Insider guide: 11 best indie sipping spots
Love a sundowner in the sunshine? Cheltenham and Gloucester have put themselves firmly on the map for top class taprooms, distilleries and artisan tipple-ries. Check out our insider guide to the best places to take your tankard this summer.
From locally made beers, ciders and spirits at farmers’ markets to specialist beer shops, Cheltenham and Gloucester are brimming with artisan alcohol spots.
Appetite whetted? Here’s our rundown of the artisan makers where you can see your favourite tipple being made, have a go yourself or just sit in the sunshine and sip away.
Spring water brings a new level of freshness to beers produced by the Battledown Brewery. Founded in 2005 by Roland and Stephanie Elliott-Berry, this company has recently installed new kit that allows it to create an amazing new selection of beers. The range includes the bold, sharp, and hoppy ‘London Road IPA’; ‘Tipster’, which is hoppy and bursting with citrus flavours, and the robust and well-rounded ‘Original Ale’. Battledown offers brewery tours and has its own shop. Why not make a day of it and visit the Sibling Distillery, run by Roland and Stephanie’s offspring.
Find it at: Battledown Brewery, Coxhorne Farm, London Road, Cheltenham, GL52 6UY.
Brothers and sisters Felix, Clarice, Cicely and Digby Elliott-Berry take gin-making very seriously, creating their own vodka from scratch before vapour infusing it with delicate and distinct flavours. Try Sibling Original Gin, which is renowned for its modern, fresh profile with subtle notes of fresh citrus and a light juniper lead, with distinctive tones of vanilla and blueberry, or Sibling Negroni, which is inspired by the classic cocktail famous for its bitter but balanced flavour. The distillery also makes spring, summer, autumn, and winter editions that ring the changes throughout the seasons. Sibling offers regular distillery tours and has an onsite shop.
Find it at: Sibling Distillery, Coxhorne Farm, London Road, Charlton Kings, Cheltenham. GL52 6UY.
Dunkertons Organic Cider
Juices from distinctively flavoured organic apples and pears are hand blended at Dunkertons state-of-the-art cidery to make its award-winning and Soil Association certified ciders and perries. Founded by Ivor and Susie Dunkerton in 1980, Dunkertons is now run by their son Julian, who co-founded the fashion label Superdry. Visit the taproom, with its street food, music and firepits; book a tour and cider & cheese pairing, take part in a cider masterclass, or peruse the shop.
Find it at: Dunkertons Organic Cider, Dowdeswell Park, London Road, Cheltenham. GL52 6UT.
Brennen & Brown
One man’s quest to enjoy a gin with a predominate flavour of ginger led to the founding of Brennen & Brown. Since then, this Cheltenham-distillery has expanded its repertoire to include a variety of flavours, including Pumpkin Spice, Cucumber & Dill, Colonial Gin with French Juniper and various limited editions such as Sloe & Plum, Black & Red Cherry and Plum & Damson. Brennen & Brown offers gin making and tasting experiences.
Find it at: Brennen & Brown, Unit 2C, The Bramery, Alstone Lane, Cheltenham, GL51 8HE
Gloucester Brewery and Fox’s Kiln Distillery
Located at the picturesque Gloucester Docks, Gloucester Brewery’s reputation for eco-friendly fine ales has led it to garner several awards, including a SIBA gold medal for its premium keg lager in 2022. Founded in 2011 by chef Jared Brown, the brewery makes everything from traditional classics, such as its Gloucester Gold, to India Pale Ales (IPAs). Fox’s Kiln is based at a former docklands malt house close to the brewery and takes its inspiration from Gloucester’s heritage and the glorious Cotswold countryside on its doorstep. Its range includes classic, pink, blood orange and rhubarb & ginger gins. Gloucester Brewery’s ales and gins from Fox’s Kiln can be enjoyed at Warehouse 4, a new taproom and shop at Gloucester Docks. Brewery tours and beer tastings are offered on the second and last Thursday of the month.
Find it at: Gloucester Brewery and Fox’s Kiln, West Quay, Gloucester, GL1 2LG.
For those who enjoy beers that offer freshness and clarity of flavour, Deya Brewery in Cheltenham is a must. Theo Freyne’s interest in American beer and culture led him to set up his brewery specialising in traditional British styles and mixed fermentation ales. His range, which includes ‘Steady Rolling Man’, ‘My Life in the Sunshine’ and ‘Invoice Me for the Microphone’ has a focus on soft and intense hoppy flavours. Visit Deya’s two taprooms and look out for various events.
Find it at: Deya Brewery, 27 Lansdown Industrial Estate, Gloucester Road, Cheltenham. GL51 8PL.
Ales from Prescott Brewery are described as ‘Great British lubricants’ that evoke the golden age of motor sport. Founded in 2008, its best seller is the pale ale ‘Hill Climb’, inspired by the world-famous Prescott Hill Race Circuit and the winner of a national champion gold medal from the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA). Prescott Brewery uses water from a borehole and sources its rich malted barley and flavoursome hops as locally as possible.
Find it at: Prescott Brewery, Unit 17 Farm Park Industrial Estate, Evesham Road, Cheltenham. GL54 5BX.
This hip drinks boutique is a new destination hangout in the centre of Cheltenham, specialising in craft spirits and natural wines. The beautifully designed space is split over four floors and offers a shop jam-packed with eclectic buys, micro distillery where they create their own experimental small batch spirits and a relaxing bar. It’s also large enough to host regular masterclasses, tastings, and a unique space to hire for parties and events.
Find it at: Merchant+Lab, 7 Pittville Street, Cheltenham.
The new kid on the blocks is gaining a devoted following for its range of gins that pay homage to the history and heritage of horse racing. Traditional methods are used to create the uncompromising flavours for which Cheltenham-based Steeplechase Distillery is quickly becoming renowned. Its range includes its London Dry Gin, winner of a gold in the 2022 World Gin Awards, which counts Norway spruce among its core botanicals, and Kauto Dry Gin, which uses kaffir lime leaves, stem ginger, pink peppercorns, heather and lavender to create a contemporary flavour. Steeplechase Distillery offers tours, a tasting room and a bar.
Find it at: Steeplechase distillery, Montpellier, Cheltenham.
The popular microbrewery and pub chain Brewhouse & Kitchen needs no introduction to its many fans across the UK. This company has branches in Gloucester Quays and Cheltenham and offers a range of activities, including a brewery experience day, beer masterclass, whisky and beer pairing and gin tasting masterclass.
Find it at: Brewhouse Cheltenham is at the Brewery Corner in Henrietta Street, Cheltenham, GL50 4FA and Brewhouse Gloucester Quays at St Anne Walk, Gloucester Quays, GL1 5SH.
For lovers of craft beer, Brewdog in Cheltenham offers some 30 lines. These include ales made by Brewdog itself as well as its favourite local guest breweries.
Find it at: Brewdog, Unit 3, The Brewery Quarter, Henrietta Street, Cheltenham. GL50 4FA.
And the best of the rest…
If you’re out and about in Cheltenham and Gloucester, look out for other spirits with close links to the area. These include Neptune Rum, which makes the multi award-winning Barbados Gold, along with the Caribbean Spiced speciality infusion; British Polo Gin, an organic drink made in small batches by artisan makers; The Boutique Distillery, which produces small batch, hand crafted Cotswold Dry and Raspberry & Hibiscus Gins and Haka Rum, and Cheltenham Gin, which uses local spring water and eight hand-selected botanicals.
Find out more at www.visitcheltenham.com