By Ryan Gilbert | Assistant Editor
I’d heard a lot of good things from a fair few people about Bristol. In England, I’ve only ever really visited Manchester and London, so thought it was time to see what Bristol’s beer scene has to offer.
After around a 15-minute walk from our hotel, we came across The Strawberry Thief, a relatively small bar that focuses mainly on Belgian and craft beers. It was here that I tried a Belgian Dubbel from a brewery I’d never heard of before, Tap Social. They’re an [Oxford-based] craft brewery and beer school who offer courses and business training to people serving prison sentences; an amazing idea which is also producing some brilliant beer.
Strolling further into the city, there’s literally a craft beer bar on every corner; most of which are serving various beers from the brilliant Lost and Grounded, Moor Beer, and Left Handed Giant. We were spoilt for choice on where to go, eventually we settled on booking a table at The Wild Beer Co’s taproom on Wapping Wharf. Everyone knows how great The Wild Beer Co are, they’re always pushing the boundaries on beer styles and flavours.
The Air of Grandeur in particular really impressed me. A collaboration with AZ Wilderness in which only 4 barrels were blended together; a barrel fermented Millionaire, a Wineybeest, Delusions of Grandeur, and Rooting Around Autumn. The result, a delicious imperial stout with sour citrus notes that really freshen it up, making it very easy drinking. Their recently released B*Wildered was also fantastic, essentially a Black Forest gateau in drink form. The food here was pretty decent too, and not a single wood-fired pizza in sight!
Just across from The Wild Beer Co is the Bristol Cider Shop, which is also worth a visit if you’re that way inclined.
Moving on to King Street in the centre of town, you are spoilt for choice, with Kongs, The Famous Royal Navy Volunteer, and Small Bar all within 100ft of each other. We headed into The Beer Emporium for the rest of the evening, which turned out to be a great choice. They’ve got 24 beers on tap (12 keg + 12 cask), and a great selection in the fridge. You could easily spend a weekend holed up in here and still not have tried everything that they have to offer.
We would have liked the chance to go on a couple of brewery tours and try out some of the other iconic bars in the area, so we will definitely be revisiting in summer to see more of what this amazing city has to offer!