london dukes


Top craft beer pubs in east London

Published November 13th, 2015

Fear not, wayward traveller, you needn't fall as far as drinking Fosters while holidaying in London. The city, particularly its east side, is a hub of craft beer pubs that cater to those looking for more than just a few frothies. However, not all pubs are equal, so we've brought you a list of our favourites, which will hopefully let you bypass the dud suds.

Stop No.9 was @HowlingHops awesome tank bar for some tank fresh beers. #hackneywick #london

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Howling Hops, Hackney Wick

Small brewpub chain Zerodegrees would probably take issue with Howling Hops’ claim to be 'The UK’s first dedicated tank bar'. But, that point of order aside, there is a lot to like about this venue where you can drink fresh beer, direct and unfiltered, from 10 huge steel tanks.

This rough-edged warehouse space is very much a working brewery. If you nip to the loo, you might see the bottling line in action and there are pallets of malt and torrified wheat stacked by the entrance.

What it lacks in creature comforts, however, this place certainly makes up for in tasty beer. Its pale XX uses citra, centennial, simcoe and cascade hops, to create a firecracker of a brew, one florid with sherbet, gooseberry and lime flavours.

Mother Kelly’s, Bethnal Green

If your idea of a good time is not just drinking beer but simultaneously choosing more beer to take home to drink later, you will love Mother Kelly’s. This railway arch bar and bottle shop is home to several huge fridges stacked with superb beers to drink in or takeaway, many of them lesser-known, highly rated imports, such as Natt imperial porter from Norwegians Aegir or the US Tunnel Vision IPA.

That quality and global perspective continues at the bar where influential UK brewers (Magic Rock, Northern Monk) rub shoulders, across 19 keg taps, with new names such as Estonian micro, Pohjala. At just 2.8 per cent, the Siren Half Mast IPA I sampled here was one of the most layered and complex sub-3 per cent beers I have ever tasted.

Friendly staff and a warm feel mean Mother Kelly’s is somewhere you will happily linger, too. Although, if you want to keep moving, it is worth noting that Redchurch Brewery’s nearby tap room is open Thursday to Saturday.

Where better to drink its Great Eastern? Arguably, the best British IPA.

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This is a crazy IPA by Evil twin. 13% abv illegal for blushers like me

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The Sebright Arms, Bethnal Green

This pub and gig venue may, in many ways, be the last word in east London cool (craft beers, street food, hip music) but, to a large extent, its charm lies in how it evokes a lost, very different era. A dimly lit cocoon of carved wood panelling and red velour banquettes, it looks – but for the lack of fag smoke – like the kind of vintage East End boozer that used to feature in old episodes of Minder.

Beer-wise, thankfully, things are far more up to date. The Sebright’s three cask and five keg lines, as well as its compact bottled selection, have a notable London focus, with breweries such as Brick, Gipsy Hill, Mondo, Five Points, Weird Beard and Hammerton to the fore. Truman’s impressive Zephyr, a zesty, hop-forward pale ale, was in perfect condition.

Celebrate Hump Day with us! Kitchen open until 10pm.

A photo posted by The Fox (@thefoxe8) on

The Fox, Haggerston

The Fox looks like a typically gussied-up, gastrofied London pub: lots of wood and bare brick, some mismatched antique-y furniture and a smattering of trendy art. The clientele of young professionals seemed curiously unfazed by the background music, which veered, distressingly, from lachrymose Radio2 indie-rock to Elton John.

One thing that the Fox cannot be faulted on is its beer. Whoever is buying it in clearly knows their hops, with such stellar names as Siren, Wild Beer, Burning Sky (arguably Britain’s best new brewer; its Aurora was, as ever, a pleasure), Four Pure and Brew By Numbers jumping out across its cask, keg and bottled menus.

Talking of bottles, the Fox has famously installed a craft beer vending machine that, sadly, appeared to be turned off on this visit.

Duke’s Brew and Que, Haggerston

Duke’s is primarily a restaurant serving slow’n’low BBQ but, as the birthplace of Beavertown Brewery – both businesses are owned by Logan Plant – its small bar area is something of a pilgrimage for beer fans. If you are happy to hover or are lucky enough to grab one of a handful of seats, you can work your way through four dedicated Beavertown keg lines (including one that showcases its experimental Alpha Series beers), as well as a comprehensive range of its cans – the dry, citrusy Quelle Saison is a particular highlight.

Elsewhere on the bar, there are five other keg lines and one cask to go at, as well as a couple of fridges stocked with a very discerning selection of beers. From Moor’s new 'live' conditioned cans (yes, like bottle conditioning, but in a can), to beers from California’s revered Firestone Walker, there is top quality on every shelf.

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This article was written by Tony Naylor from The Guardian and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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