Tuesday, 19 March 2019

A Magical History Tour of Beer and Brewing in Oxford


Britain is enjoying what would seem like a golden age of beer and brewing with many new breweries and beer styles on the market. But go back to the turn of the last century and we had possibly the greatest period of brewing growth and widest variety of beers ever.

Oxford in the nineteenth century had a great many commercial and college breweries. Several of the larger ones were clustered between the station and the castle. This was Oxford’s Brewing Quarter and its industry lasted right up until 1998. Taking a walk around this part of the city there are a few reminders still to be seen of the brewing trade.

Starting opposite the station walk along Becket Street; this was where Hanleys Brewery Maltings once stood, the large buildings ran along near the railway yard now the car park. Head through the church yard and follow St Thomas Street past what was once the Chequers Pub.

Follow the street and you will soon come to the gates of the former Morrells Lion Brewery. The site is now flats, but the yard, gateway and some of the buildings have been preserved as has the brewery chimney standing beyond.  To the left of the gates stands the former brewery tap and the little bridge opposite crosses a small stream which once powered the water wheel of the brewery.

Standing at the cross roads on the Quaking Bridge you can see the Horse Hospital where the Morrell’s dray horses were cared for. The Georgian town house on the corner was the home of a former brewery owner Mr Tawney. Alongside the river, much of Fox Maltings still stand. Look for the low windows and shallow floors.

Now walk down Paradise Street and turn right onto the path which runs by the stream, this whole area was the site of the Halls Swan Brewery. At the end of the path the Swan Maltings still stand, now converted to housing.

Head back along the stream to Park End Street where all along the south side of this road once stood brewery buildings: Phillips Tower Brewery and Weavings Eagle Steam Brewery. The last part to remain was the Halls Brewery depot near Frideswide Square and the Jam Factory.Now go past the castle towards the Westgate and along Queen Street, the building now housing Top Shop was once the offices of Halls Brewery. The entire area behind this street was once the Hanleys City Brewery. A small part of it still remains and is now the Museum of Modern Art – it’s free to look around upstairs in what were once the fermenting rooms.

Beyond the brewery quarter there were many more areas involved in the making of beer:

North, off Woodstock Road behind the Radcliffe Observatory, was the St Giles Brewery now the site of Belsyre Court.

South off Cowley Road behind the UPP cinema and Big Society was Flowers Brewery, here only the dray stables remain and are now used as a garage.

West off St Clements on the appropriately named Little Brewery Street was the Wootten & Cole Brewery, but only the name of the street remains here. Head up the hill towards Headington and the former wealth of the brewing trade is more clearly evident. The whole of South Park and Headington Hill Hall was once owned by the Morrell family, now a public park and part of Brookes University.

As well as the commercial brewers, many of the university colleges made beer through much of their history, most noted being New College and Brasenose. The last to brew was the Queens College Brewhouse, last used in 1939. The buildings are still standing on the corner of Queens Lane off the High Street. Of course the colleges, abbeys and commercial brewers were making beer way back to the very earliest days of Oxford; unfortunately not a lot remains to be seen of them now. Only Brewer Street off St Aldates gives a hint to just one location of these much older brewers.
More recently some smaller brew pubs have come and gone: one at the Red Lion on Gloucester Green, called variously the Oxford Bakery & Brewhouse, under the revived Halls Brewery brand, then latterly Fuggle & Firkin. The City Arms on Cowley road was for a time brewing as the Philosopher & Firkin.

Of the breweries mentioned: Hanleys, Phillips, Wootten and Weavings became part of Halls, which then became part of Allsopps, later Allied Breweries and now Carlsberg. There are still many ceramic plaques on pubs around the city bearing the Halls hare logo. Morrells Brewery closed in 1998 and the beer brands were bought by Marstons and the pubs by Greene King.

Brewing in Oxford is still in fine health, there are several independent breweries around the city and many of them are part of the Oxford Brewers Alliance. The Alliance seeks to increase awareness in Oxford of the range of high quality locally produced beers and the brewers committed to that craft.





With thanks to the following sources:

Liz Woolley - Industrial Architecture in Oxford, 1870 to 1914

Queens College - Liquid Legacies: Beer and Brewing at the Queen's College

Alfred Barnard, The Noted Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland, vol.1

Brewery History Society: http://breweryhistory.com



 

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

BRUSSELS CRAFT & TRADITIONAL BEER BARS

A list of traditional to crafty beer bars and restaurants that sell a range of beers

 

CENTRAL   

A La Mort Subite

 rue Montagne-aux-Herbes Potagères 7 , B-1000 Brussels
Bar. A Brussels classic, worn elegance. The tall, aged mirrors, worn pearl pillars, and rows of well-used wooden tables give this place a special charm. Quite touristy and limited beer list. But well worth a visit.

Au Bon Vieux Temps           

Impasse Saint-Nicolas 4, 1000 Ville de Bruxelles
Bar. This 300-year-old bar inside a Gothic building with stained glass windows, ornate woodwork, and a massive stone fireplace. Touristy. Very limited beer choice and only by the bottle. But the historic charm makes it worth a visit.

Au Soleil          

rue du Marché au Charbon 86, 1000 Brussels
Bar. Authentic simple local bar, big windows and street seating, great beer list.

GIST     

Oud Korenhuis 30, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Bar. just 200 metres from the Manneken Pis - more modern style craft beer bar with an alternative and wide selection.

Goupil Le Fol               

Rue de la Violette 22, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Bar. Cramped cosy charming bar takes you back to a gentler past. Sofas line the walls; very soft lights; old French songs in the background. There are Wuflitzers, posters, flags, and books on occasional tables scattered everywhere. Limited but well chosen beer list

L’Imaige Nostre-Dame      

Impasse des Cadeaux 3, Brussels
Bar, Food. time traveling, pass through a small “impasse” or alleyway to get there.  around 50 quality beers including 9 on tap. Beer on tap is their thing.

Le Cercueil    

Rue des Harengs 10-12, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Bar. ‘The Coffin’ In the dark bar, where red lights bathe visitors in the appropriate colour, beers are served in skull-shaped mugs on tables made from coffins under a ceiling of hanging skeletons. touristy and a bit naff, but worth a visit on a crawl.

Le Petit Philou            

Rue Duquesnoy 12, Brussels
Bar. iconic + great. The bar is small, six tables and a smaller upstairs bit. Cosy and petit

Moeder, Fontainas                 

Place Fontainas 8, 1000 Bruxelles
craft-beer bar - tranquil Place Fontainas, near Manneken Pis. laid-back friendly neighbourhood craft beer bar with unparalleled selection of artisan ales. 100 different bottles on the beer list, + nearly 50 taps to choose from, local Brussels beers represented.

Nüetnigenough                         

Rue du Lombard 25, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Bar, Food. Charming small brasserie with an art nouveau facade & interior touches, offering Belgian beers and cuisine.

Poechenellekelder                 

Rue du chêne 5 1000 Bruxelles
Bar. right next to Manneken Pis Don’t let the touristy location of this place fool you — extensive beer choice

The Sister Brussels Café                  

3 Rue Chair et Pain, 1000 Brussels
Bar, Food. Near Grand Place, stock of more than 70 organic Belgian brews. Sister is also a venue for art exhibitions, salsa and yoga classes.

CENTRAL - EAST

BrewDog        

 20, Putterie, 1000 Bruxelles
Bar, Food. near Central train station, huge bar in the former headquarters of airline, Sabena. Huge windows and a soaring ceiling, the bar gets packed out at night, a mix of locals and beer-loving tourists. 30+ kegs on tap

La Tana a Bruxelles              

10 Rue de L’Enseignement, 1000 Brussels
Food, Bar. Beer and Italian Foods

Le Bier Circus             

Rue De L’enseignement 57 Onderrichtsstraat, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Bar, Food.  with a broad selection of draft & bottled beers plus food featuring a hint of beer.

CENTRAL - NORTH       

Au Daringman           

 Rue de Flandre 37, 1000 Ville de Bruxelles
Food, Bar. selection of rare local beers . hosts the occasional gig, a great night out amongst locals. “brown” cafés not touristy in the least, but an intimate, friendly feel and authentic, simple, somewhat shabby décor. inexpensive Belgian food. 

Brussels Beer Project         

188, Antoine Dansaert, 1000 Brussels
Brewery, Bar. In the fashionable Sainte-Catherine area, a frame-maker’s atelier has been transformed into a state-of-the-art brewery, dominated by vast Braukon vats and a modern taproom with 15 draft beers. Limited opening times, check beforehand.

Monk                 

 42 Rue Sainte Catherine, 1000 Bruxelles
Food, Bar. beer + restaurant and a bit of a cultural venue. classic, with a lot of wooden decoration and mirrors. selection of cheeses to enjoy with your drink, buffet dining room to the rear for reasonably priced menu.

Le Corbeau  

 rue Saint-Michel 18, b-1000 Brussels
Food, Bar. part of the great tradition of full-on brasseries restaurants  that also serve as phenomenal beer bars.

CENTRAL - SOUTH       

La Brocante                  

Rue Blaes 170, 1000 Bruxelles,
Food, Bar. Near Jeu de Balle flea market, cobbled square is surrounded by many bars, but LB stands out for its remarkable craft-beer selection lunchtime jazz and blues concerts, generous platefuls of traditional Brussels grub “stoemp”, a Belgian take on sausages and mash., ask for passionate young owner, Sébastien de Neef, about his limited-edition seasonal craft beers that he reserves for serious enthusiasts.

La Fleur en Papier Doré                    

Rue des Alexiens 55, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Bar, Food. meeting place for the Surrealists, including René Magritte traditional drink in a traditional setting. Dark wooden furniture, enigmatic writings on the the odd antler hanging from the ceiling, an open fire, horse brasses galore, and a whole load of kitsch has turned this former convent into a haven for the eccentrics: it has a great list of beers and well worth a visit.

La Porte Noir              

Rue des Alexiens 67, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Bar. hidden gem in what used to be the vaulted kitchen of a 16th-century convent. Charming cellar bars are one of the great joys of Belgian beer culture, plus a hidden 'smoking' loung. Wide and interesting beer range.

Le Marseillais             

163 rue Blaes, 1000 Brussels
Bar. Near flea market, does also serve typically French beverages like Ricard. The bar is pretty small and so is the terrace, so it’s possible that you’ll have to fight for a spot. But worth it.

Les Brigittines            

Place de la Chapelle 5, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Restaurant with beers

Pin Pon             

62, place du jeu de Balles, 1000 Brussels
Food, Bar.  in the ancient and tiny barrack at Place du Jeu de Balle, a cosy little restaurant/bar. huge terrace. beer menu is small, but original with some lesser known Belgian beers, original decoration, inspired by the history of the place, such as a counter made of used fire hoses.

Restobiere     

9 rue des Renards 1000 Bruxelles
Food, Bar. A classic beer-centric Belgian meal. Moules Frites, pâté, pork shanks, herb-y sausages, confit duck legs, and all sort of nutty and buttery cheeses and local cured meats. It’s perfectly paired beer food. Chef Alain Fayt recipes featuring craft or Trapppist beers, like rabbit braised with prunes and Gueuze. Near Jeu de Balle flea market, the maze of dining rooms showcase his incredible collections of beer memorabilia. Desserts are memorable, too, from waffles smothered with a cherry Kriek coulis or Hercules stout chocolate mousse.
  

EAST

BeerBank       

Jourdanplein 34, 1040 Etterbeek
Bar. Modern Craft Beers Bar

 

NORTH       

Brasserie de Brunehaut   

Rue de la Tannerie 17, Brussels 1081, Belgium
Brewery, Bar.

Brasserie de la Senne         

Chaussee de Gand 565, Brussels 1080, Belgium
Brewery, Bar. Just outside the city centre, the Molenbeek neighbourhood One of the founders, Yvan de Baets, explains: “inspired by traditional Belgian beers but add a modern touch.” light-blonde Taras Boulba, powerful, malty Brusseleir, or Stouterik, a light Belgo-Irish stout. taproom (Mon-Fri, 9am-3pm)

En Stoemelings        

 37 rue Dieudonné Lefèvre, 1020 Laeken
Brewery, Bar. “En Stoemelings” translates as “on the sly”, under-the-radar project of two friends, Denys van Elewyck and Samuel Languy. signature ale, a delicious malty Tripel brew called Curieuse Neus (the Nosy Kid), porter-style Smokey McSmoke and the amber, hoppy Tram Jaune.

Le Barboteur – Bierothèque         

23 Avenue Louis Bertrand, 1030 Schaerbeek
Bar, Shop. close to Parc Josaphat la crème de la crème of contemporary craft beers, both Belgian and internationals.

Brasserie Verschueren     

11-13 Parvis de Saint Gilles, 1060 Saint-Gilles
Bar. As local a beer cafe as you can get off the tourist path near centre of the city. get a local experience here.

 

SOUTH        

Dynamo - Bar de soif           

Chaussee d Alsemberg, 130, 1060 Brussels, Belgium
Bar.  brushed steel tubes  dominate the V shaped bar,. You won’t find many of the old guard Belgian brewers here though as owner Greg Rifaut has chosen to focus mostly on craft beer with a highly curated selection.

Green Lab      

 Avenue Louise 520, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Bar. décor is industrial and steampunk, metal seating and chairs and large tubes snaking around the place. fun, large (on three levels), inevitably noisy given the metallic décor and green.

L’Amère à Boire,      

Rue du Belvédère 8, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
Food, Bar. on the pulse of the brewing industry and has become an industrial yet cozy space to sample something new in a laid-back atmosphere, occasionally with some live tunes

Le Pantin        

 355 chaussée dIxelles, 1050 Brussels
Bar. less touristy, + very extensive beer list. The downstairs area gloomy, the upstairs hipster with comfy sofas.

Moeder, Original    

 Rue de Savoie, 68 - 1060 Saint-Gilles

Ram Dam        

61-63 rue de l'Aqueduc, 1060 Saint-Gilles
Bar. A newcomer in the Brussels beer scene, warm atmosphere and a beautiful menu of around 40 different beers. wooden environment, reminiscent of an old tavern,

 

WEST          

Cantillon          

rue Gheude 56, 1070 Brussels
Brewery, Bar. Brewery Tours. Oldest Brewery. Signature Lambics & organic sour cherries and raspberries for the famous Kriek and Gambrinus ales

Nanobrasserie de l'Ermitage Taproom             

28 rue Lambert Cricks, 1070 Brussels,
Brewery, Taproom. Friday and Saturday Only. Quiet backstreet a couple of minutes from the Midi station, artisan brewery is in a converted cigarette factory. three young locals: Nacim, François and Henri. creative ales, with distinctive graphic labels designed by local artist Krump,