Going on a tour of a brewery is not the normal thing for a student to do, but a few years ago I went around the Theakston’s brewery in Yorkshire during a summer holiday of walking and rambling.
One of my favourite beers is Abbot Ale, brewed by Greene King (based in Bury St. Edmunds) and since visiting Theakston’s I’ve been planning my visit to Greene King. It’s the pint I always get when I go to the Wetherspoons pubs in Ipswich (especially Robert Ransomes). Well, this weekend I finally went to the brewery…
It was something that I would recommend doing. It cost only £10, and I saw the finest view of Bury St. Edmunds and had a taster session afterwards. We must’ve tasted more than £10 worth of beer, but heck it was worth it.
I even found out the truth behind my favourite, Abbot Ale, and was introduced to other beers including Suffolk Springer and St. Edmunds Ale, the latter of which uses hops imported from Oregon, USA. The former is a lot stronger than my usual pint of Abbot.
Other beers we tasted included Greene King’s IPA, Revolver, Old Speckled Hen, Strong Suffolk, and Belhaven’s St. Andrews. All in all, it was a pleasurable experience, and one I certainly won’t forget. After all, I am getting a name for myself for the things that I drink. I must be the only student who prefers local real ale over multi-national lagers and ciders.
Obviously there will be a few of you that may think differently, and that Greene King isn’t a small, local brewery anymore. However, in my case, it is a local brewery, just up the road from where I live with my parents.
There are other smaller brewers in Suffolk, one of which is Brandon who produce the CAMRA award-winning ‘Rusty Bucket’, and not forgetting The Dove Street Inn (near to the UCS library) who serve up a pint of their very own Dove Elder ale, which combines the refreshing taste of elderflower with ale.
It’s possibly because of these ales and more that supported my decision this week to join CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale. These ales and local Aspall Cyder (that is spelt correctly!) retain an identity; they’re local and proud. They’re here to stay, and so am I…