If you've had a good beer at any of London's many great pubs, bars, breweries or taprooms in the last ten years, you probably have The Kernel to thank. Launched in September 2009 by former cheesemonger Evin O’Riordain, it was one of the first breweries in the boom that's seen more than 100 new breweries open in the city in the last decade. Its railway arch home became the model for new breweries, its former brewers have gone on to start projects at Beavertown, Redchurch Brewery, Harbour and more, and its old brewkit even went down the road to Partizan Brewing when it was done with a few years ago. That's a lot of history for ten years.
It's all about using simple methods to make bold, complex flavours – no loud label art or pun-led beer names here. Instead, single-batch pale ales and IPAs are labelled with the types of hops they were made with, and stouts, porters and browns are marked with the old-school recipes that inspired them (a particular fave of ours is Export Stout London 1890). On top of that, there are saisons, ryes and foeder-aged sours, too – as well as the brewery's crown jewel: the super-flavourful, super-low-abv Table Beer.
For a long time, The Kernel eschewed the weekend Beer Mile crowds in favour of opening for a few hours early on a Saturday for off sales. That all changed with the opening of a plush, two-level taproom a couple of arches down from the brewery on Dockley Road. Open Wednesday to Sunday, it's the place to go for brewery-fresh beers and the odd exclusive you'll find hard to come by in bottles anywhere else: think saison with apple or raspberry and pales with experimental hop combinations making their debut.
Arch 11, Dockley Road, SE16 3SF; thekernelbrewery.com