Braydon Ales brewery

Local beer is important, so my visit to Braydon Ales was a real treat, this brewery although small produces some very impressive and consistent beers.

Braydon Ales is a 3 man 5 barrel brewery in a farm building in Preston, Wiltshire. Arriving at the brewery I was greeted by Dave Dodd who brews the beer at Braydon and we quickly got talking about their range of beers and how Braydon Ales came into being.

I am sure many have had the conversation down the pub about opening their own brewery, but the three founders of Braydon turned their pub night conversation into a reality. They all met in the sober light of day to discuss the pub night proposal and agreed that it was in fact something they all really wanted to do. Then when the opportunity presented itself in the form of Burford Brewery coming up for sale and it was decided to buy the plant and set about finding a location closer to the teams hometown of Wooten Bassett, the Preston West farm site became available (it was previously a butchers and farm shop) and the new brewery was formed – a beer drinkers dream come true.

The name Braydon comes from the historic forested region which once covered about a third of Wiltshire, this combined with the names of the ales Braydon produces come together to give the impression of a real Wiltshire born brewery.

In September 2009 the first brew of Gibbles (now re-branded Yer-Tiz) was brewed at the new site, this classic bitter has been slightly refined from the first brew but today is a good example of how British ales should taste. Coming from a group who’s brewing experience started with brewing on their newly acquired plant and a couple of brewing courses this is quite impressive. There are plenty of breweries which have a long history of brewing, on the same site and using traditional processes and equipment which lack some of the authenticity which a pint of Yer-Tiz has.

Braydon ales focuses on supplying local pubs with their ales and this is an important part of their business model. From brewing a special celebratory brew for the bestowing of Royal on Royal Wootton Bassett (RWB) to supplying beer to local community events. Talking to Dave it is one of his prime motivators in brewing and connecting with the local community and those living in the area has great value. It was in fact at a local beer festival that I first tried a Braydon Ale. This kind of community brewing is in my opinion a very valuable asset as it not only maintains the brewing skills in an area but it adds important diversity to local produce – and who can so no to local beer?

So the beers?

All of the Braydon Ales (the celebratory beers are the only exceptions) are named using old words from the local dialect. The beer styles cover the range of classic British ales.

  Yertiz means “here it is” a nice classic bitter
  Galley Bagger: meaning scarecrow, a golden bitter
  Gert Ale: meaning big or great, slightly stronger than the other beers a nice deep coloured bitter
  Pot Walloper: named after a communal cooking fireplace owner, malty ruby beer
  RWB: Brewed to celebrate “Royal” Wootton Bassett light copper coloured ale

Mooned Up Mild (Dave’s favourite of Braydon’s Ales) is also to be added to the range along with other planned seasonal ales, also Braydon are brewing an ale for the upcoming Queen’s Jubilee celebrations  – Aunty Betty.

In the future Dave says that he would like the brewery to be able to bottle it’s beer and is looking into this, I personally look forward to the time I can buy a Braydon Ale in a bottle and be able to send my friends who are further afield one to try. He also said it would be possible Braydon would consider a larger plant (maximum 10 barrels) but this would be only if the right circumstances presented themselves.

If you would like to try a Braydon Ale then you can either find them in the pubs around the brewery (there is a list of some of them on the brewery website) or contact Braydon Ales direct via the contact details on their website for details of how you can buy some beer from the brewery.

Cheers to Dave Dodd for showing me around the brewery and talking me through it’s origins, the beers and general state of brewing today.

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