Gloucestershire is ripe with independent microbreweries that produce some of the finest ales in the country, with many sharing the secrets of their ancient craft on behind-the-scenes brewery tours.
With short tours and full-day experiences available for individuals and groups, ale appreciators have the chance to learn all about the history of brewing, the tricks of the trade, and even sample some of their finest brews.
Featuring everything from award-winning pale ales to dark and rich, full-bodied stouts, and some even offering memento pint glasses to take home, SoGlos selects 11 places to go on brewery tour in Gloucestershire.
Hillside Brewery produces beer at its site on a converted dairy farm in Longhope in the Forest of Dean, with its range of award-winning real ales available in local pubs and outlets throughout the county.
With a choice of three tours available for individuals or groups, visitors can enjoy a fleeting visit of the brewery, or even spend the whole day there to get the full brewing experience – with everyone having the chance to learn about the history of brewing beer and Hillside Brewery’s products.
Gloucester Brewery is located in the heart of Gloucester Docks and prides itself on producing high quality and exciting ranges of real ales using traditional brewing techniques and locally sourced ingredients.
The 90-minute brewery tours take place on the last Friday of the month and offer an informal and fun evening for visitors to discover more about the art of craft beer, while its tasting room is open on Saturdays when you can sample a range of draught and bottled beer.
Stroud Brewery is nestled in the village of Thrupp and produces naturally conditioned beers using whole hops and local malting barley, with its range spanning regular, seasonal and occasion draught beers in casks and bottles.
Beginning and ending in the brewery tap bar, the hour-long tours offer an insight into Stroud Brewery’s process to make traditional real ales, followed by half an hour of generous sampling, while guests will also receive a mini half pint tankard to take home as a souvenir.
Established in 2005 by husband and wife Richard and Emma Keene, Cotswold Brew Co is located on a 10-acre rural site near Bourton-on-the-Water and specialises in brewing a range of lagers and speciality beers.
The two-hour tours are by appointment only and generally take place on Thursday afternoons when the tour guide is available, with guests invited to discover the brew house, enjoy unlimited sampling and take home a glass and a bottle of beer.
Battledown Brewery dates back to the 1600s and boasts the accolade of being Cheltenham’s oldest working brewery, operating a busy 13-hectolitre brew-plant, producing fine beers that can be found in local pubs, hotels, restaurants and shops across the county.
From Monday to Friday, Battledown welcomes groups of between 15 and 50 for a 90-minute guided tour, where guests will discover all about its history, brewing methods and traditions, as well as sampling some of its finest tipples and enjoying some good food, usually a substantial Ploughman’s, along the way.
Taking its name from the village of Prescott on the outskirts of Cheltenham, Prescott Brewery aims to reflect a golden age of brewing and a magnificent heritage of motorsport combined, producing ales using the finest ingredients with intense flavour and giving them suitably, motor-related names.
Beer loving locals looking to learning more about the Cheltenham business can book on to a two-hour brewery tour. Held on an ad hoc basis, the tours offer the chance to learn about its history, taste its range of ales and explore the brewery.
Located on the site of a former Victorian brewery in the Forest of Dean, Bespoke Brewing Co handcrafts real ale on site using premium ingredients, while its label design service is perfect for personalised gifts.
Go behind the scenes on the 90-minute Tour and Tasting, learning how the brewery develops its award-winning ales along with sampling some of its most famous tipples. While home-brew enthusiasts looking to discover more about the whole brewing process can book on to the Brewery Experience Day.
Situated in a rural setting on the outskirts of Cheltenham, Cotswold Lion Brewery specialises in producing craft beer from the finest locally grown malt, with brewers Jon Kemp and Andy Forbes using their extensive experience to create a range of beers spanning bitters to pale ales.
On Friday and Saturday evenings the brewery runs tours which can last as little as an hour or as long as three depending on the levels of interest, with visitors invited to fill their glasses with drinks from the beer cellar throughout the evening.
Force Brewery has been crafting beer from its Cirencester brewhouse since 2014, with its flagship beer, Yankee Zulu, awarded Gloucestershire CAMRA Champion Best Bitter shortly afterwards.
The Brewhouse Safari takes place on Thursday evenings and offers groups the chance to learn about the brewing process, taste each brew and discover more about the different ingredients, with a branded pint goblet and cotton bag included in the ticket price.
Nestled in a picturesque setting in the heart of the Cotswolds, Hook Norton Brewery is a family-run business that combines its hand-crafted brewing heritage with a modern approach to create an exciting range of real ales.
Learn more about Hook Norton at its two-hour brewery tours, which run from Monday to Saturday and offer the chance to discover its history, see the Victorian steam engine that used to power the brewery, sample delicious brews, and if in residence, meet the Shire horses who are still used to deliver beer to local pubs.
While not a brewery, Brewerism is a unique business that teams up with local breweries to run tours across Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds, offering both walking and chauffeur-driven minibus tours.
Led by beer enthusiast, Shandin Rickard-Hughes, the tours fly the flag for the county’s microbreweries and give like-minded groups the chance to learn more about craft beer and of course sample a selection of brews along the way.
By Anna Marshall
Tuesday 14 March 2017
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