This post is in collaboration with Expedia.
We’re pretty good at things here in Bristol – festivals, fiestas, food; and it seems like people are finally beginning to cotton on to this, too. Our little slice in the South West is always being voted as the best place to live in the UK, in the top ten for millennials etc etc… The lists go on!
While Bristol is widely renowned for being big on food, you may or may not know that the city is home to several fantastic breweries, too, knocking out tasty craft ale after tasty craft ale. Even those lovely Wriggle people have got in on the action recently, releasing a tasty brew of their own.
Spurred on by the glorious spring sunshine, the last couple of weekends have been fantastic for fans of craft beer, with me and the boy going on no less than three brewery tours in two weeks. First up, I was invited by Expedia to take a trip to one of the stalwarts of Bristol brewing, the mighty Moor Beer in St Philips, to take a peek behind the scenes.
Expedia have just launched the Beer map of Britain, pinpointing the country’s best breweries, according to award-winning beer writer Melissa Cole. Take a look at the map in detail here (and let me know if you’re planning a road trip so I can tag along!)
I like Moor a lot. I like their whole ethos, I like their brewery tap (with Baz the dog, who is the goodest boy ever), and I like how there are elements of the owner’s obsession with punk music creeping into the mix occasionally, like their Descendents special which came out to coincide with an album launch last year. On entering the brewery, little nods to their general geekery was hinted at, as all of their brews are coded by Star Wars characters. Awesome.
I remember when, back in the day, Moor used to come with wooden beer clips and brewed a lot of traditional beers, which is what I made a habit of drinking, so they fast became a favourite of mine. Having been brewing at this site for the best part of 2 years (out of their ten-year recent history), they are growing quickly, and specialising in more experimental processes, resulting in delicious nectars like their wheat beer Claudia, which we got to sample before we headed inside.
Head brewer Tom showed us around and took us through the brewing process, where we got to gnaw on hops, crunch some malt and sniff a lot of stuff. I won’t pretend to understand what was going on to be perfectly honest, as chemistry was never my strong point, but my Tom enjoyed himself very much, and was nodding away enthusiastically, asking lots of questions. I personally enjoyed witnessing their mega noisy super-duper German canning machine, which deposits their tasty brews into neat little packages which you can buy from their tap for £2.50 a pop. Lush.
After sitting down in the blazing (read: terribly hot) sunshine outside their tap and cracking a few cans, we decided the day was too young to call it an afternoon, and so off we trotted to our second brewery a little further down the road – to Lost & Grounded in Brislington.
Well, if this wasn’t a completely different kettle of fish. This place is GINORMOUS, and shiny, and sans tap (although they had set up a bar near the door to funnel their wares into the thirsty gullets of punters like ourselves). L&G beers are a little different to Moor, and are on the hoppy side, which I ain’t too keen on. I love their branding, though, as each of their pump clips tells a different part of a story. We even spotted the Moor chaps milling around at this open day, which made me happy – I like to know that all the Bristol brewers are friends.
After a couple of pints and one or more pizzas from the excellent Bertha’s, we had been defeated by day drinking and so retreated home for a nap in front of the telly.
The following week promised more beery action however, and last Friday we hot-footed it to Left Handed Giant, just round the corner from Moor, who were celebrating the re-opening of their brewery tap.
After some warm-up beers at Moor (obvs) we popped along as the party was in full swing, and were greeted by a very welcoming crowd, ping pong, the warm tones of music on vinyl, a makeshift basketball hoop, Mission Pizza (who are my FAVOURITEST PIZZA GUYS EVER) and plenty of schooners of delicious, delicious stout. This is what you might call h-e-a-v-e-n for li’l ol’ me.
These three guys are by no means the only brewers in Bristol. In fact, in just over a week’s time, no less than FIVE breweries will be joining forces for a East Bristol Brewery Trail – follow the trail from 11am til 8pm on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th to sample beers from Moor, Left Handed Giant, Good Chemistry, Dawkins and Arbor… and if you can still stand at the end of it you deserve a medal.
A massive thanks to Expedia for inviting me along, and thanks to Tom from Moor for showing us around his beautiful brewery!