As opposed to singling out one brewer for this instalment, I’ve decided to focus on the brewery rich area of Bristol after having the pleasure of spending a day bar, bottle shop and brewery hopping around this great city
The original idea for this adventure came off the back of an invitation to visit one of my favourite up and coming breweries, Lost andGrounded, and that was my first port of call.
Located in the middle of an industrial estate about a 10-minute drive from the centre, Lost and Grounded’s journey began in 2015 with their first beers underway in 2016. They take their inspiration from the precise nature of German and Belgian brewing and add their own twist. I have already covered these guys in a previous blog post so please check it out for more details.
On this particular day, I had the honour of being shown around the facility by Head brewer Alex who took me through the process and equipment and was everything I would expect from a man who loves beer and the process of brewing beer. I couldn’t help but pick up his infectious enthusiasm, especially as I was given a special sampling of their new double IPA, Keeping up with the Joneses. Definitely keep an eye out for this one!!
Moving on from Lost and Grounded, I headed to the city centre to explore some of the amazing craft beer bars and bottle shops that Bristol had to offer.
My first stop was Brewdog Bristol on Baldwin Street, right next to the river. The bar itself, much like other Brewdog bars, is very bohemian in nature, with an offbeat, yet homely feel.
With such a huge abundance of beer available it was a little difficult to settle on what to drink so, after a few samples kindly provided by the incredibly knowledgable staff, I decided on a 4-way flight. Consisting of elvis Juice, a personal BD fave of mine, The physics amber ale, the latest Born to Die which was a real hoppy wonder, and their newest NE style Vermont IPA that was above and beyond the best of the style I have had, this perfectly set my mood for the next leg of my adventure.
Now time for a little shopping and luckily, in the vicinity of Brewdog there are a couple of good bottle shops.
First up, Brew Bristol on St. Nicholas Street. Not only a bottle shop but purveyors of home brewing supplies as well. Expecting to find some hidden gems from local breweries I was left a little disappointed to find just core beers from the likes of Northern monk, Magic Rock and Beavertown and a smattering of local brews from Moor Beer (‘Moor’ on them later) and Wiper and true. A good selection for when you want some fridge fillers but its plain to see their focus is on brewing supplies. So many choices of grains and hops one can’t help but think of the delicious concoctions one could brew up with such choice!
Leaving empty handed, I then headed south to King St. and to The Beer Emporium, a bottle shop on top of a cellar bar. This was more like it! Greeted by a wall of beer as I entered I just wasn’t sure where to look first, amongst some of the usual fair, there was a good range of local beers and some hard to find foreign offerings.
After a quick browse I decided to check out the bar down below and was struck by just how much like a prohibition era speak easy this looked, subtle lighting emphasising the curve of the ceiling and ambience you could cut with a knife. There was a huge array of different beers on tap, both local and from further afield but I settled on a half of Wiper and True Quintet IPA and got comfy.
On my way out, I couldn’t help but pick up a couple of tasty offerings from local brewers Left Handed Giant and Good chemistry and off I went again.
As the evening drew in, there was one more brewery I just had to visit, Moor Beer Co. on the edge of Barton and Lawrence Hill.
Moor Beer has been on my bucket list to visit for some time as I’d heard that their tap room was a pretty cool place to sink a few, and that’s just what I did whilst waxing lyrical with the staff about the current state of the craft industry and beer in general.
Beer wise, I knew I was in for some real treats so I started off light and worked my way up to the real beasts.
So’hop was first off the tap, a citrus pale ale brewed exclusively with southern hemisphere hops that whet the appetite for what was to come.
Next on the list was PMA – Positive Mental Attitude, a hoppy pale ale brewed with oats for a luscious mouthfeel. As well as being a delicious beer, a portion of the profits from this go to the charity Hardcore Hits Cancer! A truly worthy cause!!
Return of the Empire was up next, a modern English IPA brewed with a new, experimental hop variety called Jester. This beer is defined by its intensely hoppy, resinous flavour…. Oh, and it was bloody good!
I finished up with something special, their 2016 vintage Fusion, an 8% old ale aged in somerset cider barrels. The flavours here are intense, rich dark malts, chocolate and caramel, some sweet fruits and a thick, full body.
Alas, it was getting late, and night was closing in (as was my head at this point) so I headed back to my hotel with a generous takeout from Moor and a cool new T-shirt to boot.
My day hopping around Bristol took me to some very good, innovative breweries, some awesome bars and decent bottle shops however, the final gem of my trip was on the way out of Bristol on Brislington Hill, Love toBrew home brew supplies and off license. This small shop (and online store) was in an unassuming row of shops set back off the road that, if you didn’t know was there, you would easily miss. However, they had possibly the best selection of newly released bottles and cans and easily the best selection of local brews than any of the centrally located shops. Needless to say, after a good chat with the owner, Simon, and plenty of browsing, I left with a good box full of beer to take home.
Despite my many great stops, this was only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Bristol’s craft beer scene. I didn’t get a chance to visit such great breweries as Wiper and True, Left handed giant, Goodchemistry, Bristol Beer Factory, Crane beer, Arbor or New Bristol brewery which only means I’m gonna have to go back and do this all over again……..