On a dreary, wet, miserable Monday, ahead of a cocktail-fuelled birthday party in Peckham Rye I decided I would need to start my day with beer. Good beer. And as I had a day’s holiday from work I thought I’d make the most of it. A quick “craft beer in Peckham” Google threw up the inimitable Brick Brewery, which unfortunately doesn’t open the tap room on Mondays so I opted for another very intriguing option.
Beer Rebellion Peckham
Late Knights, the Penge based brewery, who bring you quirky, hipster-labelled beers such as Worm Catcher, Morning Glory (lol) and Lager Not Lager amongst others also run a few bars around London – all named Beer Rebellion (I’m hoping that’s due to their beer called Rebel-Lion and not the other way around). So when my Google-Fu enlightened me to one only 15 minutes walk from Peckham Rye and less than two from Queen’s Road Peckham station there was no other option than to drop in and sample their wares.
Beer Rebellion, hipster – but very self-aware
It’s a Monday. I arrived just after opening. Two punters resided inside the concrete-floored, ex-bookies, both nursing pints in dimpled jugs. I kept an open mind, after all I had just had a lovely conversation with a lady outside who clearly didn’t know whether she was coming or going.
Looking very much like a clueless fresher on their first day of lectures I approached a bar full of taps but devoid of beer badges.
“What have you got on today?” I asked, expecting it to be too early for the taps to have been decorated with their respective beer labels. But no, this is a hipster-but-not-too-hipster joint. The (extremely friendly) barman pointed to the wall where the Casks, Ciders and Kegs were all displayed on, yes you guessed it, chalkboard painted blocks:
Selection at Beer Rebellion
They boast 6 casks, 2 ciders and 10 kegs within these walls that were once a bookmakers (and gladly no longer, I used to work in the gambling industry – don’t give those w*nkers your money) – the set up is actually quite strange. With no cellar to be found the beers are actually pulled from a side room which you can see through a viewing at the side of the bar. Transparency in its truest form.
As a Late Knights bar, it was obviously dominated by their own wares, however, there were a few other interesting options available. Brick Brewery featured twice, they are about a 15 minute walk away and Tickety Brew, Bullfinch and Arbor were also calligraphised on the boards.
Their beer fridge, too, is packed full of what you would expect. London based breweries with a few gems from farther afield. If you were to find yourself on Queen’s Road at any point and thirsty – this would by far be your best option.
— Beer-Reviews (@BeerRevs) June 13, 2016
I drank these at Beer Rebellion Peckham
I started with Brick Brewery’s Berliner Weisse (I stuck to halves considering I’m goin’ out on the taahn later) which is always a delightful, spritely little number. The best way I think I can describe it is as the gin and tonic of beer. It’s tart, but not overly sour to give you that weird vinegar face, and the finish is just beautifully balanced citrus.
I then asked the barman what the best Late Knights brewery cask beer was and was pointed towards the enigmatic Rebel-Lion. A solid session pale at 4% and very reasonably priced. Session in name and session in nature – it’s what I expect most breweries would look for in a pale.
Next up I dropped back to Keg (sorry hardliners) and opted for the Arbor Basta Rosse, described on the board only as a Cloudy Amber. It looked a lot darker than an amber but that may also be the low-level light and the smooth grooves playing behind me which make me feel I’m in a psuedo-hippy convent and I should be taking my clothes off – which if we’re honest, is a great vibe for a first date. It’s spicy and bitter and gave me a nice refresh after the easy semi-sweetness of the Rebel-Lion.
At this point I had a chat with the barmen about Unhuman Cannonball because, you know, we’re beer geeks and there is Human Cannonball in the fridge which makes me think why I have yet to review a single Magic Rock beer?
Next up, I’m back to Late Knights with a Worm Catcher – a surprisingly smooth and fruity IPA, a little reminiscent of cream soda of my younger days and not tasting like a stolid 5%. It’s got a little bitter tightness on the finish but it’s not the best IPA I’ve had (much better the GK’s though, goes without saying).
I finished my Beer Rebellion session with a South Eastern Bloc by Bullfinch Brewery. A stolid 5.2% English stout with a meaty coffee-dark chocolate mix. I know what you’re thinking, finishing on a stout before gallivanting off for cocktails? Are you mad? Well, that’s just how I roll.
Beer Reviews conclusion
Without a doubt I’m heading back. Lex, the guy in the photo next to the beer, was great craic and really knowledgeable about his beers. Sam, behind the bar, was spot on with his recommendations and they do a takeout service (I have two DIPAs in my bag for reviewing soon). It’s a bit hipster, the beer is very well kept and everything I tried tasted really fresh and the whole place just feels comfortable.
It gets busy on the usual Thurs-Sat nights from what we were told and as the bar is quite small my only concern here would be a bottleneck at peak times – it’s also cosy so with a big crowd it could get a little claustrophobic for those who enjoy their personal space. Although it can be a little out the way for most, it’s definitely worth popping in to, having a chat and enjoying some really good beer.