Monday, 20 June 2011

Breweries in Suffolk

Although Suffolk was not historically a prolific brewing county, we are, since the takeover of Scottish & Newcastle by the Danes, the county with two of the UK's largest remaining brewers, Greene King and Adnams. Suffolk is also home to lots of smaller breweries whose styles range from the solidly traditional Bitters and Milds (one of the last bastions in southern England of this threatened style), through to exotic beers made with wheat, fruit and spices. So find out here which one is to your taste -

Adnams Brewery
This is a highly successful, traditional brewing company, set in the lovely seaside town of Southwold. Still Chaired by one of the Adnams family, the Company was established in 1890 and last year moved into a new multi-million pound, state-of-the-art brewery in Southwold. Adnams brews a distinctive range of authentic beers from the finest of ingredients. Each has its own fresh, unique and vibrant character that will appeal to the most discerning drinkers - drinkers who cherish individuality and seek out brands with personality and style. These beers are popular throughout the country in free pubs, and range from - Mild, Bitter, Extra, Broadside, and Seasonal Ales such as Barley Mow, Old Ale, Mayday, Tally Ho..... and the latest brew, Adnams Explorer. They also run their own pubs as well as two lovely Hotels in Southwold (see Crown Hotel and The Swan Hotel), and have recently branched out with kitchenware and wine with their highly successful Cellar and Kitchen Stores

Earl Soham Brewery (ESB)
This fun, young, brewery had been brewing in Maurice's old chicken shed behind the Vic since 1985. In 2000 ESB bought a bigger shed, the Old Forge building opposite the village green. With the help of old friends, the shed was turned into a brewery and it finally became productive in May 2001. We haven't looked back since! They feature the Victoria Bitter, a fantastic light, hoppy brew, all year round. They also produce at least 7 other ales at any given time.

The Kings Head
Located in Bildeston, a 15th Century Free House with its own micro-brewery located in the old stables at the back of the pub.The owners are real ale enthusiasts, active members of CAMRA and have been brewing real ale at home from the grain (not kits) for several years. The brewery is capable of producing 4 barrels (144 gallons) of real ale each run. Malted grain is supplied by Muntons a few miles away in Stowmarket (, whilst the hops are sourced from various suppliers as required by each recipe. Worth checking out to taste such brews as "Dark Vader", "Blondie", and "J.J.'s Lemon Bitter".

Mauldons Brewery
In 1795 the Mauldon family of Sudbury first became involved in brewing, for in that year Anna Maria Mauldon began brewing at the Bull Hotel in Ballingdon on the outskirts of Sudbury. As the business prospered, additional pubs and hotels were purchased and in the early 1800's the brewery moved to larger premises in Ballingdon Street. The brewery is well established, and using only traditional methods and quality materials supplies a range of premium real ales throughout the country.
While the recipes remain the same, some artwork on the pump clips has been designed to include reference to Charles Dickens who has a history with Sudbury. It was in 1834 that Charles Dickens the young reporter for the Morning Chronicle, was sent to Sudbury to report on the corrupt dealings of some of the town councillors who would meet at the Rose and Crown Hotel. Sudbury was named Eatanswill in Dickens' Pickwick Papers.

The Old Cannon Brewery
The Old Cannon in Bury St. Edmunds doesn't keep it's brewery hidden away at the back--rather the miro-brewery makes a stunning central feature in the pub bar. This makes it unique in Suffolk and well worth a visit. People often assume the magnificent stainless steel mash tun and boiler are for show but they are, in fact, in use every Monday for brewing a line of regular beers including Old Cannon Best Bitter (3.8% abv); Blonde Bombshell (4.2%) and Gunner's Daughter (5.5%). In addition, Old Cannon produces various seasonal ales.
Originally known as The St Edmund's Head, the pub opened in 1845 with its own adjacent brewery - known locally as 'The Cannon' - built two years later. Brewing ceased in 1917 and Greene King subsequently closed the pub in 1995. The brewery was converted into five comfortable bed and breakfast rooms and - after a short spell as a photographer's studio - the pub reopened in 1999, restyled as The Old Cannon Brewery, complete with unique, state-of-the-art, stainless steel brewing vessels housed in the bar itself.

With such a huge range of available breweries, and a great selection of pubs that carry them, Suffolk is a fantastic place to visit for a Real Ale experience. For more on pubs, breweries, and things to do in Suffolk, check out the Suffolk Tourist Guide
Will Averill [] is a freelance travel and entertainment writer and administrator for the Suffolk Tourist Guide, a complete online guide to Suffolk accommodation, travel, and entertainment.
From Luxury Hotels for a romantic weekend, to days out with the children, or even office team building or client hospitality, you'll find just what you want here in Suffolk. Use the Suffolk Tourist Guide to find all you need to know and Click straight through to make a booking.
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