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Bars & Breweries

Brewery Review: Camden Town – London, UK

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A couple from the UK with a passion for exploring the world, and enjoying a drink or two while we’re at it!

We want to share our travel experiences to help you plan your next trip, and let you know the best places to enjoy a cold one when you get there!

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If you live in the UK, and especially in or around London, you will have likely seen Camden Town beers in your local bar. Their consistently high-quality beers and sustainable ethos make Camden a firm favourite with both casual drinkers and craft aficionados.

Unlike some craft beer breweries that shun lager at all costs, Camden love it! Their flagship beer Hells lager stands out against the big brands, with its distinctive flavour that took a lot of trial and error to perfect.

One of the fastest growing craft beer producers in the UK, Camden Town now brews beer across two sites and can be found in bars, pubs and supermarkets all over the country.

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History

Camden Town was founded in 2010 by Jasper Cuppaidge, but there is a long build up that lead to him founding the brewery.

After renovating a dilapidated Hampstead pub and reopening in 2006 as ‘The Horseshoe’, Jasper decided to start brewing his own beer. His first batch of beer, named ‘Mac's Beer’ in honour of his grandfather, who was also a brewer, was first sold at The Horseshoe in 2007. The beer proved a rousing success, and Jasper started selling it to his pub-owner friends to serve in their bars as well.

He rented five of the railway arches underneath Kentish Town West Station and in 2010, Camden Town Brewery started producing beer.

The brewery grew exponentially over the next several years as a result of the success of its core beers, Hells Lager and Pale Ale, to become one of the most popular craft beer producers in the country. Camden Towns small team of brewers are committed to producing the highest quality beers at their original brewery in Camden, and their new larger site in Enfield which was opened in 2017.

Clearly things aren’t slowing down at Camden and we are very excited for everything that’s coming from them in the future.

Location

Camden Town has two brewery locations, the original brewery which we visited is located in the railway arches underneath Kentish Town West Station in the London Borough of Camden.

This is the home of Camden Town and is still where the team get together to come up with new innovative ideas for their brewing.

2020 has seen further expansion with a new project to create a 50-seat restaurant, an extended taproom, a merch shop, outdoor seating, and a new brewery tour experience.

However, the demand for Camden Town beers was soon so high that this small facility in central London was becoming stretched. So, they built a new one! The second brewery, dubbed by Camden Town as ‘HQ2’ is located in Enfield and has the capacity to brew 30 million litres of beer a year! It’s also very eco-friendly, making use of solar panels and rainwater harvesting to reduce its environmental impact and maintain the company’s sustainable philosophy to brewing as a priority.

Beers

Camden has a core range of beers that they produce year-round, as well as seasonal brews and limited edition runs for different seasons and occasions, or just because they felt like it! These are our favourites, but you can find more information about Camden’s range of beers here.

Hells Lager (4.6%)

Camden Town’s award-winning flagship lager is a combination of two types of German beer, Helles and Pilsner.

Hells Lager is unpasteurised, which gives the beer a rounder, more complex flavour that is refreshingly crisp and dry.

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Pale Ale (4.0 %)

A British take on an American classic. Camden’s second most popular beer is not quite as strong or heavily citrusy as traditional American Pale ales.

Pale Ale is hoppy, fruity and hazy, but also light, easily drinkable and very moreish.

Blooming Hells (4.6%)

A new addition to the Camden line up for Spring 2020, Blooming Hells is a fresh, flowery, hopped lager perfect for bright and sunny days.

It is also a charitable initiative in partnership with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, which raises awareness of the importance of bees in growing all of the ingredients needed to brew great beer.

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Others to try that we love are, Gentlemen’s Wit white beer (4.3 %), Ink Stout (4.4 %), Show Off lager (5.8 %) and Strawberry Helles Forever Lager (4.6%).

Tours

We took a tour of Camden Town’s original brewery in August 2019 and couldn’t recommend it enough. Even if you’re not necessarily a beer lover, the tour is a great way to round off a day visiting Camden’s famous markets.

Tours start in the tap room, where you can pour yourself a glass or two of Hells from several large pitchers put out on each table, while waiting for the tour to start. Get there a little early to make the most of this as we got there a little close to the wire and only had the dregs left. People who were a bit more punctual had the time to get through as much beer as they could.

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From here you will be taken into the tasting room to try all of the core range, while learning a little more about the history of the brewery as well as the characteristics of each of their beers.

This is a great start to the tour and gives you the chance to try some different beers that you may not have seen before, especially if you're not from London and not every bar has a Camden tap.

The tour guides are clearly very passionate about what they do, and beer of course! Talking us through the inspiration behind each of the core range, where the brewers get their ideas and why they use the ingredients that they do to make the best possible beers.

 

Next up is a walking tour of the brewery itself, a start to finish journey of how Camden beers are made, and what makes them stand out against a very competitive market of craft breweries.

It's impressive how much kit and brewing technology is crammed underneath the arches with not an inch of space wasted, and this is the smaller of Camden's two breweries.

The guide will take you through the step by step process of how Camden brew their beers, all while sipping on a can of Hells. They really make sure you’re well looked after!

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Finally, its back to the bar for complimentary pints of your choice to round off the tour. You also get a voucher for a free pint if you visit again within 12 months!

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Prices at the time of writing are £20.00 per person and can be purchased from www.designmynight.com.

One thing to bear in mind is that they ask you to wear long trousers and closed toe shoes during the tour as the site is a working brewery. Joe decided not to notice this when booking, and when he turned up wearing shorts, was given a very snazzy set of red dungarees to wear. Much to the enjoyment of everyone else on the tour, as he ended up looking like Super Mario for a couple of hours.

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If we hadn’t painted the picture already, just to make it clear, we LOVE Camden Town! What’s not to like? They have tasty beer, a great company ethos, and even in the heart of London you won’t pay over the odds for a pint. Cheers Camden!

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