- Written by Andrew Clarke Andrew Clarke
- Published: 11 November 2016 11 November 2016
Autumn demands a comfort beer and Parkin Brown Ale from Bullfinch Brewery fits the bill. First, InDulwich earned its pint by interviewing the affable owner, Ryan Mclean about all things craft beer. In this first clip, he talks about how Bullfinch came to be.
Waiting for my camera-bearing comrade to arrive, Ryan’s colleague Hugh gave me a tour of the brewery. It’s tucked into an archway under the Herne Hull to Tulse Hill railway. The trains rattling by above, vibrations causing collected rainwater to cascade outside the entrance. Hugh’s enthusiasm was as tangible as Ryan’s turned out to be. “It’s doing god’s work” he laughed.
All set up, we pulled Ryan away from his work to tell us how he got the brewing bug. In his previous life, he toured the world as a sound engineer. This brought him into contact with the “explosive taste that you get from those big American IPAs that I’d never experienced here”. He was hooked and watched as the beer revolution spread to Australia, Brazil, Japan and other parts of the globe. When he got home, he said to himself, “I can do that”.
He started brewing one gallon batches in his kitchen but soon fell in with the guys at Anspach & Hobday who were in a similar position at the time. They joined forces and moved into Bermondsey. Ryan was still travelling a lot, which rendered his brewing a glorified hobby. Meanwhile, Anspach & Hobday were taking things more seriously and becoming successful. A year and a half ago, Ryan decided to take the plunge and set up for himself and Bullfinch Brewery was born. He had lots more to say and we will post more from him soon.
Anyway, interview over it was time to repair to the tap room, under the next arch. It’s surprisingly cosy and unsurprisingly has a fine range of beers. It was the parkin beer that we had wanted to try. It was lovely and odd as it might sound, the genuinely cakey smell from the oats and ginger, fits it perfectly.
Bullfinch is under the railway bridge at the Brockwell Park end of Rosendale Road in West Dulwich. The tap room is open from 16.00 to 22.00 on Thursdays and Fridays and from 12.00 to 22.00 on Saturdays and Sundays. It’s dog and kid friendly. It's a good place to dream our dreams away (can't write about railway arches without Flanagan & Allen popping into my head).