Like many cities around the world, London has seen an explosion in the craft beer market over the past few months with new micro-breweries and beers popping up all the time. Many of these are ales and up until a few years ago I didn’t often drink them, thinking mistakenly that ales were served warm which I really dislike.
I’ve since happily discovered that ales can definitely be served cold, both in keg and bottles / cans, and over the past few months I’ve been on somewhat of a mission whenever at the pub to order the beers I’ve never heard of. I realise now what I’ve been missing as they’re delicious!
So with our wedding just a few weeks away, and beers a key decision, I thought what better reason to embark on a little craft brewery tour round London with great mates. As Ali rightly pointed out, beers are like champagne for men!
While most of the action took place in Bermondsey within the space of a mile; a wonderful area of the city home to a large number of micro-breweries – the ‘Bermondsey Beer Mile’, first up was a trip after work on Friday to the Hammerton Brewery in Islington.
This brewery actually began many moons ago in 1868 but it shut down in the ’50s before being started back up by the Hammerton family 2014. It’s situated no more than 30 seconds from the Caledonian Road Overground station and has tables both inside and out.
While the firm favourite amongst the group was definitely the delicious and easy-drinking N7, the Oyster Porter was also lovely though it’s definitely not something you could drink all night. This is actually one of the original recipes and so named because in the 18th century stouts and oysters were traditionally served together in pubs!
After a fun night’s drinking, a few of us reconvened bright and early the next morning for a delicious breakfast at Maltby Street Market (a coffee and egg and bacon waffle helping with slight hangover!) before starting on the Bermondsey Beer Mile.
Anspach & Hobday – SE 1 2HH
First up as they opened at 11 was this tiny one-arch brewery (and three-tabled tap room) situated no more than 100m from the market in Druid Street. The name may be a mouthful but I loved the labels, especially unsurprisingly the cricket one.
A flight of three makes for a fun way to try a few beers when it’s not yet noon and the firm favourite amongst Gus, Ali and I was the creamy EEEPA, followed closely by the India Pale Ale.
I also tried the Porter as it had won a number of awards, I’m a sucker for an ‘award winning’ anything!, and while it’s certainly not a beer I could drink all night, it was very tasty.
Brew By Numbers (BBN) –SE16 3RA
Next up we headed over no more than 250m to the slightly bigger BBN in Enid Street. Unfortunately flights were not available here so we settled for two half pints and shared these around. Though nothing ‘screamed’ at us, the 20/02 Belgian pale ale went down well as did the wickedly named 21/01 Pale Ale galaxy and mosaic.
Third on the tour was a another very small brewery called Partizan, perhaps 500m from BBN. No flights were available here either unfortunately though between the group of us, which had grown significantly post lunch time, we were able to at least try a little of all.
There were some interesting options here, including one that tasted more like fruit juice than a beer, with the clear favourite being the Columbus and Mosaic Pale Ale. There is no seating inside but it was awesome to enjoy these in the sun at the one of the handful of outdoor tables.
Fourpure Brewing Co. – SE16 3 LL
The final brewery on our wonderful tour was Fourpure, a far bigger operation and one whose beers I’ve seen quite a lot of. Flights were available here and I really enjoyed that it was a flight of six and not the usual three.
My six comprised the Session IPA, the Pale Ale, the Lager, a red ale, the Southbank and Skyliner. All six were incredibly tasty but the favourite, not just of the brewery but the entire day, was the Pale Ale and I’ve just actually put my order in for the wedding!