Bermondsey Beer Mile – London | UK

Southwark’s not-so secret string of small-batch breweries and taprooms is the talk of the town. Walk the ‘mile’ in one Saturday afternoon or explore them individually. Either way, expect to taste sensationally fresh seasonal specials while standing in the guts of some of the city’s best craft beer operations. Bermondsey Beer Mile is where it’s at!

You don’t need to be a Londoner to have heard of the Bermondsey Beer Mile. This not-so well-kept secret comprises a well-trodden route of tap rooms and bottle shops that winds its way through Southwark’s trading estates, past council flats and under railway arches.

Bermondsey Beer Mile ArchesYou can only visit all the venues on Saturdays, but thanks to a number of new restaurants in the surrounding area and Maltby Street Market’s weekend hours, a handful of places now open their doors on Friday evenings and Sundays.

Summer is usually a safe bet, but check hours carefully the rest of the year as they change frequently. And wear something warm in winter – you will be sampling beers in industrial spaces with few creature comforts, expect to queue for a portable loo and jostle for a spot under the odd outdoor heater.

Start at either end – either Fourpure Brewing Co next to South Bermondsey station or Southwark Brewing Co, which is a 10-minute walk from London Bridge station – but not before you have grabbed something to eat from Maltby Street or Druid Street Markets. Personally, I can’t look past the oozingly debauched toasties from The Cheese Truck, but each to their own.

Fourpure Brewing Co: Home of adventure-inspired beers

Pouring a variety of styles inspired by founders and brothers Dan and Tom’s travels, head here for a sample of their orange zest-packed California-inspired Juicebox Citrus IPA and Bavarian wheat beer Skyliner.

Fourpure Brewing CoKicking things off at Fourpure Brewing Co can be a little overwhelming thanks to the brewery’s ever-expanding range, which is divided into Adventure Series, Flagship and Outpost Small Batch. Their less regularly produced Pioneer range showcases collaborations, which in the past has included Cloudwater Brewery and Ska Brewing.

With so much good stuff on offer, the £12 tasting paddles come in handy – select six 1/3 pints from the screen over the bar and head to one of the trestle tables. Talking of bars, Fourpure probably has one of the most light, airy and spacious indoor seating spaces on the mile, but avoid the temptation to settle in – there’s much more to conquer yet.

Hey good lookin’: Partizan Brewing

Having learned his craft while at Redemption Brewing in Tottenham (north London), owner Andy Smith opened Partizan Brewing – one of the first microbreweries in Bermondsey – in 2012.

Partizan BreweryYou shouldn’t judge a beer by its bottle, but it’s hard when the Alex Doherty designed labels at this Almond Road brewery look so damn good.

Never afraid to experiment with historic recipes, hop varieties and infusing fresh ingredients, the Saison/Farmhouse Ale selection are a real highlight.

Visitors to the taproom will be competing for space with the brewing equipment, but on a warm day everyone spills out onto the pavement at this Bermondsey Beer Mile favourite – prepare to keep spotting the same people as you work your way around the mile, and expect to come away with new pals. That is if your friendship survives the shuffleboard competition at EeBria…

Rotating UK beers: EeBria Taproom

Online beer retailer EeBria champions home-grown breweries and its taproom is a rotating showcase of some of the best UK beers available.

Brewing Equipment BermondseyJust seconds from Partizan, it would be rude not to swing by. Pick something from the six taps or one of around 40 bottles or cans in the fridge. With good music, a welcoming bar made out of crates and beer tap labels offering something in the way of decoration, this place has a slightly higher level of aesthetic appeal than the rest of its Southwark companions.

In fact, being able to offer a welcoming taproom experience is something that prompted original Bermondsey Beer Mile brewery The Kernel to close the doors of their Spa Road headquarters. You can still head there to buy 330ml, 500ml and 750ml bottles – like EeBria they update their website each week with what will be on offer – but they decided to stop the taproom when the space they had to serve people could no longer keep up with their popularity. Hopefully they come up with an alternative site, but for now, the shop is about an eight-minute walk from eEbria. Trading hours are 9am-2pm.

Brew By Numbers: Read your labels

If one place is going to get me buzzing on the Bermondsey Beer Mile, it’s most likely Brew By Numbers on Enid Street. Before you order, get to grips with the labelling system. Each brew is identified by a unique four-digit code, the first two numbers refer to the style of beer (for example, 1 = saison, 4 = Beriner weisse, 7 = witbier, 9 = brown ale, 14 = tripel, 18 = farmhouse) while the last two numbers refer to the recipe.

Brew By NumbersSign up to the newsletter for info on tastings, tap takeovers and food pop-ups, there is almost always something going on in this railway arch brewery. And now that they have secured support from BrewDog, expect this place to get bigger and better – they currently have seven beers on tap every Friday evening from 6-10pm and Saturday from 11am-8pm.

The one downside – paying a deposit on your pint glass. But then they look pretty good, so I’ll give up the £2 if a few of them make it into my handbag.

Then, for an insight into craft beer crowdfunding in action, head over to U Brew on the Old Jamaica Business Estate. Providing the space, equipment, support and ingredients people need to brew their own beer, this open-access brewery and taproom channels a start-up vibe. With 10 keg beers at the bar and a selection of experimental bottled ales brewed on the premises, it’s truly small-scale beer-making in action.

The final countdown: last three

If you are feeling the strain, you will be pleased to hear the last few stops are staggering distance apart – these (almost) neighbours are all on Druid Street –  The Bottle Shop, Anspach & Hobday and Southwark Brewing Co. The latter two are breweries – making a core range and more experimental beers – while the former is probably the best place to try international beers in the area.

Anspach & Hobday Bottled Beers

Spanning two levels, it’s hard not to feel the excitement levels rise as you run your eyes over the well-stocked fridges and shelves of The Bottle Shop. The team stock more than 150 bottles, and run a few regularly changing taps.

  • EeBria Tap Room
  • The Bottle Shop
  • The Kernel Brewery
  • U Brew

  • Anspach & Hobday
  • Brew By Numbers
  • Fourpure Brewing Co
  • Partizan
  • Southwark Brewing Co
beer dejour
BEER DEJOUR BEER DE JOUR is a freelance writer and YEAST BERLIN Reporter who swapped chardonnay for IPA a few years ago and hasn't looked back. Living in London she regularly travels the world in search of her next perfect pint. Current obsession: Farmhouse ales. But for day-to-day sipping, it's all about a decent pilsner.

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