Do you have a taste for delicious craft drinks? There has probably never been a better time for the lover of authentic artisan beers, ciders, wines and spirits in Herefordshire as a whole, which has to be among the best UK destinations for craft booze. Besides just imbibing the stuff though, a whole range of breweries, vineyards and distilleries also offer tours and visitor centres these days to give a wholly more immersive experience.
Indeed, meeting the makers themselves is not only great fun, but can really deepen the enjoyment of your poison of choice. Hence this month, we thought we would share some of our favourite current drinks producers and places to visit, all within a modest drive of Ledbury. Besides tours right on our doorstep, we’ve also included some drinks specialists just a few minutes further in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire too. Of course, you could always stop off at ours for a glass of something tasty and locally made too!
Chase Distillery (27 mins from Ledbury, Rosemaund Farm, Hereford, HR1 3PG)
Explore your "spiritual" side at Chase (Picture: Chase Vodka Facebook Page)
Chase Vodka has become a household name for fine spirits, not to mention one of Herefordshire’s biggest craft alcohol success stories of recent years. Another great draw is their splendid visitor centre, where you can enjoy tours and a taste of the good stuff with Chase experts. These provide a fascinating insight into the whole drinks making process too, from the fields to the finished bottle. Click here for further details.
Wye Valley Brewery (25 mins from Ledbury, Bromyard HR7 4HG)
A brewery with big tastes and “first cask” tours, Wye Valley are one of those ideal places to visit for the craft beer fan. Among various brews of note, Butty Bach, The Hopfather and a whole series of acclaimed Dorothy Goodbody’s Ales all make for exceptional drinking (mine's a Glorious IPA if you're offering). The expert-led brewery tours add another dimension too, and oh-so-conveniently they end just as the local pubs open at 6:30pm. What a handy coincidence! Click here for further details and dates of forthcoming tours.
Hillside Brewery (30 mins from Ledbury, Longhope GL17 0NG)
Access "ale" areas: top notch tours and tasting sessions are available at Hillside (Image: Hillside Brewery Facebook Page)
From classic bitter to deliciously hoppy pale ales, this cracking brewery is a fount of beery goodness on so many levels. Beers such as Summit Ruby Ale and the cheekily named Legless Cow Bitter, offer a rich, complex taste hit. Ok, so we’ve strayed into Gloucester, but the brewery is that good (and only 30 mins away) we’re going to cheat.
Nor do the fun and creativity end with the next pint either. Hillside are hot on special events for the visitor, with everything from special tours and tasting sessions to pop-up food events, theatre and opera! Keep a close eye on their Facebook page for current listings and their acclaimed Brewery Experience days.
Westons Cider Tours (10 mins from Ledbury, Much Marcle, HR8 2NQ)
Get some cider inside you at Westons, as part of a revealing day out (Picture: Westons Cider Visitor Centre Facebook page)
Since 1880 this Herefordshire company has been putting the region’s famous apples to good used by creating delicious ciders and perries. It’s also an award-winning visitor attraction for lovers of the drink. Not only is there plenty to taste, but one heck of a story to discover around the cider-making traditions of the site; some of the cider vats are still going strong after nearly 200 years of producing the notorious “Wine of the West”. A special visitor centre and cider mill tours are always popular and include a selection of lip-smacking samples. Find out more at: www.westons-cider.co.uk
Elgar Wines & Lovells Vineyard Tours
(14 mins from Ledbury, Welland, Malvern WR13 6NF)
Located near the beautiful Malvern Hills, this producer of award-winning white wines is named after the great composer who took similar inspiration from the local landscape. In fact, the company also offer vineyard tours and wine tasting sessions with a visit to the Elgar Birthplace Museum included. A great way to treat both your mind and palate in a day! Find out more at www.elgarwine.com
Three Choirs Vineyard & Whittington Brewery (13 mins from Ledbury, Newent, GL18 1LS)
Our regular followers and blog readers will already know about the delightful Three Choirs Festival. But were you aware of the equally delicious Three Choirs Vineyard? It is one of England’s oldest and most distinguished, continuing to put British wines on the map with rave reviews where there was once only mild disdain. With its own microclimate and acres of glorious vineyard, it’s a wonderful place for a stroll too, with wine-tasting experiences and vineyard tours taking place virtually every day. Find out more at: www.three-choirs-vineyards.co.uk
Drink, dine & stay at The Feathers, one of the finest foodie hotels in Herefordshire
With a delightfully historic Tudor Inn setting and seasonal menus packed with delicious locally-sourced food and drink, The Feathers Hotel makes a great destination for foodie breaks in Herefordshire. Besides the areas food credentials, you’ll also find beautiful countryside and a great variety of places to visit and explore. Keep an eye on our blog and Facebook page for further food and travel ideas from around the region.
A little more about our blogger...
Dominic Garnett is an acclaimed author and blogger. Besides travel, his main passion is fishing. He is a weekly columnist for the Angling Times and author of five books including Fishing for Dummies. When not daydreaming about rivers and fish, he also has a keen love of history, food and craft beer.