East London’s brewing culture

East London was once known for a number of small, but successful, breweries. And, with the East’s surge of new breweries and microbreweries popping up, Stratford is a Mecca for the craft beer lover.

Urban legend has it that Pale Ale was actually invented after a batch of lighter beer, brewed in East London, left for India and matured past its intended maturation point. The beer was brewed at Bow Brewery and destined for the captains of East India Company living abroad. But after fierce competition caused the Bow Brewery to eventually close, East London’s history of beer and ale production lay dormant – until recently.

Here are some of our favourite breweries within walking distance of International Quarter London. Take a tour, have a pizza, taste the beer – there’s plenty of choice.

Tap East

Located in The Great Eastern Market at Westfield Stratford, Tap East is a specialist beer seller and microbrewery. If you’re looking to sample one of their own brews, choose from a range of quirkily named products like Boleyn Bitter. Or enjoy a choice of hundreds of international little-known beers chosen by the experts. There’s outside seating for that beer garden weather, a knowledgeable team willing to share its expertise, and special events if you’re looking to become an aficionado. And the prices are reasonable. Keep up to date with their daily tweets: twitter.com/TapEast.

Crate Brewery

“There’s a lot more to beer than hops and beard-stroking…” sums up Crate, and the process behind their very drinkable craft beers, in their own words. And now you can learn all about the process as they’ve opened the doors to the brewery for tours and tastings. Choose from lager, stout, session IPAs and cider, with limited edition products available on a rolling basis. Once you’ve learned about the process and tasted the ingredients, take to the beer garden on the River Lea and enjoy a stone baked pizza while you sample some of the products for yourself - the team say there’s something to suit everyone. Tours range from £15-£25 per person with tasting included in your ticket price. Visit cratebrewery.com for all the details.

Howling Hops Brewery & Tank Bar

“Love what you do” they say. Howling Hops was founded in 2011 by a team bored with mass-produced beer for commercial tastes. Now, they have a tank brewery of numerous “generously hopped” beers.

They might not offer tours to the general public, but they do have their own Tank Bar. This means that the beer you’re poured has come straight from the tank, directly from the brewery. There’s a pretty excellent menu on offer too, with a special lunch menu for those looking for somewhere to venture one afternoon. Find out more at howlinghops.co.uk.