Last weekend I found myself down in the nation’s capital. I was down for sporting reasons (more of which in a later post) and had travelled down with Billy. We made the decision to head down a day earlier than necessary for said sporting event in order to partake of some watering holes. Having mentioned this on Twitter we learned that 2 other friends, Gary & Jill, were going to be down on the same weekend and were planning a mini Twissup event. For those of you unaware of Twissup, as the name suggests, it is a piss up where Twitter users get together in a city and are guided by locals to the best bars etc. It seemed a shame not to tag along.
We had an early start on the 06:50, departing from the Coldest Place on Earth. Perhaps drinking whisky until the early hours of the morning ahead of this wasn’t my greatest idea, but no one has ever accused me of being clever. Given the early start we made it into King’s Cross long before our planned meet time of 12:00 and so decided to head down to Borough Market which was close by to our intended destination of the Bermondsey Beer Mile. In truth we probably could have spent way longer than the hour or so we had to trawl the market such was the quality and quantity of food stalls within. Breakfast burgers were partaken of.
Being the adventurous types we decided to walk along to Kernel Brewery which was to be our meeting spot. This was the obvious thing to do given that neither of us had been to the brewery or even to the lovely borough of Southwark before. It should also be mentioned that it was also one of the sunniest and warmest days of the year so far. Just to make our bright idea all the better. No fear though, we had our iPhones so navigation wouldn’t be a problem. Yep, no problem.
To cut a long story short we eventually spotted a brewery in a railway arch. OK so it was Partizan Brewery and not Kernel but a brewery all the same and given the heat a drink was well in order. Now Partizan beers have been making their way up to Newcastle on a fairly regular basis and none had been anything other than wonderful. Due to a concurrent beer festival (at least I think that was the chaps explanation) they didn’t have any draught beer but had two well stocked fridges full of bottles. For me it was a no brainer and a bottle of the ultra refreshing Lemmon and Thyme Saison was duly purchased. I’ve drank this beer a number of times previously and it’s a bit of a favourite. The lemon is on the sweet side, not too sour, and the thyme is subtle and not as strange as you may think. Perfect beer for the temperature.
Having cooled down a bit and suitably refreshed we decided to head out to our planned rendezvous at Kernel. Of course we didn’t ask the guys in Partizan how to get there. Oh no, we decided we would spend the next 40 minutes getting acquainted with the highways, byways and scary back alleys of Southwark. In the process we passed both Fourpure and Kernel without realising. Those of you who know the Bermondsey Beer Mile will have looked at that last sentence will now be fully aware of just how crap our navigation skills are. Eventually we swallowed male pride and asked for directions, turned 180 degrees and walked 200 yards and entered Kernel Brewery.
Gary and Jill were already present and after the swift purchase of London Sour we parked ourselves on one of the benches and rested our weary feet. London Sour is a lip smacking brew, sharp, tart and face puckering. It was also perfectly chilled and the ideal beer to bring our core temperatures down. Now anyone who knows Gary & Jill will also know they are one f the most generous couples when it comes to sharing their special bottles of beer around and today wan no exception. Out of the Rucksack was produced a bottle of Goose Island Bourbon Barrel Stout – Cherry Rye Barrel. Wow! what a beer. This had perhaps the fullest, smoothest mouth feel of any beer I’ve ever had the pleasure of drinking. Imagine the best ever cherry liqueur chocolates you’ve tasted, blitz them in a blender and then pour into a glass. That. At 13.7% it was also the obvious choice to have as a third drink and perfect for 14:00. Yeah, obvious.
After that beast it was time to move on. The plan being to walk along to Fourpure. As we left Kernel Gary stopped a poor, unsuspecting bystander in his tracks. “Are you Dave?”. It turns out it was and we had just bumped into Dave Martin who Gary knew via Twitter. After giving us the once over and deciding we weren’t likely to murder him in a dark alley he joined us on our journey. Which was just as well as he knew where he was going and so we headed off to Fourpure. We did stop of on the way in Partizan again. This time an equally enjoyable IPA was enjoyed.
So, Fourpure. I’d tried one or two of their beers before but to be honest they hadn’t left much of an impression to be honest. As such I wasn’t sure what to expect and the industrial estate facade was not giving anything away. What an eye opener. The guys at Fourpure have really pushed the boat out to set up a cutting edge brewery and I have to say it looks like they’ve hit the brief. I landed a Session IPA, which does exactly what it says on the tin but does it really well, and Daniel (I think) kindly gave us a guided tour. I heartily recommend a visit to both the brewery itself and the beers are great.
Of course this was also the cue for Gary to pull another special out of the Rucksack. This time a Sixpoint Hi-Res and what a beast it was. Packed with syrupy sweet citrus (tangerine with a hint of something sharper , but not full blown grapefruit) and resinous hop. This was surprisingly well balanced and belied it’s 11%+ ABV.
Time was now against us so a decision was made to skip Brew By Numbers and head straight to Anspach & Hobday. For two reasons really. Firstly Melissa Cole was launching a collaboration brew with the guys from A&H and secondly the beers by BBN are so good it would guarantee we would be back for another visit. This time a taxi was taken, much to the relief of everyone’s feet.
Upon arrival the brewery was rocking and the pavements outside were littered with happy punters. Always a good sign. The obvious choice for beer was the colab beer a Tea Smoked Porter. To be honest I didn’t get much tea but it was a lovely beer. Nice full mouth feel, lots of roasted flavour, subtle smoke and liquorice, but no tea. To be fair though I had drank a number of big flavoured beers during the day though so my palate wasn’t at its best. I’ll repeat though that was a lovely beer. It was also a pleasure to finally meet Melissa Cole and her delightful mother too.
Then came the inevitable Rucksack moment. This time round a Crème Brûlée Stout by Southern Tier. It is one of the beers that has come closest in flavour to what is alleged on the label. Full of vanilla, lactose, caramel and chocolate on the finish. Gorgeous.
So, that was our experiences along the Bermondsey Beer Mile and we made our way back to the hotel. We did stop off at the Cross Keys for a Brodie’s Sour on the way which was very refreshing and then met up later in the evening for a great meal and some excellent beer at Dukes Joint.
All in all a great day.
Recommended Drink: Anything mentioned above 🙂