Shropshire History

Shropshire

Brewing & Cider Making

Return

to Index

 

 

Beer has been around since the sixth millennium BC. It is usually made by soaking malted barley in water and then fermenting it with yeast. Hops are added to give it taste. Depending on the ingredients and process used, the fermentation can take from 3-21 days.

 

At one time, each pubic house brewed its own beer on the premises and stored it in wooden casks (barrels). Beer was brought up from the cellar in large jugs and served in clay or metal tankards. By the 18th Century, there was also a market for bottled beer for those who wished to drink it off the premises. In the early 19th Century, some entrepreneurs started making it on a larger sale and selling it to places that did not want to bother with brewing their own beer. Thus the brewery was born.

 

The beer (called draught beer to distinguish it from bottled) was provided in wooden casks. In the 1950s, these were being replaced by metal casks made of stainless steel or aluminium. The reason for this was that they could be sterilised and the beer was therefore less likely to spoil so kept longer. In the early 1960s, a type of metal cask known as a keg was introduced and this allowed for more efficient cleaning and filling in the brewery.

 

Wooden Cask

Metal Cask and Keg

 

The main differences between a traditional cask and a keg are that the latter has a centrally located down tube and valve that allows beer in and gas out when filling and vice versa when beer is dispensed. The shape of kegs also means that more of the beer in the keg can be used, whereas casks tended to encourage a lot of sediment. Anyone who has been given a glass of cloudy bar in a pub will realise what this means.

By the early 1970s, most beer in Britain was keg beer that had been filtered, pasteurised and artificially carbonated. Most British brewers used carbon dioxide for dispensing keg beers and this led to more dissolved gas in the glass.

 

In 1971, the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) was founded in Britain to save what they came to term "real ale". Real ale was their term for the old cask beer. CAMRA’s definition of a real ale is “a beer brewed from traditional ingredients, matured by secondary fermentation in the container from which it is dispensed, and served without the use of extraneous carbon dioxide. If the beer is unfiltered, unpasteurised and still active on the yeast, it is a real ale; it is irrelevant whether the container is a cask or a bottle.

 

Real Ale has a very short shelf life, typically 2-3 days for a cask. Just before delivery, it is re-racked at the brewery. This involves it being decanted from the cask it has fermented in to another, thus leaving behind the majority of the residual yeast and sediment. It is usually served with a hand pump or beer engine, which siphons the beer from the cellar. The beer engine is an airtight piston chamber and pulling down on the handle raises the piston which drags up a half pint of beer.

 

Hand Pump

 

Beer Engine

 

When a cask is first connected, the pump will need to be operated a few times to draw out any water or air left in the pipes. Since beer remains in the pipes overnight, the pumps have to be operated a few times again the next day to remove the stale beer. The strength of beer is usually about 4-6% alcohol by volume (abv) but some breweries have made brews of 40% abv and above in recent years.

 

Within the last 10 years, there has been an increase in the number of microbreweries. These are small (usually one man) concerns producing a limited amount of beer. Because the owners are enthusiasts, their beer is much sought after for its flavour.

 

 

Cider is an alcoholic drink made from apples. In recent years perry (or pear cider) made from pears is also becoming more popular. English cider tends to be 1.2-8.5% abv. By law, cider must contain at least 35% apple juice (fresh or from concentrate), although CAMRA says that Real Cider must contain at least 90% fresh apple juice.

 

Apples are harvested from trees in orchards and then ground down (scratted) into a pulp (pommage). This used to be done using heavy stones pressing down on the apples in a circular trough. These were driven in a Cider Mill by water or horse power but modern mills use electricity. The pulp is then transferred to the cider press and built up in layers, known as cheeses, into a block. The block has straw or cloth between the layers of pomace and this will alternate with slatted ash-wood racks, until there is a pile of 10-12 layers.

 

 

The block is then subjected to pressure until all the juice (must) is squeezed from the pulp. This juice, after being strained in a coarse sieve, is then put into open vats or closed casks. The pressed pulp is given to farm animals as winter feed, composted, discarded or used to make liqueurs.

 

Fermentation is carried out at a temperature of 4–16°C and, shortly before the fermentation consumes all the sugar, the liquor is siphoned (racked) into new vats. This leaves dead yeast cells and other undesirable material at the bottom of the old vat. The fermenting of the remaining available sugar generates a small amount of carbon dioxide that is retained in the cider to give it fizz. Racking is sometimes repeated if the liquor remains too cloudy. The cider is ready to drink after 3 months of fermentation, though more often it is matured in the vats for up to 3 years.

 

 

There is an ancient tradition of wassailing the apple trees in Autumn and making an offering of cider and bread to protect the fertility of the orchard.  This has tended to die out in recent years but the cider makers Oldfields Orchards plan to re-introduce it in January 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

Gazetteer of Sites

 

Big Shed Brewery

 The Crafty Pint

Muckleton Lane, Shawbury

Established 2014

Beers include Engineer’s Best, Orion Light Ale, Ruby Special Ale, Sentinel Amber Ale

         

 

 

Bridgnorth Brewery

 Wakefield CAMRA

Hollybush Lane, Bridgnorth
Established 2007
Beers include Apley Ale, Bishop Percy, Bridgnorth Best Bitter, King’s Escape, Northgate Gold, Old Mo, Rowley’s Honey Ale, Westgate Winter Warmer

 

 

Broadway Brewery [CLOSED]

 Brewery History Society

Hinnington Rd, Hinnington, Shifnal

Established 1934 when it took over the business of Shifnal Brewery but closed in 1960 when it was acquired by Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries

 

 

Brooklyn Farm Cider

 Native Monster

Swan Inn, Aston Munslow, Craven Arms

Established 2003

Ciders include Carpet Gripper, Scraggy Bags,

 

 

Castle Brewery [CLOSED]

 Francis Frith

Stoneway Steps, Bridgnorth

Ceased late 19th Century. Also known as Eaves Brewery and located in a cave

 

 

Chapel Brewery

 Chapel Brewery

Chapel Lane, Dudleston Heath, Ellesmere

Established 2013

Beers include Amen, Angel’s Share, Babylon, Last Supper, Miracle

            

 

 

Circus Brewery [CLOSED]

 BBC Shropshire

Victoria Ave, Welsh Bridge, Shrewsbury

Established 1860 and closed 1912

 

 

Clipper Brewery

 Bell & Talbot

Bell & Talbot, Salop St, Bridgnorth

Established 2013

Beers include Gorgeous Blond Pale Ale, Special Bitter, Swashbuckler

 

 

Clun Brewery

 Fancyapint

White Horse, The Square, Clun

Beers include Citadel, Dark Ale, Garrison, Green Hop, Loophole, Pale Ale, Undercroft

                 

 

 

Corvedale Brewery

 Sun Inn

Sun Inn, Corfton, Craven Arms

Established 1997

Beers include Dale Ale, Dark & Delicious, Golden Dale, St George’s Stout

         

 

 

Dickensian Brewery

 Dickensian Brewery

Roden Lane, Roden

Beers include David Copperfield, Great Fermentations, Martin Guzzlewit, Tale of Two Cities

      

 

 

Dolphin Brewery

 Shropshire Star

St Michael’s St, Shrewsbury
Established 2000

Beers include Best Bitter, Brew, Gold, Porter

 

 

Drawwell Brewery [CLOSED]

 Wem Local

Noble St, Wem

Established 1892 but closed 1895 and combined with Talbot Brewery to form Shrewsbury & Wem Breweries

 

 

Eaves Brewery [CLOSED]

 Francis Frith

Stoneway Steps, Bridgnorth

Ceased late 19th Century. Also known as Castle Brewery and located in a cave

 

 

Edward Sheldon’s Brewery [CLOSED]

 Brewery History Society

Horse & Jockey, Old St, Ludlow

 

 

Fernihough’s Cider

 Derek Harper

Worcester Road, Boraston, Tenbury Wells

Established 2003

 

 

Golden Lion Brewery [CLOSED]

 Golden Lion

Golden Lion, High St, Bridgnorth

Ceased 19th Century

 

 

Hanby Brewery [CLOSED]

 Wakefield CAMRA

Noble St, Wem
Established 1988 and took over the business of Shrewsbury & Wem Brewery. Closed 2008 and business taken over by Wem Brewery

Beers included All Seasons Ale, Black Magic Mild, Cascade Bitter, Cherry Bomb, Drawwell Bitter, Golden Honey, Nutcracker Ale, Premium Bitter, Pure Gold, Rainbow Chaser, Scorpio Porter, Shropshire IPA, Shropshire Stout, Taverners Ale, Wem Special

                     

                  

 

 

Hinnington Spring Brewery [CLOSED]

 Brewery History Society

Hinnington Rd, Hinnington, Shifnal

Established 1897 but taken over by Shifnal Brewery in 1899

 

 

Hobsons Brewery

 All Beer

Newhouse Farm, Tenbury Rd, Cleobury Mortimer
Established 1993

Beers include Hobson’s Mild, Manor Ale, Town Crier, Twister Spire, Postman’s Knock, Old Henry

            

 

 

Hop & Stagger Brewery

 White Lion

White Lion, West Castle St, Bridgnorth

Established 2012

Beers include Golden Wander, Pure Amber, Simpson’s Original Ale

      

 

 

Ironbridge Brewery [CLOSED]

 Flickr

The Wharfage, Ironbridge
Established 2007 but moved to Wellington in 2014 and changed name to Wrekin Brewery

 

 

Joule’s Brewery

 Dan Sharp

Great Hales St, Market Drayton
Established 2010
Beers include Blonde, Green Monkey, Pale Ale, Slumbering Monk

      

 

 

Lion's Tail Brewery

 Geograph

Red Lion Hotel, High St, Cheswardine
Established 2006

Beers include Lion Bru, Blooming Blonde, Ches Brunette, Wrekin Ruby

 

 

Longden Brewery

 Geograph

Red Lion, Longden Common

Established 2012

Beers include Golden Arrow, Sawn Off, Spire Dancer

 

 

Ludlow Brewery

  Protz on Beer

Corve St, Ludlow
Established 2006

Beers include Best, Black Knight, Boiling Well, Gold, Stairway

            

 

 

Mahorall Farm Cider

  Farmcider

Nash, Ludlow

Established 2000

Ciders include Damson, Damson & Elderflower, Dry, Dry Sparkling, Elderflower, Ginger, Medium Sparkling

 

 

Offa's Dyke Brewery

 Pubsurvey

Barley Mow, Chapel Lane, Trefonen
Established 2007

Beers include Barley Blonde, Grim Reaper, Harvest Gold, Harvest Moon, Thirst Brew

      

 

 

Old Salop Brewery [CLOSED]

 Darwin County

Chester St, Shrewsbury

Closed in 1880 when acquired by Southam’s Brewery

 

 

Oldfields Orchard Cider

 Oldfields

Newhouse Farm, Tenbury Rd, Cleobury Mortimer

Ciders include Discovery, Medium Dry and Medium Sweet

      

 

 

Red Lion Brewery [CLOSED]

 Google

Wellington Arms, Whitchurch Rd, Wellington

 

 

Rowton Brewery

 Rowton Brewery

Stone House, Rowton, Telford
Established 2008

Beers include Dark Side Stout, Rowton Bitter, Rowton Galaxy

      

 

 

Salopian Brewery

 Propertylink

Old Station Yard, Station Rd, Hadnall, Shrewsbury

Established 1995

Beers include Abbey Gates, Automaton, Boomerang, Darwin’s Origin, Golden Thread, Holly Bush, Hop Twister, Icon, Lemon Dream, Oracle, Sentinel, Shropshire Gold, Spectrum

        

        

    

 

 

Shifnal Brewery [CLOSED]

 Brewery History Society

Hinnington Rd, Hinnington, Shifnal

Established 1899 when it took over the business of Hinnington Spring Brewery but closed in 1910. Re-opened in 1927 but closed in 1934 when business taken over by Broadway Brewery

 

 

Shires Brewery

  Irobridgegorge

All Nations, Coalport Rd, Madeley, Telford

Established 2003 when it took over the business of Worfield Brewery

Beers include Best Bitter, Coalport Mild, Dabley Ale, Dabley Gold, Ginger Cob, Oh Be Joyful, Redneck, Severn Gorgeous, Shires Best Bitter, Shropshire Pride, Spring Classic, Summer Classic, Winter Classic
              

             

 

Shrewsbury & Wem Brewery [CLOSED]

 Wem Local

Noble St, Wem

Established 1895 from merger of Drawwell Brewery and Talbot Brewery. Closed in 1987 and business taken over by Hanby Brewery

 

 

Shropshire Brewery [CLOSED]

 Wellingtonia

Holyhead Rd, Wellington

Established 1851 and closed in 1921

 

 

Six Bells Brewery

 Shropshire Star

Church St, Bishops Castle
Established 1997 on the site of the original brewery which closed in the early 1900s

Beers include 1859 Premium , Big Nev's, Cloud Nine, Cockchafer, Goldings BB, Harry Potter Porter, Ow Do

            

 

 

Southam’s Brewery [CLOSED]

 Darwin County

Chester St, Shrewsbury

Established in 1880 when acquired from Old Salop Brewery. Closed in 1966 when acquired by Threlfalls

 

 

Stonehouse Brewery

 Native Monster

Weston, Oswestry
Established 2000

Beers include Cambrian Gold, KPA, Off The Rails, Station Bitter, Sunlander, Wheeltapper's

          

 

 

Talbot Brewery [CLOSED]

 Daily Mail

High St, Wem

Established early 1890s but closed 1895 and combined with Talbot Brewery to form Shrewsbury & Wem Breweries

 

 

Three Tuns Brewery

  Shropshire Gold

Market Square, Bishops Castle
Established 1642 and the current business was established in 2003. Since they still use part of the original building they can claim to be the oldest working brewery in Britain

Beers include 1642, Cleric's Cure, Rantipole, Solstice, Stout, XXX

               

 

 

Trouncer Brewery

 James Leach

Longden Coleham, Shrewsbury

Established 1807 and closed in 1954 when acquired by Ind Coope

 

 

Tunnfield Brewery

 Tunnfield Brewery

Hope Valley, Minsterley
Established 2011
Beers include Cannon Rock , Devil's Chair, Stiperstones

      

 

 

Wem Brewery [CLOSED]

 Panoramic

Soulton Rd, Wem

Established 2008 and took over the business of Hanby Brewery but closed in 2010

 

 

Wilson’s Brewery [CLOSED]

 About Bridgnorth

Cartway, Bridgnorth

Ceased early 19th Century

 

 

Wood Brewery

 Globosapiens

Winstanstow, Craven Arms
Established 1980

Beers include Beauty, Get Knotted, Holy Cow, Hopping Mad, Old Fireside, Parish Bitter, Pot o' Gold, Saturnalia, Shropshire Lad, Shropshire Lass, Twist Grip, Wheatear, Wonderful, Woodcutter

            

            

 

 

Worfield Brewery [CLOSED]

 Pubsurvey

Hollybush Rd, Bridgnorth
Established 1994 at the Davenport Arms in Worfield and then in 1999 moved to the premises of Red Cross Brewery at Bromsgrove. Moved in 2000 to premises at Hollybush Road, Bridgnorth and then the business was taken over in 2003 by Shires Brewery and moved to the All Nations at Madeley

 

 

Wrekin Brewery [CLOSED]

 Wellington Town Council

Bridge Rd, Wellington

Established 1871

 

 

Wrekin Brewery

 Wrekin Brewery

Market St, Wellington

Established 2014 after taking over the business of Ironbridge Brewery and using the name of the previous brewery.

Beers include Best Bitter, Blond, Gold, Stout, Wrekin Pale Ale

 

                 

 

 

Wright’s Crown Brewery [CLOSED]

 Stephen Deakin

Cheshire St, Market Drayton

Established 1880 in Queen Street and moved in 1899 to new premises in Cheshire Street. Closed in 1905 when acquired by Marstons