I'm quite fortunate to live in an area with an abundance of micro-breweries. There's 34, at the last count, in West Yorkshire, with many being based in and around Bradford, ranging from the well known, Timothy Taylors, to the the smaller setups of Salamander and Old Spot. So I've never been short of a brew, and I'm guaranteed to find something different, and local each week. Helping to support local business can be a very tasty experience, and if you believe the current 'carbon footprint' fad foisted upon us by green loons, you're helping save the planet too.
A recent Cask Report showed that regional and local cask ale brewers recorded volume increases of 1% and 5% respectively, though the multinational brewers saw their cask volumes fall by 11%, so I'm not alone in enjoying the fruits of my doorstep. What I did find interesting about the report is the figure of 41.8% of all cask volume sold in the UK being sold in London and the South East. A stark contrast to the number of medium sized and micro-breweries in London.
This situation didn't go unnoticed by Duncan Sambrook. Whilst working as an accountant in the City he found a dearth of local ales in the capital compared to his hometown of Salisbury. So, in true 'build it and they will come' fashion, he quit his job and in 2009 founded - along with brewer David Welsh - Sambrook's Brewery in Battersea. Their 20 barrel micro-brewery was soon perfecting the recipe for and producing its Wandle and Junction Ales and selling them to 120 pubs within the M25.
Now, the important bit. Are the beers any good? Well, yes, they are.
Sambrook's Wandle, named after a Thames Tributary fact fans, uses three hops - Fuggles, Goldings and Boadicea. Golden in colour it's described as "a well balanced thirst quenching session ale" and it's hard to argue with that. Especially at 3.8%. Refreshing, malty at first with a crisp hoppy freshness it's one you could happily drink all night.
Wandle's bigger brother is Junction, which takes it's name from nearby Clapham Juntion. It's a 4.5% bitter and darker in colour than Wandle but just as refreshing. Plenty of flavours from nuts to spice, with a bit of a fruity edge. Another one that you could sit and drink for the evening if you so desired.
The brewery, as so many good breweries are doing these days, offers a tour (Mon - Thurs from 7pm, Sat 12.30-2pm and 3-4pm) so if you're in the area I'd recommend getting in touch via the website below and trying the beers for yourself. You won't be disappointed and you might even get to try one of their seasonal beers that are in the pipeline. I'm guessing a stout or porter. Now that would be a real winter treat for Londoners.