pub quizzes to open mic nights to winter evenings by the crackling fire, you’ll be hard-pressed not to find a perfect opportunity to while away the hours here.

Best Bars tip: There’s a bright and airy private dining room upstairs, so for a special occasion in a spot that feels like home — we reckon book yourselves in here.

— Sasha Filimonov, @SashaSips

People's Park Tavern beer garden

Zerodegrees

Zerodegrees CardiffFound in the shadow of the city’s Millennium Stadium, Zerodegrees is a microbrewery, pizzeria, steakhouse and bar all rolled into one tasty little outpost.

Despite the usual line-up of cocktails, the beer is the star of the show – having been brewed on site right before your eyes. If your belly’s grumbling, go for a big ol’ juicy steak with a side of black lager or choose from the roster of pizzas paired with a light and refreshing Pilsner. We’re excited for the introduction of the “beer’tails” menu (currently in the works) that includes the Zerohito – a variation on the minty classic, made using wheat beer.

Whether it’s a post-match pint, a pre-town pitcher or a full-on family meal you’re after, Zerodegrees caters for all.

Best Bars tip: Get yourself down there early on a weekday and make a night of it as the earlier you go, the cheaper the food is.

— Jordan Harris

Zerodegrees Cardiff