Not only is Bristol one of the best cities in the world for finding great, independent places to eat, we also have an amazing team of breweries making some award-winning beers. Bristol may be famous for cider but the beer is top-notch too!
Here's a look at the people behind some of your favourite Bristol beers.
Thanks to Charlie at Bedsit Bonne Vivante for her take on beer and breweries.
Wiper and True, tucked away in St Werburghs, was my introduction to craft beer - attending brewery open-days and being fed by Chomp when it was still on four wheels are fond memories. Famous for their distinctive white and gold labels - just seeing them on a pump-clip is a sign that you're in a quality establishment. Starting, as most do, making homebrew on the stove top, Wiper and True have experimented their way into the hearts of beer lovers - and along with a number of excellent pales, brew some of the best Milk Stout on the market right now. Their tap room is one of the highlights of St Werbs life!
Arbor are well known for their “one off” collaboration beers and have been brewing in Bristol for ten years. With their large bottles, block colour labels and fun beer names, Arbor are a brewery that like to experiment with big flavours and unusual ingredients. Added bonus is that all their keg and bottled beers are vegan friendly! They're usually found on tap at The Three Tuns as well as most good bars - and there's guaranteed to be something for most palettes.
From the brain-child of Small Bar and Big Beer, Left Handed Giant have made waves in beer circles culminating with their Pale being in the top 50 beers on Ratebeer. With a modest tap room positioned right at the start of the Bristol-to-Bath cycle path and often with a food truck parked up at weekends, LHG have combined beer and food expertly, and recently installed a larger brewing unit to ramp up production. Their Barrel Aged programme is coming soon after great success with Black Angus, a whisky barrel-aged collaboration with Bath-based beer emporium, Independent Spirit.
Moor have been passionately making their mark in the beer industry for ten years with Californian Justin Hawke at the helm, becoming one of the most highly regarded breweries in the world. Moving to their current location by The Dings in 2014 they have opened their taproom to the public and their brewery to tours which is now a favourite with beer-loving groups. Moor was one of the first breweries to stop using finings in their beer, which makes them vegan friendly and gives the beer its characteristically hazy look. Winner of a Society of Independent Brewers Association (SIBA) Independent Beer Award for their Old Freddie Walker (it tastes like Christmas!), these guys are a firm favourite.
Bristol Beer Factory brought brewing back to the old Ashton Gate fermenting site South of the river in 2004 and have been brewing their Bristol-themed beer ever since. From humble beginnings to 7 regular beers, up to 5 'new recipes' each year and 3 successful pubs under their belt, Bristol Beer Factory is the backbone of the Bristol brewing scene. Now with a beautiful new visitor-centre offering talks, tours, a shop and a chance to meet the brewers and share a beer with them, the Bristol Beer Factory is a must-know on the brewery scene.
Lost and Grounded Brewers touched down in Bristol last year and have been winning fans across the board with their beautifully balanced beers and iconic labels. Lost and Grounded Brewers take their influence from traditional European brewing techniques and have installed a state-of-the-art brewery to allow them to create whatever their imagination conjures up. The crew here continue to brew various collaborations with world-class breweries, add exciting new beers to their core range, and experiment with their barrel ageing project. Lost and Grounded Brewers are a proud Living wage employer with a firm ambition to deliver delicious beer for all, to think outside of the box and to preach the Gospel of all things beery!
The modestly named Incredible Brewing Co has been making a name for itself, winning awards with the SIBA for their Raspberry Wheat beer. They can be found at markets and events around the South West. To cope with their growing success the brewery will be expanding their size and offering more cask, keg and bottles in the future as well as some exciting seasonal beers for Spring, the Chocolate Festival and Easter. Look out for their great, printed labels in a bottle shop near you. Photo Credit - Bristol Food Connections
Two brothers are the brains behind New Bristol Brewery. Brewing good, full-bodied beers with a few surprises (their Super Deluxe Stout is marvellous, if not quite traditional). You can find their beer on tap and in bottles in most good bars and bottle shops around the city. Look out for the gorilla in the space suit and appreciate whilst supping, that these boys do everything on their own, and by hand. I think that's why it all tastes so good! Head to their new brewery school to learn all things beer!
Dawkins have been making beer and running pubs for the last 12 years very successfully from their brewery just outside of Bath, until they outgrew the site. They finally raised enough funds to build and move into their new premises in Easton in 2015, joining the ”Beermuda Triangle” of breweries in the area. With three times the capacity, it means they can now provide more beer to more venues. With the opening of the new brewery, Dawkins Pubs and Dawkins Ales are now separate entities but they will still be working together making and selling beers with a long term supply agreement. Dawkins are also once again converting the Hops grown as part of the East Bristol Hop Project. Wriggle have their hops planted and we can’t wait to show you how they do!
Starting with an elderflower stall, Kelly could usually be seen at festivals catering to the chronically dehydrated (read hungover). Along with Bob, who has previously brewed for Great Western Brewery and the aforementioned Wiper and True, they finally got it together to open their own brewery. Their labelling is a beautiful as it is helpful, with each colourful graph telling you what to expect when you crack open a bottle.
Photo Credit Stephen Edmonds
Did you hear the one about the two dudes from Italy who moved to Bristol and discovered a love of craft beer...?Wriggle your way over to Stokes Croft, and enter the small but perfectly formed world of the Croft Ales microbrewery. Inspired by the rich, varied culture and creativity of the incredible Stokes Croft neighbourhood, Pedro and his wonderful team established the Croft Ales brewery and tap room as a way to bring genuinely handcrafted, small batch beer to the fine people of Bristol. Every beer available is vegan, and they are working hard to be able to bring you lucky Wrigglers some gluten free options soon, so watch this space. The atmosphere is friendly, the vibes are chilled, the music is great, and the beer, needless to say, is bloody brilliant.
Fierce and Noble have popped up in St Werberghs in their unmissable purple and pink brewery with a large range of experimental and great tasting craft beers. From IPAs to Stouts, there is bound to be something in their colourful range to suit all tastes. If you want the full brewery experience, head to their taproom, a space that reflects the heritage and history of the craft beer industry - which steers their whole operation and everything they create.The Tap Room is a place you can try out their latest brews, throw a private event and begin your tour around their home.