Roll of Honour

Sadly, all good things come to an end and some wonderful beers are no longer with us. The reasons are various but generally amount to the triumph of commercialism over art and craftsmanship: breweries go out of business or are taken over and subsequently closed down. These are some whose passing I particularly regret.

BrewerLast BrewedBeerComments
Romsey, Hants
c. 1971BitterThe first draught beer I ever drank. Taken over and closed down by Whitbread. [Interestingly, the Hampshire Brewery, a comparative newcomer now based in Romsey, seems to have acquired the Strong name and logo and is producing some very fine beers.]
Marlow, Bucks
c. 1980BitterTaken over by Strongs about 1950 but remained independent and kept brewing for some years after the subsequent takeover by Whitbread. An excellent mid-range bitter, available on handpump in a few pubs, it was a rare treat in those days of mostly keg and top pressure.
Faversham, Kent
c. 1980BitterA depressingly similar similar story to Wethered’s.
TuskerFremlin’s premium bitter (named after their trademark elephant) - it only lasted a few years before the brewery closed.
1980sDraught Bass *I remember draught Bass from the 1970s, when it was still brewed on the ‘Burton Union’ system and could be sampled in peak condition (gravity dispense) at Cooper’s Tavern next to the brewery. It’s never been the same since.
1991BitterHighly regarded in its home territory. I only had it a few times but I have good memories of a “lock in” in Derby.
King and Barnes
Horsham, Sussex
2000Sussex Bitter *Light and hoppy, the perfect session beer. Taken over and closed down by Hall and Woodhouse, whom I will never forgive.
BroadwoodRich, chestnut coloured and finely tuned, a most harmonious brew.
Henley, Oxon
2002Bitter *A good honest session bitter. [Now brewed by Wychwood at Witney.]
2006Bitter (“Ordinary”) *My staple diet for over 30 years. [Now brewed by the new Wells and Young company at Bedford.]

* These beers still exist in name but are brewed elsewhere or by different methods.

It still seems unthinkable that Brakspear, one of the brewers at the forefront of the 1970s real ale revival, is no more. As for Youngs, the shock has yet to sink in.


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