7 Must-Try Beers if You’re Studying Abroad in London
Spitfire – Shepard Neame Ltd, English Pale Ale, 4.5%
Brewed by the oldest brewery in Britain and founded in 1698, you can really taste that pre-Boston Tea Party flavor to it. It has a caramelized color with a big bubbled head but not in a pretty way. The fruity taste stays in your mouth that could go well with a heavier meal like one of England’s liver pies.
Savanna Dry – Distell Group Limited, Premium Cider, 5%
Don’t fancy a beer? Well when you go to Nando’s (the equivalent to something between Steak ‘n Shake and T.G.I. Fridays), make sure you try this South African Cider. Crisp and not too sweet, it tastes like Chardonnay’s southern hemisphere cousin. And when you go to Nando’s, make sure you make it extra Cheeky — it’s a British thing.
Doom Bar – Sharp’s Brewery / Cornwall, Amber Ale, 4.3%
This is a flavorful beer that will leave a dry fruity flavor on your tongue and ask you to have another. The time to drink this is during a London autumn while overlooking the fog on the Tames river with your fish and chips.
Young Bitter – Wells and Young’s Ltd, English Bitter (English), 4.5%
As thick as British tea with a splash of milk in it, it goes down easy but isn’t anything to write home to your mum about. Have this beer after you have already had a few at the pub. It doesn’t have a signature taste to it but it goes down very smoothly. Find it at my favorite Pub in London, The Dirty Dick right outside of the Liverpool tube station.
Hollows and Fentimans Ginger Beer – Hollows and Fentimans, Ginger Beer, 4%
All the ginger beers I have had in the past have been non-alcoholic so I was worried when I ordered this bottle that it would be the same. I was glad to see that on the bottle it clearly states 4%, but then I was thrown a curveball when my waiter poured it into a glass with ice. It tasted like a non-alcoholic ginger beer — strong ginger that tickles the tongue. If you have had a ginger beer before, alcoholic or not, you have already tasted this.
John Smith’s – John Smith’s Brewery, English Pale Ale, 3.6%
I enjoyed this with friends one late night in Regents Park. It came in a tall boy can that has a nitrogen ball just like those you will find in a Guinness can. The nitrogen keeps the foam thick and creamy for about half the time you are drinking. It is smooth but the trade off is a the lack of taste. I couldn’t taste the hops or the malty flavor at all, really.
Summer Lightning – Hop Back Brewery, English Bitter, 5%
The smell is different from most, kind of spicy and citrusy, which is not what I have come to expect from an English bitter. That being said, it wasn’t very good. With the color of apple juice, it has a soft head that disappears before you would like. It is thick but not creamy, and bitter but not tasteful and harsh without ever being rewarding.