If you read online about craft beer in the capital it won’t be long before you come across a mention of the Bermondsey Beer Mile. This stretch of railway arches beneath the main lines out of London Bridge hosts such a concentration of craft beer breweries that it’s become something of a weekend mecca for thirsty drinkers in search of the good stuff.
You can explore this all yourself, but for those of us who don’t know London all that well – or just want to try something a little different – taking a guided tour can be a great way to get to know its ins and outs.
It’s not always obvious where to go between one brewery and the next. A few of them are spaced quite far apart and the streets twist and turn beneath the tracks at times, so having a guide can provide a little peace of mind that you won’t get lost once you’ve had a few beers.
Check out londonbrewerytour.com – their Bermondsey Microbrewery Experience is the perfect way to explore the areas with a group of like-minded beer fans and enjoy some behind-the-scenes access that you wouldn’t otherwise get.
But of course there’s more to the city’s craft beer scene than Bermondsey. There are plenty of other areas to explore, each of them worthy of a tour in their own right.
East London is a perfect example. It hosts a vibrant craft beer scene of its own, bursting with vitality and creativity. Again, if you don’t know the area well you could easily miss some of the smaller breweries and bars. But there’s a tour you can take here too, run by a friendly group of beer-loving Londoners who say they have spent “far too much time and money exploring the London craft beer scene”.
On their tours, which you can book via AirBnB, you will spend an evening crawling around some of East London’s best independent breweries and bars, hear about London’s fascinating brewing history, acquire some boozy treats, eat some street food, and share a drink and a bit of conversation. What better way to soak in the atmosphere of a night on the town?
There are great brewing centres across the UK that rival London for the honour of being Britain’s craft beer capital. If you’re interested in learning more about the modern craft beer scene it would be a mistake to ignore what these cities have to offer.
If you’re heading west, excellent craft beer will be there to greet you. Check out brewerism.co.uk for tours of Bristol, which take in the excellent Arbor Ales, Moor Beer, New Bristol Brewery, and Left Handed Giant among others. Brewerism also cover Cheltenham and Gloucester.
Manchester is a beer drinker’s paradise. Head to manchesterbrewerytours.com if you want to be taken around breweries such as Beer Nouveau and Track, plus the excellent Unit 101 tap house run by importers and distributors Beer Merchants.
This tour takes in craft beer big-hitters North Brew Co and Northern Monk, plus much-hyped beer bar Bundobust and American style brew pub Tapped. See yorkshirebrewerytour.com for more information. The same site also covers York.
If you’re a beer fan then don’t miss our recent piece on mead, or if you’re more of a wine lover testing the hoppy waters of beer then have a look at Anthony’s post on how to find a style you like here!