About Ale

WHAT IS ALE?

Men, and some women, have been drinking beer for a very long time and the first evidence of brewing has been found to date back to 3,500BC.  It is considered to be the oldest manufactured drink and the Germanic and Celtic tribes are considered to have been brewing beer since 3,000BC.  Today there is a multitude of beer around the world but commonly such beers are lager style beers.

Hand pump signs

Mmmmmm Beer!

The difference between “Ale” and “Lager” is in the brewing process.  An “Ale” is produced by top fermentation with temperatures up to 22°C and cask maturation at about 10°C, whereas “Lagers” are produced by bottom fermentation at 6 to 14°C with maturation at about 1°C.  Commonly a more noticeable difference is that “Lagers” will be effervescent or fizzy, whilst and “Ale” is likely to be “warm and flat” (as the Australians are keen to point out!)

Ales range in colour from black, browns (such as Porters) – through to dark browns and reds (normally referred to as bitter) - to light yellow and ambers (often pale ale).  The variety of flavours is spectacular and can range from nutty, spicy, sweet and flowery.  The only way to experience an ale is to find a decent pub with a nice atmosphere and imbibe from their range.  Welcome to the goal of The London Pub Crawl Company.

For more information on beer, visit CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale).

THE BEST UK BREWERS

There are so many breweries throughout the United Kingdom it would take a really big website to host them all, but here are a few of the brewers of nice ales that you are most likely to find in London:

Fullers LogoFuller Smith and Turner

Griffin Brewery, Chiswick Lane South, London W4 2QB

Phone: 020 8996 2000

Web: www.fullers.co.uk

Based at the historic Griffin Brewery in Chiswick between the serenity of the River Thames and the hustle and bustle of the Hogarth Roundabout, Fuller’s has been brewing quality beers and running excellent pubs since 1845. At the heart of everything they do you will find quality, service and pride – in equal measure. They aim to brew the best beers and run the best pubs.

Meantime Brewingmeantime-logo

2 Penhall Road, Units G & H, Greenwich SE7 8RX

Phone: 020 8293 1111

Web: www.meantimebrewing.com

Meantime was founded by visionary Master Brewer Alastair Hook, who gathered around him like-minded friends, family and his parents’ dog to form a brewing company to help him realise his vision to connect with the British drinking public in a way that no one else was doing.

Redemption Brewing Company LtdRedemption Logo

Unit 2, 33 West Road, London N17 0XL

Phone: 020 8885 5227

Web: www.redemptionbrewing.co.uk

The Redemption Brewing Company is a small brewery based in North London. Brewing since January 2010, they are passionate brewers of cask ale – committed to using the finest raw materials to craft beers with flavour, character and integrity.

St. Peter’s Brewery Co. LtdSt Peters Logo

St. Peter’s Hall, St. Peter South Elmham, Bungay, Suffolk NR35 1NQ

Phone: 019 8678 2322

Web: www.stpetersbrewery.co.uk

The brewery at St. Peter’s is housed in listed former agricultural buildings which were last used in the late Sixties. They then became derelict but offered a superb site both for a working brewery and a visitors’ attraction.  Today, the brewery produces ‘real ale’. Over 90% of this is bottled, the remainder being for cask beer with over half of our bottle volume is exported.

Sambrooks BrewerySamsbrook Logo

Unit, 1-2 Yelverton Rd, London SW11 3QG

Phone: 020 7228 0598

Web: www.sambrooksbrewery.co.uk

Simon and Glen, two university friends, sat together at the Earls Court, Great British Beer Festival, 3rd August 2006, searching the huge list of beers on offer for a beer brewed in London (other than in Chiswick). To their surprise there was not one to offer. So after (a few too many) beers that day they hatched a plan to bring brewing back to the heart of London.  Six months later and still fresh with the novelty of an exciting new idea, they took their first steps purchasing three second-hand tanks of a five barrel brewing plant from an ex-brewer.

Here are some of their great London pubs that are included in our FREE London pub crawls, walks and tours:

The London Pub Crawl Co. Doom Bar LogoSharp’s Brewery

Rock, Cornwall, PL27 6NU

Phone: 012 0886 2121

Web: www.sharpsbrewery.co.uk

Sharp’s Brewery was founded in 1994 at Rock, Cornwall. The success and growth of the young Brewery has been phenomenal with Sharp’s now the largest brewer of cask conditioned beer in the South West (Industry sources) and Sharp’s leading brand Doom Bar is now the fastest growing cask beer in Greater London (CGA Data, 2010).

Shepherd Neame LimitedShepherd Neame logo

The Faversham Brewery, 17 Court Street, Faversham, Kent ME13 7AX

Phone: 017 9554 2016

Web: www.shepherdneame.co.uk

A range of quintessentially Kentish ales and award-winning lagers, brewed with the finest ingredients – chalk-filtered mineral water from an artesian well, the finest home-grown malting barley and Kentish hops.  Check out the website for a brewing video.

Twickenham Fine Ales LtdTwickenham Brewing Company Logo

Ryecroft Works, Edwin Road, Twickenham TW2 6SP

Phone: 020 8241 1825

Web: www.twickenham-fine-ales.co.uk

Twickenham Fine Ales was opened in late September 2004. Situated just north of Twickenham Green and now brews over 100 firkins (nine-gallon casks) of cask-conditioned “real ale” per week. The ten-barrel traditional brewery equipment was purchased from Springhead Brewery in Nottinghamshire who were moving up to a larger plant.

Youngs and Company Breweryyoungs Biter hand pump

The Ram Brewery, High Street, Wandsworth SW18 4JD

Phone: 020 8875 7000

Web: www.youngs.co.uk

The earliest mention of commercial brewing at the Ram Brewery in Wandsworth is in 1581 in the reign on Queen Elizabeth I. Humphrey Langridge was brewing at the sign of the Ram, a prominent Wandsworth inn since 1533.  In 2004, Young’s announced a review of its brewing operations in Wandsworth. The difficulties experienced in brewing on this ancient and enclosed site, coupled with the desire of the local authority to acquire and re-develop the site forced the company to consider its options.  After a review, Young’s decided to sell the Ram Brewery site and enter into a joint venture with the Bedford brewers Charles Wells, creating a new force in the industry.

Here are some of their great London pubs that are included in our FREE London pub crawls, walks and tours:

For all the pubs we recommend, download our app for iPhone here

We recommend the responsible consumption of alcohol.

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