Brodie’s Beer + Old English Pub Atmosphere = Can’t Miss Experience

London is well-known for its pubs, but as I’ve learned throughout my two years as a resident of London, it’s not always easy to find the ideal combination of authentic English pub experience with delicious, high-quality beer. Unless, that is, you know about Brodie’s

Interior King William IV pub

Drinking Brodie’s Beers in Central London

Central London is heaving with hundreds of chain pubs as well as big pub companies (currently dominated by 3 main groups). Many of these pubs have extremely creative and unique pub names, but their beer selection, on the other hand, is not quite as creative or unique.

Luckily there’s two pubs smack in the middle of the tourist zones that take the beer selection and quality to a whole new level, and they’re both hiding behind unassuming, old English pub exteriors –

The Old Coffee House

An old Victorian pub, the Old Coffee House surrounds you in the authentic English pub atmosphere as soon as you arrive. Decorated with antique pictures, vintage mirrors, and even old brass pots and pans that are draped above your head like chandeliers!
Old Coffee house pub sign

Last night there was not one empty space on the wall as tacky Christmas wreaths and glittering garland were added to the pub’s decor. Jim had to duck underneath the garland in order to see the bartender! The atmosphere was lively and crowded as customers celebrated the holiday season.

I have to admit my favorite time to visit this pub is in slightly less crowded conditions where I can settle in on a quiet afternoon and sample more of the Brodie’s beers – there were about 5 Brodie’s beers on keg last night and another 4 or so on cask.

Inside Old Coffee House pub

The Cross Keys

Perfectly situated between the tourist filled Covent Garden area and the Holborn neighborhood that’s dominated by the London School of Economics, The Cross Keys has the ideal pub spot.

Exterior - The Cross Keys pub

The Cross Keys doesn’t have as many Brodie’s beers on tap than at the Old Coffee House – seemed to be only about two or three options last night –  but it’s still a fun place to sample Brodie’s beer on cask while hanging out at an old historical pub dating back to the year 1848!

Me at Cross Keys_new

King William IV pub & My Private Brodie’s Brewery tour…

Last month, Jim and I spent a full Friday afternoon/early evening at the King William IV pub, a thoroughly enjoyable experience that has me kicking myself for not making it a priority to see this pub earlier!

Outside King William IV pub_Leyton

As I entered, an old man with a dog sleeping next to his feet (I’m assuming this man spent the last 50+ years of his life drinking at this pub), turned his head to see who was entering. I felt like I was in the scene of an old black and white movie and I had just entered an “Old Boozer,” where I had mistakenly entered a locals only pub.

As I stepped up to the bar, I was immediately welcomed and the bartender happily talked to me about the current Brodie’s beer choices. The cask prices were approximately £2.50 ($4.10) per pint, way cheaper than the normal London prices which now average around  £4 ($6.50).

William IV beer selection

The pub was cosy, the beer was awesome and Jim and I made our way through their beer menu as we played a game of darts. King William IV pub is adjacent to the Brodie’s Brewery space so though it’s outside of central London, it’s the place to go to if you want to try the largest selection of Brodie’s Beers on cask and keg!

During our visit in late November we were surprised to see some Mikkeller beers on tap, one of our favorite European brewers (see my earlier article on the Mikkeller bar we visited while in Copenhagen), and we learned that Brodie’s did a collaboration beer with Mikkeller and the whole Brodie’s staff participated in the Copenhagen Beer Celebration back in the spring.

Dart board & old pub sign

Later that same day I asked the bartender if I could check out the brewery and though James Brodie had left for the day, she told me the other brewers would probably still be around and I could gladly swing by  and see it. I spent the next 45 minutes or so talking to Eric, one of the main brewers, and Maddy, who defined his role as “taking care of whatever they needed him to do”. Funny, great, hard-working guys with an obvious love for the business!

Maddy and Eric inside Brodie's

Eric on the left and Maddy on the right

An amazing amount of brewing equipment is squeezed into a tight, contained space that from the outside could probably pose as a large storage shed (Be warned here that this article is written by me – an American who grew up in small town USA – so maybe my version of a large storage shed is a little different than yours).

Brodie's Brewery exterior

The Brewery

The Real Deal Brewery

Brodie’s knows what they want. They have no aspiration to be one of those corporate large scale operations. Instead, it seems they’re trying to focus on the UK community, particularly within London, and supply their brewpubs with a constantly changing and always surprising selection of beer.

They’re never going to settle on a few recipes and are willing to experiment with all types of beer styles and concoctions, as well as collaborate with other brewers to continue challenging their own brew-making skills.

It’s unfortunate I didn’t have the chance to meet the Brodie’s on the night I visited, but after my conversation with Maddy and Eric, I’m happy to share my excitement about Brodie’s with my readers. They’re in it for all the right reasons.

Unfortunately, the major downside for me is that I’m going to miss out on tasting the future Brodie’s products when I move back back to New York City next month. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to incredible, one-of-a-kind quality beer output and Brodie’s without a doubt fits the image to a tee!


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About Tanya

I’m a freelance travel and beer writer and a passionate and energetic 30 something - determined to enjoy life and see as much as possible along the way. Recently I lived abroad in London and traveled to 20+ countries within two years! As of January 2014, I'm back in the USA, and currently living in Charlotte, NC. But before all of that, my roots were set in small town America, where I spent the first 23 years of my life living, going to school, and working in the state of Pennsylvania.

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2 Responses to “Brodie’s Beer + Old English Pub Atmosphere = Can’t Miss Experience”

  1. kev Says:

    Brodie’s sends some beer to the US from time to time. There might even be some in NYC in early 2014.


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