Nethergate was founded in 1986 in Clare, Suffolk, before later moving across the county border and then to their current home in Long Melford. After falling into administration in 2014, Nethergate has since gone from strength to strength, producing a range of beers and ales and winning more than 40 awards including CAMRA’s ‘Champion Beer of Britain’ award three times.
Upon arriving, we were made very welcome by the team at Nethergate. A jug of one of their current brews and some glasses were waiting for us as we filed in – a taste of things to come!
As Nethergate is only a small brewery, 8 members went on the first tour of the brewing area, whilst the rest of us stayed behind to sample yet another beer. We then swapped over and I was able to see behind the scenes as our guide showed us round and explained the brewing process.
The tour was really interesting – I found it particularly astounding that for a fairly small business they brew an incredible 40,000 pints a week! We also learnt how local cattle and pigs benefit from the waste products they produce as well as how ingredients such as lemon, coriander and ginger are used in the brewing process.
Our guide explained how Nethergate often brew ‘specials’ for particular events, such as the Six Nations, in addition to their well known brands Suffolk County, Stour Valley Gold and Old Growler. Their shop area also doubled up as a bar, which has become so popular that it is now used as a pub by many of the locals!
After the tours had finished we continued to chat for some time, learning more about the history of the brewery. Many of the members (and myself!) took the time to visit the shop, taking home supplies of the ales and also other merchandise such as their range of sauces.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable event – even if I do say so myself! Cheers!