The Bermondsey beer mile is a must for beer lovers in search of some of London’s coolest craft brews. Planning a trip? Here’s what you need to know before you go.
London’s craft beer scene has exploded in the past decade – transforming itself from a niche market only sought out by aficionados to pretty much everywhere in the city.
Independent breweries have popped up all over London – much to the delight of the city’s beer drinkers and those in search of more offbeat things to do in London.
Bermondsey sits at the heart of that action. What started out as a couple of breweries has mushroomed into a cool collection of craft beer makers (and a couple of gin distilleries thrown in for good measure). And so Bermondsey Beer Mile was born.
Editor’s Note: London, like much of the rest of the world is currently subject to changing lockdown measures. I am still publishing guides to help you discover the best of my hometown but please follow current advice and guidelines and check ahead to ensure that venues are open. Stay safe and stay alert.
What is the Bermondsey Beer Mile?
The Bermondsey Beer Mile is roughly a mile and a half long stretch of railway arches and warehouses containing over fifteen breweries and two gin distilleries.
The Bermondsey mile started small – first one brewery (The Kernel), then two, then six – these days it’s more like 15.
It used to be that you could stage a bar crawl having a pint at each of the Bermondsey beer mile breweries and not end up dead.
Those days are gone (well, for all but the most seasoned drinkers anyway). So a word of advice – stick to the smaller measures or choose which breweries you’re going to tackle in advance rather than trying to work your way through all of them.
How do I Visit Bermondsey Beer Mile?
The best time to visit Bermondsey Beer Mile is on a Saturday when all of the breweries open their tap rooms to the public. It’s a brilliant way to spend an afternoon – popping from brewery to brewery and sampling the stellar craft beers on offer.
Some breweries also open on Friday evenings and Sundays but it varies a lot so you will need to check ahead.
Where Should I Start the Bermondsey Beer Mile?
You can start the beer mile at either end of the Bermondsey arches.
I prefer to start it with Southwark Brewing Company, which is closest to London Bridge Station (easy to get to by bus, tube and National Rail) as the breweries are closer together at this end and you can fill up with tasty food from Maltby Street Market before you go.
As an added bonus, Fourpure, which is at the other end of the beer mile, opens until 8pm so you have plenty of time to get down there – if you have the stamina!
At the other end, you would start with Fourpure, which is close to South Bermondsey train station and Surrey Quays overground station.
Ok, so now you kind of know what to expect, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of the different breweries. I’ve listed them working your way away from London Bridge and towards South Bermondsey – just reverse the order if you’re doing it the other way round.
Breweries on the Bermondsey Beer Mile
Southwark Brewing Company
Start the odyssey at Southwark Brewing Company – a craft brewery that largely focuses on cask ales. It’s very different to the crisp beers and lagers that pop up along the beer mile and a nice way to get going with something that really stands out. Try the Routemaster Red – a gentle red ale with a fruity and hoppy finish.
Address: 46 Druid Street, London SE1 2EZ
Hawkes Cidery & Taproom
Cider? In the beer mile? It’s true. Hawkes Cidery opened their taproom a couple of years ago and it’s been pulling in the crowds ever since. The first urban cidery in London, the ciders range from the excellent Urban Orchard cider to the Elephants on Ice winter cider which is nicely spiced to keep you warm during the colder months.
Address: 86-92 Druid St, Bermondsey, London SE1 2HQ
Hiver is one of the more unusual Bermondsey breweries along the beer mile. Why? Their beers are made with a special ingredient… honey. Craft beer near London Bridge made using urban honey? Sign me up.
The honey is sourced from beekeepers in London and Sussex, with different varieties used in different beers to bring out individual flavours. Start with the golden, rich Honey Blonde and go from there.
Address: Arch 56 Stanworth Street, London, SE1 3NY.
Anspach & Hobday
One of the bigger names on the mile, Anspach & Hobday’s beers are unusual – but not as unusual as how they got started. The brewery was the first crowdfunded brewery in the UK.
The beers range from the standard (albeit very well done) Porter and Pale Ale to some that sound too bizarre to work but somehow do. Mango & Chilli Gose anyone? It’s really busy, so you may end up having to stand outside.
Address: 118 Druid St, Bermondsey, London SE1 2HH
Bottle Shop does what it says on the tin, offering a 200+ strong range of bottles for you to buy and bring home (or drink in the shop).
It’s not a brewery, but the huge selection of beers available makes it pretty impossible for you to miss it off your tour. There’s beer on draught and loads of seating (a rarity on the beer mile – put your feet up while you can).
Address: 128 Druid Street, London SE1 2HH London
Fancy trying your hand and brewing beer? UBREW is the place to go. They host a range of beer-making workshops to help you brew like a pro.
If you’re not quite ready to take on the brewing class, you can make your way straight to the taproom to try the range of craft beers. All the pleasure, without the work.
Given the fact that UBREW is a communal brewery, it’s no surprise that the tap rooms offerings change at the drop of a hat, but you can generally expect at least eight beers on tap and a selection of bottled beers too.
Address: Arches 29-30, 24 Old Jamaica Road, London SE16 4AW
BB No. (Brew By Numbers)
Brew by Numbers is always packed, a testament to their very drinkable beers. You know that things are serious when craft-beer success story Brewdog get behind a brewery, which is exactly what has happened with Brew by Numbers.
It can be a bit confusing at first – each beer is given a four-digit identifier. The first two numbers refer to the style of beer (i.e. witbier or farmhouse), while the second two mark the recipe. Don’t worry – all will become clear once you’re in there.
Address: 79 Enid Street, London SE16 3RA
Moor Beer Co.
Moor has a pretty large choice of Keg and Cask pours. From the cask, the All Dayer 3.5% session IPA is probably a wise choice if you’re attempting to take a decent stab at the mile in one day. It is accompanied by a few traditional picks like Stout and a couple of wild cards including the Slovenia Hop – an ultra pale ale made with Slovenian hops.
On the keg side, there are the old faces: a London Lager and Pils as well as a couple of unusual takes – the B Moor Mosaic Porter for example.
Address: 71 Enid St, Bermondsey, London SE16 3RA
London Calling Sweden (L.C.S)
One of the newest additions to the Bermondsey Beer Mile, London Calling Sweden is a Swedish craft beer wholesaler and taproom. It’s another busy spot – with Swedish Poppels drafts sitting alongside UK guest beers.
Of all the bottles, the Passion Pale Ale really stood out, thanks to the zingy passionfruit flavours. Oh, and they serve Swedish Schnapps too, in case you really want to shake things up.
Address: 72 Enid St, Bermondsey, London SE16 3RA
Cloudwater Brew Co.
Is it wrong to go to a brewery because its cans look so damned cool? I don’t care – the striking cans at Manchester brewery Cloudwater are pretty eye-catching. Luckily, they have the goods (or the beer) to back it up – the selection is small but good.
Keep an eye out for the Hoppy Little Lager – a refreshingly light drink that sits between an IPA and a lager. I can’t think of anything I’d rather be drinking on a hot summer’s day; especially as it’s only 3.9%.
Address: 73 Enid Street, London, SE16 3RA
Bianca Road Brew Co
Bianca Road Brew Co. founder Reese Woods took his inspiration for the beers created at this cool brewery from a cycling road trip he took from San Francisco to Miami in 2014.
The diverse range of brews at Bianca Road Brew Co. include the LA Bloods, a Blood Orange IPA, the bright and zingy Long Play (perfectly refreshing for hot sunny days) the Tropicali – a tropical summer IPA and a nicely drinkable London Lager that’s long, crisp and delicious.
Address: 83 Enid St, Bermondsey, London SE16 3RA
The Kernel was the first microbrewery to set up in Bermondsey (evidently, a rather brilliant decision) – founded by Evin O’Riordain, a cheesemonger turned craft brewer.
They’ve done so well that they no longer brew in their Bermondsey railway arch – that magic happens elsewhere – but the bottle rooms still opens each Saturday for you to buy a few of their beers (take away only).
Address: Arch 11, Dockley Road Industrial Estate, London SE16 3SF.
Although EeBria isn’t a brewery, it’s worth popping in there as they distribute a number of craft beers from independent breweries from across the UK. They bill themselves as an online marketplace for buying craft beers straight from producers (we know where we can stock up when we can’t make it to the beer mile then).
There are several draughts on tap and countless bottles to choose from – the selection changes constantly, pop in to see what they have on the day. There’s also a beer garden for catching a few rays when the sun is out.
15 Almond Rd, Bermondsey, London SE16 3LR
Affinity Brewing Co.
Another tiny Bermondsey brewery, Affinity Brewery Co’s beers really standout. They don’t use any finings or additives, their brews are all unpasteurised and they can each and every beer by hand to ensure they’re the very best quality. The playful names give you a hint of what’s to come – the 6.2% Social Seduction is a punchy West Coast style IPA made with American hops.
Address: Railway Arch, 7 Almond Rd, Bermondsey, London SE16 3LR
Partizan’s been making fine craft beer from its (very small) microbrewery for a while now.
Partizan may be small but its beers are mighty good- which is why so many beer lovers cram into its standing-room only space, snuggling themselves between kegs.
Founder Andy Smith cut his teeth at north London’s Redemption Brewing before starting Partizan in 2012. The beer ranges from traditional sips to more experimental flavours – the Brett IPA is a big favourite.
Address: 34 Raymouth Rd, Bermondsey, London SE16 2DB
Started by two brothers in 2013, Fourpure has gone from strength to strength since opening – mainly due to their focus and respect for the four core ingredients in beer – grain, yeast, hops and water.
The beers themselves range from easy drinking beers such as the Session IPA and American Pale Ale to smaller batches of more experimental brews (I’m currently loving their Castaway, which cheekily bills itself as bringing Tahiti to Bermondsey in drinking form).
Address: 22 Bermondsey Trading Estate, Rotherhithe New Road, London SE16 3LL
Don’t Miss the Two Distilleries in Bermondsey Either
Jensen’s Gin has been creating stellar gin in London since 2003 – remember those long gone days when small batch distilleries weren’t even a twinkle in London’s eye.
The Danish founder Christian Jensen just really wanted to drink some nice, really dry gin but the UK was too busy smashing Gordon’s to be doing that kind of thing, so he went off and made his own. At first the laws meant the gin had to be distilled by a larger distillery but they relocated to Bermondsey a couple of years ago and have been going strong ever since.
Address: 55 Stanworth St, London SE1 3NY
The London Distillery Company
OK so clearly this is not a brewery but to my gin loving peeps, I have one thing to say. GET YOURSELF TO THE LONDON DISTILLERY COMPANY.
Too keen? Sorry but sometimes it is justified.
This small group of rebel gin makers make some of the best gin in London. Fuck that, they make some of the best gin I’ve ever had (and I used to be a member of the Oxford Gin Appreciation Society back in the heady days of uni. Quite simply, gin is my thing). The guys who run it are enthusiastic, funny and gin maestros.
The gins include the Dodd’s Old Tom (which was awarded the Silver award at the International Wine & Spirit Competition last year – I told you they were good), the Dodd’s Organic Gin and a range of two Kew gins created in association with and using the botanicals from London’s very own Kew Gardens. I may have bought a couple of bottles home…
Practical Tips for Visiting the Bermondsey Beer Mile
- Wrap up warm in the winter. The arches are cool in more than one sense of the word during the chillier months.
- Don’t overdo it. Be sure to eat a good meal before you start and fuel up at lunchtime too. There are a growing number of food stalls and eateries popping up along the mile – you have plenty of choice.
- Saturday is the best day to visit, but some of the breweries open on Friday and Sunday. Check the opening times carefully though as they change at short notice (particularly in the winter months).
Bermondsey Beer Mile Map
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