Boak & Bailey’s site to look at their weekly review. Entitled, “News, nuggets and long reads,” the review opens with the words, “Here’s everything on the subject of beer or pubs that grabbed our attention in the past week.”
Now I’m glad that the blogging duo have the dedication to read through all the beery stuff that’s published each week, as it saves the rest of us a job. I normally find at least one, and often several more, of the links referred to in their summaries, well worth clicking on to, so their labours are not in vain.
it was a link to Will Hawkes’s site which featured an in-depth interview with Partizan Brewing founder, Andy Smith that particularly caught my eye. For those not in the know, Partizan are one of the original pioneers of the brewing renaissance in London, having been around since 2012. Their brewery is housed in one of the numerous railway arches beneath the congested rail approaches leading into London Bridge station.
Partizan Brewery is one of the stops on the famous “Bermondsey Beer Mile” (BBM); a crawl which now takes in 14 brewery taps, although originally there were only half a dozen. The taps are normally only open to the public on Saturdays, as the owners are busy brewing beer during the rest of the week, but unfortunately, since its inception as a loose-knit brewery crawl, the BBM has become a victim of its own success. That is until the lock-down intervened and stopped play altogether.
BBM next Saturday, or indeed any Saturday, but then I’ve had previous experience of this crawl.
Son Matthew and I undertook the BBM back in June 2014. You can read about it here, and although we enjoyed the experience, even then it was far too crowded for our liking, attracting various groups such as rugby clubs or “stag do’s” in strange costumes, all out on a “piss-up.” What made it worse, were those moments when it ended up being a bladder-busting experience, and this area that I wish to concentrate on, especially as it was one raised by Andy Smith in the interview.
A couple of WC’s, for use by both sexes, is pretty much the norm, with queuing more or less inevitable. This is bad enough during normal times, but with enhanced hygiene and social-distancing requirements necessary to meet current pandemic restrictions, I can envisage nothing but problems for those wishing to undertake the BBM.
I have also highlighted the issue after visiting other “brewery taps;” last year’s stop-off at Cellar Head’s, Flimwell premises, is one fairy recent example, as is a visit made with friends to the Thomas Tallis micro-pub in Canterbury, last autumn, but it needn’t be like this.
If our American friends can do this, why can’t we? Is it because individual state laws, governing such places, are much more strict than they are here? Admittedly there is much more space in the US, and some establishments we visited were obvious “grand designs,” laid out to impress.
worthy of it, but in the main I am talking about much smaller breweries, such as some of the others we visited in the former Confederate capital. On a very wet Sunday afternoon, all were bustling places, full of life and all busy pouring a myriad of different beers from an array of taps. Contrast this to a pokey little English micro-pub, converted from a lock-up shoe repairs business.
I’m digressing somewhat and not really comparing like with like, but if one thing is really going to gall when our pubs reopen, it will be queuing for the toilets. So, back to Andy Smith and Partizan Brewery, who has mixed thoughts on the possible reopening of the Bermondsey Beer Mile.
the area cope with the dreaded “social-distancing” and other measures applied? And what about those dreadfully inadequate toilets?
Andy is obviously concerned, but fortunately branched out during lock-down by opening an online shop, and carrying out local deliveries. Sales have been 50 per cent higher per month than the brewery was taking over the bar, so does he really need to reopen on Saturday?
Personally, I think people will remain wary and for the time being at
least, will not return in anything like pre lock-down numbers. I certainly won’t be amongst them on
Saturday, but then the whole lack of adequate toilet facilities had already put
me off. Like other observers though, I will be maintaining a close interest in what happens on 4th July.