Where would be the best place to learn about the history of brewing and what does Burtonisation mean? The answers can be found at the National Brewery Centre Museum! Not only can you learn about the history of brewing but you can also sample some of the best local ales on your way out. The National Brewery Centre also hosts a variety of live music and other events, including weddings throughout the year. Do check out their website for more details.
The National Brewery Centre is located in Burton upon Trent and it is very well signposted and easy to get to. There is plenty of on-site parking, either from Horninglow street or Guild street. Next to the Centre, the Brewery Tap bar and restaurant is a nice stop off for a lovely meal and is where you taste the local ales that have been brewed on site. There is also a playground for your little ones to enjoy themselves.
This was our first time visiting and definitely won’t be our last. This delightful place has such a vast history of brewing to learn and an interesting original Bass Collection. They offer a number of guided tours and sampling throughout the month. I would definitely recommend that you book their guided tours (either 11 am or 2 pm) which will explain the brewing industry in great details. If we had gone on the self-guided tour, we wouldn’t have picked up anywhere near as much knowledge about this great industry that dominated politically and socially.
We started the tour by following through each step of the brewing process: milling the grain, mash, lautering, boil, wort separation and cooling, fermentation, maturation, filtration, carbonation, and cellaring. It does sound like a very complicated process and without the guided tour we would not have understood the half of it. We found out that using Burton well water played such an important role that emulation of Burton water is a prevalent brewing technique called Burtonisation.
Later, we were taken to the stables to check out their two magnificent Shires, Larry and Bobby and learn about the Shires’ roles in the past. They are both 18hh (hands high) tall!
Following the guided route, we were led out of the building to see the vintage vehicles on display that played a part in the development of the industry including delivery wagons and special promotional vehicles, such as a 1920s Daimler bottle car that was built to deliver beer to pubs for promotional purposes.
Next, we visited the Robey steam engine which is similar to those that would have drawn clean well water from the springs of St. Modwen to the brewery. It is a Tandem Compound engine which is still in good working order. The engine is run by the members of the Burton Robey Group every Sunday from Easter until the end of October. If you would like to get involved in running and maintaining the engine, they are always on the lookout for volunteers!
We then made our way to the Brewery Heritage galleries where the museum displayed the stories of the people who helped to build Burton’s world-renowned brewing reputation, the William Worthington microbrewery, the Edwardian pub and many more. Mr K was so keen to play the Edwardian games that he asked to go back again to try them all!
The tour took one hour and forty-five minutes to two hours. It was quite long but definitely worth every penny! It is not to be missed. After the tour finished, we visited the bar where we sampled their ales while children had the soft drinks.
We then ended our trip by checking out part of the Bass Breweries Director’s carriage and station, which is located behind the marque. We had a fascinating time learning from the very knowledgeable tour guide and had fun checking out this amazing brewery industry. We all enjoyed our time there and we would definitely recommend a visit.
National Brewery Centre is open every day except Christmas and Boxing Days. The Museum is closed on Christmas Eve as well. Do check out their website for more information: http://www.nationalbrewerycentre.co.uk/
Disclosure: We were invited to attend the tour in exchange for our honest review, however, all thoughts and opinions remain our own.