What have I said to you a million times before? That my favourite things in this life are boats, sunshine and booze (and kittens, but that doesn’t fit into my narrative so we’ll ignore that one) – so you can imagine how I figuratively lost my mind when an invite popped up for a brewery tour which involved a boat trip around the harbour. Too excited.
The guys behind Bristol Brewery Tours have been doing this sort of thing in London for a while now, and figured Bristol was the next logical step given our ridiculously good selection of local breweries.
The first tour took place in mid March, with more tours taking place on 9th April, 30th April and 21st May. The route for their inaugural brewery tour was as follows in this nifty illustration:
We met our fellow beer tasters & brewery tourers in Millenium Square on an overcast Saturday afternoon; after a brief intro from our guide Dom, we took a scenic walk to the jetty by Grain Barge and boarded the illustrious HMS Hops (or Brigantia from Bristol Ferry Boats for the more observant among us).
First up was a talk and tasting from the lovely lot at Wiper & True – we were treated to generous samples of their Red & Orange amber ale, followed by Hard Shake – a seriously delicious milk stout, just as silky as it’s slightly weaker sister Milk Shake, and every bit as sweet and tasty.
Once we’d disembarked, it was a 5 minute walk to the Moor Beer Brewery in The Dings – I’m a semi-regular patron of the Moor Beer Tap (the bar attached to the brewery) so was looking forward to this part of the tour in particular.
When we arrived we were given four tokens each, and each token would get us a third of beer. We could choose any of the keg or cask beers, some of which went as high as 9% (a very tasty barley wine) – so we set to work trying a multitude of yummy ales.
Some of the group then went off for a tour and talk about the brewery, but I’d already done the tour (three times in fact), so opted to stay and sample some more Moor beers.
I managed to try quite a nice little mix in fact.
It was at this point things were starting to get a bit hazy, so I was grateful for the walk to The Beer Emporium in town – the 20 minute amble woke me up in time for Round 3 of beer.
There were a fair few beers consumed at The Beer Emporium. So many in fact, that I actually voluntarily donated some of my tokens to someone else. Unheard of.
To soak up the plethora of booze, we each ordered a pizza from the in-house Pepe Nero menu (they have their own restaurant near the Bear Pit but also serve a trimmed down menu here, including vegan and gluten free pizzas) and sat in contented silence as we chowed down.
In summary: Much beer. Plenty good times.
I’m looking forward to seeing how these tours develop and which other breweries get involved, as there’s no shortage of fine beer producers in this city of ours.
For their next tours, or to organise your own boozy boat trip, you can visit their website.
Bristol Brewery Tours