More eloquently known as the “Bermondsey Beer Mile” – the mile itself has actually grown to a rather greedy two miles. Based along the archways of a railway line that runs towards London Bridge Station, just off London’s South Bank.

In the past few years, the craft beer industry has boomed, not just in London, of course. But London, always happy to embrace booze-based fun and hipster trends has become home to a growing number of craft beer breweries and taprooms.

The BBM starts roughly a twenty-minute walk from London Bridge Station – around Maltby Street Market and runs along the railway arches, finishing at Four Pure close to South Bermondsey tube station. And while it remains to be seen if anyone has actually managed to complete it successfully, people have given it a jolly good go, no less.

If you wanted to take the style of a classic “pub crawl” it doesn’t sound like too much of a feat to stop for a half-pint at ten or so breweries. The issue being that no one really ever just stops for one, and some of the beers pack a lot more punch than your average can of supermarket lager. Also, each taproom has its own quirks and specialities, meaning different places will appeal to different groups.

Stops of Note:

My personal favourite is Cloudwater – which is actually a Manchester-based brewery that now has a taproom on the mile, and rightly so. Cloudwater produces some of the tastiest craft beers in the UK, which you can often find in can-form in craft pubs around the country.

Beer haters will perhaps prefer the offers of Hawkes Cidery which offers up yummy craft cider amongst a smaller selection of beers also. They also sell tasty pizzas for just £6.00, which is much-needed ballast during a long day at The Mile.

People who enjoy a bit of light entertainment while they drink will love The Doodle Bar – which is more just a bar than a taproom. Here you can find a full bar menu, yummy burgers, ping pong tables – and what they’re famous for – chalk walls that can be written all over!

If you’re looking for bang for your buck head over to FourPure’s Boozy Brunch on Sundays £20 will buy you 1.5 hours of non-stop craft beer served alongside a simple, yet tasty brunch menu prepared by Oh My Dogs. While many of the taprooms along the mile are more make-shift than style-conscious FourPure is a valid exception. Their tasting room is classy enough even your mum would approve and gives off more of an industrial gastro-pub vibe with classy swing-seats, velour cushions and a huge circle bar.

Beers of Note:

As I say, I’m a massive fan of Cloudwater’s, well, everything. But particularly their IPA’s, DIPA’s (double IPAs) and TIPA’s (triple IPAs) they also do some pleasant sours, a yummy mango beer and plenty some downright dangerous beers such as the 10% Chubbles. Their menu changes continuously, so no two times you visit will ever be the same.

If you’re a fan of Strongbow Dark Fruits (hear me out) – which for those who may not know is a popular typical cider in the UK that’s defining feature is it has like a blackberry taste to it. Well, if you like that you will love Hawkes Dead and Berried cider which is like a super tasty version of the arguably cheap and cheerful Dark Fruits.

When to go:

While some of the taprooms open up for a few hours in the evening, many of the bars only open on Saturdays so if you have to choose just one day – let it be Saturday daytime. Pretty much all of the taprooms close early (by London standards) at around 10 or 11pm. I think the very latest open is Doodle Bar which closes at midnight. So sooner is better, if you want to feel the full hit of The Mile and have the most selection. Failing that Friday night is also a good bet, and while not all the bars will be open, several will be – enough to keep you occupied for a few hours anyway!

Pick a Route:

It goes without saying the easiest way to crawl is from one end to the other, so you kind of need to choose an end. Bear in mind you will likely not even make it halfway if my experience is anything to go by so if you have particular breweries you want to hit, make sure you start in that area. The best starting option in my opinion via at Maltby Street Market where you can grab some yummy foods from a host of street vendors on a Saturday daytime and work your way along. For a super comprehensive route see this helpful post from Secret London.

How to Get There:

If starting at Maltby Street Market end the best transport options is to arrive at London Bridge Station and take a leisurely 20 min walk along, or hop on any bus headed down Tooley Street (Stop R – bus 47 or 343 get off at Boss St) the first brewery is Southwark Brewing Company. Alternatively starting at the other end simply jump on the tube to South Bermondsey and walk five minutes to FourPure (which is accessed via the retail park on Rotherhive New Road that houses Screwfix and Toolstation). You can also take a quick Uber, Bolt, Kaptan or ViaVan ride.

It’s worth saving all the breweries to your Google Maps ahead of time as they are not all on the same streets – there is no transport in-between the bars, but everything is walking distance.

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Suggested Route:

  1. Starting at Malby Street grab a delish artisanal grilled cheese. While along Maltby Street pop into Little Bird Gin for a crafty gin or a wine at OPS before a full day of beery goodness.
  2. Return to the beginning of Malby Street and down Druid St to access Southwark Brewing Company and The Doodle Bar. Alternatively, grab your first beer at the end of the market at Hivers Taproom. Note: their honey beer is kind of weird, but they have a good selection of cans.
  3. Back out on Druid Street yo can find The Barrel Project, Hawkes Cidery, Anspach & Hobby and London City Runners.
  4. Once you reach the end of Druid St, simply turn right into the underpass, and the mile starts back up again at the other side of the arches on Enid Street.
  5. On Enid Street hit Moor Beer Co, London Calling Sweden, Cloudwater, Brew by Numbers and Bianca Road Brew.
  6. If you’re still standing by the end of this section then congratulations – you have made it further than I ever have!
  7. At the end of Enid Street turn left into Spa Road and then again into Dockley Road to find Kernel Brewery.
  8. From here there’s a slight walk to the next few places. Keep to the roads that run beside the train tracks – Lucey Way, then Blue Anchor Lane and Bombay St. At the roundabout take Almond Road where you will find Affinity Brewing, Spartan Brewery, EeBria Tap Room and Bermondsey Social Club.
  9. After this follow the underpass to Raymouth Road where you will discover Partizan Brewing.
  10. At the end of Raymouth Road cross back under the underpass and carry on along Rotherhithe New Road.
  11. When you see Screwfix turn left into that road (The Bermondsey Trading Estate) and follow the road round and turn right at the crossroads, FourPure is just at the end of the road.
  12. If you’re happy to call it a day here come out of Bermondsey Trading Estate the way you went in and turn left back out onto Rotherhithe New Road. From here you can talk the next passage on your left to South Bermondsey tube station.
  13. If for some reason you are still hankering for one last beer then instead take the 3rd left turn, down a passage to Credon Road and at the upcoming roundabout turn right into Verney Road where you will find Small Beer Brew Company.
  14. Pat yourself on the back – you have conquered Bermondsey Beer Mile – return to South Bermondsey Station or (more likely) take a well-earned taxi!