I lived in London for a year that encompassed the '11 football season. I recall watching Blaine start his first NFL game via a fuzzy online streaming service (while staying at the home of a copyright lawyer coincidentally... yikes). I remember getting the simultaneous news of Del Rio's sacking and the team's sale to Shad while sitting in my flat in Deptford. It's strange how far away I got when I lived abroad but how close I stayed connected to the team. BCC was a big part of that, of course, so I thought I would share some drinking advice if you're ever in that part of the world.
Obviously, America is the greatest country in the world for craft beer: the sheer quantity and ubiquity dwarfs all others and it's not too controversial it wins quality too, from California breweries like Russian River and Sierra Nevada to Jester King in Texas to Founders in Michigan to Allagash in the Northeast to Cigar City in Florida. And countless others.
BUT if Jags are your first love and beer is your second, like me, here are some things you can't get stateside that you should check out in London (or bookmark it for your trip next fall... and the next fall and the next).
Remember, they distinguish beer- perhaps incorrectly from a technical standpoint - between lagers and ales: if you want a cold beer, get a lager (from the tall pumps). If you want to try an ale, look to the shorter pumps but be prepared for it to be 50º about ("cellar temperature"). It's what we call cask ales and the temperature can be weird and alienating at first.
Puuuuuuuuuubs. Pubs are great. Pubs are uniform, pubs are authentic or inauthentic depending on how you want to define that. Guinness, Kronenbourg 1664, Fosters, and Fuller's London Pride are mostly what you'll find here. You can get all of these in America. Don't waste your time.
You'll also get ciders and cask ales at pubs.
Fuller's owns hundreds of pubs around London and probably around the rest of the UK too. If your pub has the red Fuller's logo over it's name, you're guaranteed a decent fish and chips or sausage and mash. A light beer that I quite enjoy is Fuller's Honeydew, which doesn't import. On tap it's a nice appetizer to more drinking or a decent complement to food. Proper authentic!
N.B. pub food is as good as the neighborhood in which you buy it. Chelsea and Kensington will have better grub than, say, Clapham or Hackney.
This is the famous Scottish brewery that does all kinds of weird shit with their beer. You may have seen photos or heard stories about all the strange stuff they do: feed hops to a weasel, harvest its poop, add poop to beer, sell £600 bottles of beer encased in a squirrel body... They are strange. Their beer varies wildly and is stingily imported (don't even bother looking for IPAs stateside). If you can, try their triple IPA Anarchist/Alchemist. It's like Dogfish 120 minute except more balanced in flavor (flavour, haha).
They have a pub in Shoreditch, which is London's version of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Camden is the other location. And Camden is just odd. Go there too. While you're there...
Camden Town Brewery
Try the Camden Ink. It's delicious.
Magic Rock Brewery
Brewdog is the UK's top brewery overall but this is London's best brewery, in my opinion. Look for their IPA, Cannonball and their double IPA Human Cannonball. If you're lucky, you might find their triple IPA Un-Human Cannonball, but that's probably not on rotation right now.
You can go direct to the brewery or try the Rake near Borough Market (London Bridge station). They tap their kegs there frequently.
You can sometimes find their bottles at Euston Tap, near Euston station: it looks like a column in the entry way to a park and train station- which it is. But inside it's a got half a dozen or so taps and bottles for take-away. I got their double stout Bearded Lady and loved it.
Not as interesting as Magic Rock but still special because it's not in the states. You can get their bottles at Utobeer in Borough Market, the bottle shop affiliated with the Rake.
Enjoy! Wish I was there. Go Jags.