Five best pubs for lager22 May 2015
Suddenly, there are Czech tanks everywhere. Since the summer of 2013, when the first tanks of unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell popped up at the White Horse, these shiny submarine-like vessels have appeared in pubs all over town. And not just from PU, either - Budvar and Krusovice have joined in too. Meantime, of course, have had tank beer in a number of London pubs for even longer.
It’s a sign of how good-quality lager - which comes in a greater variety of forms than many would give it credit for - is taking off in London. Camden Town and Meantime have built their businesses on lager. It’s popular. But where are the best places to drink it around town? Here are five of our favourites.
This subterranean, sub-station bar offers not only an excellent selection of lager but also a deliciously cool environment to drink it in - a bit like the caves that lager was once aged in, back in the day (OK, The Pelt Trader is hewn from Cannon Street Station rather than rock, but you get the jist). You can expect to find the likes of Kout, who make outrageously fashionable Czech pilsner and dark lager, Kostritzer Kellerbier & other
lesser-known German classics here.
It seems like the Finborough appears on a lot of these lists, but until more boozers keep their Tipopils to the same standard, what are you going to do? The Italian classic is often joined on the bar by impressive homegrown lagers like Fourpure’s Pils or something from Camden. The increasingly unavoidable Kout has also been spotted here fairly regularly.
There are two lager options at the White Horse: you can either go for one of the mainstream ‘shame beers’ whose taps are hidden beneath the bar, or you can drink something nice. This was the first pub in London to have tank PU, and it’s often the best option on a pretty impressive bar. Those looking for something a bit crisper might plump for a glass of Veltins.
From the same stable as the Pelt Trader, the Holborn Whippet offers fine beers for a decent price. According to the pub’s never-less-than-informative twitter feed, there’ll be kegs of Franconian brewery Held-Brau on the bar next week, both Helles and Dunkel. If that doesn’t float your boat, then try Konig Pils, about as good a mainstream German pils as you can get.
Not all of the best lager comes from Europe; we brew some pretty decent stuff here now, too. With all due respect to Meantime, whose pilsner remains a favourite at Craft Beer Towers no matter who owns the brewery, Camden have probably pushed this more than most. Their IHL is lager for hopheads, Their Hells is lager for maltheads, and their Pils is a lemony, herbal delight that gets closer to the German ideal than most British lagers.