Top 10 Beer Pubs for an extraordinarily interesting list of real ales

These pubs boast friendly service and a great atmosphere, some welcome you with great decor and some are eclectic but they all have in common a fantastic range of real ales. And that’s reason enough to plan your next visit if you’re lucky enough to live nearby our Top 10 Beer Pubs. Fat Cat, Norwich…

These pubs boast friendly service and a great atmosphere, some welcome you with great decor and some are eclectic but they all have in common a fantastic range of real ales. And that’s reason enough to plan your next visit if you’re lucky enough to live nearby our Top 10 Beer Pubs.

Fat Cat, Norwich

Heaven for real ale lovers, this cheerful town pub lies tucked away in a residential area just west of the city centre. The knowledgeable Mr Keatley and his hospitable staff can help guide you through the extraordinary choice of 32 perfectly kept and quickly changing beers. On handpump or tapped from the cask in a stillroom behind the bar ‘ big windows reveal all ‘ are their own beers (Fat Cat Bitter, Honey Ale, IPA, Marmalade Cat, Tom Cat and Wild Cat), as well as guests such as Adnams Mosaic, Crouch Vale Yakima Gold, Dark Star American Pale Ale, Fullers ESB, Green Jack Mahseer, Greene King Abbot, Oakham Bishops Farewell and Citra and Timothy Taylors Landlord ‘ and many more choices from across the country.

Bhurtpore, Cheshire

Licensee Simon George has such an encyclopaedic knowledge of beer that this comfortable red-brick pub has become a place of pilgrimage for connoisseurs of Britain’s brewing scene and he’s a dab hand at cooking up a curry too. There are around 11 constantly changing real ales from all over the country, sourced and kept with love, among them the new brews from Salopian, Thornbridge and Red Willow, plus three interesting keg lagers. You’ll also find dozens of unusual bottled beers, ciders, perries and farm cider, 140 different whiskies, 100 gins, 20 vodkas, 22 rums, carefully selected soft drinks and a dozen wines by the glass from a good list.

Beer Hall at Hawkshead Brewery, Cumbria

This is a spacious and modern glass-fronted building with a buzzy, beer-loving vibe. From 14 handpumps, knowledgeable, friendly staff serve the full range of Hawkshead Brewery ales. These include Bitter, Brodies Prime, Dry Stone Stout, Helles Lager, Lakeland Gold, Red, Session IPA, Windermere Pale and seasonal beers. There’s also a good selection of craft ales, 40 bottled beers, 30 gins and 23 whiskies.

The Tom Cobley Tavern, Devon

There’s masses of choice for beer lovers at this traditional old pub. Up to nine (and as many as 14 in the past) quickly changing real ales, well kept on handpump or tapped from the cask, include Dartmoor Jail Ale, Exeter ‘fraidNot, Otter Ale, Plain Inncognito, St Austell Tribute and Teignworthy Gun Dog; also, up to ten farm ciders and perries. The comfortable bar (with its own thatched roof above the counter) has traditional furnishings, an open fire and local photographs and country scenes on the walls, and you can be sure of a genuine welcome from the hospitable landlord and his cheerful staff.

Halfway House, Somerset

With up to 11 ales on offer at any time, this popular, easy-going pub is a beer-lover’s dream. It’s an unpretentious village local with a cheery mix of customers in three old-fashioned rooms. Tapped from the cask, three regular beers, Hop Back Crop Circle, Otter Bright and Teignworthy Reel Ale, sit alongside six to eight guest beers and four farm ciders, a dozen malt whiskies and several wines by the glass.

The Fat Cat, Suffolk

It’s all about beer and atmosphere at this all-heart, no-frills bar, which is reliably stuffed with real ales and cheerful customers. Up to 17 real ales tapped from the cask or, in the case of Adnams, on handpump, come from East Anglia and around the UK, from both well known and smaller breweries, in styles mainstream and more esoteric. Both current and upcoming brews are listed on the website so you can plan your visits, and might include Fat Cat Golden, Fullers London Pride, Green Jack Trawlerboys, Mighty Oak Oscar Wilde Mild, St Austell Tribute or Three Blind Mice’s unfined orange and vanilla Saison. There are also three craft beers on tap, several farm ciders, quite a few Belgian bottled beers and wines by the glass.

The Nag’s Head, Malvern

With up to 15 regularly changing real ales on handpump to choose from here, there’s always going to be an enthusiastic crowd keen to try the offerings served by knowledgeable, friendly staff. There might be Arbor Shangri-La, Banks’s Bitter, Bathams Best Bitter, Exmoor Gold, Hobsons Twisted Spire, Hook Norton Hooky Mild, Purity Bunny Hop, Otter Bitter, Ringwood Wainwright and Woods Shropshire Lad and. Also, five farm ciders, more than 30 malt whiskies, more than 30 gins, ten bottled craft ales/lagers and ten wines by the glass including pudding ones.

Maltings, York

If you’re looking for a down-to-earth pub with a large range of drinks and good value food in quirky surroundings, well, here it is. Interesting drinks kept by the convivial, hard-working landlord include Black Sheep Best, Roosters YPA, Treboom Yorkshire Sparkle, York Guzzler and three quickly rotating guests, often from local microbreweries, six continental beers on tap, four craft beers, lots of bottled beers, four farm ciders, 15 country wines and 22 whiskies from all over the world.

The Guildford Arms, Edinburgh

This is an easy-going, much loved bar with splendid Victorian décor (it was built in 1896) and a snug upstairs gallery restaurant with contrasting modern décor that gives a fine dress-circle view of the main bar below. Knowledgeable, efficient staff serve ten well kept quickly changing beers such as Fyne Ales Jarl, Gun Project Babylon Pale Ale, Orkney Dark Island, Stewart Pentland IPA and Swannay Orkney IPA plus craft and continental beers. Also, several wines by the glass, 50 malt whiskies, a dozen rums and a dozen gins.

Harp, Central London

Just off the eastern side of Trafalgar Square, this busy little local is a gem, and a favourite with many. The main draw, of course, is the choice of at least ten particularly well kept real ales on handpump: these change quickly but always include Harveys Best, Dark Star American Pale Ale and Hophead and Fullers London Pride, with guests sourced from all over the country. Also, around six farm ciders, a perry and quite a few malt whiskies.