If you only went to King Street, where you have to walk a total of about 50 steps to get to three excellent pubs, then you’d think Bristol was a brilliant beer city. But that’s just the beginning of all the great places to drink there.
Bristol works as a beer city because you’ve got excellent local breweries such as Moor Beer Co., Lost and Grounded, The Wild Beer Co., Left Handed Giant, Bristol Beer Factory, Wiper and True, and many more. There are great traditional pubs and craft beer bars, and it’s also easy to get around the city. Plus, if you want something a bit different (and authentically Bristolian), there are loads of great local ciders as well.
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You can drink in some of the breweries. Moor Beer Co. (Days Road, Bristol BS2 OQS), which is a short walk from Bristol Temple Meads station, brews some terrifically hoppy pale beers and pours them in a simple taproom. Left Handed Giant (Unit 8 and 9, Wadehurst Industrial Park, Bristol BS2 OJE) is nearby; they have limited opening hours, but a bunch of beers on tap—try their Duet or other Pale Ales, as they’re very good. And check ahead to see if Lost and Grounded (91 Whitby Road, Bristol BS4 4AR) is open because they are one of the best new British breweries, with a cracking Keller Pils and vibrantly hoppy “special lager” called Running with Sceptres.
Go back into town and head to King Street. There’s Small Bar (31 King Street, Bristol BS1 4DZ), which also runs Left Handed Giant, with a big range (around 30) of cask and keg beers, including lots of interesting rarities—they don’t serve pints, encouraging’ you to sample in third, half, or two-thirds of a pint at a time. The food is good too, if you just want sandwiches, burgers, or hot dogs. Opposite Small Bar is The Volley, or The Famous Royal Navy Volunteer (17-18 King Street, Bristol BS1 4EF), with a huge beer list that includes lots of local brews, plus a good split of cask and keg. More good food here, too. Then just down the road is The Beer Emporium (15 King Street, Bristol BS1 4EF), a basement bunker bar with plenty of British and world beers. A 10-minute walk away, the excellent Wild Beer Co. (Wild Beer at Wapping Wharf, Gaol Ferry Steps, Bristol BS1 5WE) has a bar with a seriously good beer list and a focus on tasty food.
Elsewhere, go to The Barley Mow (39 Barton Road, Bristol BS2 OLF; it’s in the same area as Moor and Left Handed Giant) to drink the Bristol Beer Factory beers, where you can’t miss their lush Milk Stout. And don’t forget the cider—you’re in apple country and can drink some super scrumpies. Head to The Apple (Welsh Back, Bristol BS1 4SB), a cider-serving barge in the center of town.
Perhaps the best thing about Bristol in terms of the pubs is the determined focus on local products, meaning that, wherever you drink, you’ll be able to find many beers that are brewed nearby.
The taps at The Wild Beer Co pour a mix of funky sours and fresh hoppy brews.
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