Hmmm… what to do on a wet Saturday afternoon in London? Seems as good a time as any to head to the city’s citadel of craft beer: the Bermondsey Beer Mile. Over the last few years breweries and beer specialists have swarmed in to complement the burgeoning street food and farmers market businesses that needed a place to trade when Borough Market became a bit too perfect. Beer lovers now have a smooth run from South Bermondsey station right up to London Bridge, with beer gems hidden in railway arches and industrial units along the way. Today’s aim was to stick around the south end of the beer mile as we usually don’t make it that far.
Before getting too well watered, we kicked things off with a foray to Maltby Street Market, where the smells of barbecuing chicken, bubbling tartiflette and exotically spiced curry make you forget the downpour squeezing its way between the narrow buildings above. Juniper lovers can enjoy some London dry gin at Jensen’s at the top of the market, or gin cocktails at Little Bird further along. If you fancy something a little less fruity, but still plenty sweet, the unique Hiver Beers in their brewery taproom serve beer brewed with honey. Stop and have a chat with Ric Brown at the Modern Beer Co. With his great array of bottled and canned beers he will happily recommend the best pairing to have with your street food.
Heading out to the far end of the Beer Mile we came to Fourpure Brewing Co. I’m seeing their beers all over now so it’s great to come home to the place where it all starts. It’s a fair sized brewery with 16 taps on the go including a few I was particularly excited to try. The two double IPAs rival anything the Americans are pushing out: Deucebox, a pumped up version of their standard Juicebox IPA, full of grapefruit flavours; and Hoptripper, a slightly more bitter take for the IPA purist. They sit at 8.3% and 7.4% respectively.
Having dried off in Fourpure it was time to get soaked again on the walk to Almond Street. Eebria is a fantastic company providing online distribution and sales for craft breweries. On Saturdays they open their railway arch office as a taproom allowing us punters the chance to chat with the experts and enjoy whatever is in stock that week. I got heavily involved with Runaway Brewery’s White Oatmeal Stout; an amber stout with coffee and plenty of hops. While you’re in there get in line for a game of Dutch shuffleboard – it’s oddly addictive.
Almost next door is Partizan Brewing and it looked like a whole lot of fun, but alas the rain and the good beer meant it was a little too packed so we skipped it and went to the nearby pub, St James of Bermondsey, instead. Drawing on the local provisions, the St James has an excellent beer menu so I was able to get my Partizan fix after all with their IPA with Cascade and Simcoe hops
So now I have done the north end and the south end of the Beer Mile. There’s nothing else for it: watch this space. Next life goal is to take on the whole thing in one go.