Our summer tour of the UK continues in the West Country and for once, the weather is pretty decent. Normally it rains the whole time I don’t have to sit in an office and then as soon as I have to go back to work the weather is glorious. For the past few days, we have been staying in the lovely town of Westbury in Wiltshire. It’s a very pretty little town that is a great base for exploring a wide area from Bristol and Swindon right down to the south coast. Today’s post will introduce you to the amazing guys at the Twisted Brewing Company who brew up their fantastic beer in Westbury itself. I’ll also share our visit to the home of the Baby-Eating Bishop of Bath and Wells, made famous in the Black Adder episode “Money”, which seemed a perfect place to enjoy some Twisted Beer.
Introducing the Team of the Twisted Brewing Co.
While visiting our friends in Westbury I took the opportunity to pop in and visit a brewery that I had read about on the internet. The Twisted Brewing Co have their brewery in an industrial estate just north of the Wiltshire town. I popped in on the off chance of having a look round and perhaps buying some of their beer. They were just in the middle of making up a new beer specially for the Olympics that they will call “Rio”. Andy and Ollie welcomed me warmly into their brewery and despite it being the hottest day of the year they even agreed to pose for the picture below. Sadly the other member of the Twisted Brewing team, Mark, was out making deliveries.
Ex-Servicemen Making Beer in Perfect Harmony
All 3 of the guys have spent the majority of their lives in the service of their country and inter-service banter is obviously a key part of brewery life. Ollie (on the right) spent most of his life in the Royal Artillery before enduring having to work with the RAF as a Rapier instructor, which is where he met Mark who served in the RAF Regiment for 15 years. The main brewer in the team is Andy who spent 27 years working for NAAFI, for whom he worked all over the world supporting the British military on operations. Towards the end of his career working for NAAFI he was responsible for setting up their various facilities both in Basra and at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan. When Andy retired from NAAFI he spent some time working for a company who made Christmas decorations for shopping malls and other large spaces. He became more and more inspired about the idea of making things rather than serving people. Having spent some time with a brewer friend of Ollie’s in Northampton the idea for the Twisted Brewing Co began to form. After taking some time to develop their business plan the success of the brewery grows every day and serves as an inspiration to what ex-servicemen can achieve after they leave.
Twisted Beer – Perfect for a West Country Picnic
The Twisted Brewing Co have a number of core beers that are available both directly from the Brewery and through various pubs in West Country, including the Hollies Inn and the Horse and Groom in Westbury. One of the core beers is the Conscript Golden Ale, which features in the Brew with a View picture. A cold pint of Conscript was the perfect drink with our picnic on the hottest day of the year so far. I also bought some Pirate Best Bitter during my visit to the Brewery and this is a beautifully nutty, dark ale with a wonderful aroma of roasted malt and coffee. The core beers also include the Rider Amber Ale and the Gaucho Premium Ruby Ale.
Seasonal Ales and Special Event Beer
While I was at the Brewery, Andy was telling me about his love of tasting beers from across the country to help inspire the development of special seasonal beers. Their “Three Lions” Pale Ale, developed specially for the Football European Championships 2016, was a sell out and although it didn’t inspire the England team to success the guys are hoping that their “Rio” beer will help armchair athletes enjoy the upcoming Olympics.
The brewery have also done a number of special beers and recently supplied a one for the Royal Artillery’s 300th Anniversary Celebrations. They can provide beer with bespoke labels for any event but for anyone in the military looking for a special guest ale for their Mess, anniversary or other service event, I’m sure that Andy, Ollie and Mark would be keen to help. At the same time you will be helping to support the guys as they develop their business.
I had a great time visiting the brewery and chatting with Andy and Ollie. You can find out more about the Brewery on their website here.
The West Country Home of the Bishop of Bath and Wells
Having visited the brewery, we continued our exploring of the West Country and took a trip to the lovely little town of Wells. Here we found a perfect spot for a picnic and the chance to test out the beer I had bought at the brewery earlier in the day. We parked ourselves on the grass in the grounds of Wells Cathedral right in front of the gates to the Bishop’s Palace that has been home to the Bishops of the Diocese of Bath and Wells since it was first built in the year 1230. People brought up on a diet of the Black Adder TV show will remember the Bishop of Bath and Wells as a debt collector for the Bank of the Black Monks of St Herod in the second series episode “Money”. The Bishop particularly enjoys causing pain and injury (even mortal injury) to those customers who cannot repay their debts. He values his reputation enough so that when Black Adder drugs the Bishop and has a painting made of him in a highly compromising position with Lord Percy he backs down. Black Adder not only manages to get the Bishop to write off his debts but gets enough money to buy back his house and live in comfort. Regardless of the nastiness of the Black Adder character, Wells Cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace are well worth a visit and the town is great for exploring.
In a way it’s sad to have such a wonderful place tied in my childish memory to the story from Black Adder but at the same time it feels a good way to finish my post on the Twisted Brewing Co.