Beaufort Arms, Hawkesbury Upton, South Gloucestershire

Georges Brewery, Bristol - A Plea

Georges BreweryAs we all know, brewing in the West Country has been decimated: the national brewers have gobbled up and spat out all of the regionals here, leaving us with just a few modern micros.
The region has had major enterprises in just about every corner: Bristol; Bath; Gloucester; Cheltenham; Wickwar; Stroud; Rode; Oakhill; Shepton Mallet; Burnham-on-Sea – the list goes on. What though is left of a once great tradition? Snazzy names on yet another housing or office redevelopment.
In Bristol there is a golden opportunity to keep the memory fresh – the old George’s brewery cellars. These could be utilised to exhibit brewing artefacts from all over the region: locally made ones from manufacturers like Price, Powell or Pourtney; or even Parnalls, the Gaskell and Chambers of the West. Some of the great Scottish & Newcastle archive collection could also be shown off  (if allowed) on a rotating basis.
To spice up the collection, permanent exhibits from Bristol’s colourful, ale-related past should also be incorporated. These displays could depict the following: The Knights Templar having a final drink together before their departure for the next crusade. The witches of Bristol making another ale based potion to help ward off the plague. Daniel Defoe meeting Alexander Selkirk in the Star (Castle Green), gathering information for his classic book “Robinson Crusoe”. Thomas Clarkson hearing about the horrors of the slave trade from a helpful landlord in the Seven Stars, unbelievably still standing in Thomas Street.
Georges BreweryAll of these events actually occurred within 500 yards of the old George’s Brewery. It would be of great interest not only locally but also nationally. The City Council were quoted in Christmas 1999’s Pints West as saying that “future developments (of the Courage site) should recognise, interpret and possibly continue the tradition of brewing within an appropriate part of the site.” With the old brewhouse adjacent to Hawkins Lane possibly earmarked for use by a modern micro-brewer, the possibility of reinstating the historic ferry landing at the end of the lane; and by using the old Head Brewers office (the building with the lovely oriole window overlooking the river) you’d have a superb entrance for an integrated visitor attraction.
With the brave decision to go for “European City of Culture 2008”, Bristol needs to make more of its own, and the region’s, contributions to the world.

Mark

 

Beaufort Arms, High Street, Hawkesbury Upton, South Gloucestershire GL9 1AU
01454 238217