With its vibrant cultural scene, Bristol is home to some of the best breweries in the UK. Hosting great music, food, and some of the best beer in the country, there is truly something to cater for all tastes.
Bristol has a long beer history, dating back centuries. There is even evidence of Bristol breweries from the 1300s. By the 19th century, the largest specialist brewhouses in the UK were based in London and Bristol - in 1877, there were 21 independent brewers in Bristol, but this reduced to 6 by 1914 due to acquisitions and partnerships.
Right now, Bristol has over 15 craft breweries, with many having been established in the past two decades. The city nurtures a strong, community-centred approach to brewing, and what better way to experience this than the East Bristol Brewery Trail.
In 2016, five breweries joined forces to make one of the South West’s largest beer events: the East Bristol Brewery Trail. Once the pandemic eases, this is a great chance to explore the area, meet new people and taste some of the best local beers.
Centred near the start of the Bristol & Bath cycle path, the brewery trail has great transport links, near Lawrence Hill station and only a few minutes from Temple Meads. With just a short walk between each brewery, here is our recommended route from start to finish. Click the below links for map directions:
Travel time between breweries for this route takes less than an hour. To taste some of the best beers Bristol has to offer, you can either take part in the official event for free, or complete the trail in your own time (please double check opening days and times due to Covid restrictions before you visit!).
Although these guys have been brewing since 2007, Arbor only recently set up a tap room in the yard of their brewery. Memorable for their quirky cans and adventurous beer labels, Arbor Ales has a vast range of experimental hops. Most of their canned and kegged beers are vegan-friendly, and their tap room has a welcoming and lively buzz.
Dawkins Ales was formed when Glen Dawkins acquired Matthew’s Brewing Company in 2010, streamlining the brewery with Dawkins Taverns. With five award-winning pubs, Dawkins Ales stock their own ale and guest beers from fellow microbrewers. With separate keg and cask bars in their tap rooms, Dawkins continue to develop their exciting take on traditional ales.
As the name suggests, Good Chemistry Brewing has an emphasis on community and the science of brewing. Their beer celebrates quality and thoughtfulness, with a range of impressive products. Unfined and unfiltered, these beers are naturally hazy and suitable for vegans. Accessible, fresh and welcoming, Good Chemistry Brewing definitely showcase some of the best craft beers of Bristol.
Infamous for their contemporary beers and iconic label designs, the Left Handed Giant Brewing Co. began operation in 2017, making a variety of styles from their two Bristol brewery sites. Community-owned, the brewery was built after raising over £1million in funds through local crowdfunding. It’s fair to say, this sense of community shows. In the centre of Bristol, the brewpub overlooks a floating harbour, with their bar at the heart of the brewery. The venue also serves gorgeous wood-fired pizzas from their in-house kitchen, and is dog-friendly.
In their popular brewery tap room, Moor Beer Co. has one of the largest beer selections in Bristol. With its range of award-winning beers, it’s no surprise that Moor Beer Co. is one of the most respected microbreweries in the UK. Brewing live beer, Moor Beer pay particular attention to the craft of their beers, combining the German naturtrüb (naturally hazy) approach with American flavour-forward techniques, as well as the British tradition of secondary refermentation. Moor Beer's tap room opened in 2014, a mere ten minute walk from Temple Meads train station. During the winter months, the tap room is a cosy space to enjoy board games, and in summer, beer lovers savour the sunshine in their spacious outdoor garden.
The East Bristol Brewery Trail started on the May Bank Holiday weekend in 2016, as a Bristol Food Connections fringe event. The community has an energy which certainly feels unique to Bristol - the trail has a great atmosphere with live music, local street food vendors, and great beer.
Find a map of the trail at your first brewery, and if you visit all five you could win a selection of East Bristol breweries beers! The event is free, so you will only be charged for the beer and food. Some of the breweries take cards, and there are cash machines on Old Market and Easton Road if you are attending the event in-person.
The official event for 2021 has not been announced, but the East Bristol Brewery Trail are currently promoting “EBBT at home”, a virtual equivalent for beer lovers to participate in the event from the comfort of their own home. You can buy beer directly from each brewery via their websites - some participants have recreated the trail in their garden, while others use virtual backgrounds of the breweries to meet for a drink on platforms like Zoom. There are plenty of creative ways to experience the beer trail, even from a distance.
As we patiently wait for the reopening of breweries across the country, these virtual events are a fantastic way to hop along on the East Bristol Brewery Trail - one of the finest beer trails in the South West.
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