Bishops Lydeard, Somerset:
Quantock Brewery Shop and Bar
Visited on: Thursday 1st June 2017
Previously when waiting at Bishops Lydeard station for train on the West Somerset Railway to Minehead or hanging around for the 28 Bus to Taunton and desiring a beer you had to walk to the centre of the village and visit the Lethbridge Arms. No longer. Since relocating during 2016 from nearby Wellington this brewery is now to be found in the industrial estate close by the station and bus stop.
This was my first visit to the West Somerset Railway since the brewery moved here and was eagerly looking forward to having a beer there, I wasn’t disappointed. I approached from the station and it took about three minutes. The building is a modern pair of units. From the road I could see the the shop on the left with offices above it on the first floor, the main entrance in the middle with the brewing area on the right.
The brewery was founded by Directors Rob Rainey and Cheryl Ford and opened in December 2007 with the first brew going on sale in March 2008. They deliver to area sixty miles from the brewery and also deliver beers to wholesale customers in London and Cumbria. There six employees in the company.
The premises are very spacious. There are many loose tables and chairs in the middle of the room. The bar counter is down the right side and has a temporary look about it.
There is a further counter at the back of the room located in front of the Copper and Mash Tun. I could see four fermentation vessels away to the right.
The plant is of eight barrels (bbls) capacity. This equates to around 48 casks or 7,000 bottles per week. Bottling was done in house but is now sourced out. There is direct access from this room to the shop which looks to be well-stocked. On the way there I passed a book case loaded with the awards for the quality of their beers.
The brewery went through a rocky period at the beginning of 2017 as, on 18th January it was placed under administration.
This was partially down to the move to Bishops Lydeard and a significant number of free houses that they supplied just closed down during these recession years. The ongoing crises with British pubs can here be seen here in stark reality. They bravely stated that they would trade their way out of the problem, always the best strategy from administration.
However, help was soon at hand when a mystery investor from outside the area saw the potential and by the second week of February a deal was done. Since then they have gone to crowd funding for more money and that was over-subscribed.
On the bar top there were four hand pumps and these dispensed Wills Neck (4.3%) from the regular range; Rale Head (3.9%); QBUK (4.3%), both of these are limited edition ales and Plastered Pheasant (4.8%), a seasonal.
They sell Harry’s Cider (Langport, Somerset) on draught and there were two: Scummage (6.0%) and Haymaker (6.0%). Wines and soft drinks are available and packaged snacks are on sale in the shop. I think that the Quantock brewery is “must visit” if you are visiting the West Somerset Railway.
Quantock Brewery Shop and Bar, Broadguage Business Park, Bishops Lydeard TA4 3RU. Tel: 01823 433812
Hours: Monday-Thursday 10.00-17.30; Friday-Saturday 10.00-17.30, 19.00-23.00; Sunday 10.30-16.00
The times are for Summer and when the trains are running. For out of season and Winter contact brewery.
The station and bus stop are a couple of minutes away. To get from these turn left then right into the station approach road. You will see the brewery on the right on the next corner.
The bus route is 28 that operates from Taunton to Minehead via Watchet. It is half hourly Monday to Saturday finishing mid-evening. On Sundays it is hourly and stops in the late afternoon.
The West Somerset Railway runs often but there are days when it does not, especially in winter months.
Please check with http://www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk/timetables