After sharing the love for North London’s craft beer offerings, we’ve headed across the Thames (‘South of the river? At this time of the night?’) to pick our top 5 London breweries from South London.
The big difference between North and South London breweries is in the way each side present their beer. North London is more fussed about looking trendy and having a complex art style, whereas South London is more focused on a distinguishing logo or branding that will help identify them as a beer of quality.
This list could easily just discuss the six fantastic breweries on the Bermondsey Mile, who show that being close to your competition really helps produce fantastic stuff. Sorry to Bullfinch, Anspach & Hobday, and Fourpure, who are all excellent but just didn’t quite make the cut.
5. Meantime Brewery
— Me ntime rewing C . (@MeantimeBrewing) April 13, 2015
Meantime are the biggest craft brewery in London and most known outside of the city, but they get flack from the current generation of craft beer fans for not being as exciting. To some extent I agree, but they are still a revelation compared to the massive generic breweries that Meantime are now competing against. People must remember that Meantime are the Godfather of English craft beer and, like it or not, they are our Sierra Nevada and must be respected for that. However, hopefully the buyout from SAB Miller makes them go back to their more experimental roots.
Best Beer: Meantime Black IPA
4. Partizan Brewing
The first entrant to be part of the Bermondsey Mile set, Partizan is the exception to my point that South London breweries prefer a logo – instead opting for vibrant and colourful bottles that feel almost French in their art style. Partizan’s core range is excellent example of each in their genre, from a strong stout to super-hoppy IPA. Their lemongrass Saison would also be a perfect transition for converting white wine fans to the cult of craft beer.
Best Beer: IPA
3. Orbit Beers London
— Orbit Beers (@OrbitBeers) May 12, 2015
Orbit don’t have a large range of beers but we’ll forgive them as they have only been retailing since last July. Every beer that Orbit makes smells great, has a lovely consistency and wonderfully complex flavours. Whilst most breweries look to North America for inspiration, Orbit have instead focused on Europe and worked out how to add a British twist – avoiding adding a hoppy IPA to their small range, but offering two German style Altbiers.
Best Beer: Leaf Alt
2. Brew By Numbers (BBNo.)
Our 25|02 White IPA Citra & Motueka launches Thu. Several venues will have a free BBNo glass for the first customers. pic.twitter.com/Ls7eRFqg6V
— BrewByNumbers (@BrewByNumbers) May 5, 2015
The second member from the Bermondsey Mile, Brew By Numbers have a simple design with a four-numbered code on the front. This number is to let the craft beer anoraks know what batch they are drinking; the first two digits represent the style of beer and the second set is the recipe number. BBNo are so obsessed with experimentation and perfecting their formulas they let people know how they tinker with it. They are on the up after a huge investment by craft beer behemoths Brewdog.
Best Beer: My favourite is Nut Brown Beer 0902 but there is a reason their Saison is style number 1.
1. The Kernel Brewery
The Kernel Brewery is the emperor of the Bermondsey Mile, the undisputed King of London and arguably the best in the UK. The bottles personify quality and would fit perfectly into any wine rack; Kernel’s labels are simple brown paper and the name of the beer is pressed on like an old fashioned typewriter – a simple but distinctive design which means people can easily spot them. They have a huge range, all with a uniform level of excellence. For craft beer fans they also highlight the different hops used in their ales, which also aid the average beer punter in tasting the difference that hops make in the taste of beer. If you’re yet to try any, you’ll have a lot of fun going through their collection.
Best Beer: Kernal Export Stout is the best stout you’ll ever have.