Brew By Numbers & Oaka
Last weekend’s stroll round our fair capital threw up one or two new items of note. First and foremost is that London or more specifically Bermondsey, has gained another brewery bar. Yes that little enclave that time forgot has upped its claim to be the beating brewing heart of the metropolis once again. How long before they declare UDI?
Brew By Numbers is on Enid St, literally just round the corner from Kernel in the obligatory railway arch. BBN started in late 2012 but have only been open to the public on Saturdays for the last five weeks. Founders Tom Hutchings and Dave Seymour have the philosophy that apart from beer being interesting; it should be drinkable as well. Not a bad philosophy, it has to be said.
The brew kit is a hybrid rather than a custom build and consists of ex soft drink and dairy vessels. The brewery itself is larger than Partizan and currently offers two beers on draught as well as a range of bottles. Expansion into another arch is on the cards at some point as everyone chases the Kernel model of success. That's for the future, but for now they are happy to continue as they are.
What’s this funny name lark all about, I hear you ask. Well it simples. Each set of numbers refers to a particular style and recipe. So 02 is a Golden Ale, 08 is Stout etc and the rest is the variation on that theme. So a Golden Ale with Galaxy and Citra, for example. Clever, eh? The beers are certainly proving popular and the beard count was high on my visit. And that was just the girls.Of course this means that there is now a cracking crawl to be had incorporating Partizan, Kernel and Brew By Numbers. And if that wasn’t enough, there is also the fantastic Maltby St Market. This one-street overflow from Borough Market offers an amazing range of culinary delights and the air is thick with enticing smells. Check out Ric and his Modern Beer Co stall for a range of London beers that you can enjoy there and then or take home with you. All at £4 a bottle. And don't forget to say hello to the girls on the olive stall. I can recommend the roasted garlic.
Not far away in Kennington I finally got round to visiting Oaka; not only the only Oakham pub in London but one of only a handful in the country. This is a smart-looking boozer with the whiff of contemporary gastro about it. They specialise in Thai food which I didn't try but have had good reports about. Chatting to the barman it was interesting to hear that they have to ration their beer selection as people in London “don’t like bitter beers.”Now one annoying thing about Oaka-well two if you include lack of sparklers, but hey-ho it’s London-is that they don’t do halves. You can have a third, you can have a pint and you can even have two-thirds but not a half. Well sorry, that’s just barmy. By all means have these exotic measures but don’t forget the basics. Apart from that it's worth a visit and it's not that far from the oasis that is Bermondsey.