The Briarbank has been a hive of activity this year, and what a year it’s been.
We’ve celebrated our ten-year birthday, something that wouldn’t have been possible without you, our wonderful customers.
We’ve refreshed our brand and moved from bottles to cans with some excellent illustrations (even if we say so ourselves). Some of our older beers have returned to our bar, and we brewed the special Thomas Wolsey 550 beer.
And that’s not all! Our head brewer, Rob, organised the Ipswich Beer and Cider Festival in conjunction with CAMRA – which saw its return after a five-year break, and our handcraft beer was once again celebrated at the SIBA East Independent Beer Awards with a gold and bronze award.
Ten Years at the Briarbank
Who can believe we have been open for ten years? But what an incredible ten years it has been. From the moment we opened our doors at precisely 7pm on Friday 3 May 2013, the support from our customers has been nothing short of amazing.
Over the last ten years, we have, of course, made changes. Originally brewing solely cask beer once a week, we now brew a range of cask and keg-style beers and brew up to four times each week – in fact, we have brewed over 750 batches of beer since 2013. In 2019, we changed our brewing process, making all our beers vegan-friendly and in 2020, we launched our online shop and started to bottle our core range.
Now, ten years on, we’ve refreshed our brand, switched from bottles to cans, and engaged with local illustrators, who we’re sure you will agree have created some truly amazing can designs. They really do look fabulous.
Adding to our trophy cabinet again in 2023, we were delighted to take away a gold and bronze award at this year’s SIBA East Independent Beer Award, Cask Competition. One of our first creations, Perpendicular, a golden ale, won a gold award in its category Cask British Beer, and Briar Cobnut, our sweet traditional brown ale, took bronze in the Cask Session Dark Beer category.
The quality of competition at these events is always high, with so many fantastic breweries in the East, and it’s an honour to have our beers recognised and pick up not one but two awards.
Recognising the 550th anniversary of the birth of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, the Thomas Wolsey 550 Project was officially launched in March 2023, and as part of the celebrations, we were asked to produce a beer specifically for the project.
It was an honour to be asked; we got to work combining traditional brewing techniques with modern ingredients and brewed up an easy-drinking beer with hints of tangerine and citrus fruits.
If you’ve not yet tried it, this special collaboration beer, aptly named Thomas Wolsey 550, is available to buy via our online shop.
It was a year full of festivals again, with our biannual beer and cider festivals in April and August and our Gin and Rum Festivals in May and September. A big thank you to the bands who played and everyone who visited the festivals. Look out for our 2024 dates; we’ll release these on our social channels soon.
2023 saw us increase our live music, with bands playing weekly in the spring and summer months. We also celebrated ten years of Sunday Jazz at the Briarbank.
We’d like to thank everyone who joined us, from the bands to our wonderful customers – we can’t wait to do it all again in 2024. A little sneak peek – our live music will return on Friday, 29 April. In fact, we’ll have live music every Friday between 29 April and the end of September – keep an eye on our social channels for more details coming soon…
And, of course, our Sunday Jazz will continue on the third Sunday of every month.
Open Mic Night
2023 saw the return of our Open Mic Nights with Open Road Open Mic events at the helm. Thank you to everyone who has come down, taken the mic and supported this event; huge thanks to our wonderful audience, too.
A Look Ahead to 2024
With some exciting developments in the pipeline, we can’t wait to get 2024 underway. Watch this space for details coming soon…..