With the growth in new bars and breweries across the UK in the last few years, there’s certainly no shortage of great beer to drink or venues to visit.
But if you’re on a flying visit to a new city and only have an hour or so, it’s often hard to choose a single venue for a half or two.
As part of WOW’s Beer Week, here are my selections for the must-visit locations in ten of the nation’s most beer-friendly towns, plus local breweries whose ale you should certainly look out for.
With such a huge area to cover it’s hard to pick a specific suggestion, but I would try and pay a visit to Mother Kelly’s, a short ride on the Central Line in Bethnal Green.
Unpretentious, and incredibly well stocked, if you happen to see anything from Brew By Numbers on the bar make sure you order a half (at least).
A bit of rain will not stop the drinking of good beer! pic.twitter.com/rLnbnZK4OM
— Mother Kelly's (@Mother_kellys) July 14, 2015
Another great city with a sprawling centre, you’d need a good day or so to cover all the greats, especially as there’s a reasonable distance between most of them. So I would put Port Street Beer House at the top of my list.
A short walk from Piccadilly Station, Port St will feature the best cask and keg beer you can get. The tap list will often feature Cloudwater Brew Co’s creations, and they are always worth tasting.
— PSBH (@portstreetbeer) August 2, 2015
Ideally located for any visiting students (or anyone else for that matter), Inn Deep is on the side of the River Kelvin in Glasgow’s west end. Owned by Williams Brewery, there’s a good selection of their own beer as well as some more obscure American and European Imports.
If Williams’ own Joker IPA is available, it provides a hoppy hit to match the most exotic imports.
— Inn Deep (@InnDeepBar) June 27, 2015
The Hanging Bat is the place to visit if you’re looking for the best beer in Scotland. With a relaxed, sleek feel, and 20 Keg and Cask lines, you’ll find the classiest brews from breweries such as Pilot, Cromarty and Fyne.
If available, try as many Luckie Ales beers as you can; you’ll be lucky to find them anywhere else.
Whatever ‘craft’ is, it’s the opposite of this. pic.twitter.com/58UJsXE7sI
— The Hanging Bat (@TheHangingBat) April 2, 2015
Of all the beer-friendly bars, pubs and assorted establishments in Leeds, your choice boils down to one thing. Can you resist having a platter of the finest meats and cheeses with your drink? No? Thought not!
People of Leeds! Our deli market is ready to go & we are open for brunch from 10am! pic.twitter.com/3SM18XDCbW
— Friends of Ham (@friendsofham) August 1, 2015
While Sheffield has an abundance of great breweries and bars to choose from, just getting past the train station is hard enough when there is Sheffield Tap sharing the building.
Even if you’re simply changing trains, you’ll have time to pop in and gaze at the ornate tiling and shiny copper brewkit. While you’re there you can try something brewed onsite, or something from Thornbridge’s range.
Current cask beery goodness. pic.twitter.com/aEcwuUDwnd
— Sheffield Tap (@SheffieldTap) August 1, 2015
While Cardiff might not be as prolific in terms of dedicated beer bars as the above cities, there is certainly a number that could hold their own against the best of the rest of the UK. Primarily, the Urban Tap House. Owned by Tiny Rebel Brewery from just up the M4 in Newport, the prominence of their beers is understated in a 16 tap line-up, but not to be overlooked.
— Urban Tap House (@UrbanTapHouse) July 28, 2015
With a hard-living reputation, Newcastle was never going to let other Northern cities get too far ahead of it in the pecking order as a beer drinker’s paradise. The Free Trade Inn is, to be honest, a bit of a trek, but well worth the visit.
A more stripped back style of pub, the beer list heavily features North East Breweries alongside more well known ‘Craft’ names, and Wylam Brewery’s Jakehead is one beer to seek out among many great local choices.
— The Free Trade Inn (@TheFreeTradeInn) July 3, 2015
Tucked away in a basement on King Street, The Beer Emporium has a lot to offer. Literally. With over 30 beers on tap, it can be a bit daunting but the staff are glad to assist. King Street is a beer drinker’s paradise, and if you can tear yourself away from the Emporium, you’ll find other great bars nearby.
While you’re pondering your next move, try and find Moor Beer’s ‘Hoppiness’ – it’s an inspirational Beer.
— The Beer Emporium (@BeerEmporium) July 15, 2015
Another city that is quickly catching on to craft beer, Liverpool’s range of bars is less in number than other similar sized cities, but high in quality. The 23 Club occupies a tiny basement below the Clove Hitch Bistro, but still manages to run a considerable number of cask and kegs on a daily basis.
Mad Hatter Brew Co are building a reputation for excellent and occasionally mind-bending brews, and are extremely productive for a lower scale brewery.
Want beer? We've got beer. Lots of it. You thirsty buggers. pic.twitter.com/kZ390EhMBe
— The 23 Club (@TwentyThreeClub) July 13, 2015
[Main Image: Sheffield Tap]