Nearby the Tower of London lies a set of concrete caverns, under and off-shooting a stretch of railway. And whilst the nearby medieval tower may hold the country’s royal headgear, this 1.5 mile (give or take) path holds the crown of London’s beer scene – The Bermondsey Beer Mile. Which, for anyone who isn’t aware, is a hub of breweries and other purveyors of beery goodness just south of the Thames. And its shiniest jewel (in my opinion) isn’t a brewery; but a taproom belonging to a distributor – The Bottle Shop.
But what makes it so dazzling? To sum it up: any bar in the country would struggle to beat it in terms of the impressive range of top quality beers on offer. They’re a distributor first and foremost after all; range is what they do, and this ability to differentiate is Bottle Shop’s greatest asset.
Take a recent visit as evidence. A range of Omnipollo’s barrel-aged beasts such as Magnus Opus (the Craft Beer Bingo-worthy, 14.5% bourbon barrel aged, cinnamon, pecan, mud cake stout with toasted poppy seeds, charcoal and cold smoked bacon) poured next to specials from the likes of Dugges, Wiper and True, Stigbergets and Birrifico Italiano. That’s rare and wonderful beers from Sweden, the UK and Italy all represented on the same taplist. And this 12 tap draft menu is ever-changing to match the beery zeitgeist.
All this is before you even mention the fridges – the real gem of the taproom with over 450 beers to choose from. IPAs, reds, golden ales, sours, ambers, pales, saisons, stouts, porters, ryes, fruit beers (you get the idea) from the likes of Buxton, Beavertown, Green Flash, Alpine and Kernel (amongst countless other stalwarts and purveyors of hoppy gloriousness) were all chilling in the shelves awaiting the packed Friday night crowd, with the bar staff on hand ready to expertly answer any and all questions about the selection. An added bonus of good service on top of great choice.
Range is obviously so important when it comes to the quality of a craft beer bar. It’s one fine way of keeping the customer coming back for more. And if you can find a range this wide, this good and this fresh in any other venue, then you better make that bar your local. And do it fast because someone else will drink all the delicious varieties of beer before you get a chance.
So whilst (unlike the Tower of London) it may look unassuming from the outside, the abundance of treasures within makes Bottle Shop the perfect venue for one and all. It doesn’t matter if you’re a craft veteran looking to tick off another rare seasonal, or a beer newbie looking to dip their toes – the boozy riches alone are worth journeying to Bermondsey for. And if you are visiting The Beer Mile, don’t forget about Bottle Shop – and be sure you put ample time aside to enjoy the wonders it has on offer.
Bottle Shop’s Bermondsey bar (128 Druid Street, London, SE1 2HH) is open:
Friday: 5pm-10:30 pm. Saturday: 10am-7pm and Sunday 12:30 pm – 5:30pm
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