Briarbank – A look back at the last 12 months

We won’t lie; the past 12 months have been somewhat different from what we’re used to. We’ve really missed the hustle of our upstairs bar, chatting to and serving our customers, and, of course, hosting our brewery tours, but there have been some momentous moments too. We’ve won five awards, four gold and one silver, we’ve run our annual homebrew competition, albeit a bit different to previous years, and we’ve launched our online shop, making our beers available to enjoy at home.

We’ve often talked about bottling our beers, and it seems 2020 was the year to do it. With the upstairs bar sadly closed, we started up our two-barrel system, sourced some bottles, and redeveloped our website to implement an online shop. Since we launched the shop in August, we’ve been brewing, bottling, labelling and shipping weekly. The support we’ve had from our customers has been phenomenal.

Our core range is available to purchase in bottles or mini-kegs, and with seasonal gift packs available too, you can grab a present for the beer lover in your life or even just yourself. The brewing, bottling and labelling are all done by our head brewer, Rob, and if you live within the ten-mile free delivery radius, he’ll even deliver them straight to your door.

We are currently working on expanding our webshop to allow for nationwide delivery. If you live outside of the free delivery radius and cannot collect, make sure you keep an eye on our social media pages for details on when nationwide delivery will be available.

Now, onto the awards, we mean, who doesn’t love to win an award? Before the first lockdown, we picked up three awards for the East Region in the SIBA Independent Keg Beer Awards 2020. Black Horse Stout took silver in the Keg British Dark Beers category (up to 4.4%), Hop to It won gold in the Keg IPA category (5.5 to 6.4%), and Mocha Porter scooped gold in the Keg Speciality Mid to Dark Beers category. In July, having now started to bottle our beers, we entered the 2020 SIBA Digital Beer Awards. Our first time entering our bottled beers and being awarded gold for both the beers we entered is an honour. Mocha Porter took the gold in the Speciality Medium to Dark Beers category, and Grapefruit IPA came top in the Premium PAs (4.4%-5.4%) categories.

The 2020 Homebrew Competition was also somewhat different, but the level and quality of entrants were amazing. In fact, it was incredibly hard to choose a winner. In the end, Stuart Betts took the winning title with his Strong Pale Ale, Water, Seeds, Flowers and Fungus…

We can’t wait to have Stuart in the brewery to start brewing his beer. Once we’re able to do so, we’ll be releasing details on our social platform so you can get your hands on a bottle or hopefully enjoy it in our upstairs bar.

Our 2020 round-up brings us straight into 2021. We hope to be able to welcome you all back to our bar as soon as it is safe to do so, but don’t worry, you’ll still be able to get your hands on our bottles or mini-kegs to enjoy a Briarbank beer at home. Keep an eye on our social media pages for full details of when we will reopen and when our nationwide delivery will be available.

And again, we wanted to say a big thank you to all our customers for their support over the past 12 months.

Food & Drinks Offers

Dine at the Briarbank throughout November, January and February and you’ll be able to get 2-4-1 on items from our main menu every Monday and Tuesday.*

Available from 16:00 – 21:00, customers can choose items from the classics, salads, pasta & sauce and the grill (excluding 12oz rump steak) section of our main menu.

And that’s not all. You will also be able to get a pint of cask beer for just £3.00^. So, this winter, why not take a break from cooking and make the most of our offers.


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Or view all offers on our monthly calendar.


*This offer is available throughout November 2019, January 2020 and February 2020. It is every Monday and Tuesday between the hours of 16:00 and 21:00 and excludes Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The offer is applied against the following items on our main menu, from the grill, pasta & sauce, classics and salads. It excludes the 12oz rump steak from the grill section. The two for one offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. The Briarbank Bar and Brewery reserves the right to amend or withdraw this offer at any time. E&OE.

^Visit the Briarbank Bar and Brewery every Monday and Tuesday throughout November 2019, December 2019, January 2020 and February 2020 and you will be able to get a pint of cask beer for £3.00. Available from 16:00 until close. The offer is not available on any other beers. This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other drinks offer. The Briarbank Bar and Brewery reserves the right to amend or withdraw this offer at any time. E&OE.

2018 Homebrew Competition winners

Another year has flown by, and over the last weekend in October we found ourselves judging our third Homebrew competition. 2018 could possibly be compared as the best year yet, on the number of entries, and of course the quality of the beer. With over 30 beers entered, it was always set to be a tough line-up, and the judges (and myself) had a great afternoon critiquing all of them. It’s a hard job.

Our Homebrew competition is open to all levels of brewer, from extract to all grain, and the entries proved that there really is some great beer being made at home. As always, it’s really great to see what people are producing, and how far homebrewing has come from the stigma of yeasty odd tasting beer made in a bag on the back of the door.

We host a number of categories in the Homebrew competition, to try and cover a range of styles, but these are semi-fluid and can possibly change upon the number of entries. If you’re looking to enter the 2019 competition, be sure to check out homebrew page for the latest updated category listings.

We were joined by judges from a range of beer backgrounds. We had some long serving CAMRA members, a beer blogger, distributor, and even our new trainee brewer. All of which undertook the task of spending the afternoon scrutinising the appearance, taste, aroma, and style of our entries. It was a long afternoon, but by the end of it, we had six category winners, and an overall grand champion of the competition.

So onwards to the winners! Each of the category winners had the beer scored highest in that particular category. They were judged against the others in the category, and these are what the judging panel thought really stood out.

  • Old Ales, Milds, and Brown Ales – The Nightfly by Pete Young – A great example of a Ruby Mild.
  • Stouts and Porters – Yergy-The-Chef by James Pettifor – A delicious Oatmeal Stout, quoted ‘breakfast in a glass’
  • Speciality – Mulberry Bush by Nick Davis – A beautiful fruit porter packed with winter flavours.
  • Standard Pale Ales – Homeland Honey ale by Andris Mcgee – A great pale ale with a refreshing hint of honey coming through.
  • Bitters – Sir Lancerhop by John Watson – A great Amber Ale, with a fruity aroma and peachiness in flavour.
  • Strong Pale Ales – Cascading Goat Ale by Nigel Scarie – A lovely pale ale, described as ‘like drinking an English orchard’.

Each of these winners will be joining us at the brewery for a tour, meal and of course some beers while we talk brewing and beer for an afternoon.

The winners of each category were once again laid out and judged, against each other. The outstanding beer that came top of these was named the overall champion, and that went to John Watson with Sir Lancerhop. John’s beer really hit the spot with the judges, its fruity aroma and complex taste scored it just high enough over the rest of these fantastic beers, and John will be joining us in the brewery to replicate this beer for all to try when we serve it across our venues, in Briarbank, Isaacs on the Quay, and The Gardeners Arms!

If you would like to enter our 2019 competition, you can do so easily via our online entry form. Entrants can enter up to three categories each, and there is no entry fee for this competition. We are confident we will see an ever growing array of great quality beers as our competition grows! We can’t wait to see what 2019 brings.

Briarbank, Homebrew Competition is back for the third year.

Here at the Briarbank Bar and Brewery, we are excited to be bringing our Homebrew Competition back for the third year.

Taking place over the weekend of 27 – 28 October 2018, the competition is open to all homebrewers including extract and all-grain and gives you the chance to brew your beer in our very own microbrewery, with our master brewer Robert Lewis-Pyke, and of course, see it served behind our bar.

All entrants are required to submit three labeled 500ml bottles no later than 20th October 2018. Judging will then take place a week later, on 27th October. Full details on the competition, including categories and entry forms, can be found on our Homebrew Competition page.

Last years winner John Watson created Hobo’s Gold, a strong pale ale which is full bodied, full of citra and hops, to give it a great citrus taste. Commenting on his experience, ” I had a memorable day brewing my Briarbank Brewery Homebrew Competition winning Beer recipe. From weighing out the Grain and hops to pitching the yeast at the end of the day, it was a totally hands-on experience, under Rob’s input and watchful eye. Then to pull off a pint of it from the Briarbank bar a few weeks later was the icing on the cake! Thoroughly enjoyable.”

An awards event will be held on 29th October, in which the category winners and the overall winner will be announced. All entrants are encouraged to attend the awards ceremony with a bottle or two of their creation for others to try.