Euston Tap, NW1
Station pubs are notoriously rubbish, but this gate lodge at the entrance to Euston Station is a top contender for the best place to get craft beer in London. The range is astronomical, with 28 cask and keg lines and over 150 different bottles on offer. Incidentally, the identical gate lodge across the way does a similar spread but with cider instead of beer and ale. The emphasis at the Tap is more on northern breweries than London locals, so it saves the effort of jumping on a train to sample the best beers from further afield.
The Lyric, W1D
This old-school boozer on Great Windmill Street has long been a favourite Soho drinking spot. And while it has a decidedly old-fashioned feel, its beers are anything but. It favours the on-trend London breweries (Camden Town, Redwell, The Kernel) as well as showcasing a few crackers from breweries around the UK, such as Brighton’s Dark Star and Newport’s Tiny Rebel.
Crate Brewery, E9
Due to its popularity amongst the extravagantly moustachioed and top-knotted crowd, craft beer has become as synonymous with the older, middle-class hipster as artisan sourdough loaves and single-origin coffee. Nowhere represents this subset more beautifully than Crate Brewery in Hackney Wick. If David Attenborough was making a documentary about them, this is where he’d go. All their beer, cider and ale is brewed on site and you can use yours to wash down one of their excellent pizzas, all while relaxing by the banks of the River Lee. They also have regular obscure guest beers, which are well worth stopping by to sample.
Sebright Arms, E2
Not only does this Bethnal Green pub have an astounding array of craft beer, it also has regular pop-ups from cooler-than-thou street food outfits and a great gig schedule in the basement that leans towards punk and indie (check out the soon-to-be-hyped-into-oblivion Palace Winter or the wonderfully named Steve Buscemi’s Dreamy Eyes). It’s run by the same people as Birthdays in Dalston and The Old Blue Last in Shoreditch, so there’s no doubting its credibility. Yet despite all this, it still looks like a holdover from an old East End gangster movie. Its beer menu is a heartfelt ode to the best London breweries from Brick to Gipsy Hill, Mondo to Five Points.
Beer Rebellion, SE19
Venturing a little further afield bears ripe reward in this little goldmine on the otherwise slightly drab Gipsy Hill. Beer Rebellion started as a pop-up here and quickly set down permanent roots. This is an enterprise borne of love, the kind of joint where they’re only too happy to discuss the fine points of every one of the rapidly changing beers on tap and the extensive assortment of bottles in the fridge. Hungry? The Rum Kitchen, the excellent Caribbean takeaway next door, will drop around something to sort you out. Nothing sums up the community that grows around passionate people better than this.