Breweries are a popular and ever growing concept in this day and age. Long are the days gone where bars and pubs sold the one ale by one major brewery. Competition fosters quality in any market and this is particularly so in the beer industry.
“There’s a beer out there for everyone,” and that’s a statement I now believe as said by ‘Willie’ our somewhat personal tour guide of the cosy Windsor and Eton Brewery; a place where new beers and new ideas are in constant supply along with the a flow of the obvious. Located a stone’s throw away from Windsor Castle and even closer to the river Thames; the unassuming building is tucked away amongst terraced housing in what could be any street in the UK; except on this street something special is happening.
Upon walking through the wide doors of what looks like any modern bar which for a Saturday afternoon was quite busy and full of friendly locals watching the Rugby; this could have easily been mistaken for a living room if it wasn’t for the well stocked gift shop area and of course her majesty’s coat of arms as the brewery has very recently been appointed as the official royal brewer.
Past this welcoming threshold is the brewery itself in what is compared to most industrial units on the smaller side but the space is used effectively, not only is this where the whole process of making beer takes place but an extension of the bar area with wooden tables and actual used barrels for seating. In fact the place where they usually fill the barrels is empty this afternoon as a live band will be setting up for the evening creating a unique atmosphere.
Our group arranged in a horseshoe are treated to an informal and personal account of the process while of course being generously gifted with samples of Windsor and Eton’s finest; this is along with sampling the main ingredients that make up the brew -hops; all of which are in different stages. It’s insightful and interactive with plenty of opportunity to understand the whole process while you also have a chance to taste some great beers.
The Windsor and Eton Brewery have been in operation for 9 plus years and have already made their mark upon the south eastern area of England; their wide array of choice has even attracted the likes of notable celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal who stocks his restaurants with their product. For anyone looking to do something a little different whilst visiting the home of the Queen I would highly recommend you pay a visit for what is a value for money, insightful, informal and fun experience.