Words & Photos - Matthew Curtis
Nestled by Goose Green in Peckham Rye along the East Dulwich road lies Hop Burns and Black, London's latest specialist beer seller. Kiwi ex-pats Jen Ferguson and Glenn Williams know and love their beer but they also have a serious penchant for hot sauce and great tunes. It was via this trifecta of passions that Hop Burns and Black was born.
The walls of this modest retail space are lined with shelves stacked high with beer both local and from much further afield. Peckham is ably represented by its own Brick Brewery, just half a mile away from the store. Its range extends to beers from as far afield as Jen and Glenn's native New Zealand, with hard-to-find brews from the likes of Tuatara and Yeastie Boys. There's plenty of familiar favourites such as Fourpure, Thornbridge and Buxton here too as well as a good selection of American imports from Sierra Nevada and Flying Dog, to name just a few. There's also plenty of fridge space packed with more beer as well as cider and wine and tucked away at the back of the store is an admirable selection of German and Belgian brews. If that wasn't enough there's also a counter-pressure growler, sorry, flagon filler offering three rotating draught beers to take away. It's quite possible you'll leave with much more beer than you actually intended to buy.
The layout is not dissimilar to BrewDog's Bottledog, which opened on Gray's Inn Road earlier this year. The vibe is more relaxed though, with a turntable spinning out groove laden tunes and a laid back attitude to sampling. You could quite easily spend much longer here than you normally would in a bottle shop. If that's not enough to convince you to hang around then the scotch eggs from Pig and Hay will more than likely change your mind, especially when slathered in one of the many hot sauces on offer. Spice heads like myself will be pleased to know that there's a whole shelf of Sriracha, in case you're running low, as well as plenty more sauces you've never heard of waiting to singe your tastebuds. The 'black' refers to vinyl and if you've still money in your wallet by the end of your trip then there's a stack of records to finger through at your leisure.
Hop Burns and Black will provide a further injection of passion, enthusiasm and great beer into a rapidly developing South London beer scene. Jen and Glenn have plenty of plans for the space so keep your eye out for tastings and other events in the near future. Those that live north of the river shouldn't be put off by the location, it's easily accessible via a bus from Peckham Rye or Brixton stations or short walk from East Dulwich. It's also only a few doors down from the excellent Flying Pig so there's another excuse for you if you're considering the journey south, I can certainly assure you it's worth it.