Beartown Brewery Tour & Beer Tasting – May 17th 2024

By Ryan Grant, OSA Special Correspondent

Members and guests of the OSA enjoyed a tasteful evening at Congleton’s Beartown Brewery on Friday, hosted by Joe Manning, the Brewery CEO.

The event – one of several in the OSA calendar – included a tour of the facilities, including insights into the skills, knowledge and processes used to produce a string of traditional and niche pints. After sampling a number of products from the huge, 14,000-pint capacity tanks, we sat down to enjoy delightful savoury cheese and meat boards, complemented by five different beers from the Beartown range.

Joe started the tour with a history of the brewery, from its earliest days through the acquisition by Manning Breweries and into the current day. The multi-award-winning has undergone a big expansion since COVID, seeing sales rise rapidly both in local retail sales and its online business.

The brewery is proud of its Congleton-inspired name, and has used it in several of its beers, like “Peach Melbear”, “Bluebeary” and “Creme Bearlee”. During the tasting, we also learnt about the the special pilsner “Wojtek” (World Beer of the Year Winner in 2012), a tribute to a lesser known hero of World War II, who happens to be a bear! If you don’t know the story, you can check it out HERE!

Beartown prides itself on creating exceptional products, and its brewers ensure consistency and excellence by using the best ingredients from UK and abroad, sharing some suppliers with popular brands like Boddingtons and Stella Artois. This combination of quality ingredients and committed and talented brewers means a full range of intriguing beers, with equally fascinating names, such as “Ella’s Spitting Feathers”, “I think Bob’s Dead” and the “Chef Thom Bateman Collaboration Pack” (four beers selected to go with meals created by chef Thom Bateman which are available via the QR code on the pack.)

As well as trying the original bitter Kodiak, we also tried its smooth lager, a new IPA and the new Birthday Bear (made to celebrate its 30th birthday), inspired by the flavours of a black forest gateaux! Like the dessert, it was a bit too sweet for some people; and, at over 8%, we were glad it was only a small glass!

Everyone enjoyed the evening, especially the winners of the beer provided by Beartown in the raffle. OSA Members can enjoy a 5% discount on all in shop orders, and also 25% off a six-month subscription to the Kodiak Club by using the code which is available in the members area of the website.

Thanks again to everyone who supported the event by coming and supplying some photos – and of course to Joe, Olly and all at Beartown Brewery. Watch out for other special offers during the year!

Below is a selection of photos taken at the event. Click on each to see the full image.