The craft beer revolution has well and truly gripped London. With over 35 breweries across the capital there are a growing number of specialist craft beer pubs opening to cater for the demand. Hops & Glory is one of such pubs. Boasting 13 beers on keg, three more on rotation on draught plus 60 more in bottles, it’s a beer drinker’s paradise.
Located between the 24/7 party people of Dalston and the hustle and bustle of gentrified Angel, Hops & Glory is a great venue but placed in the no man’s land of Essex Road, could easily fall victim to its in-between location. However, that said, it’s well worth the trip. Decked out with cream walls, bare woodwork and maroon red tiles behind the bar, the pub is understated and attractive, low lit with candles on each table, a piano perched beside the bar and large pews to sit on. There’s a small beer garden out the back for the summer months.
Effort has been made to make Hops & Glory an accessible, easy-going pub with plenty of charm and character. Despite being emptier earlier in the evening, it fills out as it passes 8pm and the clientele range from mid-twenties to middle-aged drinkers, all clearly fans of the beer. Catering for cosy couples to larger groups, Hops & Glory welcomes all and this, coupled with its incredibly friendly and accommodating staff, make the atmosphere laid-back and pleasant.
This is not somewhere you’d come and eat but if you are feeling peckish, there is a decent range of nibbles available. The tiny kitchen out the back is not set up to produce meals, so Hops & Glory is making do with what it has and currently provides a simple selection of bar snacks or “Munchies”, which range from lunchtime snacks such as toasties (£5), ploughman’s lunch (£7) and a cheese board (£8) to olives (£3), nuts (£2) and hummus and olive tapenade (£5).
The clue’s in the name, so it should come as no surprise that Hops & Glory is all about the beer. With a supreme selection of beers including wheat beers, pale ales, lagers, stouts, porters and Trappist beers from the UK, Europe, USA and Australasia, prices range from about £3.50 right up to £7+. Don’t forget to check the strength – there’s some seriously strong beers available! The exceptionally knowledgeable and helpful staff should be on hand to give you their personal recommendations if you’re unsure, but any of the Kernel range (especially the pale ales), the 12% award-winning Dutch stout Hel & Verdoemenis (which is apparently a rare find in the UK) and the Darkstar Hophead all come recommended. There’s also an alternative to Guinness on draught, which tastes uncannily similar. Of course, if you don’t drink beer then there is a decent selection of wines, whiskies and standard spirits, but really – the beer is where it’s at.
The Last Word
Hops & Glory is a delightful venue with excellent, knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff and a superior range of beers from across the world, and should be on the to-do list of any craft beer aficionado.