A Twickenham craft beer emporium celebrated 14 years of business with a commemorative ale from a neighbourhood brewery last week.
Since Real Ale first opened its doors in 2005, the retailer has become a go-to for south west London beer fans, stocking suds from independent breweries including Jeffersons in Barnes and Feltham-based Reunion Ales.
As well as supporting local business, Real Ale also specialises in bringing the community together over a pint, meaning when the store applied for an onsite drinking licence, its request was backed up by six pages of signatures.
Store assistant Stuart Java, 39, said: “What’s great about around here is that the store brings people together. As a staff member getting to know regulars that come in on a first name basis really says to me ‘community and family.’”
As well as the founding store, Real Ale also has two branches in Notting Hill and Maida Vale complete with taprooms, which retail manager Tim Peyton, 33, said is helping establish a thriving ale hub in the area.
Mr Peyton said: “Compared to east or central London, we don’t have quite as many good pubs, but that is growing and there are a lot of beer drinkers and breweries in west London and they are the people we serve.”
The UK’s craft beer industry has exploded in recent years, with 430 new breweries opening in 2017.
Real Ale caters to this market with outlandish drinks such as chocolate milk stout and cinnamon cookie beer, alongside its numerous craft pilsners, IPAs, lagers and a whole fridge full of Germany’s finest drops.
For the month of May, customers can sample Park Brewery’s Lemon Sour beer which was created to celebrate Real Ale’s fourteenth year and is reminiscent of lemon meringue.
Store manager Mike Bentley, 30, said: “People have got a bit more discerning about what they’re drinking, wanting to try new flavours and realising that beer goes well with food. We’re here to advise and serve the public with beers they will really enjoy.”