521 Burbrook Pl, London Ontario
I drop the kid at Nana's and I'm half way to London Brewing by the time he can turn around to wave goodbye. Don't give me that look, we'll be back for him in two hours. It was a sunny Sunday date day and my wife and I were off to enjoy another popular brewery in London Ontario. Had I have known our date days would be spent drinking craft beer I would have started this blog years ago.
On a quiet side street of London's Old East Village you will find London Brewing, formally referred to as London Brewing Co-op. They initially opened in 2014 as a nano brewery located within the popular organic restaurant The Root Cellar. As their demand increased they expanded to their current location on Burbrook Place.
The brewery is a quick walk from another popular London brewery, Anderson Craft Ales (blog post here). This proximity is perfect for what we call a "Brewery Bang Bang" and before your mind goes somewhere else allow me to explain. Louis CK defined a bang bang as "It's where we go have a whole meal at one place, and then go right to another place and have another one". If you go to three breweries, it would be a brewery bang bang bang, but that's a lot of banging and you are going to need a ride home.
The warehouse style exterior has recently been spruced up with a graffiti wall fit for stunning beer pics! They have repurposed their small front parking lot adding beer festival tents and patio furniture for extra seating along with picnic tables in front. Parking is just across the street in a well marked fenced parking lot. When the front garage door is open you can see the gleaming brew tanks from the street coaxing you to come inside.
You step right into the production area with tall brew tanks to the right and a seating area to the left with what matters most, the bar straight ahead. Currently closed off, just past the bar will find a small seating area and stage highlighted by the London Brewing barrel logo. Unfortunately, I couldn't get back to the pinball machine to lose another $5 in quarters. If you exit stage right, pre-covid you would find an intimate alleyway patio which is really cool, but maybe a bit tight for distancing with current guidelines.
Like their most popular beer, London Brewing aesthetic is natural and organic. I have always enjoyed the industrial vibe with the overhead crane and exposed factory ceiling. It's a unique and comfortable space where I hope to stay for live music some night soon. The interior is furnished with vintage and reclaimed materials adding to the industrial look.
The London Brewing ownership group also share ownership in On The Move Organics and The Root Cellar Restaurant. This group has become key contributors to London's eat and shop local movement. Further to this, London Brewing is committed to sustainability and supporting local farmers to source locally grown malts and hops.
Have you ever wanted to own your own brewery? Probably a bad idea for me. Here is what is really rad about London Brewing: you can get a job here, commit your time and some capital and you can become an owner in this brewery. The employees enjoy profit-sharing and have a say in the operations of the brewery.
Cait was behind the bar pouring the beers that day. My wife and I had a great time chatting with her and hearing the story of how she got involved with London Brewing. Some time ago London Brewing put out a call for some fresh rhubarb for their rhubarb tart. She answered this call with about 40lbs of rhubarb. Who has 40 lbs of rhubarb? Well Cait did, and now she's employed at the Brewery and is on track to own some of the joint. As an employee she has been able to contribute to brewing, so try the hazy would ya? It's delicious!
I get it, you can become an owner.... Now tell me about the beer!
Natural Lager - Crisp and refreshing with a slightly more malt body than expected. light flavours of baked bread and straw with a lasting fluffy white head. A beer for everyone.
Workhorse IPA - Amber in color but less malt sweetness than expected. Bright flavours of not quite ripe mango, pine with orange pith bitterness. I have been drinking this IPA for quite some time and it has matured into a flagship IPA.
Cream Ale - Light floral notes and toffee on the nose. The light malt body allows the hops to shine from start to finish. Clean, crisp and balanced, this was flying off the shelves.
Rhubarb Wheat Ale - An American Style wheat with an underlying dank rhubarb tartness. This was a beer I enjoyed more and more with each sip.
Kumquat Sour - Easy drinking sour with bright clementine citrus tartness.
If you are reading this blog I assume you spend money on beer and, like me, maybe a little too much on beer. So when your significant other brings up your beer budget you can pause, get a little misty eyed and reply "You wanna know something?.....The money I spend on beer feeds families, the families of the employees, brewers, farmers and suppliers and that makes me feel good."