So, here we are. London Beer Week. If you’re feeling particularly inspired by the annual celebration of good beer in good places while in good company, we don’t blame you. Thing is, we feel there’s one thing missing from that equation – good food. If you’re feeling peckish during Beer Week, but prefer a Chimay over a Chablis, or a Beavertown over a Burgundy, these are the restaurants for you.
Executive chef and restaurateur to this Brixton joint – Tim Anderson – may be familiar to MasterChef watchers and BBC Radio 4’s Kitchen Cabinet listeners. As the Japanese soul food at Nanban has become a hit, he’s something of a celebrity in Brixton too. While Brixton Brewery’s beers are in free flow, Anderson has collaborated with Pressure Drop on a number of occasions. Their most notable creation, Nanban Kanpai (a wheat IPA), is tailor-made to pair with the restaurant’s menu of beef tataki, pork ramen, and the like.
The Meantime brewery, one of London’s most recognised craft breweries, has the complete package: regular tours, a well-stocked taproom, and a relaxed tasting room. As for the latter, expect more pub grub over molecular gastronomy – think scallops with artichoke and chorizo, or fried buttermilk chicken burgers. Sure, the main allure’s the kindly-priced craft beer, but beery twists on the menu – like Meantime’s Yakima Red-glazed baby back ribs, and Meantime pilsner- battered cod – are welcome. Plus, their chocolate porter or raspberry wheat beer make good substitutes for dessert.
While the brewery has since upped and left for Tottenham, Duke’s Brew & Que will always be the spiritual home of Beavertown. In keeping with its heritage, the pub and restaurant has Beavertown’s staples – such as Gamma Ray and Neck Oil – permanently on draught, well-fitted to pairing with the joint’s low n’ slow barbeque. Just in case veteran drinkers feel like they’ve ‘been there, done that’, brand new beers off the line, like Beavertown’s barrel-aged Berliner weisse, also make their way onto the drinks list.
As one of the few fine-dining establishments that takes beer as seriously as its wine, Alyn Williams’ restaurant is worth keeping in your books. Those who like their beer from anywhere in the world are treated like a pig in swill – tasting menu pairings might include slow-cooked cod with a Kentish lager; a cheese fondue with Belgian wit; or sweet and sour quail with an American West Coast IPA. Williams is known to be an exponent of beer and its versatility. His restaurant just goes to show.
Duck and Rice is Alan Yau’s (founder of Hakkasan and Yauatcha) first foray in into the pub scene, though to some degree this place retains the feel of a restaurant. The ‘Chinese pub’ is more or less built around two copper-coloured Pilsner Urquell tanks dispensing fresh, unpasteurised lager. Which, between you and me, is the only way to enjoy the true taste of this beer. If pilsner isn’t your thing, the pub stocks an astonishing array of bottled beers, from Augustiner’s classic helles, to Einstok’s zesty white ale.
Visit the London Beer Week website to find out more about the tastings, tours, pop-ups and parties they’re hosting.
This is a guest post from freelance food journalist Hugh Thomas. He’s contributed to Foodism, Time Out, Great British Chefs, and is part of British Street Food’s small team of vigilant writers. Find him on twitter @hughwrites.