Posted tagged ‘Bristol Beer Factory’

Bristol Beer Factory wins BBC Food and Farming Award

November 24, 2011

Independent brewery the Bristol Beer factory has won one of the UK’s top food and drink awards, recognising not just its beers but its role in regenerating South Bristol.

The brewery in Southville won the title of Best Drinks Producer in the BBC Food and Farming Awards and will be included in a special awards programme to be aired on BBC Radio Four at noon on Friday (November 25).

The shortlisted entrants were decided on votes from the public and the winners by an expert panel of judges chaired by chef and restaurateur Richard Corrigan.

Bristol Beer Factory

George Ferguson, founder of the Bristol Beer Factory said: “We see this as an accolade for Bristol and the craft beer industry as a whole and feel very lucky to be representing independent brewers up and down the country who put so much care and attention into producing high quality craft beers.

“We strongly believe that independent local businesses, whatever they are, are capable of producing higher quality products and services than national mass-producers. We make a truly local beer – using local suppliers and materials and re-investing in the area.”

The judges liked the fact that the Bristol Beer Factory is at the heart of the community in Southville and Ashton and central to the regeneration of the area.

They also loved the Brewery’s “Twelve Stouts of Christmas” idea of a dozen beers specially-created to celebrate the festive season, including one made with fresh raspberries, which are being launched this Saturday (26th November).

Bristol Beer Factory was founded six years ago after a chance conversation in Bristol’s Tobacco Factory theatre and arts venue, when Mr Ferguson decided to buy the under-threat building which now houses the brewery. Originally known as the Ashton Gate Brewery, which boasted 120 pubs in the area, it was closed after Georges’ Brewery took it over in 1933.

The Bristol Beer Factory is having an Open Day at the brewery this Saturday to launch the Twelve Stouts of Christmas.


10 Westcountry beers you should try

January 8, 2011

Having shown my utter contempt for New Year detox plans earlier this week, I continue to poo in the fridge of frugal and righteous living. Here are 10 beers from the South West I have tried since I started this blog, and before, that you should try if you have not already. I’ve tried to include the whole South West, so hopefully there might be some you are not familiar with that will tickle your taste buds. It obviously isn’t an exhaustive list and I have no doubt you all know great local beers I should be tasting. So the more comments left here the better!

Fossil Fuel (4.1% Purbeck Brewery)

To use the hackneyed cliché, this is a Marmite beer that will polarise drinkers. It isn’t an easy sup if you like your beer session-y and light, with its strong whisky barrell tastes. But I liked it all the more for that when I tried it at the Castle Inn in Lulworth Cove, not a million miles from the brewery at Studland in Dorset.

Cornish Stinger (4.5% Woodswild)

Another interesting taste, this Cornish “beer” is made from nettles, which makes it a light refreshing summer
drink enjoyed well-chilled with a barbecue. I first tried it lounging in the summer sunshine at the Rock Oyster Festival and it was glorious.

An Howl (5.6% Penpont Brewery)

Another great summer drink, An Howl is from the small Penpont Brewery on Bodmin Moor, one of my favourites. An Howl is Kernewek for “the sun” and it is a powerful golden beer ideal for supping as the An Howl slips beyond the horizon! Plus 10p from each bottle goes to the Cornwall Rural Community Council.

Devon Pride (3.8% South Hams Brewery)

Devon Pride

Whenever I go to watch Plymouth Albion play rugby at home, one of the highlights (sometimes the only one) is the South Hams Brewery concession to the right of the main stand. Here I can get a pint of Devon pride and drink while watching them los…sorry win. A top little session beer.

Milk Stout (4.5% Bristol Beer Factory)

A close call between this and the brewery’s No. 7 ale for the list, this burnt almost coffee-flavoured beer is a great heavy filler for a cold winter evening, full of flavour and warmth. You can see Andrew from the brewery
talking about its beers here.

Otter Amber (4.0% Otter Brewery)

One of East Devon’s finest in my opinion, not  greatly widely available to my knowledge (at least on this side of Devon) and was lucky to have a pint at the Passage House Inn in Topsham with friends last May, as we ate dinner and watched the sun set over the Exe marshes. Glorious surrounding for a glorious amber beer.

Proper Job (4.5% St Austell Brewery)

In my opinion the best beer in the St Austell Brewery range, although it is also probably the most expensive. Nowhere near as fruity as the more widespread Tribute, which some find too overpowering, it is a very drinkable premium ale and the one I drink in a pub if it is on.

Doom Bar (4.3% Sharp’s Brewery)

Yeah ok it’s an obvious and widely available beer, hardly underground, but I like it – brewed at Sharp’s Brewery in Rock, North Cornwall. A good honest pint you can drink several pints of in a sitting. Should you be so inclined of course.

Dark Side (4.0% Bath Ales)

Another great burned and chocolate stout from a Bristol brewer. I had a great pint of this while nailing half a dozen oysters at Source Food Hall and Cafe and it was great, thick and satisfying and a contrast to the slippery salty oysters. Can’t say fairer than that.

Jail Ale (4.8% Dartmoor Brewery)

My dad got several bottles of this at Christmas time as part of a spanking great hamper of treats I got for my parents. It’s brewed in the middle of Dartmoor within a stone’s throw of the famous prison in Princetown and is one of the local reliables that can always be relied upon to be a good drop.


There’s no such thing as a free beer

April 28, 2010

It really is amazing, when you write a blog such as this, just how much free stuff people will send you. Seriously. Ask and ye shall receive unto yourself gifts most bountiful.

Except they are not gifts, they are payment in advance. The work you carry out for them is the writing – and they are hoping you are not a dodgy workman leaving them with shoddy foundations.

But enough half-baked 7am analogies, this blog is all about working off some debts that have been hanging around. Over the last few weeks I have been given several beers and ciders from Westcountry producers and nary a word has been written about them. My bad.

To start, a trio of beers from the St Austell Brewery. I supped each of the brewer’s three main tipples: Tribute, Proper Job and HSD.

Ale-met by sunlight, proud Titania...

Now I like Tribute. Quite a few of my friends and peers find it a bit too fruity (calm down), but I like it because of that, simply because it is a bit different to other real ales you imbibe in this part of the world. It’s a light, fruity beer, you know the one, probably, because you can buy it in loads of pubs down here and also in selected supermarkets and some of our fine independent shops. I even saw it in cans  the other day *shudder*. That notwithstanding it is a really good beer for a summer day in a pub garden.

The one I really like however is Proper Job. Hidden slightly in the shadow of Tribute’s popularity, it is the beer I will choose to have if I stumble upon (and into) a pub which has it on tap. It’s nowhere near as fruity as Tribute, but its a good hearty ale which again is excellent in a pub garden in the summer. If there is a summer of course, but it is equally good, as I have found, with a meal or drunk on its own at the bar of a night.

The only one of the St Austell trio that didn’t ring my bell was HSD or Hicks Special Draft. It’s “based on the original cask recipe”, but even so, I have to admit, it did very little for me as a beer. It just didn’t stand out.

Right, that’s one brewery down. The next to provide me with the means to get tipsy and chubby was Bristol Beer Factory. These guys sell to a number of pubs in the Bristol area and have their own beer boat in the city, which adds brownie points IMO. They are even available in Plymouth now at the Seco Lounge. Yes, I know it is a chain bar but it is a Westcountry-born one (I think).

I bumped into the guys from the Beer Factory at a food festival a few weeks back and picked up a couple of bottles, one of which was their Milk Stout and the other their Gold ale.

I was intrigued by the Milk Stout, because certainly in the South West I haven’t come across many microbreweries that make a full-on stout. And anyone who even locally challenges the faux-Irish cheeky chappie Guinness hegemony gets a gold star.

The Milk Stout is so-called because it has lactose sugars added during the brewing process. This, while not making it into a beer-flavoured white Russian, does add a lovely velvety smoothness as it slips down your throat. And it was a really nice drink as well, I do like a dark ale, a complete contrast with the St Austell ales but a great flavour nonetheless.

The Gold also is worth checking out if you can get hold of bottles (they do mail order if you are far away) – light and golden. I won’t mention a pub garden on a summer day, otherwise I’d be in repetition hell. But you get the idea.

Last but not least, get on some cider.

Cornish Rattler has been, in my own humble opinion, a bit of a teenagers drink in the past. Not in the “illicit consumption in parks, avoiding dog turds in the dark” sort of way. But with its cobra bar taps and the shades-wearing snake on its labels it was aimed at the young legal drinker getting tanked on a Saturday night market. Which is fair enough. But it has recently undergone a bit of a rebrand. The shades-wearing cobra has been relegated to the neck of the bottle in favour of a more upmarket label, with maker Healey’s looking to get in on the slightly older thirst quenching market.

I tried three different flavours – the straight cyder, berry cyder and the pear cyder.

The berry cyder was, well, slightly strange. I know there are other varieties of berry cider on the market, but I’d never tried them. I found it a bit weird. Not necessarily bad, just a bit weird.
The plus point was that the berry taste was not all-conquering. The taste of the cyder still came through, with a berry hint, if I may go a bit Loyd Grossman. But counting against it was the fact that, for my taste buds at least, it was too sweet.

The same went for the pear cyder. After marking them down for not calling it perry it again was a “bit” too sweet for me. But then I started to think about it and all other perry/pear cider I have had in the past has been artisan at beer and cider festivals. Perhaps I’m being a little over-purist to expect market-produced drinks to taste like that. Overall, I preferred it to the berry cider.

The best of the lot was actually the straight cider. Punching its way into the ring at 6% alcohol, it has been the downfall of several evenings out when I didn’t check its strength beforehand. But supped serenely it is actually a nice cider – cloudy, not too fizzy and it slipped down pretty nicely after a hard day at the writing coalface, as the sun set over Cornwall in the distance.

And I leave you with that mental image. Over and out.