Thursday, 2 July 2015

Bermondsey Beer Mile, London

A craft-beer-athon isn't my usual style, but after developing a taste for red beers at the summer fiesta in Santo Stefano, Italy last year, I was up for the chance to discover the London scene.

The Bermondsey Beer Mile is a collection of craft beer breweries all tucked around the train line running from South Bermondsey to Tower Bridge.

Bermondsey isn't an area of London I'm familiar with, and heading up to stop number 1 through an industrial estate, I didn't think I was going to enjoy my day. Mark and his friends had planned the day and brought the wives along too. As we approached Forepure though, my spirits lifted and I realised this is an already pretty developed operation, hiding behind the scenes in the city. Here's what happened:

1. Forepure

There was already a queue and a crowd at 11am, and of the most unlikely people. Seniors from up north, a loved up couple and a few day trippers like us. Where were all the hipsters I was expecting?

Branded glassware, electronic tills and a street food van were all in place, as well as port-a-loo's and a few scattered benched. Don't worry that is stinks of booze - it's also the brewery. Soak up the factory like atmosphere without a hair net or safety goggle in sight.

On the suggestion of my husband, I chose my first pre-noon drink to be a Roux. I don't claim to be a beer expert, but it was tasty! I was pleased they had the bottle option available, as the draught tap was off.

2. Partizan Brewery

A short walk from Forepure, stop number 2 along the mile was Partizan. Tucked up an old access road and nestled into a recently renovated train line arch, Partizan had a proper loo and a few benches. A quick scout at the menu had me settled on Saison with Lemongrass. It was very pale and refreshing, the lemongrass adding a delicious spice - this was a beer I'd happily drink again!

We'd clearly beaten the crown here, but it wasn't long before they caught up, some poor woman actually running to ahead of the crowd! In her defense though, there was only one toilet, and the seals were about to be broken.

3. Kernel Brewery

Stop 3 is The Kernal Brewery which passed by an emerging micro market featuring an Enoteca, cheese shop and honey shop.

Kernals was larger than the previous 2 breweries, and had a shop where you could buy beer to enjoy later. No outside drinking was allowed here, and I wasn't as impressed with the options, settling for Table Beer.

It was very busy with the queue quickly lengthening as the bulk of the mile-tourists arrived. Stay ahead to get served quicker.

The best bit about Kernals was it's proximity to food and the fact it had not 1 but 2 toilets!

4. Brew by Numbers

This is were we found the hipsters. Just a hop, skip and a jump from Maltby Market (see bottom of post) Brew by Numbers was where we found the mustache'd crowd.

A few long benches, hole in the wall shop and upturned barrels were all it seemed to take to turn this brewery opposite a housing estate into a hangout.

I can't really remember what I drank, but it was refreshing, and beer at the very least. By now we were starting to feel the effects!

5. The Bottle Shop

Around the corner, The Bottle shop beckoned us in, and dizzy from all the brew, Mark and I opted to share a Brown Ale with Maple Syrup. I only had one sip before deciding I should have had the one with Rooibos (tea).

At least The Bottle Shop had free water on the tables though. That was much needed after a day's walking and drinking.

The Bottle Shop is where we ended our mile. I couldn't go on. I needed something non gassy, preferably served in a cocktail glass. But we did pass the final stop Ansbach and Bobday; it was crowded!

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with the Bermondsey Beer Mile and I have a lot of respect for local businesses being creative with how they find customers. Who needs the likes of multiple retailers when you can pop to your local brewer for the goods!

Maltby Market

One of my favourite parts of the day was exploring Maltby Market; a foodie nirvana squeezed down a back alley. Fresh oysters and smoked salmon rubbed shoulders with scotch eggs and ice cream sandwiches.

For lunch I opted for a Brazilian steak wrap, and a few squared of baklava; I even for 2 for the price of 3. There were girly drinks on one side and grilling on the other, but the atmosphere was electric!

Map of Bermondsey Beer Mile