The Bermondsey Beer Mile They Should Rename It Beermondsey

Just south of the River Thames, and running parallel to it, is a long succession of elevated train tracks leading in and out of London Bridge station. In the arches beneath these railway lines you’ll find a section running right through Bermondsey, which has become London’s most brewery-populous area.

The Bermondsey Beer Mile They Should Rename It Beermondsey Photo Gallery

It’s a unique London thing for so many breweries to operate from railway arches—there must be at least 15—but these locations offer relatively cheap rent, have a decent height, and maintain a consistently cool temperature, which means they work well as brewing spaces.

In Bermondsey, if you plot the breweries on a map, they’re all neatly lined up. Start at Southwark Brewing, not far from London Bridge station, then it’s on to Anspach & Hobday, UBrew, Brew By Numbers, The Kernel, Spartan, Affinity, Partizan Brewing, and finally FourPure. The distance between all these is about 2 miles (3km). There’s also Bottle Shop (next to Anspach & Hobday) and Eebria (next to Affinity), who both have bars in the arches. The beer list at Bottle Shop is always excellent, plus they run regular events and are open daily. Finally, there’s Hawkes Cidery and Taproom (again by Anspach & Hobday) if you want a change from beer.

One by one these breweries decided to open on Saturdays to serve beer direct to drinkers, putting out simple tables and building bars from old pallets stacked on empty kegs. That’s when “doing The Bermondsey Beer Mile” became a thing. Since then—that was around 2013—the number of venues has doubled.

Now, every Saturday, people travel to drink along The Beer Mile, stopping at as many places as they wish (though the keenest will always want to visit them all, of course). In each brewery you should have high expectations of the beer, but fewer expectations of the environment: you’re in a working brewery that’s set up weekly to become a temporary bar; they get very busy, so there’s often nowhere to sit; they’re freezing cold in winter; and a lot of stag-dos come down here asking nothing more intelligent of the beer than “What’s the strongest?” Plus, expect a long wait to use the temporary toilets. However, the quality of the beer, as well as being able to taste a wide range of different brews, definitely makes it worthwhile.

A lot of great beers are made in the railway arches at Bermondsey and it’s an exciting place to experience something that’s uniquely London.

Brewers at work at Partizan.

The Lowdown

WHAT: The Bermondsey Beer Mile

HOW: Breweries open on Saturdays (11am-6pm), except for The Kernel which is open 9am—2pm for off-sales. Some breweries are also open on Fridays (5-10pm), offering a far calmer environment, but all the same beers.

WHERE: Railway arches between south Bermondsey and London Bridge.

FourPure taproom, before and during service.

Must-Try Bermondsey Beers

• Start or finish at FourPure for their snappy Pils and to see what unusual one-off brews they have on tap.

• Brew By Numbers make some of the freshest, hoppiest IPAs in London—ranging from Session IPA to Double IPA. They have the nicest taproom, too.

• Anspach & Hobday have some super dark beers, including a great Porter and Smoked Brown.

• UBREW is unique in that it’s a communal brewery, so go along and see who’s been making beer in the last few weeks. The taps are shared by all brewers.

• Partizan will have a range that goes from from fruity Pale Ales through dry Saisons and up to powerful dark ales.

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