It’s Festival Season

Festival season is upon us, and we’re excited to confirm we will be holding not one but four festivals this year at the Briarbank.

Our Festivals

Now in their tenth year, our popular beer festivals will be returning, and we will be hosting two, one in the spring and one in the summer. With over 40 craft beers, real ales and ciders to sample, there is sure to be something to delight every palate.

Whether you are a seasoned ale aficionado or a curious newcomer, our festivals offer an opportunity to savour some of the finest brews in Suffolk and beyond, connect with fellow beer enthusiasts and immerse yourself in the world of craftsmanship.

Alongside our beer festivals, we also welcome back our Gin and Rum Festivals, where we will see a similar volume of offerings from a range of distilleries near and far.

All festivals will feature in our outside bar, with our upstairs tap room continuing to offer alternative drinks, including soft, wine and spirits, along with our kitchen, which will be open and serving food between 12:00pm and 9:00pm for all our festivals.

Entry to all events will be FREE, with each festival hosting its own wonderful array of LIVE music to tap your toes to!

Our Beer Festivals

From the dates to the live acts, here’s what you need to know about our beer festivals.

Spring Beer Festival Wednesday 1 May – Monday 6 May 2024

  • Friday 3 May
    8pm – Old Skool are kicking off our Spring Beer Festival live music
  • Saturday 4 May
    8pm – Funk Shed will be bringing you an evening of funk, soul and groove beats
  • Sunday 5 May
    8pm – Electric Velvet Club, an Ipswich covers band taking you back to the noughties and nineties with some of the decades top tunes!

Summer Beer Festival Wednesday 21 August – Monday 26 August 2024

  • Friday 23 August
    8:30pm – Skyraiders, a Suffolk covers-band playing songs from the 70s through the noughties!
  • Saturday 24 August
    8:30pm – The Kicks, a mod rock, pop and punk cover band
  • Sunday 25 August
    8:00pm – The Dead Legs, a pop, rock, indie band with a deliberate throwback to the 80s.

Our Gin and Rum Festivals

With two festivals this year, one in May and one in September, here’s all you need to know about the dates and who we have taking to the Briarbank stage.


May Gin and Rum Festival Wednesday 22 May – Monday 27 May 2024

  • Friday 24 May
    8:30pm – Skyraiders, a Suffolk band coverings songs hip in the 70s through the noughties!
  • Saturday 25 May
    8:30pm – The Super Things, performing melodies full of pop, rock and disco vibes!
  • Sunday 26 May
    7:30pm – Lucky No.7 will bring you an evening of non-stop rock and roll action.

September Gin and Rum Festival Wednesday 11 September – Sunday 15 September 2024

  • Friday 13 September
    8:00pm – Redemption, playing you rock and roll hits with a twist as they introduce funk and soul to their melodies!
  • Saturday 14 September
    8:00pm – Soul Riot, bringing you music with the most soulful funkiest kind of soul and something you will not be able to resist from dancing to!
  • Sunday 15 September
    7:30pm – The Three Chordettes, a female vocal harmony group, who specialise in swing are sure to steal your heart and get your toes a-tapping!

So, with four festivals taking place, pop the dates in your diary, grab your friends and head to the Briarbank. We can’t wait to welcome you.

2024 events at the Briarbank

With 2024 now well underway, we take some time to reflect on the year ahead and all the wonderful events which we have lined up. From our Sunday Jazz afternoons, which are now in their 11th year to the return of our live music evenings, and, of course, popular festivals, it’s set to be a great year of entertainment at the Briarbank.

Live Music

Alongside our ever popular Sunday Jazz afternoons, which take place the third Sunday of every month, we will be hosting live music every Friday (well, near enough every Friday) in our marquee. From great cover bands to solo artists and more, we’re looking forward to welcoming some new acts to the Briarbank as well as welcoming back some familiar bands. Our live music will start and finish the amazing The Three Chordettes, commencing on Friday 29 March 2024 and finishing on Sunday 15 September 2024, at our second Gin and Rum Festival for the year.

However, don’t forget, even though our live music evenings will come to an end in September, our monthly jazz, will continue to run throughout the year, and we will have some great live music on Christmas Eve. And, of course, keep your eyes peeled for our New Year’s Eve event too.


We couldn’t have a 2024 calendar of events, without bringing back our popular festivals, and we’re excited to announce we will once again be hosting two beer festivals and two gin and rum festivals throughout the year.

  • Briarbank’s Spring Beer Festival – Wednesday 1 May 2024 – Monday 6 May 2024
  • Gin and Rum Festival – Wednesday 22 May 2024 – Monday 27 May 2024
  • Briarbank’s Summer Beer Festival – Wednesday 21 August 2024 – Monday 26 August 2024
  • Gin and Rum Festival – Wednesday 11 September 2024 – Monday 15 September 2024

With free entry, and live music throughout the weekend, note the dates, grab your friends and come and join us for a fun-filled festival. Make sure you keep your eyes on our social platforms, as we will be announcing more details in due course.

Tap Takeovers

We always have such a fantastic weekend when we run our tap takeovers, that we can’t wait to do it all again for 2024. This year they will be taking place:

  • Friday 5 July – Saturday 6 July
  • Saturday 28 October – Sunday 29 October

Keep your eyes peeled for more details coming soon. But, for now, we can tell you, there will be live music happening throughout the weekend.

And that’s not all……
We will also be continuing with our monthly quiz nights, which from April, will move to the first Thursday of the month.

To find out what we have on, visit our What’s On Page. Then, note the dates, grab your friends and come and join us. We hope to see you there!

Briarbank wins double gold at local SIBA Regional online bottle and can beer awards 2021

Wow – there’s certainly a buzz around the Briarbank with the announcement of our recent gold awards at the SIBA Regional online bottle and can beer awards 2021. We love nothing more than creating our beers for our customers to enjoy, and we’re honoured to have been awarded gold with not one but two of our beers.

Mocha Porter took the title in the Speciality Mid to Dark Beers category, and Hop To It took gold in the IPA category. There was some great competition from other local brewers, and we’d also like to congratulation everyone who walked away with a Gold, Silver or Bronze Award.

Winning an award is fantastic, and it’s actually not the first time these two beers have been awarded gold. In fact, they both won gold 12 months ago too. In March 2020, Mocha Porter and Hop To It also picked up gold in the SIBA Independent Keg Beer Awards 2020 for the East Region. And then, later in 2020, Mocha Porter again took gold in the SIBA Digital Beer Awards, meaning it’s now the third time our coffee and chocolate porter has been crowned a winner.

Popular with our customers, you will find both these beers in our first-floor bar and also in our online shop, so you can share them with friends near and far.

We want to say a massive thank you to all our customers for their support throughout 2021.

Head brewer shares his experience

Whether you’re new to homebrewing or it has long been a passion of yours, our head brewer Rob takes us through how he got into the art of brewing and shares some useful tips with us.

So, where did my passion for homebrewing come from? It all started when I was 18, and at home, I’d decided to create my own brewing kit and of course, tried to brew that perfect beer. I mean don’t get me wrong, there were mistakes, tears, beers down the drain, but I learnt so much from brew to brew that there were also some superb pints, which myself and my friends enjoyed. And some of the techniques I learnt, I still use in the brewery.

With our 2019 Homebrew Competition open for entries, I wanted to share with you some of my ‘eureka’ moments, when I finally nailed a technique and realised what a big improvement it made to my beers.

Don’t go too complicated too soon. Beer recipes can be as simple or as complex as you make them. I made some fantastic SMASH (Single mat and single hop) beers. Using less varied ingredients to begin with can also give you a good idea of the types of flavours certain malts and hops bring to the beer, enabling you to see what you like and dislike.

Don’t change things too much. When tweaking a recipe, do it bit by bit. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to replicate a batch of beer, but change too many things at once, otherwise, you may not figure out exactly what’s changing what.

Don’t over think it. Brewing at home is great because if it’s slightly off spec to what’s planned, you don’t have anyone complaining. You can just go with it, and you may just find it’s made the best beer so far. I made some very tasty mistakes in the past at home.

Write everything down. Always make notes, and measure the gravity, temperatures, and volumes throughout. The worst thing is opening a bottle of fantastic beer and having absolutely no record of how you made it.

Do what works for you. Everyone’s set-up is different, and everyone’s techniques differ. People are incredibly helpful with advice, but remember there is no single correct way to brew.

Control that fermentation! The biggest difference in quality came when I could keep fermentation at a stable temperature. I used an old fridge with a temperature controller, but many many ideas are floating around now that people use. Yes, you can make beer leaving it in the airing cupboard, but getting that control over temperature will allow you to control flavours given off by the yeast.

Don’t go water mad. Brewing water is a huge subject, and it can completely overwhelm someone who is just starting out. Adjusting your water profile can’t make bad beer good, it can only make good beer better. Even in the brewery now, our water additions are quite basic. There are countless resources and test kits out there when it comes to water, so if you’re struggling to find what next to look into to get to that perfect point, get researching! The book ‘Water’ in the Brewing Elements series is a wealth of knowledge, but a hard read!

Use fresh ingredients. Yes you can store malt, especially un-crushed, for some time, but hops and speciality grains always bring more flavour the fresher they are. Gone are the days where you’d buy a pack of hops that have sat in a loose bag in the sun in a Homebrew shop for months, so this isn’t too much of an issue anymore.

Don’t take criticism to heart. Friends and drinkers alike will always want to give their opinion on your beer. You know if it’s good or not, so don’t take it too much to heart when people don’t like it.

Experiment. Try whatever you like, however crazy it sounds. The beauty of homebrew is you can create anything. There are no limits to your imagination.

So, whether you’ve already started brewing or are yet to begin, why not enter our 2019 Homebrew Competition? After all, you could get to brew your creation in our microbrewery and even see it sold on tap behind our bar. There really is no better feeling than watching someone enjoying a beer that you’ve created.

Find out how to enter here.