Cheers Keswick Brewery
Fancy a pint? Try out the tour at Keswick Brewing Company.
“Beer will change the world, I don’t know how, but it will,” said a wise man one day – an adage which pops into my mind as I head to Keswick Brewing Company for a brewery tour. Now in its 11th year, Keswick Brewing Company is on (you guessed it) Brewery Lane, just behind Fitz Park in Keswick, which is where I recommend you leave the younger members of your party while you escape for a pint or three.
Priced just £10 per person, including three halves, the tour is the perfect way to get behind the scenes at this craft brewing gem in the heart of one of the Lake District’s favourite towns. Leaving my clan in the park, I head up to join a tour one sunny afternoon, joining nine other thirsty punters to be welcomed by brewery founder Sue Jefferson, who runs through the history of the brewery as we settle down in the bar.
On the site of The Old Brewery Co founded in 1889, Keswick Brewing Co is carrying on a traditional process with the modern techniques of a 21st Century brewery. After a fascinating history lesson, we go where the magic happens – a small room virtually filled by three huge cylindrical vats where the special ingredients undergo their initial preparation from hops, water and malt to create the nectar we all know and love.
Moving on in the process, we all squash into the fermenting room where again the space is taken up with large tanks where the ‘wort’ (that’s a technical brewing term!) sits. This is where beer in drinkable form is created to be transferred into casks and stored in the cold store. During this final storage period, secondary fermentation occurs and the beer matures.
The presence of this fine golden liquid in its finished form, combined with the drop in temperature in the cold store, has our tour party thirsty, so we move back to the bar for the all-important tasting session. This is the part of any brewery tour that everyone looks forward to, and at Keswick a very generous three half pints is included.
The gems on offer for us are Cumbrian Challenge, a refreshing 3.6% golden beer, and Keswick Bitter which at 3.7% is a darker easy to drink session ale. As a bonus we get to try 4.3% Thirst Quencher – a light and refreshing ale which perfectly complements the tremendous weather outside.
The beers flow as Sue offers more background about the various beers produced over the years and charity offerings including a beer for the local mountain rescue. Once the official tour is finished, everyone is welcome to stay and try a few more before moving onto the brewery shop for a few bottles to take away.
The tour is both entertaining and informative and I leave with further knowledge of the brewing process as well as a nice warm glow. I’ll drink to that!
Brewery Lane, Keswick CA12 5BY, tel 017687 80700, www.keswickbrewery.co.uk/tours1