Ringwood Brewery is only 15 minutes from where I live and although I'm not a huge beer drinker I am fascinated by the process that is involved in making it. I have fond memories of my father making homemade beer back in the day when most households were doing it, some very tipsy relatives and one major five gallon explosion in the kitchen.
The brewery is situated on the edge of the New Forest in Hampshire and on the site of the old Tunks' Brewery which ceased trading in 1821 it currently produces mainly cask ales and some bottled beers. Beer has been brewed in the area dating right back to medieval times when water from the Avon and barley from local fields was harvested.
We signed up to the tour on a lovely Sunday afternoon and were welcomed with a half of Razorback named after the American term for a wild boar it is described as a exceptionally refreshing craft ale, I can't disagree as we sat in the sunshine supping.
All the staff we came across were very knowledgeable about the history of Ringwood Brewery, established in 1978 founder Peter Austin who is thought to have been a huge influence on the British craft breweries rebirth.
The 90 minute tour takes you through the complete brewing process from start to finish the guide let us taste the difference between the malted barleys and explained which brew they are used for we also had a chance to smell the hops and view the fermentation process. I was amazed to learn that same yeast has been used for the last 30 years and that waste products are used as food for pigs and cattle.
After the tour of the site comes the tasting bit in a cute little bar, I even got the opportunity to pull my own pint and sat drinking it with a boar head peering over my shoulder. Be sure to try all of the beers on offer, my particular favourite was the Boondoggle and we made sure to stop of in the brewery store to collect some to take home. They stock the full range of beers along with wines, cider and other souvenirs.
The store is open from 9.30am - 5.00pm Monday to Saturday and also has a online store if you can't make it to the brewery. They can provide a variety of quantities including jugs (4.5pints), piggins (18pints), polypins (36pints), firkins (72pints) and more if you fancy a party.
138 Christchurch Road,
Telephone 01425 470303