Gravity Well BrewingThis is possibly the smallest working brewery and taproom in east London; it’s certainly one of the most charming. Tucked down the railway arches opposite Leyton Midland Overground, it’s only open – like many of the capital’s best brewery bars – on Saturday afternoons. But don’t let that put you off. The owner is smiley and helpful, the house beer both excellent and exceedingly well priced (£2.50 for a 2/3 or 440ml can): our tip is Galaxies Apart, a New England IPA which packs a warming punch at 6% and is full of juicy citrus notes; or try the easy-drinking Cosmic Dust Session IPA for a lower ABV (3.8%). We guzzled at least two on our last visit, as the wind and rain howled outside. Better still, despite the foul weather, the room was full. However, we’d like to see it open on Thursdays and Fridays, if you’d be so very kind, sir? Open Saturdays 2-8pm, Arch 142 Tilbury Road E10, more info here
NeckstamperOn the far-flung outer reaches of E10, across the endless car-filled stew of Lea Bridge Road, lies another of east London’s top brewery bars. This was actually our first pit stop on the same apocalyptic Saturday afternoon as our most recent Gravity Well visit, but we nearly gave up trying to find it at all. Accidentally overshooting the GPS, we sheltered from the biblical downpour at the equally delightful Lighthaus Cafe (which is also temptingly licensed. If you do the same, don’t miss Dan Hillier’s gallery next door, a destination in itself.)
Anyway, persisting in our search, we finally found Neckstamper – whose name refers to the 17th century word for the pot boy of the local alehouse – unsignposted in the middle of the industrial estate, accessed via a gate too easy to walk past.
Which made it all the more satisfying to step inside its relatively spacious interior – all blond wood, sharing benches and biiiiig tanks – and join a humming throng of like-minded punters. Our tip? The Squencher IPA (tastes like it sounds), at a reasonable £4 a pint. There is, quite simply, no rip-off factor at all in these places. We like very much. Open Saturdays 2-8pm, Unit 3 Cromwell Industrial Estate, Staffa Road E10 7QZ, more info here
Solvay SocietyGeographically our nearest of the three, we try to pop by Solvay whenever we can, although it’s sometimes a little on the quiet side – and we really want it to survive. The good news is that the forthcoming opening of restaurant-bar Fillybrook seconds away should help put this corner of E11 on the pub-crawl map. The brewery itself is way out in the distant reaches of east London, and its cute London Fields-style taproom serves a handful of beers, all Belgian in style (read our earlier piece this year to find out why). There are also rotating guest beers – and yay, they now serve awesome Yard Sale Pizza too, so you can really make a night of it. Better still, they’re open Thurs-Sun, and all day at weekends. If you love indie beer joints, there’s no excuse, Leytonstoners. Open Thursdays to Sundays (5pm-11pm, all day at weekends from 12pm), 223 Dyers Hall Railway Arches E11 4AF