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Beer Lowdown | The Best of British Beers

Beer Lowdown | The Best of British Beers

Parka London in Conversation

Words by Parka London
Photography by Indy Taylor
CATEGORY - IN Conversation
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Here in England, we have brewed beer for centuries. Evidence shows the Romano-Celtic Brits were drinking the stuff as early as 54 BC! During the Middle Ages Brits favoured beer over any other drink, as it made up a substantial amount of calories in their diet and kept them alive (no wonder we like it so much). To get the inside scoop on craft beers, British breweries, we visited our local craft beer shop Caps and Taps to give us the lowdown on what to try.

Beer displays @ Caps and Taps, Kentish Town
Beer displays @ Caps and Taps, Kentish Town

Caps and Taps, located in Kentish Town, is a stone’s throw away from the Parka London’s headquarters. We couldn’t resist dropping in to have a chat with shop owner, Steph, and see what she recommends with her craft beer expertise. Steph opened Caps and Taps in 2014, inspired by her ever-growing love for beer. At the time, craft beer stores were big in America, though there were very few in London.

The craft beer scene has since exploded within Britain, and there are now similar shops all over the place. So what to try? Steph recommends the all-time bestseller in the shop is American-style pale ale Gamma Ray, by Beavertown Brewery in Tottenham. Its tropical, juicy flavor has been a hit, and the brewery’s unique can illustrations are central in their quest for expression through beer.

Brew by Numbers bottles
Brew by Numbers bottles

Another favourite is from Brew by Numbers. The first two numbers on each bottle explain the type of beer, from porter to brown ale, while the second pair of numbers links to the recipe used, such as hops and unusual grains. Steph also recommended Stay Puft, a marshmallow porter by Welsh brewery, Tiny Rebel. They also brew a fruity beer, CLWB Tropicana, full of juicy hop flavours, peach, passionfruit, pineapple and mango.

Caps and Taps sell ‘litre growlers,’ refillable glass containers that keep beer fresh for up to 60 days when unopened, due to a clever ‘growler chamber’ that preserves freshness and flavour. The beer on tap changes regularly, but during our visit, Steph told us she couldn’t recommend Kernel's Pale Ale Citra El Dorado enough.


”A 'growler' is a sustainable alternative to cans and throwaway bottles!

Britain is now home to some of the world’s finest breweries. Steph told us about Cloudwater Brew Co., located in Manchester. They recently won the award for the 5th best brewery in the world at a beer festival, and also earned themselves the title of best brewery in England! A sure achievement for a brewery that was established just three years ago. Cloudwater also release a double IPA each month that Steph told us people go mad for – something to try… We were also told an interesting fact about Hammerton Brewery, stocked by Caps and Taps, and located on Caledonian Road.

Owner of the brewery, Lee, is actually the great/grandson of the original owner, who ran the brewery 100 years ago! A true example of how British beers are once again becoming some of the best. Many thanks to Steph at Caps and Taps, for enlightening us with her beer knowledge and recommendations! If you’re interested in discovering more about beer, download a ‘Beer Diary’, an app that lets you find great venues, track the beers you like, and see what your friends are enjoying or drop by your local craft beer shop.

Chalkboards at Caps and Taps
Chalkboards at Caps and Taps

Why not give London Beer Week a try? Running from the 13th – 19th March, the festival celebrates all that is good about beer, ales, lagers and ciders. A perfect treat, featuring night tours of breweries, masterclasses and even a ‘beer village,’ brand new to the 2017 festival. Remember to drink responsibly

Image: London Beer Week
Image: London Beer Week

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