Although Suffolk was not historically a prolific brewing county, we are now, 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 –
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.
Suffolk Breweries and Beer
Calvors Brewery is Suffolk’s newest, established in September 2008 and specialising in premium lagers. The Brewery is located in rural Suffolk and uses traditional methods and the finest ingredients, including locally grown and malted barley. Calvors Brewery aims to provide the local market with a fine quality English Lager Beer, brewed using only the finest ingredients including Suffolk malt. So you’ll have to come to Suffolk to sample this fine new lager!
The brewery is located on the family farm in Suffolk, in a specially converted section of an old agricultural building. From the 2009 harvest the intention is to have the malting barley that we grow on the farm, malted for our own use.
The beer is brewed with dedication using traditional methods. It is fermented with fine bottom fermenting yeast and “lagered” (stored and conditioned) for a number of weeks before being double cold filtered and then gently carbonated before bottling. No preservatives or flavourings are used in the brewing process. You can find Calvors lagers in many of our Suffolk Farm Shops.
The Earl Soham Brewery (ESB) 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!
Our oldest established beer is VICTORIA BITTER (1.037osg 3.6abv (3.6%))
It’s available all the year round and is a light, hoppy and bitter. Brewed using a standard pale malt and crystal malt mix with Goldings and Fuggles hops.
We also brew at least 7 other Ales, as well as Specials. We also have a special, convenient brew – What we brew is real beer, live beer. When we supply the beer the yeasts are still working and there are sediments in the barrel. For the beer to serve well and bright the barrel must be left to stand so the sediments can settle. If the barrel is knocked after it has stood the beer may again serve cloudy and not at its best.
All very inconvenient for the party giver … but ESB can supply all its beers as Bright Beer. Bright Beer has no sediment and is ready to serve. What’s more it can take a few knocks during the Gentlemen’s Excuse Me. The price you pay is the beer remains only at its best for 24 hours. Over a long holiday like Christmas you may be better off with a traditional beer.
To find out more about beers and which one is right for you, call now on 01728 684097 or visit Earl Soham Brewery.
Click here for Pubs in Suffolk where you can enjoy these locally brewed beers!
Suffolk Breweries and Beer
Susie and Nigel are the new owners of The Kings Head, Bildeston, a 15th Century Free House with its own micro-brewery located in the old stables at the back of the pub. Both of us are real ale enthusiasts, active members of CAMRA and have been brewing real ale at home from the grain (not kits) for several years. We are looking forward to taking over the pub and brewery and plan to increase production to at least the previous levels, as demand dictates. This will take a little time as we are newcomers to the licensed trade and brewing industries and we’ve just had a baby! When we get ourselves established we will introduce our own recipes and will also investigate the bottle conditioned and organic real ale markets – so watch this space!
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 (https://www.muntons.com/), whilst the hops are sourced from various suppliers as required by each recipe.
The brewery was built and started brewing in 1995 by the current owner Kevin Harrison. Brewing has since been carried out by Kevin’s wife Jayne who has a background in chemistry. The brewery has supplied several other pubs and numerous beer festivals. Two of the beers have won awards at the Ipswich CAMRA Beer Festival.
Due to Kevin & Jayne’s imminent retirement and other work commitments the brewery currently runs fortnightly and supplies just the Kings Head, the occasional beer swap with another member of the East Anglian Brewing Cooperative (https://www.eastanglianbrewers.com/) and it’s own annual beer festival in May, the late spring bank holiday.
Beers Brewed by The Kings Head Brewery:
Best Bitter 3.8%
First Gold 4.3%
J.J.’s Lemon Bitter 5.0%
Dark Vader 5.4%
Tours of the brewery can be arranged by phoning 01449 741434.
Suffolk Breweries and Beer
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.
In 1981, Peter Mauldon the great grandson of Anna Maria decided to re-establish the family tradition and start a brewery in Sudbury once again. Peter had been too young to be involved in the original family business and had previously pursued a career with Messrs. Watney where he progressed to Head Brewer at the company’s large Mortlake Brewery.
Following the decision of Peter and Jane Mauldon to take early retirement, Steve and Alison Sims purchased the Sudbury based brewery on 1 March 2000. The brewery is well established, and using only traditional methods and quality materials supplies a range of premium real ales throughout the country.
Whilst 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. To this end we now brew a range of beers on a Dickensian theme.
Suffolk Breweries and Beer
The Old Cannon Brewery, Bury St Edmunds
The Old Cannon 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, thepub 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.
Tours can be arranged for groups of 15-20 people for a meal/tour of the brewery combination. Prices range from £7 – 12/head, and can be pre-booked Tues – Thurs lunchtimes (12 – 3 pm). Sadly, Old Cannon can’t offer casual visitors tours ‘on tap’ at present, although their bar staff are always happy to offer an informal taste of our beers to anyone who has not visited before.
For more information, or to arrange a tour: call 01284 768769
St Peter’s Brewery, Bungay
The brewery at St. Peter’s is housed in listed former agricultural buildings which were last used in the late Sixties. They then became derelict but offered a superb site both for a working brewery and a visitors’ attraction.
Today, the brewery produces ‘real ale’ and has a capacity of 200 barrels/wk (57,600 pints).
Brewery Tours run between Easter & December, taking place every Saturday & Sunday, on the hour every hour from 11am until 4pm. Price – £5.00 per adult
Please note that visitors will receive a full health & safety briefing and will be asked to sign a form confirming this. Visitors will also receive a hi–visibility tabard which they will be required to wear whilst on the tour. Prams or pushchairs will not be able to enter the brewery, but we will do our utmost to accommodate wheelchair users, although please note that it is not possible to gain access to all areas of the brewery by this mode of transport.
Under 18s will be welcome, but parents/guardians must take full responsibility for their behaviour and will be expected to leave the tour if necessary. Sensible footwear will be required.
Tours include the story of St. Peter’s Brewery, the process of brewing and a tutored beer tasting following the trip around the brewery.
St. Peter’s Brewery Co. Ltd.
Tel: 01986 782322
For information on Greene King and their museum in Bury St Edmunds, please see Greene King Brewery and Museum.
What is your favourite Suffolk Beer? Have you visited a Suffolk Brewery? We want to know your thoughts! Please send all comments and reviews to [email protected].