The Hidden Hammerton Microbrewery

Written by: Emmie Harrison

Picture this. It’s Friday. It’s the end of the month, you’re skint and you’ve just battled the throngs of Facetiming sociopaths on the overground.

You need a drink, but you live on Caledonian Road. Nearby you’ve got that e-sports bar where there’s regular Xbox tournaments. You could buy a £6 bottle of Black Tower, but you remember drinking alone isn’t socially acceptable (for now).

Until you see it: ‘Taproom open!’ That fabled blackboard perched in a hidden alleyway by Caledonian Road and Barnsbury station. Situated sneakily off Offord Street between Japanese knotweed and an old paint centre – blink and you miss it.

Still thirsty.

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Hammerton Brewery is a microbrewery based in Islington, resurrected in 2014. With a colourful history dating back to 1868, it sadly closed its doors in the 1950s. But thankfully, it’s bringing small-batch beer brewing back to this quirky borough with a vengeance.

You may have seen their dinky bottles of N1 pale ale and N7 IPA on sale for a hefty £3 in the Co-op. But by god it’s worth it. Twice award winner at the SIBA National Beer Competition and SIBA South East & London Awards, the least they could do was open their doors to us worshippers.

On the last Friday and Saturday of every month, the taproom opens to one and all in the evenings. With only a small space available squeezed between their mountains of beer bottles and barrels in their open warehouse, the taproom is minimal but mighty. The finishing touches are definitely the old tin signs with the original logo decorating the walls, as you perch on a Bierkeller-style rickety bench.

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Prices start from around £2.20 for a half and up to £4.80 for a pint – not too shabby for London (but then some of us are Northern, so). The casks on offer change month-to-month, so it’s worth checking out beforehand what’s on. But to be honest, they’re all pretty fantastic.

The first to grab to quench your thirst would be the 5.7% N7 IPA. Citrusy and hoppy, it’s a delight for the pending summer months. Fun fact: it’s brewed from six different hops from the US and NZ. Then, move onto the N1 pale at 4.1%, sampling the Blank Slate table pale 3.3% as a cheeky half. Sessionable.

Don’t like beer? Seriously? Well okay there’s the unfiltered, unpasteurised delicately fruity Pentonville lager at 4.7%. And of course their famous stout. Hammerton was once renowned in the 19th century for its stout, brewed with fresh wild Maldon Oysters. At 5.3% it’s heavy, but beautiful.

Depending on the month, and if they’re running dry, there’s up to five more beers on offer for your perusal. So really you’re wasting time reading this. Clear your calendar before payday and start saving.

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Oh and there’s street food, but (like us) you’ll probably end up in the chicken shop after countless halves, or were they pints? Who knows.

In more exciting news, the Hammerton announced that they’re opening their very own pub. It’s currently known as the Wig & Gown, and still located in the heart of Islington, Holloway Road.

It’s a 13 minute walk, according to Google, from their warehouse and the Hammerton team have some great plans in store. With apparently a huge Arsenal following at the moment, there’s eyes on a full renovation (…come on you Spurs). They’re aiming to launch your new haunt at the end of May, early June.

So with a taproom open at the end of every month – and a brand spanking new pub on the horizon – the Hammerton team are a microbrewery to watch.

In the meantime, let’s get hammered!

Next taproom dates: April 28th and 29th

Keep up to date with all things Hammerton here.

Thirsty for more? Take a tour of our Beavertown visit.

Photos via Hammerton Brewery, first image c/o Emmie Harrison.

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