Bermondsey and its ever-growing list of micro-breweries now has another worthy member in the shape of the capital’s first ever cidery – nestling like a cuckoo’s egg in among the craft ale sellers that occupy Druid Street’s railway arches. You get what you expect from a venue under the tracks: the cidery and its shiny tanks sit at the back while the taproom lives at the front, and there’s smooth and clean concrete floors, graffitied and corrugated iron covering the walls, wooden benches and the occasional train rumbling overhead. It’s formulaic, but then, no one seems to be here for the decor.
Newbies are best off heading for a flight of ciders – three samples from the menu for £6, which bar staff offer suggestions for or you can customise. The variety you get from brew to brew is astonishing. For instance, Elephants On Ice felt like drinking your favourite apple sauce with a warming hint of cinnamon and cloves, while Upper House Farm, a guest cider from Hereford, gave the distinct impression it was laced with a heavy dark spirit of some sort.
Pints are competitively priced, too – house creation Urban Orchard had a taste reminiscent of those big brown bottles you used to turn up with at parties as a teenager and comes in at only £4. If you need something to help with the soaking up, good-looking pizzas and cheese boards are readily available and seemed to be popular.
Regular visitors might not only find Hawkes a welcome addition to the Beer Mile, but also a refreshing distraction.