This past weekend Mr & Mrs Fueled by Beer made their latest crawl along the Bermondsey Beer Mile. It’s been almost three years since our first visit and with each subsequent trip we have observed quite a few changes, almost all for the better. It’s therefore time for an update…
The Bermondsey Beer Mile originally got started in 2012 when the then three year old Kernel Brewery moved into the area. They installed new brewery kit into a railway arch on Dockley Road where they remain to this day. At roughly the same time, in another railway arch half a mile away, Partizan was also setting up using Kernel’s original kit, and thus was formed what would soon become the ‘beer mile’. In 2013 Kernel and Partizan were joined by Brew by Numbers (aka “BBNo”) to the northwest and Fourpure to the southeast, and all four began opening taprooms on Saturdays dispensing draft beer to an adoring public. Since the distance between them was almost exactly one mile, the “Bermondsey Beer Mile” was born, and word began to spread.
In 2014 the Bermondsey Beer Mile made a major leap forward. Four new taprooms, all situated on the opposite side of the railway viaduct from the original four, were opened: Anspach & Hobday, The Bottle Shop, Ubrew and Southwark Brewing. Together, they extended the original ‘beer mile’ almost all the way to London Bridge. So, in reality, today’s beer mile is actually 1.8 miles from Southwark Brewing to Fourpure.
In 2015, overwhelmed by demand, the founding brewery, Kernel, called time on their taproom. Today, they still open on Saturdays, but only for off-sales. However, their place on the ‘beer mile’ was taken up almost immediately with the opening of the Eebria Tap situated in an arch a few doors along from Partizan.
During 2016 and 2017, the ‘beer mile’, with its eight taprooms, has been the scene of continued growth and consolidation and in most cases its participants’ taproom hours are no longer limited just to Saturdays. Here are the current hours (with year taproom opened in brackets):
- Kernel (2012): Saturday 9am-2pm (since 2015, off-sales only)
- Partizan (2012): Saturday 11am-8pm
- Brew by Numbers/”BBNo” (2013): Friday 6-10pm; Saturday 11am-8pm
- Fourpure (2013): Friday 4-9pm; Saturday 11am-8pm
- Anspach & Hobday (2014): Friday 5-9pm; Saturday 10:30am-6:30pm
- The Bottle Shop (2014): Friday 5-10:30pm; Saturday 10am-7pm; Sunday: 12:30-5:30pm
- Ubrew (2014): Thursday-Saturday 12-11pm; Sunday 12-7pm
- Southwark Brewing (2014): Friday 5-10 pm; Saturday 11am-6pm
- Eebria Tap (2015): Saturday 11am-6pm
Since our early visits we have refined our walking route, which is reflected in the map below, but we have not changed our directional preference. While many guides to the Bermondsey Beer Mile advocate starting at South Bermondsey and walking towards London Bridge, we still prefer to go the opposite way for two main reasons:
- When starting at the London Bridge end, besides having the closest grouping of taprooms, there is Maltby Street Market, a gourmet street food lover’s paradise. An important consideration when consuming alcohol, Maltby Street is still by far the best place to eat along the beer mile.
- Conversely, when starting at the South Bermondsey end with the aim of visiting every taproom, food options are few to none until you reach BBNo. And unless you start at Fourpure when they open at 11am, you may not make it all the way to Anspach & Hobday, the Bottle Shop or Southwark Brewing before they close. This is a shame because in our experience they consistently rank among the best. By starting at the London Bridge end, even if it’s already into the afternoon, we can usually make it to Fourpure before they close at 8pm.
So there you have it; the Fueled by Beer take on the Bermondsey Beer Mile in 2017. And a final word for those who may have visited Anspach & Hobday during their first year and remember Bullfinch Brewery. Bullfinch were the cuckoo brewers using the A&H kit who early on flew south to Herne Hill. Today Bullfinch is part of an emerging South London Brewery Trail centred on Brixton and Herne Hill which was the subject of a recent post in this blog.