Craft Beer Explosion

Keg and cask to keep everyone happy!
Bristol is awash with decent new bars and breweries at the moment. Fresh on the heels of the Barley Mow's refurbishment comes the change of use of one of Bristol's iconic gig venues, the Croft, now the Crofter's Rights. I called in for their soft opening last Friday to find a place almost unrecognisable from what one stood there. The staff have been hard at work refitting the place to host a bustling craft beer bar, with taps in the wall a-la Euston tap now de rigeur for such venues.

Ideal if bricks and mortar are your thing
Of course, not everything was ready with a smell of fresh paint in the air, but we were able to try some excellent, well-kept beers from the likes of Magic Rock and Camden Town. The toilets were a little hair-raising, with a tight spiral staircase for access and no doors yet in place but these should all be sorted in time for the full launch!

Also recently opened is the Bristol Beer Emporium, a subterranean beery Mecca that on our visit was rammed due to the Bristol Harbour side festival also happening that weekend.
Fairly unassuming from the outside.
A good range of both local, national and international brewers on cask and keg, there were no seats left so we stayed for a swift half before heading out for some more Gromit hunting. I shall certainly be returning here when its not quite so manic! I particularly liked their branded glassware and the food menu sounds good too.

And so onto the breweries...
Great branding guys!
I managed to snag the final third of Rocket Science's Oort Cloud Wit in the Barley Mow. Not so much wit as weisse, there's plenty of wheat character in there and served from keg on a summers evening it was very refreshing, but I was just looking for a little bit more stand-out in flavour.

This I got from New Bristol Brewery's Flame. Its a hop-forward amber ale a la Brewdog 5AM Saint though with more of a focus on pine hops. Dark amber, with mango pithiness and a dry, slightly chalky finish, this beer could develop into something of a regular. Certainly hope to try more from this brewery.

There are plenty more breweries and pubs to explore in Bristol. A third new craft beer bar is due to open in October handily located off St Nicholas Market; so you can get some decent beer after having your fill of decent food. Right next door to the Beer Emporium is the newly refurbished "craftised" Famous Royal Navy Volunteer, focussing solely on UK beers a la Hanging Bat. Four new bars following hot on Brewdog's heels...were they the motivator or simply a vanguard?

October sees the inaugural Bristol Beer Week, check out their website and follow them on Twitter for more details. Hope to see you there!

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