Craft beer is in! Forget the cocktails and the wine, it’s all about the pints now. And London is one of the best cities for it with breweries and pubs plentiful in every area. Whether you’re a craft beer lover or you’ve just scored a date with a hottie who is and you want to pretend you are too, here are some tips for setting up the perfect hop-infused date…without breaking the bank.
Craft Beer on a budget
One of the biggest setbacks to craft beer is the price. Especially around Central London, you might find yourself shelling out close to £6 per pint minimum.
Especially if you’re not going dutch, a pint of Fosters can suddenly seem like a more appealing option. And that’s the first tip to craft beer on a budget.
Drink in halves
Maybe even thirds. And always ask for tasters. You don’t need to shell out for a pint every round. Craft beer houses are a tasting experience. Try loads of new things, drink slowly and in small doses, exchange thoughts with your date, try all the weirdest ones like the liquorice Stout and the chilli-infused Saison. Have a laugh with it, maybe share a tasting board together. It’s the little things like this that will get you feeling closer and more comfortable with each other, plus save you both a little bit of money.
Cask is cheaper than Keg.
Cask ales aren’t just for old men and the price hasn’t been pushed up as much as keg products, so they’re always a quid or 2 cheaper. Stick to the pumps if you’re pinching pennies, especially if that’s not what you’re used to drinking. You might surprise yourself.
Take away beers
If it’s nice weather, don’t drink in, grab some bottles, some snacks and a picnic blanket and sit in a nice park. Craft Beer Co, a chain dedicated to the beer of microbreweries, has 6 sites across London and offer 33% off on all takeaway beers. They have a massive selection to choose from, so you and your date can have some fun picking out your bottles from their wacky selection and then get to enjoy a nice (slightly boozy) picnic in the park. Just remember to check the ABV before you buy, they stock some pretty strong stuff and you wouldn’t want that creeping up on you on a first date.
Go to a brewery taproom
Don’t make the beer come to you, you go to the beer! Buying directly from the brewery can be much cheaper than buying it from a pub and it can be a great way to impress your date. There’s something exclusive and authentic-feeling about going straight to the brewery, even if you don’t go for a tour. (Though you’re bound to bag some freebies if you do book yourself in for a tour).
Here are a few worth your time:
Howling Hops Brewery (Hackney): (Open 7 days a week) They don’t sell in pints, only a glass of 2 thirds, no more no less. You get used to the size and at £2.90 a pop, you can’t complain. They have 10 beers to choose from and they bring a quirky twist to traditional English Ale. Not to mention it’s a great location in Queens Yard, just round the corner from Hackney Wick, a buzzing square of warehouse spaces turned pubs/clubs.
BeaverTown Brewery (Tottenham): (Open Saturdays only.) They sell in either halves or thirds ranging from £2.00 to £2.50 a half so they’re not the cheapest brewery around, but it’s still a big saving on what you’d normally have to fork out for Beavertown products. You probably wouldn’t think of an industrial park in Tottenham as being a romantic location, but you and your date could go for a stroll by the River Lea just round the corner afterward.
Brick Brewery (Peckham): (Open Wednesday to Saturday) This South London brewery is a quaint and cool little venue with reasonable pricing at £4 a pint and £2 for halves or bottles. They produce a varied range of beers, taking inspiration from brewing styles from all around the world. Just be aware that it’s an outdoor space, so go on a sunny day or bring a jacket!
Go East (or west…or north…anywhere but Central London) Go a little further out from the livelier, more popular places and you may find yourself pleasantly surprised. There are some great pubs in Walthamstow, Leytonstone, Finsbury Park or Peckham to name a few. All have a buzzing night life at a fraction of the price of a night out in Central London, Shoreditch or Brixton. It’s a little quieter sure, but that gives you more space to cosy up to your date.
But if you must stay Central…go here.
If you want to stay around the Central London area but you’re still broke, try Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street. Their entire beer range is from the Samuel Smith’s brewery in Yorkshire, a name which probably doesn’t excite most craft beer nerds, but there are certainly some dark horses in there. I’d highly recommend their organic wheat beer and pale ale and they have a wide range of unusual fruit infused beers. The beer prices are incredibly reasonable with some ales as cheap as £2.20 a pint and the place oozes character. The interior sprawls over 4 floors with rooms ranging from wide open spaces to intimate cosy corners.
Beer is love and love is life
So there are a few tips on quenching the thirst without forking over a whole week’s earnings. The world of craft beer is exciting and ever-growing, get exploring!
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