Beer Trek 2014: Bermondsey Beer Mile

One of the many highlights of Fueled by Beer’s time in Seattle was brewery crawling along the Burke-Gilman trail (read about it). Yet until last weekend it didn’t seem possible that a similar experience could be enjoyed here in the UK. This is because until then the Bermondsey Beer Mile remained undiscovered. But not anymore…

As Cask Report 2014 ably points out the UK’s craft beer revolution is every bit as vibrant as it is back in the US. And nowhere is this more evident than in London where there are now more than 50 breweries and 20 brewpubs inside the M25 – essentially the same as Greater Seattle albeit spread over a much larger geographic area.

A significant difference, however, is that most of London’s breweries, like the rest in the UK, are geared up for cask and bottled ale production. This means they generally have very little incentive to invest the time, money and space needed to operate the essential ingredient for any brewery crawl: a taproom.

The notable exception to this is Bermondsey, where in the last five years seven craft breweries have sprung up in or near the railway arches between London Bridge and Greenwich. And in a departure from the norm, these breweries produce mostly keg beer so it is very easy for them to operate pop-up tasting rooms. We’ve already seen it in Bristol: here’s a passage from my recent post Earth to CAMRA: craft keg is not the enemy!

“Beerd Brewery has opened a pop-up pub just for the summer featuring all-keg beers in a disused storefront in Clifton Village; if this doesn’t demonstrate the most significant advantage of keg over cask, nothing will.”

So, for the Bermondsey brewers, it can be as simple as opening the doors, setting up an impromptu bar, and tapping some kegs. This is essentially what they’re doing. The Bermondsey Beer Mile actually runs around 1.5 miles but when the beer’s this good who’s counting? The breweries open their doors every Saturday from 11 am to 5 pm (The Kernel opens 9 am to 2 pm). Combine the beer crawl with a visit to the weekly Maltby Street Market, a foodie’s heaven, and you have the perfect Fueled by Beer trip.

  1. Maltby Street Market
  2. Southwark Brewing Company
  3. Anspach & Hobday
  4. The Bottle Shop
  5. U-Brew
  6. Brew by Numbers
  7. The Kernel Brewery
  8. Partizan Brewing
  9. Fourpure Brewing

Important Update: The Kernel Brewery

The start can easily be reached from London Bridge stations, or take the tube to Bermondsey, the closest stop to Maltby Street. Do as Mr & Mrs Fueled by Beer do and fuel up with some street food before starting the brewery crawl. If you make it all the way to the end you can take a train back to London Bridge from Bermondsey South, walk back to Bermondsey tube, or walk to the Overground station at Surrey Quays.

Conclusion

The Bermondsey Beer Mile is a must for any beer fan when in London on a Saturday. Check out the photos from one of our visits below. The map above shows the route in the numerical order given. There’s a lot of room to improvise given how close together these breweries are.

 

Last updated: 28/06/2015

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