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Brewer follows his ale trail to the pub

New licensee serves own beers at reopened bar that locals feared would become a coffee shop

21 July, 2017 — By Koos Couvée

Lee Hammerton behind the bar

WHEN Lee Hammerton decided to open a small brewery four years ago he had no idea that his ancestor had come up with the same idea – almost 150 years before.

Now, after successfully running Hammerton Brewery on an industrial estate in Roman Way, he has opened a pub, House of Hammerton, in Holloway Road with a nod to his family’s previously lost brewing history.

Formerly the Wig & Gown, the pub stocks his Hammerton beers alongside other ales from small London breweries.

“I collect old Hammerton labels and posters,” the 37-year-old brewer-turned-publican said. “We’ve got a poster from Reader’s’Digest in the 50s on the wall with an advert for an old Hammerton beer.”

The black and white poster depicts a woman holding a beer glass and winking at the camera alongside the slogan “Have a Hammerton For Zest”.

Poster for the original Hammerton stout

Mr Hammerton, who lives in Newington Green, has chosen an “industrial theme” for his pub, with concrete style walls and a giant metallic tap he designed himself taking centre stage.

His girlfriend, Karina Benavente, plans to open a Peruvian-themed pub kitchen in a nod to her own heritage.

The Wig & Gown, a rock-themed bar, closed in March amid fears that the pub might be turned into a coffee shop or gourmet chicken restaurant.

But the popularity of his brewery’s open days prompted Mr Hammerton to open a showcase for his ales.

“It’s an opportunity for residents to try all of our beers,” he said. “We’ve got a Thai-style IPA which has lemongrass and bird’s eye chili.”

His ancestor, Charles Hammerton, started the original Hammerton Brewery in Stockwell in 1868. Mr Hammerton only found out about it from his grandparents, long after it was sold in the 1940s.

The new pub’s most popular drink is the Pentonville Oyster Stout, which has links to the original brewery. “We decided to put the whole oyster in with the shell and we get a lot of mineral content from the shells,” Mr Hammerton said.

“I’m not sure why the original had oysters, but Stockwell is near the Thames.”

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