There is a fabled place in London, a place where beers are born and breweries are more common than chicken shops. This mystical place is no fairy tale however, and is known as the Bermondsey Beer Mile. Occupying spaces under the railway arches, this new wave of DIY brewers has helped to push the area forward as the craft beer neighbourhood of London.
Bermondsey is now home to six craft beer brewers along an area that stretches 1.5 miles end to end (so yes they could well change the name). Every Saturday (sometimes on Friday and Sunday too), these beerficinados open up their doors to thirsty hipsters and beer connoisseurs, and feeling thirsty one weekend I dragged Kasha with me to see what all the fuss was about.
This humble brewery offers none of the flash of its neighbours, instead focusing on crafting the finest modern recipes produced by traditional methods.
A decent selection of tables, snacks and a choice of at least six hand pulled cask beers on tap means you can certainly linger here quite comfortably. This is the perfect spot for those who like good beer, simple no nonsense stuff with a decidedly bitter finish, a great place to start your journey.
The Bottle Shop
While this isn’t one of the big six breweries, the Bottle Shop has one of the greatest selections of rare and unique beers in London.
There are two bars, split over two floors, selling a rotating menu of divine craft beer for a reasonable rate. If you want to settle in for a while, head to the upstairs seating area and acquaint yourself with the best brews in the world.
The breweries around Bermondsey enjoy a real sense of community, and the history of Partizan couldn’t demonstrate this any more. The brewery opened doors in 2012 after inheriting The Kernel’s old brew kit, and have produced some incredible beers in this time.
The bar area spills out onto the street so there is always plenty of room. Take your pick from a number of keg beers to a selection of freshly bottled bottles. My recommendation is the Saison Lemongrass, a light, citrusy brew with a clean refreshing taste.
The last stop on the beer mile is my new favourite brewery, Fourpure. Founded in 2013 by brothers Dan and Tom, the Fourpure boys are all about preserving flavour, being environmentally friendly and staying true to the principles of brewing…what this means to you and me is fantastic beer, served for freshness in cans with very little damage to the environment.
There’s plenty of seating, collaborations with street food traders and, most importantly incredible beer. My favourite was the Oatmeal Stout, closely followed by the Pale Ale. If the weather is good, there is nowhere better to be on the beer mile than here.
Trust me. They may have food at some of the venues, but don’t be the guy eating six packets of crisps, getting drunk by 1pm and catching the train home.
Get there early
The big boys like The Kernel Brewery get packed as soon as the doors open, and can close as early as 2pm, so make plans and stick with them.
Craft beer can be pricey, if you don’t like the value of the selection, move on. There are plenty of decently priced draft, canned or bottled beers to be had on the Bermondsey Beer Mile.
Yes the oatmeal stout was delicious, but do you really need to take one for the road and chug it while walking to the next brewery? No. Enjoy your drinks, but pace yourself, you’ll be too drunk to enjoy what’s ahead of you otherwise.
If you are having a good time, stay put. The breweries can get very busy, especially in good weather, so stay and savour if the beer is good.
Always talk to the barman/ brewer they can give you fantastic recommendations, tell you which beer is freshest, and provide you with an insight into the history or production method used to craft your amber nectar.
London craft beer is booming in popularity and in only a few years Bermondsey has become the heart of this hip new scene. If you’re a beer lover, I strongly recommend a visit, you simply have to see this place with your own eyes. If you have a favourite brewer or know an incredible beer you think I should taste, share your thoughts by commenting below, I’d love to hear from you.
Looking for a craft beer pub to call your own? Transport yourself digitally to the Clerkenwell Craft Beer Co.