It’s all kicking off in Deptford. You only need to travel one stop south from London Bridge station and you’re suddenly amidst what is surely becoming one of London’s best beer destinations.
As well as the fine folks at Hop Burns & Black (which, being right outside the exit to the station should be your first port of call), you’ve got a range of great bars and some smashing brewery taprooms to enjoy during your stay. Take Gin & Beer, for example. Very few London bars do Belgian beer well, but that is exactly what Gin & Beer does here. Plus the space is so cosy you probably won’t even notice you’re in a railway arch. Newcomer Little Faith has a fantastic taproom too, pouring its own product as well as some quality guest beers. They often have great pop-up food traders in residence too, so be sure to stop in for a bite.
Then there’s Villages. Set up in 2016 by brothers Archie and Louis Village, this little brewery has quietly been putting out a host of tasty beers enjoyed by Deptford locals and those in the know alike. In fact I’d go as far as to say that in flying under the radar a little, they’re one of London’s most criminally under-hyped breweries.
But the Villages team have never seemed to care about being part of the fuss. They appear to be keener knocking out solid pale ales and lagers. The kind of beer you’ll gleefully stick with all night. The kind of beer that sits in the background of the very best social occasions; one that doesn’t make you think too much and enhances the best kind of evening.
Their recent special, Beam, is a beer that does command a little more of your attention, however. This fruited sour contains additions of blackberry, cherry and raspberry. It pours a beautiful shade of coral pink, its acidity quickly dispelling the soft, pink foam that forms when you pour it. The nose is all fruit (as you’d expect from a triple fruited sour) but leaning toward the softer, juicer side as opposed to being heavy and tannic.
The flavour is much the same, with the three fruits working in gentle harmony. This isn’t an intense beer – true to Villages style, it’s soft and eminently sippable. There’s just a hint of sourness, cleaning up the fruit and keeping the beer tight and sessionable. It’s super dry in the finish, giving it all the characteristics of a summer smasher, but it’s one you’ll be more than content to sip as the colder nights begin to draw in.
Deptford definitely has it all going on at the moment. Next time you’re out and about in London for a beer, I’d highly recommend a visit.
Matthew Curtis is a writer, photographer and editor of Pellicle Magazine. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @totalcurtis and @pelliclemag. Pick up a can of Villages Beam here, and to be first to read articles from Matt and our food writer Claire Bullen, why not subscribe to our All Killer No Filler subscription box?