Drinking Dens: BrewDog Camden

The bright blue sign of BrewDog is a beacon in the beer wasteland that is Camden: this part of London has been crying for a good beer bar for a long time. And in December of last year, those cries were answered. This is not your average pub, though, and it is doubtful if the BrewDog gang would even consider “pub” an appropriate word to describe their venues. There are no hand pumps, keg beer only, all dispensed via slick-looking branded black tubes. The interior is very du jour, with spartan cafeteria-style furniture and naked brick walls, plus of course the ubiquitious BrewDog branding. You’ll either love it or hate it – and I love it, as it gives the place an instant identity, a recognizable feel, a vibe, if you will. BrewDog Camden is your beer-loving friend who still manages to be hip somehow.

And what about the beer? Naturally BrewDog’s own offerings dominate: the core range is always available, i.e. 77 Lager, Thrashy Blonde, 5 AM Saint, Punk IPA and Hardcore IPA (some of the other stuff like Chris from Stone’s Stout may be part of the core range too, I don’t quite know), and there’s always something seasonal or limited edition on offer: in the past I’ve seen Abstrakts on tap (an occasion in and of itself) as well as beers from the Prototype range (last week I sampled a lovely raspberry beer, a.k.a. Prototype 17.6). You can also always rely on a few guest beers: a Mikkeller or two, brews from well-regarded US craft brewers (Southern Tier, Lagunitas and Cigar City have been on tap in the past), or even more exotic stuff: last week when I was there I sampled two Hitachino Nest beers (the Amber Ale and the Japanese Classic Ale) from Japanese microbrewer Kiuchi. BrewDog Camden also does themed evenings: the  Hitachino Nest was probably left over from a Hitachino tap takeover the week before last, and they’ve had a Lagunitas night with six Lagunitas beers on tap. Add to that an impressive and wide-ranging bottle selection, and you can be sure to always come across a few surprises from the left field here, alongside your old BrewDog favourites. The one thing you cannot get are other British beers – it’s BrewDog or bust, wholly in line with the brewery’s stance and relationship with the rest of the UK brewing scene. Is that a problem? Not really – you can’t expect to teach an old BrewDog new tricks, and there are plenty of other pubs and bars in London where you can have your fill of the Best of British.

Service is knowledgeable and friendly, and the staff are always happy to let you try before you buy – often you don’t even have to ask for a sampler as they are offered routinely. Food is good but no-frills: burgers (no fries!), pizza and assorted bar snacks. Expect it to be messy as you don’t get served on proper plates and the napkin supply is limited. The burgers are juicy and nicely pink inside, and the pizzas swim in cheese and come with generous toppings – you don’t have to go hungry while drinking here. The cheapest burger is £4.95 which in London is a steal and in Camden practically amounts to giving it away. All in all it’s easy to see why the place is popular – expect it to be thronged (and I mean THRONGED) on Friday and Saturday nights. If you visit in the daytime it is considerably more sedate and the staff will have more time to share their recommendations and engage in general beer-related chat. BrewDog Camden is not only a must-visit if you are in Camden, it’s a destination bar for all Londoners!

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Posted on March 6, 2012, in Pub & bar and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. You do make BrewDog Camden sound irresistible. When do I buy my plane tickets? Hmm. MY wife has a friend in England that has been asking us to visit so… I’ve always heard that London is a great city, but quite expensive. If you know where to go, at least the pub can be a good price. I like your review; it makes me feel as though I’ve been there.

    David Ivey
    Black Bucket Brew Inbox Magazine Editor

  2. Thanks for the kind words, David. And you are right about everything you write: London is great, London is expensive, and BrewDog Camden is a great bar!

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