Springingtiger's Blog


Jenning’s Brewery Tour, Whahey!

Recently my wife, Neelam, and I managed to escape for a short break; we only had five days so we spent a couple in the Lake District and a weekend in Manchester with my Sister in Law. On our way down to the Lakes we grabbed a handful of leaflets in a service station to get some ideas on how to spend our time. The leaflet that caught my attention was advertising a tour of Jenning’s Brewery in Cockermouth, which was where we were staying for two nights; Neelam was intent on a rest so an activity close at hand seemed a good idea. In the event she was content to sit in the tea shop at the brewery while I went on the tour.

I had already come across Jenning’s Brewery as a couple of summers back I discovered their Cumberland Ale in a Marston’s sampling pack I bought in Lidl. There are few pleasures to compare with completing a country walk then sitting in the sun with a glass of Cumberland Ale!

The admission to the tour is £6.50 which buys not only the guided tour, but also a sampling of three halves of Jenning’s various ales. The tour was interesting and took in the brewing process and the history of the brewery since it moved to Cockermouth from Lorton in 1874. We saw the well from which the brewery draws its water and heard of how the floods of the year before last interrupted the activities of the brewery. We saw the whole process of the brewery from the raw materials, the grain and the hops through to – at last – sampling the finished product. I think to truly appreciate the brewery one should visit every month and so be able to sample each of the seasonal beers that Jennings produces alongside its core range. In 2005 Marston’s acquired the Brewery, but have kept it as a separate entity within the Marston’s group. The tour finished with a sampling of beers in the brewery’s own on site pub. I enjoyed a full flavoured Dark Mild, a very refreshing Cockerhoop – because it’s so refreshing one could well overlook how strong it is, 4.6% – and the seasonal ale World’s Biggest Liar. If you do visit the brewery it is a good idea to include the Mild and a seasonal beer in your samples as the others can be bought in bottles from the shop to be enjoyed at your leisure, and I am. (I bought several bottles of Jenning’s Bitter, Sneck Lifter, Cumberland Ale and Cockerhoop)

After the tour I rejoined Neelam to share in an enormous platter of cheese, bread, salad and various accompaniments in the tea shop. The tour was informative, the beer excellent, the company congenial and the tea shop food both good in flavour and value. If there was one thing I might have changed it would have been to extend the opening time of the shop and tea room by an hour, next time I’ll go earlier!

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