It’s fair to say, the average beer drinker is now turning its nose up at the standard lagers and ales usually on offer. It’s all about craft beer and cask ales. Beer drinkers are asking other questions other than the price per pint. What’s the alcohol content? What hops are in the beer? Is it cask? Keg? Or bottle conditioned? Craft beer is definitely the new wine around town. We’re tasting beer, savouring it; not necking down cans and pints (although I still do on occasion!).
Craft beer has never been as accessible as it is now. There are now more microbreweries in London; Kernel, Beavertown and Partizan just to name a few. To add to that, there are now dozens of pubs and specialist shops dedicated to the diversity of this wonderful beverage.
Craft beer is now beating the bigwigs at their own game but are they now beating us too? We’re now willing to spend over £5 on a bottle of beer (myself included) brewed probably just a mile away from the very pub you paid for it. Our crafty London brewers have certainly cast a spell over us and our wallets.
If you want to get a sip of the action here’s what to drink and where to drink them:
The Bermondsey Beer Trek
Originally called the Bermondsey Beer Mile but it can be quite difficult to walk between some of the breweries, especially if you’re having a few drinks at each one and you don’t actually know where you’re going.
You will find brilliant and reasonably priced beer straight from the witch’s cauldron to drink and takeaway.
The Brewery, Arch 11 Dockley Road Industrial Estate, Dockley Rd, London SE16 3S
Start off at the The Kernel, one of the most well known London based breweries largely responsible for heading up the London craft beer crew. Recognisable by their simple brown labels, the Kernel always has a selection of beers which never fail to disappoint. Their IPA’s (India Pale Ales) are some of my favourite, including several of their IPA’s with Citra and Centennial Hops.
The Kernel Brewery, located under the railway arches in Dockley Street perfectly complements the simple and understated bottles. You’ll find the beer at the price it should be, between £3-£4 for their IPA’s and pale ales rather than the £5 bottles you sometimes get at craft beer establishments.
Partizan is one of my favourite breweries and they do damn fine IPAs. One of my favourites! Partizan owes itself to The Kernel, after its founder Andy Smith was given the Kernel’s old brew kit. Like the other breweries in Bermondsey, Partizan can be found under the arches just a 10 minute walk away from the Kernel (or if you’re me it took 45 minutes!!). The selection of IPA’s and pale ales aren’t as varied as The Kernel or Brew by Numbers but what they do have are brilliantly infused Saisons. A must try for a great introduction to British craft beer; you won’t find it at many pubs and bars but look out for them in specialist beer shops.
Brew By Numbers
79 Enid Street, London, SE16 3RA
One of the newer breweries which has quickly gained a steady following and can now be found in craft beer pubs and shops. The general feel of the brewery and beer has a very Kernelesque feel to it. Simple and honest. The great thing about Brew By Numbers is the variety of beers they have; various hopped IPA’s, spicy and fruity Saisons and Belgian and German style beers. My partner particularly liked their Tripel made with Mosaic Hops and I particularly liked their Session IPA’s when we paid a recent visit.
This Brewery is definitely worth a visit and has the advantage of being a 5 minute walk away from the delectable delights of Maltby Street!
Anspach & Hobday
118 Druid Street, London SE1 2HH
Anspach & Hobday are one of the newest boys edging their way into the Bermondsey Brewery scene. They’re not your average brewery and they’re not going to suit the average beer drinker. Anspach & Hobday make some memorable beers. Their smoked brown ale was much favoured by my boyfriend; although I couldn’t drink the whole bottle myself because of the richness of smoked ales, the taste was rather good. The IPA’s aren’t the most show stopping stuff I’ve tried but I look forward to seeing what they come up with in the future.
118 Druid Street, London SE1 2HH
During my Bermondsey Beer Trek, the Bullfinch Brewery were my surprise stars of the day. Located at the same site as Anspach & Hobday, Bullfinch currently only has a handful of beers to choose from, but my oh my are they good. Not only do they have some fantastically named beers, ‘Citrageddon’ and ‘Hopocalypse’ are my favourites, but their beers are bold and bursting with wonderful hops. Definitely worth a visit.
Of course, Bermondsey isn’t the only place the London breweries are found. One of my favourite London based breweries, Beavertown, make some of the best beer around. Originally started in Haggerston the brewery is now based in Tottenham due to its size. Most people know Beavertown for their beers, Gamma Ray and 8 Ball. My favourite, and my beer of choice should I only be allowed to drink one for the rest of my life, is Beavertown’s Bloody’Ell Blood Orange IPA.
The list of London breweries can go on; some of them great, some of them not so good. Every day from work I walk home past the beer shop; and every time I pop in there’s a new brewery. Most recently I had seen the Battersea Brewery’s new IPA and Brixton’s Electric IPA.
Our city’s micro (and not so micro)breweries has certainly cast a spell over us beer obsessed Londoners. I’m enjoying the craft beer revolution and pleased to see so many of us appreciating craft beer. However as they say, too many cooks spoil the broth, I just hope there isn’t a brewery around every street corner.