Britain’s Best Breweries

For beer lovers, brewery experience days are the perfect way to appreciate the care and craft that goes into making this British institution. Even if ales are not to your taste, the chance to see centuries of craft and tradition that goes into brewing traditional British beers still makes for an enchanting day out. Of course, if you’re keen on sampling the produce then you’re bound to enjoy your day even more! If you’re planning a brewery tour, then here are three of the best for admiring traditional beer-making techniques:

Wychwood Brewery, Witney, Oxfordshire
Makers of the famous Hobgoblin beer, Wychwood’s home is as spooky and intriguing as its bottles. Tucked away in a charming village in the Cotswolds, it maintains centuries of tradition by continuing to produce high quality beer, a mainstay of Witney for nearly 200 years, with a sizeable brewery first set up close to the existing Wychwood site back in 1841. Taking its name from the medieval forest on the edges of the village, Wychwood Brewery as it is known today was established in 1990 and has undergone extensive redevelopment in recent years. As well as brewing the renowned Wychwood beers it is now also home to the 18th century Brakspear beers, brewed with the same methods used since 1774. Tours of the brewery let you see the processes used, from the raw ingredients through to the finished beers, with plenty of chances to sample at the end.
Ringwood Brewery, Ringwood, Hampshire
Another historic beer-making town, the waters of the nearby River Avon have been mixed with the malted barley from the surrounding fields to brew beer since medieval times. On arrival you are greeted by the famous Hampshire Hog statue and you will soon be relishing the chance to stick your own snout in the fine, award-winning ales that have been produced on site for more than three decades. Originally set up as a pioneering microbrewery, it soon moved into larger premises due to its growing popularity and now Ringwood Brewery rolls out around 40,000 barrels of beer a year. Recently taken over by brewery giant Marston’s, Ringwood Brewery still maintains its independent spirit and the individual characteristics of its strong beers.
Jennings Brewery, Cockermouth, Cumbria
Possibly the most picturesque brewery in the country, this 175-year-old beer-making operation is snugly situated on the waterside where the rivers Cocker and Derwent meet in the quaint market town of Cockermouth, within the stunning Lake District. You will see many of the traditional brewing techniques used since this brewery was first set up as a family firm brewing from home in 1828. Decades of expansion saw the company grow and move to its present location in 1874 and redevelopment has continued since it was taken on by Marston’s in 2005. The tour shares the history of this popular brewery, which has played a key role in the local area throughout its time, while you can admire the care and detail that goes into the beers, including using pure, Lakeland water taken from the on-site well. A fantastic traditional bar for you to sample the Lakeland ales makes for a perfect ending to your tour.
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