This Christmas just gone, I was invited to go on a brewery tour with my fiancées’ mums’ partner in Ringwood, home a few ales that I really enjoy.
We took the visit on the Sunday morning that was a 2 hour trip around the facilities and included a taste of each available ale.
The facility was small and very welcoming. The staff members seemed very passionate about their jobs and did it with a smile. It was clear you didn’t just have to be an adult to go on this tour as Under 18’s were welcome, just weren’t welcome to the beer. The age range spread out quite nicely and the genders were balanced. Driving party members were offered soft drinks appropriately.
The tour began with a half pint in the lounge area whilst being given the history of British ale brewing, as well as the history of Ringwood brewery. For the sake of the tour I shall not go into detail, but you may find out some interesting facts about International businesses, stout, Monty Python and Weatherspoons.
I shall advise if you do take this tour on to use the toilet first thing, because the tour is about 90 minutes in length and the toilet is only available at the beginning and the end. I had to find that out the hard way!
The tour takes you through a step by step process of how beer begins in the factory and how the process works. Though the brewing process is centuries old, the use of technology makes you realise just how much the brewery emphasises on consistency and quality.
You are informed the process throughout, but you also get the chance to see the beer preparation almost periodically. The detail and variety the company uses to create the different beers is enough to fascinate anyone. The most salivating part is seeing beer ferment. Though it’s not ready, as you see it in the huge vessels, I started to think I was prepared to just dive straight in and help myself!
The final section of the tour leads to the preparation for distribution. This is the part I enjoyed, I really am intrigued by detailed organisation and seeing beer being timed to the second for collection was the part I really paid attention to.
The tour is not necessarily long distance wise, but there is a lot of explanation that the guide did try to cram in without getting people to nod off. Because he was very interactive with everyone (there was a party of nearly 30 people) it kept you engaged.
Once gathering as much information as you could manage it was beer time again, this time it was a near free for all to try every possible beer. Once vacating and visiting the shop, everyone was welcome to lounge outside in the sun with their remaining half pints.
The tour is a delightful look into the world of brewing and how Ringwood rose to power. As a family day out, I’d recommend it to those who have older children, just to keep them as engaged as possible. The tour is an ideal gift to beer lovers and equally a change from the norm if you’re looking for an adult getaway for the weekend. Finally, it is fair to say that the beer truly reflects the experience that I had on the tour, filled generously but left with a dry pallet desiring more, which is why I’d be more than happy to visit again.