Brewery History Society
Brandon Brewery Brandon,
The Brandon Brewery was opened in the summer of 2005 by previous owner Dennis Cooper in the busy market town of Brandon, which lies on the border between Norfolk and Suffolk.
David Gwillim purchased the brewery in 2015 is the current owner and brewer.
Brandon is a small town of great antiquity, with a long history of settlement. During the Neolithic period shafts were sunk to mine the excellent local black flint for the manufacture of arrowheads and axes and the working of flint has continued since.
The Brandon Brewery building is the old dairy of a 15th century cottage in a tiny lane, known locally as Grape Alley. This gives just enough room for a comfortable, if cosy, brew-house, which also has space to service direct sales and display the brewery's range of bottled beers. Behind the brew-house there is a porta-cabin, which is used as a cold store for casks.
As well as bottled beer, the brewery also sells polypins of bright beer and firkins direct to public houses.
We currently have eight core beers available monthly. See range of beers for details.
The brewery is alongside the River Ouse, beside the bridge.
Brewing typically takes place once a
week and the rest of the week, when not brewing, is spent delivering to a
number of free houses in an area of Norfolk , Cambridge and Suffolk surrounding
The brewery is open Monday - Friday, 9.00am - 3pm, but do call first in case Dave is out on a delivery.
Visitors are welcome and they are happy to arrange visits for small groups.
One of Brandon's beers is usually on tap at The Ram, situated in Brandon High Street .
The brewery's original plant, which was based on ex-brewery conditioning tanks supplied by Brendan Moore and believed to have originated from a northern brewery and consisted of following items: Hot Liquor Tank / Copper - This vessel was originally of 5 barrel capacity but in January 2008 it was extended to 5.75 by adding a top which was the off cut from the 5 barrel tank used to make the mash tun. The vessel is insulated with breeze- blocks, giving it a functional, if not too elegant, appearance. The vessel is used initially to boil the hot liquor and then later reused as the copper. It has a ribbon gas 182 Journal of the Brewery History Society burner beneath it and has been modified with a 4" stainless steel pipe welded at the bottom to facilitate removing the hops at the end of the brew - It does have a strainer plate in the copper to hold the hops back until the plug is removed. The insulating blocks sit on stainless steel baffles to force the hot air to circulate slowly around the vessel, maximising efficiency. Mash Tun - This is another 5-barrel cellar tank with the top cut off, a homemade sparge arm and a plate within it. It sports a blue plastic lid to keep heat in. Heat Exchanger - the heat exchanger has an impressive array of taps and pipe work to allow liquor or wort to be pumped in a number of different directions, to or from the copper, mash tun and FVs, or to allow water to be pumped through the heat exchanger to facilitate cleaning. FVs - Originally there were three FVs, two of 2.5 barrel capacity each and the other at 5 barrel. These were also con- verted from former cellar tanks and have coils of pipe around them to allow water from a flash chiller to pumped round to stop the fermentation, when required. The beer is then pumped to a cellar tank to finish its fermentation and gain condition. An additional four 2.5 barrel FVs allow a typical brew to result in 5.25 barrels of beer. The remaining FVs are used as conditioning tanks.
Gwillim Ales Ltd.
76 High Street Brandon
Suffolk IP27 0AU
Tel: 07876 234689
With thanks to Jeff Sechiari for the original article.