Mitcheldean boasts a micro-brewery, called Bespoke Brewery, which specialises in ‘forest bitters’. This gave rise to Asier and Kyra asking me what differentiated a regular bitter from a forest bitter — were they merely termed such because they were brewed in an area that was largely forest, was it a marketing ploy or was there a deeper significance. Unfortunately I didn’t get an answer during my stay, but trusty google doesn’t seem to suggest that there is any particular criteria a brewery needs to fulfil in order to describe it’s brew as a forest bitter. It is a question for future investigation, certainly!
The Bespoke Brewery currently have less than ten different brews, although to my ignorance mind this sounds like quite a high number of different feathers for a micro-brewery to have to in their cap. They ran a stall at the Gloucester Tall Ships Festival and seem to have quite a considerable online presence, with a growing number of pubs stocking their cask ales. Their marketing is spot on, with every bottle boasting a tongue-in-cheek reference to the UK’s military and naval history. If the purpose of branding is to tempt you to try not just one but all of a company’s products, then Bespoke Brewery’s approach is bang on. Fortunately the bitters definitely delivered as well!
Every weekend the bar under the brewery opens up to the public, and this weekend just past we ventured down into the town and decided to go for a couple of rounds. Asier was quite upset to have been in the area for upwards of two months prior to having discovered the place, but I am not certain I would have frequented it again. This is owing more to the attitude of a traveller who is pressed for time and doesn’t want to cover the same ground twice however, and doesn’t reflect poorly on the Brewery Tap at all. I have only a month to spend in Mitcheldean and there is plenty of other new territory to scout out whilst I am here. That we were two decades younger than most of the clientèle certainly didn’t help, either.
Objectively if I were to have to choose a favourite without taking the name and label into consideration, I think I would have to say that I preferred Over a Barrel because of it’s strength and depth of flavour. If I’ve managed to elicit you interest in them at least a little bit, please click here and pay the brewery’s website a visit. I bought a couple of bottles home for Father’s day and will be looking out for them in pubs in the coming years! Thoroughly tasty.