Hoppers Hut, Sidcup
On a beautiful Saturday afternoon in June, I set off on a journey towards Hoppers Hut in the heart of Sidcup. The new micropub, offering the dwellers of Sidcup a rotating selection of great beer, was hosting a preview event – offering 6 casks, 2 real ciders, some cans and bottles and wine and soft drinks alongside some locally produced pickled onions.
By the time I arrived, having been ferried by a cab driver with extremely speculative views of the world, the weather had turned and in my haste to remove myself from the company of my chauffeur I had jumped out early so was slightly damp and in need of a decent beer.
In its current state, Hopper’s Hut is easy to sail past – it’s still in its very early days and was previously a shopfront, still with the letting agent sign hanging over the door. However, after a quick nip past, double back and realisation I had actually arrived at the correct place I was immediately impressed with what lay before me.
Even before ordering my beer and settling onto my bench I was immediately charmed by Hopper’s Hut. It was a day of European football so inside was relatively quiet – a group of young 20-somethings talking a little too loudly about how they were so into their craft beers and discussing the ins-and-outs of running micropubs (you know the type), alongside a few older gentlemen discussing CAMRA and mocking the young-uns and another couple who sounded American and had come from Welling to try out the new place.
It was very community – but not in the village-hall-jumble-sale kind of way. It feels real, down-to-earth and a place that is there to not only be a business, but to incorporate and support as many of the local people and other businesses as it possibly can. The decor is simple at the moment but there are plans to hang images of local hop picking, the homemade benches and bar (built by Murray, the co-owner) serve their purpose and are surprisingly comfortable, the toilets are currently accessed by nipping behind the till area and past the cask rack and each table had a lit candle in the centre. The bar snacks, a few of the usuals a la Nobby’s Nuts, focused on locally produced goods – today’s offering being pickled onions – traditional and chilli for the options, served up in a cute tupperware bowl with a drizzle of the vinegar and all the mustard seeds you could want with your pint.
I had the sense throughout my whole stay that this is probably what a pub felt like back in the golden age – and I really hope that throughout the full kitting out and launch process that the Hopper’s Hut can retain this kind of feel, it’s something that is sorely missing on the outskirts of South East London.
Beer at Hoppers Hut
So onto the important part! The beer!
— Beer-Reviews (@BeerRevs) June 25, 2016
Yes, you guessed it! All the beer is local. Brew Buddies are based about 10 minutes down the road, Bexley is 10 minutes or so in a slightly different direction and Sidcup is on the border of London and Kent making Kent Brewery a natural choice. Bristol based Arbor is the most exotic in terms of distance here, but that Oz Bomb was a lovely pint.
Even though Sidcup is in an Oyster Zone and does pass as London – you’ll notice the prices are ridiculously reasonable. My Friday lunchtime pint up in Central costs me between £4.50-£5.15 depending on which cheeky tipple I’m fancying at the time and I was expecting the beers here to be a little more than they are.
Par for the course I had a half of each, two of the PA03+Summit which was a very well-balanced with a low-level moreish bitter finish and ended my trip on a pint of Oz Bomb. Overall I was there for about three hours but it was so relaxed and Murray and his staff are so welcoming and friendly it seemed like an hour tops (apart from for my liver).
Yes, there is a dog
I couldn’t finish this write up without mentioning the legend that is Nelson. Nelson is the pub dog and any pub that has a dog gets bonus points in my book. Nelson is also really friendly and enjoys laying in mud. Top lad.
Keep up with Hoppers Hut on Twitter and get yourselves down to Sidcup when it launches!