September 5, 2002 Written by Nuffield
Roseville, MINNESOTA -
<P>A fair case could be made for London, for a number of reasons:
<P>1) Any quality beer city must have good local brewers. London has two large, quality brewers: Youngs and Fullers (ah, those Vintage Ales, not to mention the Porter), which both have across the board quality. You can also find a good mix of local alternatives, such as Porter House, the Irish brewpub which has an outlet, and the organic beers of Pitfield.
<P>2) Quality from bar to bar. If you are in the heart of the city, you have to be impressed with the percentage of bars/pubs that have quality beer in well-kept conditions. Things like Timothy Taylor Landlord or a wide range of interesting bitters...and since this is England, you can find a pub virtually any street in the city.
<P>3) International selection. Have you checked on the internet for beer guides to London? You will find extensive guides for both <a href="http://my.genie.co.uk/peter.garrod/index.html" target="window">Belgian and <a href="http://www.germanbeerguide.co.uk" target="window">German beer available in London. The proximity of Europe, not to mention the status of London as the financial capital of Europe (which supports a lot of foreign workers), means that there are some excellent providers of draught Belgian and German beers in the city. You actually have choices about which Belgian pub or German restaurant to go to. Catering to the diverse European crowds, there is even a Portuguese pub in London if you want Sagres on tap. :-)
<P>Similarly, you will find retail stores with truly excellent selections of international beer.
<P>4) Unique status. Because of London's status as the hub of Britain, brewers that are essentially local regional beers of interest have an outlet in London, giving you a chance to drink a wide array of beer in one place. It is as if every U.S. brewer sent kegs to New York City so as to be represented at the nation's heart.
<P>5) Beer festivals. As the home to the Great British Beer Festival, it is the home of one of the legitimately top-tier opportunities to drink beer.
<P>6) Proximity. If you get tired of London, dozens of quality brewers are in the English countryside within one or two hours by train (less-well-traveled Americans will be surprised at how quickly you can get around), and places like Belgium or Scotland are reachable. Weekend trips in search of great beer are possible if you are living or staying in London for an extended period.
<P>One counter argument: London can be a difficult place to find American microbrews. That is one gap in the city. But no city will be perfect, and this drawback is easily outweighed by its other advantages.