The word ‘Effra’ can be seen all over Brixton – the legendary Effra Hall Tavern, The Effra Social, Effra Road, Effra Parade. It seems an inextricable part of the many layers of Brixton. In this case, it’s the layer that flows deep beneath us. The River Effra is one of those evocative lost rivers of London that successive centuries of urban development have covered over so that they now pass unseen under our feet. Imagine a time when the traffic-clogged Brixton Road was crossed by bridges over a 12-foot wide waterway. We could have been the Venice of South London! Or, perhaps more likely, the Amsterdam. In the early 90s, the arts-based social justice group PLATFORM led a mock campaign to uncover the Effra. The Effra Development Agency was a pointed send-up of the PR babble of the Docklands Development Agency, which was hard at work transforming the rugged Docklands into the shiny beacon of international capitalism that it is today. Brixton’s always been a place where ideas – from the sublime to the surreal – are embraced.
When we were developing and naming our session beers, it was obvious that one was going to have to be an Effra. We opted to make it our take on a classic English bitter crossed with an American style amber ale; smooth and full-bodied, with a slightly bigger hit of citrusy hops than you normally find in traditional ales – a twist of lime at the end of a rich mouthful of maltiness. It has a refreshing undercurrent (how appropriate for a beer named for a subterranean river) of grass and pine. It’s a great all-round beer that works well with hearty food, and delivers a substantial, thirst-quenching flavour all on it’s own. We’re paying tribute to the spirit of the once-mighty River Effra, which once openly flowed just west of where the brewery now stands, and to Brixton’s more bucolic past. Local paper, the Brixton Blog/Bugle gave a nice little write-up of the inspiration for the Effra in their recent series on the beers of Brixton.
The brewery is open for tasting, buying and hanging out every Saturday from 12 to 4. Please come in and give the Effra a try for yourself.
Want to know more about the River Effra? Here’s where we got our information: