Beer Guide London Visits 2 – Battersea & Wandsworth
Another week, more ‘research.’ This time I left home with a plan. I had a list of 12 Guide entries in a relatively small geographical area. This is how I used to roll, things were getting back to normal. Except. I hadn’t allowed for just how out of practice I was, my body still isn’t used to this. The list was 12, in days of old a modest total. I managed to do, well read on and find out!
Waterloo was my point of entry in to London this week, purely because I wanted to get the recently opened Northern Line extension under my belt. Luckily I didn’t have to wait long as the first scheduled train when I got on to the platform was for Battersea Power Station. With this happily ticked off I emerged in Battersea a couple of minutes walk away from my first stop the Mason’s Arms, a Fuller’s pub that also stocks an excellent range of guest beers, with even more good stuff in the fridges behind the bar. Now, with hindsight, I’ll admit that beginning my day with a 7.5% sour from Vault City and a 10% stout from UnBarred wasn’t perhaps my greatest decision. But they were both really good beers so I was very happy.
From here it was a ten minute walk through the Battersea Power Station development to my first planned brewery tap of the day, Battersea Brewery. One of the many breweries taking advantage of the space offered by London’s plentiful railway arches. They have done a good job of providing a split level tap room, together with an outside space, in typical industrial brewery decor. Despite being relatively new they are one of the relatively few London breweries that serves cask beers alongside their keg offerings. I sampled two beers, one cask and one keg, and both were very good quality. It’s refreshing to see that not all recent breweries are spurning cask.
It was a short walk to the nearest bus stop and the short journey to Lavender Hill and the first of my ‘catch up’ visits. No Boring Beer has not been open for long and is the third branch of the small group. At the moment it has 4 beers available on tap for take away or on-site drinking but they are due to expand the cellar imminently and double the draft offering. A welcome addition to the area with a really friendly, knowledgeable manager. Well stocked fridges mean that you won’t struggle to find something you want to drink here. Although in one of my many amateur moves of the day I managed to order the Polly’s beer only to find I’d had it before. ARS (Accidental Revisit Syndrome)!
My second bus of the day took me to my second ‘catch up’ of the day which was also my second brewery tap of the day. It never ceases to me amaze me that despite the chaos we have all been living through for what seems like forever there are still people out there who have managed to open new bars, bottle shops and breweries. Distortion Brewing is one of these newcomers. Another arch based brewery this one is all shiny steel inside with the beer served from the large tanks behind the bar. I’d never had any of their beers before so it made sense to me to go straight for the tasting flight so I could sample a range. All were good, and their take on Kölsch was one of the better ones I have sampled outside of Cologne.
It’s only a short walk from here to the next brewery tap Mondo Brewing. This is a larger brewery but they have done an excellent job of creating a really cosy drinking area separate from the brewing area and although I don’t visit often I always enjoy it. I tried a couple of their beers including one that was so new I had to add it in to Untappd. I don’t like doing this as it is very obvious how I scored the beer. Good job I really enjoyed this one. I did spot a new Florida brewery available on tap, but I was already starting to flag a bit so, in an uncharacteristic show of self control, I eschewed the Triple IPA at 10% that was on offer. What is wrong with me…
It was time to catch the bus in to Wandsworth where two brewery taps and a classic back street pub awaited me. The first of these was the Ram Inn, the huge old Young’s pub on the corner of what was Young’s Ram Brewery complex, now very much long gone and very redeveloped. It is now back open as an excellent pub and it is home to Sly Beast Brewing. There is always a good choice of their beers available and they are usually excellent. Knowing this I ended up falling back in to character and ordered a flight of the four beers I hadn’t tried. I wasn’t disappointed and I know I will be visiting this place a lot, not least because my in-laws live less than a mile away.
Leave the Ram Inn by the main door, turn left and then left in to Ram Street and in less than a minute you will arrive at the new location, and tap room, for Sambrook’s Brewery. Another recent opening this is one of the flagship venues in the Ram Brewery development, and along with Sly Beast ensures that the site’s brewing tradition continues. Very much an upgrade on their previous location this is exactly what you expect a purpose built tap room to be like. An excellent space with a large courtyard outside.
Those of you who have been keeping track will know that this was stop seven of the day. Another five to go then. Well, yes according to my plan. But plans change. I realised I had reached my limits so I walked to Wandsworth Town station and caught the train home. I could have at least tried to do the other Guide entry in Wandsworth but I knew that that would be a mistake. My thinking was helped by knowing that Wandsworth is somewhere I visit a lot, I maybe would have pushed myself a bit further if I’d been in a far flung bit of London. Hopefully when I started venturing further afield I’ll be getting close to being fully ‘match fit.’ We’ll see…