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Five of the best breweries in south east London and north Kent
A LOCALLY-BREWED pint always tastes better and brightens up any bar. Luckily south east London and north Kent has some of the best small brewers. Vibe introduces you to five of them.
News Shopper Editor Andy Parkes and Caveman's Nick Byram
CAVEMAN Brewery is run from the cellar of The George and Dragon in Swanscombe by James Hayward and Nick Byram.
The prehistoric names – beers include The Neanderthal, Paleolithic and Megalithic – derive from Swanscombe’s other claim to fame, the archaeological discovery of the (at the time) oldest human remains found in the UK.
Brewing began eighteen months ago and there are five core beers alongside Citra (4.1 per cent ABV) which was the first and has won several awards.
James said: “Our beers are brewed using the most flavourful ingredients we can find.
“Initially we were influenced by the American craft beer movement which produce big, full flavoured beers although now the UK is producing beers of equal quality.
“We have won beer of the festival at the Bexley CAMRA festival this year and West Kent CAMRA festival last year for our Citra.”
Caveman is available throughout Kent and London, and it is always on tap at the George and Dragon and Dartford Working Men’s Club. Nick and James hope to start bottling in the next couple of months.
Go to cavemanbrewery.co.uk
The Brockley Brewing Company
SET up by six enthusiastic brewers and (mainly) loyal Brockley, residents, The Brockley Brewing Company does exactly what it says on the pump clip.
Brewer Debbie said: “We don't like gimmicky names and designs and love the resonance and strength of the Brockley brand.”
The brewing began in March and have produced two ales A Pale Ale (4.1 per cent ABV) and the Brockley Golden Ale (3.8 per cent ABV).
A third ale is brewing for the autumn, while bottles of the Pale Ale should be available within weeks.
Debbie said: “We know what makes beer taste good - high quality malted barley and a selection of carefully chosen hops to achieve a delicate balance of flavours.
“The beer we make is crafted rather than mass produced and is make locally guaranteeing we deliver fresh beer.”
Check out facebook.com/brockleybrewery to find out where’s serving Brockley Brews. Regular outlets include The Talbot, The Wickham Arms and The Ladywell Tavern.
LATE KNIGHTS is brewed in Penge and the name is a reference to owner/brewer Steve Keegan’s devotion to brewing by evening while working as an area manager for Fullers by day.
Northerner Steve has always been involved in pubs and brewing and he decided it was time to start out on his own last September and has also opened his first bar – Beer Rebellion in Gipsy Hill.
Late Knights brew a main set of beers, plus seasonal ones in cask. Bottling has just begun, so look out for Worm Catcher IPA and Hair Dog Black IPA, which has already won a few awards and got a festival following.
Steve said: “We are a small brewery and everything is done in house so when I come up with a new idea for a beer, my girlfriend designs the pump clip, me and Martyn get brewing it and it's in pubs in just a few weeks.”
He added: “Our beer is truly a crafty beer, the only button we press is on the cooler unit everything else is done by hand.
“Our beer is made with fun and heart and soul, this is a lifestyle change not a move to make a lot of money and this is reflected in our beers. There is fun and humour, but most of all some really bloody good tasting beer.”
Pick up a pint at Beer Rebellion as well as many crafty pubs in London - Southampton Arms, Crown and Shuttle, Westow House, Euston Tap to name a few. A second Brockley site is planned for this year.
Go to lateknightsbrewery.co.uk
Meantime Brewing Company
MEANTIME is the daddy of brewers in south east London. In just over a decade of making beer, it has won Gold in the World Beer Cup and had four beers listed in the World’s Top 50 by the International Beer Challenge.
Founded by Alastair Hook in Greenwich in 1999, today there are six brewers in a state-of-the-art brewery, producing 10 beers including the popular London Pale Ale and the London Lager.
Picking up a pint of Meantime couldn’t be easier. The Greenwich Union pub is still home turf, but it is now in pubs all over the capital and you can buy it bottled from meantimebrewing.com or from outlets including Majestic.
Millis Brewing Co.
MILLIS Brewing Company was born out of the passion of homebrewer John Millis, who went on to set up a fully-fledged brewery in South Darenth.
He produces four beers, primarily sold to pubs and trade, which are suitably Kentish in name.
There’s the golden ale, the Gravesend Guzzler, the popular Dartford Wobbler premium bitter as well as the Kentish Best, Kentish Red and Kentish Gold.
Millis Beers are stocked in local pubs and bars, like the Three Daws in Gravesend and are now available to buy direct from the brewery too. Go to millisbrewing.com.
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