Saturday, 28 May 2011

NOW DRINKING: Bristol Beer Factory

One of Stan's rules states that you need to try at least two servings of any beer before passing judgement on it. A modification of this rule is that you should try a few of any brewery's beers before you form an opinion about the brewery.

Had I tried only Bristol Beer Factory's No. 7 and Gold, I might have come away thinking that they are a brewery who have got a feel for craft beer, but haven't quite nailed it yet. Both beers are good, solid golden ales, characterised by a big hop bitterness in the finish. Tasty, but not quite hitting the bullseye on my target marked 'hop-forward and in the modern style'. Hey, not everything has to hit that target, but something about their branding and use of 'new media' made me think that they are aiming for the stars.

So thank goodness I didn't disgrace both myself and them by forming an opinion on those two beers alone. Having tried a few other beers in their range, I can now see that Gold and No. 7 are beers that sit deliberately in the 'solid & reliable' area of their output.

The other beers that I've tried from them so far - Milk Stout (deliciously bittersweet), Southville Hop (heady, hoppy, American-accented), Exhibition (big, old-fashioned, nutty) have helped flesh out that impression, and framed an opinion about them, and that opinion is highly favourable. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that one of their beers, their New World Tripel collaboration with Arbor Ales, is one of the most enjoyable British-brewed beers I've had the pleasure of drinking this year. It's a riot of peach and apricot fruitiness, finishing with some cakey spiciness (ginger, mace). Delicious, and ruinously drinkable at 6.8%abv, I'd emailed them to ask if they had any more before I'd finished the first bottle.

I know that's in direct contravention of Stan's third rule, but sometimes you just know when something is right.



  1. they are a great brewery, I have their Ultimate Stout in muy cellar and have been drinking their roisterer of a stout this afternoon at our locsl beer fest, Arbor are pretty cool as well.

  2. Exhibition is, I believe, the same beer as the former Smiles' brewery's Heritage, which was an excellent brew in the style of a Burton Ale - so your "old-fashioned" comment, Zak, is spot-on …

  3. I was in Bristol at the weekend and stopped at their Grain Barge (a pub on a barge!). Acer and Independence, two pale and hoppy beers, were both really good. I've enjoyed their Hefe as well. I also love the way the beers look - they jump off the shelf at me.

  4. We are indeed blessed to have BBF and Arbor in Bristol

  5. Have to agree with the comments above, Bristol's brewing community is having a boom at the moment both BBF(whose milk stout i would happily have on iv drip) and Arbor Ales are bang on song along with zero degrees - I agree, the New World Tripel collaboration between the 3 of them is a fascinating beer.

    Haven't been to the grain barge yet, but whenever i'm drinking in Bristol i try to get to Arbor's three tuns pub - brilliant place for a pint or 2. Also definitely agree that BBF's bottle labelling is fantastic.

  6. Yeah, BBC are very solid, and normally very tasty. I can remember trying a couple of thiers - Red and Sunrise - ages ago (the blog says 2009) and being really quite satisfied. I do need to get some of thier more up-to-date output. The New World Tripel sounds amazing!


Sorry about the word verification - the blog was getting spammed to bits.