Truman's, Hackney Wick: brewery review

The one-time biggest brewery in the world reopened in Hackney in 2013, and now its Fitzrovia taproom is bringing Truman's beer back to London pubs

The brewery

Originally founded way back in 1666, Truman's was one of the most prominent breweries on the planet, with 1,300 pubs in its estate before it closed in the 1980s. While a lot of those pub facades remain as listed buildings across London today, Truman's beer isn't quite so widespread as it once was. The old brand is making a comeback, though: Truman's moved into a new 40-barrel brewery in Hackney Wick back in 2013, and 2018 has seen the brewery buy its first pub in over 30 years – the Newman Arms in Fitzrovia.

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The beer

The best place to get hold of Truman's beer is undoubtedly the Truman's Tap at the Newman. Once frequented by the likes of Dylan Thomas and George Orwell, it has a certain old-time charm that's complemented by the selection of Truman's ale available on cask. Best Bitter and Swift Golden Ale are your old-school touchstones, while Zephyr Pacific Pale and Lazarus Very Pale Ale bring things a little more up to date. If your taste is craftier, there are also tons of Truman's beers on keg, too: Bow Bells Citrus Pale Ale is pleasingly floral and lightly hoppy, while Roller IPA will give you pine, peach and a bittersweet grapefruit finish. The brewery also makes a particularly tasty 8% double export stout called London Keeper. Designed for ageing up to a decade in the bottle, it's packed with chocolatey malt and silky mouthfeel, and is the perfect pairing for your Christmas pudding.

What else?

If you want to drink tap-fresh Truman's beer at home, you're in luck: the Newman Arms is one of the first pubs in London to install a fully functioning machine for 'crowler' fills. A bit like a growler or flagon filling machine, the Newman's crowler machine pours 910ml tinnies of Truman's beer for home (or park) consumption. Crowlers are also great for taking tiny hands photos, too, which is a bit of a double win.

The Newman Arms, 23 Rathbone Street, W1T 1NG;