Saturday, April 30th.
Big day today – the London Amateur competition is being held at the Ubrew location in Bermondsey, South London. It’s a pretty good-sized event with 350+ entries from across the UK and the republic of Ireland that’s a BJCP certified competition. I’m judging and Ryan is assisting as a steward.
My tasting categories couldn’t have worked out better. The first grouping was Specialty American IPAs, one with which I am intimately familiar. I’m paired with Sarah, president of the Welsh amateur group. The entries are uniformly well crafted with a few quite outstanding. Clearly less focus on hop presence that would be expected back home – not surprising, I guess. My second grouping was English Porters, not a style seen much in the US. Again, uniformly good-quality entries.
The ‘Bermondsey Mile’ refers to a mile-long stretch of Bermondsey Road that is the center of the London micro scene. The road parallels an elevated railway, under which arched columns have been converted to brewery and tap-house space. On Saturdays, the breweries all open for visits and tastings. It’s quite a scene and is considered a must-do for beer tourists.
Alex, one of our fellow travelers on the Belgian tour, lives in Bersmondey and volunteered to hook up with us after the competition and point out the Mile’s highlights. He knows all the brewers so we get special attention and discounts. A good man! Some really nice offerings: Southwark, Anspach & Hobday, and Brew-By-Numbers were standouts.
We spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening working our way back to the hotel. It’s a great city to walk with history, architecture and pubs almost every corner. It’s been a blast.
Pics: London Amateur Competition, Bermondsey brewery, Alex – our ‘guide’, Jesmond Hotel