ʽʽHi, I’m Benjamin Nunn – critic, gourmand and author of Ben Viveur. I like to eat and drink. And cook. And write.

You might have read me in an in-flight magazine, or a beer publication, but here on my own blog I'm liberated from the editorial shackles of others so anything goes.

I deal with real food and drink in the real world, aiming to create recipes that taste awesome, but which can be created by mere mortals without the need for tons of specialist equipment and a doctorate in food science. Likewise, I tend to review relaxed establishments that you might visit on a whim without having to sell your first-born, rather than hugely expensive restaurants and style bars in the middle of nowhere with a velvet rope barrier, a stringent dress code and a six-month waiting list!

There's plenty of robust opinion, commentary on the world of food and drink, and lots of swearing, so look away now if you're easily offended.

Otherwise, tuck your bib in, fill your glass and turbo-charge your tastebuds. We're going for a ride... Ben Appetit!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

2016 - the London brewery project

I like to set myself little challenges.

Staying alive, going a month without getting caught in a sea-lion enclosure, that sort of thing.

Last year I challenged myself to visit 12 new countries, which I managed fairly easily, so this year's quest, albeit closer to home, is probably a tougher one:

I'm going to visit (and, more importantly, drink in) every brewery in London.

Not as easy as it sounds

A decade or so ago this would've been a piece of piss. London had so few breweries you could visit them all in one day, and at some point I probably did exactly that.

But now there are so many micro- nano- and picobreweries (with more opening up all the time) that there doesn't even seem to be a definitive, up-to-date count of exactly how many there are. I'm guessing it's in the region of around 80, and could be pushing 100 by the end of the year.

(I'm using the official boundaries of Greater London e.g. Big Smoke in Surbiton will count, but Windsor & Eton won't, excellent though their beers are.)

I'll be coming back here
Some of these breweries are tiny and only produce beer very occasionally - there's one just down the road from here called Monkey Chews, based in Peckham's Montague Arms, for example, but their beers are seldom available. It's the same story at the Still & Star near Aldgate station.

Obviously the brewpubs will be easier to scoop than the off-site breweries, some of which are only open for a few hours around Saturday lunchtime while I'm watching Coventry lose, and there are others that don't open to the public at all. 

So, as you can see it's going to be a challenge and I'm not particularly confident that I'll be able to complete it within 2016. On the plus side I manged to do seven in January without trying particularly hard.

I shall of course be focusing on the beer drinking side, rather than traipsing endlessly around looking at mash tuns and hop storage facilities. Believe me, a lot of breweries, particularly the new wave of micros, look very similar to one another and there are only so many fermentation tanks you can stare at before it gets a bit samey.

You might have a state-of-the-art canning line, but what I really want to see is how fast you can get that Double IPA down my throat!

That said, I don't want to alienate any of you fantastic brewers here, and if you really, really want to show me around your railway arch before we get to the important drinky bit, I won't complain!

Why am I doing this? Well,  I'm very aware that there are lots of London breweries that I've never managed to visit, some of them established for a few years now, and this should guarantee that this changes.

I'm also hopeful that, by the end of it, this project will have given me enough material for a book - which as well as being an interesting read will also serve as the sort of comprehensive guide to all the capitals breweries that currently doesn't exist.

At least it will providing new breweries stop opening up at such an alarming rate...

NOTE TO BREWERS: My schedule for the year is still extremely flexible - if you'd like my visit to coincide with a specific event or beer launch, feel free to get in touch and I'll do my damnedest to accommodate.


  1. If you go through with this you really are going to drink some awful beer pal. And indeed drink too much generally as presumably this will be an add on to your normal social life. I'd rethink it if I were you

  2. The state of your bog in the morning must be like Hell on earth.

  3. Do you mean drink beers from every brewery rather than drink at every brewery.john

  4. You must have bowels of steel fella.


Comments are always welcomed and encouraged, especially interesting, thought-provoking contributions and outrageous suggestions.