It’s always awkward when the truth undermines your underlying narrative, and I have to admit that beer quality in London has been decent in recent months (the financial heart apart).  On the other hand, I’m always stressing my admiration for CAMRA branches and their ability to find the best beer for the Beer Guide, which isn’t always the same as the most or hoppiest beer, or the best bench seating.

So well done South East London CAMRA, for tracking down the Mayflower, the first Guide pub round here since the Spoons had a short spell in nearly a decade ago.

Before I got there, I popped round Bermondsey, via St James and some decent underpass art.


The last time I came here (2011) we didn’t get past Kernel, which may have been all there was then. Kernel then had the same status as Cloudwater do now, and the place was packed with folk for whom the Transpennine Ale Trail was too Northern. Mrs RM got very drunk and the boys got sick on the Ice Cream Union‘s chocolate concoctions. It was great.

I wasn’t going to do the full Bermondsey set on my own, but I did want to see what it looked like in 2016.  Rather quiet, actually, and rather joyously hard to navigate without a map or internet. I kept following folk with beards who then went to bakeries rather than breweries.

I do like the feeling of being a little lost in London. Being in need of the loo never helps your critical faculties either.

Brew by Numbers had the most conspicuous portaloo, so they got my business. Their Session IPA was very tasty, if hardly ground-breaking in style.  All two-thirds were £3, so why on earth I didn’t go for the 6.6% er I’ll never know. WhatPub claims there’s a lone cask beer, which passed me by completely.

Definitely not murky

OK, it’s drinking beer in a shed, but it’s a shed with fresh flowers, “Nebraska” playing over the sound of overhead trains, and decent beer memorabilia. Great stuff.

Just the one beer here, mainly because Kernel is now takeaways, and Ubrew didn’t open till noon, which seemed most unreasonable.

For an inexplicable reason*, I hopped on the No.188 to Rotherhithe rather than walking, which would have been quicker. The bus drivers and passengers round here are noticeably friendly, I’ll say that.

It’s taken me quite a while to get to visit Rotherhithe, one of my few completely new discoveries this year.  I’d seen a few attractive looking places on my powerboat trip at Easter (that line sounds too middle class for this blog), so I’d wanted to explore the riverside across from Wapping for a while. It’s rather gorgeous, and very peaceful.


Two riverside pubs here, both owned by our Bury St Edmunds friends, with the Mayflower as inviting a pub as any London tourist could hope for.


South London does proper pub seating like this well, and I was spoilt for cosy corners to enjoy a full playing of Nick Drake’s “Five Leaves Left, one of the classic Christmas party LPs. The tourists had coffee and ginger beer, as they were walking later; I had to make do with Rocking Rudolph in a thin glass (NBSS 3).


It was, of course, from near here that Pilgrims set forth for America to escape Greene King’s craft beer range and eventually impose a highly successful campaign of prohibition in the early 20th century. The pub toilets have improved since then.

*Presumably I just like getting full value out of my Travelcard even when it’s pointless.


  1. I did a crawl round Rotherhithe on the 20th May 2006,
    I took a walk round round doing all pubs round the peninsular of it,i dont think there are any pubs in the middle area,if there was i would have loved to have found a crappy estate pub to do,there were lots of England flags flying from the houses,but this is firmly Millwall territory.
    I thought the Mayflower looked really nice from both the outside and inside.


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