Since the unprecedented revival of the UK ale industry that’s been happening over the last few years, pubs and breweries across the country have taken full advantage of this renewed ale-craze. A healthy variety of pale ales can be found in almost every London pub these days, and new breweries, both large and micro, are popping up all the time offering tasty new blends to compete in this vibrant market.
Late Knights Brewery are an independent brewery based in Penge that do just this. They manage 7 small bars and dispensary’s across South-east England. Two of their bars are based in Lewisham: London Beer Dispensary (Brockley) and the Beer Rebellion (Sydenham), whilst others can be found in Gipsy Hill, Brighton, and Ramsgate. We checked out the London Beer Dispensary on a cold rainy day, and as such were initially more concerned with finding decent shelter than quenching our thirst or filling our bellies…though we soon realised this was just the place for the latter.
Situated on Brockley Road near Crofton Park station, London Beer Dispensary sits between a local wine merchant (Mr Lawrence) who’s been in the area for years, and Royal Tandoori, an Indian takeaway. Brockley has done well to resist the infectious spread of betting shops and chains that have invaded many other local high streets; seeing distinct local businesses together like this is becoming ever rarer.
When you get inside, the first thing you will notice is pretty obvious: there is no bar! Kegs are laid out in a casual fashion against the back wall, with the beer lines connected to the taps, all in full view. Whether this is for practicality or for clarity of branding (beer dispensary not bar) is somewhat beside the point; it makes for a more personable experience and looks rustic and cool. This is especially true when your transaction is done over a giant wooden keg instead of a boring bar till…Boasting 8 different Ales, 5 Ciders, 6 ever-changing keg-lines, and an array of spirits, London Beer Dispensary provides ample choice for beer lovers.
The interior is spacious, old-fashioned and cosy. Despite not being the largest of hangouts, there is plenty of space. A long corridor at the back leads to a second cosy room furnished with an antique fireplace, large arm-chairs, and a TV (sitting on top of a keg, obviously). So whether your looking for lunch, a chilled evening out with friends, or a cosy date-night, London Beer Dispensary can accommodate.
Our purpose was lunch, and as we sat down and surveyed the menu, it became clear that their over-arching speciality was burgers. With a variety of mouth-watering titles, including originals such as ‘The Donald Burger’ (Duck Breast with homemade spicy plum sauce), and the ‘Cluckleopatra’ (Chicken with 24 month old Pecorino cheese) the choice was a difficult one. In the end we went for ‘The Mexican’ - Chicken, Sour Cream, Guacamole, cheese and Jalapenos; and ‘The Trophy’ - a mammoth ordeal of Beef, Bacon, Cheese, BBQ Sauce and more…A side of chips to accompany us, housed in a pint glass, and we were good to go.
Both burgers were scrumptious, but for me the guacamole stole the show (not that surprising). The food was obviously freshly prepared with well-sourced ingredients, and the artistic layout told me these guys really cared about their food and its presentation.
For drinks we were spoiled for choice as the beer, porter and ale options were not only endless but all looked magnificent. With some welcoming guidance from the staff, we took two of the Paxton Pale Ales, which are a product of the London Beer Factory. This American style pale ale had a impeccable taste, with strong fruity aromas and a smooth finish. I would recommend to any pale ale fanatic.
Whether your looking for a plump lunch or a distinctly flavoursome and unique beverage, the London Beer Dispensary can provide. It is a great local business and a great addition to the Brockley and Crofton Park area. Check in between 12pm-3pm any day of the week with your Lewisham Card to receive a 15% discount off their scrumptious menu.