A beery & foody London Bridge Walk
London Bridge is up there with my favourite parts of London. I love the dirty maze of Victorian train tunnels and arches, and the hub of food and drink that has found its home in this part of London. I am sure most of you know that London Bridge has a few big hitters in the craft beer scene hiding in its nooks and crannies, and thankfully they are all conveniently in walkable distance from each other.
Saturday is the day when London Bridge is at its finest (and busiest). So, making a morning and afternoon of it, we decided to go from Bermondsey to London Bridge, hitting as many beer and food spots as we could.
We started on a high, popping by the new Kernel Brewery premises. This was my first visit to their new and shiny, and much bigger, brewery. This space works a lot better than the small stand they used to occupy in Maltby Street. The place was packed and it was great to see some of their old Maltby Street colleagues had joined them in the surrounding arches (Neil’s Yard Dairy, Monmouth Coffee, a charcuterie and a butchers are now located there).
I was at Kernel for a very specific reason, to pick up the new London Brick Red Rye IPA. After missing the launch at the Cock Tavern, I desperately wanted to try it. I was also there for the french oak edition of their Imperial Brown Stout, after drinking the non oak-aged version the night before and thinking ‘damn, this would be awesome if it was aged’.
We then moved onto Kernel’s old neighbourhood, Maltby street. The place had been completely transformed since I was last there (now dubbed Ropewalk). It has become a great little Saturday market in its own right, and seems unfazed by the relocation of the Kernel. How strange. We picked up an awesome flat white coffee, courtesy of Monmouth coffee, had a look around the new Lassco premises before moving on.
If you’re thinking about doing this walk, and want to make it as beery as possible, you can also hit The Draft House and the Dean Swift just north of Maltby Street. Both are great establishments with a great beer selection (though I sometimes have an issue with the Draft House’s pricing – a fiver for a half of Stone IPA is just a bit silly).
The next stop was obviously Borough Market, the biggest and busiest food market in all of the Big Smoke. Some people find it too crazy on a Saturday, while others think it’s vibrant and exciting. Thankfully, we knew what we wanted, and if you stick to certain parts of the market, it is not too bad.
Whenever I go to Borough Market there’s one food option I can’t resist – The Ultimate Cheese Toasty. If you have been to Borough Market you know the one I mean. The stall stinks of melting cheese and the toasties are so oily they coat your mouth for days. They’re goddamn amazing. And not just according to me but to Shortlist Magazine who recently voted it one of the best sandwiches in the world. Boom!
As this we were on a harvesting trip, rather than a drinking trip, we didn’t pop into the Rake, the local craft beer boozer. Instead we opted for their sister bottle shop Uto Beer. I have no idea how long Uto Beer has been going for, but I am pretty sure it’s been around since before the term ‘craft beer’ ever existed. It is the godfather of bottle shops and has an amazing collection of beers from around the world. Almost every bottle I have ever bought from their amazing collection has been something I’ve never tried before. As with most fancy bottle shops they offer both brews that are good value for money and the ones which are just plainly over priced. But we still buy them, because we’re addicts, right?
I secured myself a Brookyln Sorachi Ace, SWB Kopikat, Brewfist IPA, Rogue Juniper IPA & Yellow Snow IPA and an Anchor Old Foghorn. A few of those were on my list of must trys, and a few were from breweries I had heard good things about.
With 12 bottles in tow, my arms ready to admit defeat, I headed home. I thoroughly recommend the walk for anyone visiting london, just remember to start early and bring loads of cash.