03/12/2017 at 16:20 | Posted in Crawls | 1 Comment
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For December 2017, Ed took his first crawl, as we walked from Southwark to London Bridge via Borough.

As ever we met close to the tube for convenience, and you can’t get closer to Southwark station than The Ring, directly across the street, and named after a boxing arena of the same name, which was destroyed in the last war. It’s a fairly small corner pub, which was fairly busy but without any queue at the bar and space to stand. As it’s a small pub the beer range isn’t vast, but it is good, with several good casks and a range of craft beer on the keg lines.

Boundary.jpgWe headed east from here, past the Dog & Pot sculpture recalling Charles Dickens’s memories of this corner, to a very newly reopened pub, Mc & Sons, which prior to its refurbishment had been the Charles Dickens, and is owned by the same company as The Ring. This has a different vibe, though, with an Irish theme, but tastefully done, with weathered wood all around and a gorgeous snug at the front of the pub. The beer range included some excellent beers sourced from Irish breweries including Boundary Brewing of Belfast and Kinnegar of Donegal, alongside a good range of more local casks.

King AlfredOn leaving we called at the Crossbones graveyard before heading to the Gladstone, or the Glad; sadly on this occasion it was closed for a private party so we had to continue, pausing in the beautiful Trinity Church Square. As well as a beautiful church-turned-orchestral rehearsal/recording space, the Henry Wood Hall, the centre of the square hosts a statue of King Alfred, believed by many to be London’s oldest statue, having been ordered by Richard II as one of a set of eight for Westminster Hall in 1395.

A few more steps and we reached the Roebuck, a good pub on a prominent corner site, with a smallish but good range of cask and craft beers. Interestingly this sits across the street from the site where building work in the 1990s turned up a Roman grave, which experts at the Museum of London believe is the only known grave ever found of a female gladiator.

theotherroomWe came next into Tower Bridge Road, and the first micropub we’ve ever called at one one of our zone 1 crawls, The Other Room. In common with the typical micropub formula this is a small former shop, kitted out with wooden seating and a small bar, though unusually the focus is on craft keg beer rather than cask ale, and prices were higher than you may expect at a cask micropub. Nevertheless it was a very homely find, and the beers were all local Bermondsey/Rotherhithe beers.

A few minutes to the north we came to the Simon the Tanner, a good pub which is larger than it looks, extending some way to the back. There is a range of good cask and craft keg beers, with the local theme continuing here with several of us going for the Zeus Pale Ale from Kernel, who kick-started the Bermondsey brewing scene a few minutes’ walk to the east.

Next up we headed close to London Bridge station for the Rose, which had once been in the crawl itinerary but was, when we arrived, in an advanced state of demolition; someone hadn’t done their homework! Fortunately they completed their refurbishment and reopened the pub a few months later, and it remains a lovely interior, though sadly with just a solitary handpump, which on this particular evening was dry; they had a couple of decent kegs though including Shipyard Rye Pale Ale, which we went for.

A very short hop away lies the Horseshoe, the last stop of the evening. This is quite a large pub, which feels like it could support a larger range of interesting beers being on the cusp of where London’s brewing centre of Bermondsey rubs up against central London, but the ales were fairly standard (Hobgoblin, Brakspear).

Finally we had quite a long debate on the Pub of the Crawl, with various different opinions; but eventually we settled on Mc & Sons, in recognition of the amazing job they’ve done in refurbishing the pub such that you would be hard-pressed to notice that the building it sits in was pretty much gutted and rebuilt over the last couple of years.

And we also nominated a Beer of the Crawl this month; Kernel’s Zeus Pale Ale, as drunk in the Simon the Tanner. Congratulations!

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