Cheers! 10 taprooms and craft beer bars
Sun's out, it's National Beer Day (15 June) and Father's Day is fast approaching. No time like the present for a chilled glass of amber nectar. Taxiiiiiiii…
Siren Craft Brew Taproom, Hogwood Industrial Estate, Finchampstead
Who needs a Taproom when you can have a Tap Yard? Siren Craft Brew is located on an industrial estate in Finchampstead so expect a distinctly urban flavour. Totally here for the corrugated walls and pallet tables. Not only does Siren produce a huge number of quality craft beers, its Taproom serving mainly beers (obvs) is open Wednesday to Sundays. You can get other drinks if beer is not your bag, but don’t expect an extensive list. Need something to soak up the booze? Pizzas are served, Street Food Saturday sees a rotation of pop ups. It’s surprisingly family friendly, brewery tours take place every Saturday and there’s always the option to take away too.
Phantom Brewing Co, Meadow Road, Reading
The Taproom scene is thriving in Berkshire – case in point, Phantom Brewing Co’s The Haunt. Again, it’s off the beaten track in an industrial unit off Caversham Road. It’s open every weekend serving the freshest beer using quality ingredients. Street food available here on Fridays and Saturdays, any other day make sure you line your stomach before you hit the bar. The Shuffle Board and limited edition beers are big hit with Mr Muddy. The current American pale ale My Cat’s Birthday sounds like winner.
West Berkshire Brewery, The Old Dairy, Yattendon
West Berkshire Brewery Taproom & Kitchen seriously boosted Yattendon’s social scene when it opened its doors (or, erm, corrugated shutters) in 2017 – and scooped up a Muddy Award for Best Bar shortly afterwards. The brewery and taproom are tucked away on the site of The Old Dairy – now a buzzy hotspot with craft beer, family-friendly menu, live music events and quiz nights. It even made a guest appearance on the 2022 season of The Apprentice. Detour and Renegade are our faves. Cheers to that!
Double Barrelled Taproom, Stadium Way Reading
Another craft beer success story. Double Barrelled Brewery can be found on the industrial labyrinth that is Stadium Way (near Howdens in case your need a landmark or a kitchen). Started by Mike and Luci Clayton-Jones back in 2015, they brew, can and serve their core and limited edition craft beers at their Reading warehouse. The Taproom is open on Fridays and Saturdays and is growing a good rep for comedy nights, live musics and they have even held a market there too. Parker pale ale gets the Muddy thumbs up. Starving? Don’t these guys have local street food sellers popping up – Mexican street food from El Contador, nachos and chilli from Spotted Badger, crepes and toasties from Bon Vivant and more.
Blue Collar Corner, Hosier Street, Reading
Ready for shipping container chic? Blue Collar Corner opened in Reading earlier this year and it’s blinking good. The Blue Collar Food team have taken a derelict site on Hosier Street and transformed it into a hip hangout celebrating the best local food and drink producers. Double Barrelled beers are on tap, with different street food sellers to keep the wheels firmly on – the fried chicken from Gurt Wings are epic, I’m also a fan of the incredible bao buns from YouBao. Settle in for a sesh on the roof top bar, enjoy the DJ sets and soak up those London Town vibes in Reading.
Sit & Sip, Peach Place, Wokingham
Boutique bars are big in London, but Berkshire’s starting to get its fair share too. Case in point, Sit & Sip in Wokingham. It’s a hip hangout, serving local beers, artisan spirits and bang-on-trend drinkies that can lead you down a yellow brick road of new tipples. Sit & Sip sources small batches of pretty much everything, bar the two taps dedicated to Finchampstead’s Siren beers. Don’t forget to check out the fridges – packed to the rafters with more than 100 cans and bottles from the best breweries in the world. The vibe her is more sophisticated and the drinks menu is extensive. So if you’re the only craft beer lover, there’s plenty to tickle the tastebuds. The food offering is limited to grazing and snacking, but the quality is paramount.
Windsor & Eton Brewery Tap, Vansittart Estate, Windsor
Unit 4 Brewery Tap opened in the autumn of 2021. It’s in the same location as the brewery, with a whopping 20 beer lines offering Windsor and Eton’s bitters, IPAs and pilsners alongside some guest beers and ciders. This new space maintains its industrial flavour with a sprinkling of style, offering a family friendly menu of crowd-pleasing dishes for brunch, lunch, dinner. I’m a big fan of their Uprising brand with beers like Caught By the Fuzz, Treason and Scumbag Maggot.
The Hive, Duke’s Ride, Crowthorne
Coffee shop by day, craft beer tasting room by night (it’s 5pm somewhere, right?). The Hive in Crowthorne is Alex and Emma Rowley’s baby, sharing their passion for great coffee, craft beer and gin. You’ll find six ever-changing small batch craft beers on tap and a rainbow of cans and bottles to tickle your fancy. The sharing boards also showcase the brilliance of local cheese and meat producers. Wearing their #supportlocal like a badge of honour.
A Hoppy Place, St Leonard’s Road, Windsor
This Windsor bottle shop and bar opening its doors just six months before the pandemic. Squeaky bum time, but owners Naomi, Dave and Jason used the power of social media to pivot their sales online and be crowned the UK’s Best Independent Craft Beer retailer by brewers association SIBA. Not bad for the new kids on the block. You can find the Taproom on the cool St Leonard’s Rod on the edge of town, offering a library of beers, wine and spirits from artisan producers around the world. A Hoppy Place is a labour of love, so pop in and be sure to visit the Maidenhead bar when it opens.
Stardust Brewery Taproom, Howe Lane Farm Estate, White Waltham
No frills, but seriously good beer. Stardust Brewery can be found just outside Maidenhead in a farm unit in White Waltham village. Design mavens avert your eyes, there’s nothing to see here. But if you like good beer, the bijou taproom will serve up a cracking pint for you to try before you buy. Optic Pale Ale is a tried and tested favourite, but I like the sound of Hop Tub too. Open Mon-Fri 10am-6pm.