For those of you who don't know: the Bermondsey Beer Mile is a loose amalgamation of brewery bars and bottle shops, located along a stretch of railway arch that's closer to two miles long nowadays. The one thing they have in common is that they're all open at roughly the same time on a Saturday afternoon, giving those of you who fancy some exercise the chance to indulge in a rather fine pub crawl. As long as you can find your way between all the bars, of course.
And this is the problem: because the Mile is something that's grown organically over a period of years, and there's no definitive central resource you can consult in order to find out where all the bars are. New ones keep opening, and old ones change location. Virtually all of the documentation of the Mile on the internet consists of one-off blog posts that quickly go out of date. I should know, as I wrote one of those myself back in 2014, and it's full of mistakes now.
(I'm Spank The Monkey, by the way: I've had an arts and entertainment review blog on the internet for over two decades. Most of the words you're going to see on here are mine, with additional contributions and photography by my pal The Belated Birthday Girl. If you're curious to see what the Mile looked like in olden days, here are some pictures The BBG took of it back in 2014.)
In the absence of any official site relating to the Mile, we've decided to start an unofficial one. We'll attempt to document all of the bars currently on the route, and how to get between them all: and whenever we hear about any changes we'll update the site as soon as we can. (You can help with this - feel free to drop us notes in the comments boxes if you find that anything's altered since we wrote about it. We've included links to the official sites of all the bars, which should hopefully have the most up-to-date information.)
Here's the route as it currently stands. (You could start at the other end and work in the opposite direction, but I'll explain why we're doing it this way round in the first post.) Links with distances in them will give you a map of how to get there: links with a bar name in bold will take you to a separate page with more details about it: bars with an asterisk next to their name also brew beer on the same premises.
- Start at The Cheese Truck, Maltby Street Market
- Walk 120m to Hiver/All Good Beer, 56 Stanworth Street
- Walk 350m to Southwark Brewing*, 46 Druid Street
- Walk 170m to The Barrel Project, 80 Druid Street
- Walk 50m to Hawkes Cider*, 96 Druid Street
- Walk 110m to Anspach & Hobday*, 118 Druid Street
- Walk 34m to The Bottle Shop, 128 Druid Street
- Walk 180m to Moor Beer, 71 Enid Street
- Walk 15m to London Calling Sweden, 72 Enid Street
- Walk 1m to Cloudwater, 73 Enid Street
- Walk 23m to Brew By Numbers*, 75/79 Enid Street
- Walk 350m to uBrew*, 29-30 Old Jamaica Business Estate, 24 Old Jamaica Road
- Walk 35m to Bone Daddies, 27-28 Old Jamaica Business Estate, 24 Old Jamaica Road
- Walk 350m to The Kernel*, Arch 11, Dockley Road Industrial Estate
- Walk 950m to Affinity*, 7 Almond Road
- Walk 140m to Spartan*, 8 Almond Road
- Walk 130m to EeBria, 15 Almond Road
- Walk 210m to Partizan*, 34 Raymouth Road
- Walk 650m to Fourpure*, 22 Bermondsey Trading Estate
It's possible, of course, that we may have left it just that little bit too late to tell people about the Mile. As this site made its internet debut (on July 14th 2018), the very railway arches that most of these breweries and bars inhabit were under threat, as Network Rail prepared to sell them off to the highest bidder. Meanwhile, one of the biggest breweries on the Mile had just sold itself off to the people behind Castlemaine XXXX, leading to a debate about the nasty consequences of Big Beer taking over the craft market - the way that companies like AB InBev can destroy the breweries they buy up, and the business reasons behind them getting involved in the first place. Is this the start of a worrying trend? We'll try to keep on top of it here as best we can.
Anyway, enjoy your crawl, but please: drink responsibly.