In my last post, “Beer Trek 2014,” I covered what is currently London’s hottest craft beer destination: the Bermondsey Beer Mile. In this post I have crossed the Thames to explore London’s other hot spot: Hackney…
If you take a look to the right at my map of Greater London breweries you should notice that almost all of them are pretty evenly separated; all except two very obvious areas. South of the river you have Bermondsey while to the north you have Hackney. And in the context of Fueled by Beer’s Seattle iteration London’s Bermondsey and Hackney districts have two direct parallels.
First, the Bermondsey Beer Mile is a linear brewery trek rivaling Seattle’s Burke-Gilman Trail. And, just like in Seattle, the Bermondsey breweries open makeshift taprooms to serve their kegged craft beers to eager visitors in a totally relaxed no-frills environment. Just keep in mind that this is a Saturday-only event held in conjunction with the nearby Maltby Street market – the foodie’s heaven – and generally open from 11 am to 5 pm but it is so worth the trip.
Second, while Hackney’s breweries may be more spread out than Bermondsey’s they are still walkably close to one another. That’s what this post is all about: a brewery crawling opportunity similar in scope to my field trips to Tacoma, Bremerton and Bellingham. And, just like in Washington, but not typical in the UK, most Hackney breweries operate either as a brewpub or a taproom. Hackney also has an advantage over Bermondsey: you can do the field trip pretty much any day of the week. So what are we waiting for? Let’s go!
First, we need to take a look at the following map. This shows the location of the eight breweries currently operating in Hackney. In birth order they are:
- London Fields (2011 – now with taproom)
- Hackney (2012 – production only, no taproom)
- Crate (2012 – with taproom & pizzeria)
- Howling Hops (2012 – at the Cock Tavern)
- Pressure Drop (2012 – production only, no taproom)
- Five Points (2013 – production only, no taproom)
- Truman’s (2013 – taproom & bistro at the Cygnet)
- Laine (2014 – at the People’s Park Tavern)
You may notice that I’ve added three non-brewery pubs to the map. Two of them (The Dove and Pub On The Park) provide ‘Plan B’ options in case there are any issues at the London Fields taproom. For more about our issues at London Fields – read part 2.
The other pub (Duke’s Brew & Que) is the brewery tap for Beavertown Brewery, which started out in the pub’s cellar. Beavertown has been growing quickly and has since moved to ever-larger spaces, first to Hackney Wick, and most recently to Tottenham Hale.
Please note that for the purposes of this field trip I have not included Duke’s because it’s a little out of the way. However it’s no big deal to modify my route and start at Duke’s (take Overground to Haggerston). You can then pick up my route at London Fields; it adds about a mile to the overall hike (Map). Why do this? Well, it has to be said that any trip to London, when the chance to sample Beavertown presents itself, should not be casually passed up.
To get started at London Fields take the suburban train to London Fields station. This is on the Lea Valley line between Liverpool Street and Hackney Downs where branches extend north to Enfield Town, Cheshunt & Chingford. This line, which is currently operated by Greater Anglia, will be joining the London Overground network in May 2015.
The following map shows my recommended walking route. If you include the detour to The Dove it’s roughly 3.3 miles. Then, when you reach the end at Crate Brewery, it’s only a short walk to Hackney Wick Overground.
In “A Fueled by Beer Field Trip: Hackney (Part 2)” I’ll be reviewing each brewery as we visit them.