Beer Guide London Visits 7 – Bromley & Bexleyheath
It turns out that while I was hunting down Snowmen in Bromley Jezza was updating the Guide entries for Bromley. Talk about good timing. It meant that, this week, I had confirmation from my first target that they would indeed be open at 12:00. And they were. Bromley had been chosen as I had seen reports the week before of a beer from Marlix Brewery being available at the Lock & Barrel micropub. This is one of the smallest breweries in London so I was always going to follow up any sightings in my attempts to try every London brewery. Luckily it was still available so that was two “ticks” with the first visit of the day. The Lock and Barrel is a great place, in an old locksmiths shop, with excellent quality cask beer served on gravity as well as a few keg beers, mostly sourced from London & Kent.
There was still some doubt as to whether my second planned stop opened at 12:30 or 13:00, so there was only one way to find out for definite. It’s less than ten minutes walk and I arrived at 12:40. I can confirm it opens at 13:00! Luckily I knew of another bar, not in the Guide, a few doors down that I have always enjoyed visiting. Stop two, therefore, became the Barrel & Horn. This is a Fuller’s pub, but it is one of the new generation that have a great range of guest beers. I have always found something interesting here and today was no exception as they were still in the middle of a Brick Brewery tap takeover so with time to kill, and with my ticker’s head on, I had a flight. Whilst in there I exchanged messages with Jezza about what I was finding and it was decided, on the basis of what I had found, to make the Barrel & Horn the newest Guide entry. A slightly proud moment as this, I think, is the first one that has been added based on one of my visits!
Now it was back up the High Street to my third stop, the ever excellent Star & Garter. From outside this looks like any other town centre pub, then you go in and start to take a look at the taps. Oh my! The taps! The beer range here is awesome, with quality beers from all over the place. I couldn’t decide, so ended up having two flights. The only slight problem was that across the six beers the average ABV was 8.9%… Amongst them were my first beers form highly rated newcomers Holy Goat and Tartarus and they were both excellent. Needless to say this wasn’t a quick in and out visit.
Eventually I made my way onwards towards the final Guide entry in Bromley, the Bitter End micropub. My first ever first here was some years ago when it made it in to the Good Beer Guide as an off licence and homebrew supplies shop that started to serve a couple of cask beers two. All vestiges of home brewing are now long gone and it is definitely more pub than micropub now. A good choice of London breweries and beyond is available here.
Now that Bromley was done I planned to head over to Beckenham, but although it isn’t a huge distance it is tricky by public transport. I checked various routes but in the end I opted for the easy option and called an Uber. Less than fifteen minutes later I was at my next stop, Three Hounds Bottle Shop. This is a seriously impressive venue that has more than 100 different packaged beers available alongside 10 on tap. I opted for the smoked beer from Deptford based Villages Brewery, good but not smoky enough for my taste.
A short walk brought me to my final stop of the day, and my only Guide catch up visit, Br3wery. This has to be one of London’s smallest breweries, crammed in to a small shop unit alongside a small bar and a couple of tables plus outside seating. My first experience of their beers and both of those sampled were good.
Another good day out which could possibly have gone on a bit longer, but I erred on the side of caution after the time spent in the Star & Garter! Bromley now has 4 Guide entries in a compact town centre and the two Beckenham entries are conveniently only 5 minutes apart. All are worth visiting and supporting, especially as we start to re-enter interesting times.