When we fell into the The Beer House under Waterloo station (opposite platform two) for a crafty bolt-loosener before home time, we were expecting a half-decent five-quid pint of Carlsberg at best. Instead, once we braved the three-deep bar of businessmen doing their best not to go back to their wives, we had our faces illumined, and livers lubricated, by a chiller full of crisp Flying Dog Pale Ales, all the way from Maryland USA. A bit like stumbling across the 1982 Brazil side having a kickabout on Hackney Marshes.
Tamesis Dock is a floating boozer that looks less "quality drinking establishment" and more "experimental aquatic commune" moored up near Vauxhall. Sure, it shares the water with enough junk to sink the moon, but gazing at what looks like the contents of last week’s bin bag is the price you’ll happily pay to (a) drink like a pirate and (b) discover the fridge of ace guest beers, like this bottle of Kona’s Fire Rock, all the way from Hawaii’s primo craft brewery.
Surbiton is place where hairdressers outnumber great drinking holes by a factor of approximately 100,000 to one. But head down to Maple Road and you’ll discover The Antelope. An unremarkable boozer from the outside, it not only serves a selection of ever-changing tap-fresh craft beers year-round, but has a freakin’ actual functioning brewery in the beer garden. Order a bottle of Big Smoke Brew Co’s Solaris at the bar, then toast the shed it was born in out back.
Every hip, self-appointed "foodie" worth his weight in beard oil is already all over London’s most conceptual Indian eatery Dishoom. “The okra fries are on-point bro,” he’ll blurt out, often in spite of himself. What nobody is giving it cred for, however, is its boss-level house beer. It’s made for the eatery by Battersea’s Mondo Brewing Co, which only started making booze this year but already has the cojones to make a brew bold enough to go up against a hyper-hot curry.
OK, stay with us. Go to your local M&S and pull out their Citra IPA. Looks like you’ve just grabbed a bottle of average, four-for-the-train-home supermarket suds, right? WRONG, buddy. So wrong. Brewed for Britain's second-poshest supermarket by Cambridgeshire’s Oakham Ales using the same hops as their International Beer Challenge-winning Citra and Green Devil Champion Cask Ale, what you currently have in your hand is a sneaky flavourbeast of a beer.