You might have heard of the Bermondsey Beer Mile, a mile-long stretch of brewery bars and bottle shops south of the river.
Thankfully, there’s now a north London alternative: the Blackhorse Beer Mile.
The Blackhorse Beer Mile’s six craft breweries all lie between the River Lea and Blackhorse Lane in Walthamstow, beginning five minutes from Blackhorse Road station and ending at Walthamstow Central.
The taprooms have all existed in the area for some time, but the beer mile route was formalised at the beginning of May this year, with more stops to come.
“We are the best beer mile in London,” says James Atherton, founder of Beerblefish brewery.
“We have a great mix of breweries all doing different styles and takes on craft beer and real ales - there is something for everyone on the mile.”
In comparison to its south London rival, Atherton says: “It is a quieter day out, less hectic and much easier to get served.”
As the name suggests, the breweries are walking distance from one another – but allowing a full afternoon to stroll leisurely between them is recommended.
Dogs are welcome too.
Crucially, there is food on offer, especially at the weekends, and, if you like what you try, every brewery sells cans to take away.
A guide to the breweries
Truman’s Social Club
1 Priestley Way, London, E17 6AL
The first stop is Truman’s Social Club – a cavernous venue with outdoor seating in Priestley Way.
Truman’s has existed in east London for more than 350 years (it was founded in 1666).
It was – briefly – the biggest brewery in the world during the 1800s, but closed in 1989.
Now, Truman’s is back again, after it was re-established in 2010 by two local enthusiasts.
As well as the Priestley Way premises in Walthamstow, it also operates in Hackney Wick.
There are 20 beers on the menu, comprised of the core range, some limited editions and guest beers from their favourite breweries.
The Brewer’s Bar at Signature Brew
Unit 15, Uplands Business Park, Blackhorse Lane, London, E17 5QJ
The Brewer’s Bar is a brewery-cum-music venue which claims to be “reinventing what it means to be a brewery”.
Signature Brew was founded in 2011 and, alongside its Blackhorse Lane outfit, has a venue in Haggerston, a bar at Trader Wembley and beer and food collaboration with We Serve Humans –called “the Collab”—round the corner in Hoe Street.
Signature Brew has won SIBA’s Brewery of the Year Award twice and was dubbed Top of the Hops by the Guardian in 2014.
Its flagship beers are the Studio Lager, Roadie IPA and Backstage IPA, while off-piste options include seasonal sours, New England IPAs, alcohol-free craft beers and barrel-aged imperial porters.
Unit 2C, Uplands Business Park, Blackhorse Lane, London, E17 5QJ
In a stroke of bad luck, ExAle opened its brewery in December 2019 – only to find two and a half difficult years ahead.
The company is big about minimising its environmental impact, so you’ll find grey water sinks in the toilets and an aquaponics system in the brewery which helps to absorb Co2 created during fermentation.
It specialises in “weird and wonderful brews”, including the Flying Saucer Rhubarb and Strawberry Sour and the Zorc Golden Lager, made with Munich and aromatic malt.
The Beerblefish Brewing Company
Unit 2A-4, Uplands Business Park, Blackhorse Lane, Walthamstow E17 5QJ
Beerblefish has been around since 2015, initially operating in Edmonton and moving to Walthamstow in 2021.
Its beers are all vegan, without any ingredients derived from animal products, like honey or lactose.
On the menu, you’ll find heritage ales based on19th century recipes and a range of award-winning contemporary beers too, including its Pan Galactic Pale Ale and the adorably named Hoppy Little Fish table beer.
There’s a wide selection of board games, featuring big hitters Ticket to Ride, Scrabble and Catan.
Beerblefish is a social enterprise which, aside from brewing beer, provides training and mentoring to help ex-military personnel re-enter the workforce and supports computing-orientated youth training schemes.
Wild Card Brewery – Lockwood Taproom
Unit 2, Lockwood Way, London E17 5RB
Established in 2012, Wild Card is co-founded by TV and radio presenter Jaega Wise, who was named Brewer of the Year in 2018.
At its Walthamstow premises, you’ll find the core range (a west coast IPA, unfiltered Czech Pilsner and a pale ale) accompanied by the brewery’s specials, which are released every month.
Astrology lovers will appreciate the astrology series, including a Taurus Damson Sour and the Pisces Session Pale Ale.
Unit 10, Lockwood Way, London E17 5RB
Hackney Brewery recently moved to Walthamstow from its previous home in Hackney, where it had existed since 2011.
There are 20 beers on tap, and there’s a rotation of pop-up kitchens on-site at the weekends.
Core beers include the Kapow! pale ale, described as “a little firework of tropical fruits” and the Boogie Van, its custom IPA.
You’ll also find collaborations with other international breweries on sale.
Hackney Brewery is an advocate for sustainability, and solely use electricity from renewable sources, with energy and water capture processes in place throughout the brewing process.
There are more breweries to come – but for now, there’s something appealing about a brewery tour where you might actually make it to all the stops.