Beer Cities: London
London city introduction
Saturday 10 April 2021
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Any attempt to sum up one of the world’s greatest beer cities in no more than 350 words is always going to be somewhat reductive, but here goes.
The tradition of beer and brewing in London is baked into the very bricks on which the city is built. It’s painted in the flaking signs which still adorn the walls of now-defunct breweries, repurposed into luxury flats. It’s on the docks that line the Thames, the stories that swirl up from its murky waters and are retold in its culturally priceless traditional pubs. London isn’t just an important hub for beer: it is its home.
Nor is brewing in London just a history lesson or museum piece - it’s as live, exciting and dynamic as in any city on Earth. Tucked away in railway arches and warehouses that once housed garages and light industry, you’ll now find keen young men and women, red-faced from malty steam, brewing in one corner and serving up the fresh-hoppy fruits of the labour to eager punters gathered in the other. Bermondsey, Hackney, Deptford, Shoreditch… new breweries cluster and compete, picking up the hottest trends from the US and creating their own magic.
The bar and pub scene here is unique in the world. Its pubs have hosted insurrections, survived bombings and launched the careers of musical superstars. You can literally navigate London’s story via its pubs. And, thanks largely to the efforts of CAMRA over the years, you can also continue to enjoy an unbroken line of British brewing tradition at the pump handles and worn bar-tops of these same pubs.
Throw in a new generation of bars and taprooms - often springing up in the most unlikely of premises - plus a world class food scene and all the culture and entertainment you could possibly find, and London clearly ranks among the very best places to be a beer lover globally.
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