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Discover real ale and craft beer on the Bury St Edmunds Ale Trail

Download or pick up an Ale Trail map now

With an incredible and unrivalled brewing history dating back 1,000 years, historic Bury St Edmunds is the perfect place to experience delicious real ale and unique craft beer.

Explore the Bury St Edmunds Ale Trail

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With an incredible and unrivalled brewing history dating back 1,000 years, historic Bury St Edmunds is the perfect place to experience delicious real ale and unique craft beer.

Real ale and craft beer enthusiasts can explore the town’s licensed premises with the Bury St Edmunds Ale Trail, giving visitors the chance to try ales brewed in the town itself or from further afield.

The Bury St Edmunds Ale Trail was the idea of Heather Warren, former landlady of Oakes Barn pub on St Andrews Street South. She worked closely with Our Bury St Edmunds BID Business Support Manager Mike Kirkham to bring the concept to fruition.

The special ale trail map, produced by Our Bury St Edmunds BID, gives information on all the participating venues. Copies of the Bury St Edmunds Ale Trail can be found at pubs and bars throughout the town centre, the tourist information points in town, and can be downloaded from Our Bury St Edmunds website.

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Bury St Edmunds has been the home of Greene King for over 200 years

The leading UK brewer and pub company Greene King has called Bury St Edmunds home for over 200 years, and it carries on a long heritage of brewing in the town.

The brewery has a fascinating history going all the way back to 1086, when monks would brew ale on the site of the Great Abbey using water from Bury’s chalk wells which are still used today by Greene King.

The historic Westgate brewery since was established in 1799, using local malted barley, and water from the 1,000 year old chalk wells in all of their famous brews. You can find their beers in the traditional pubs that Greene King runs in and around East Anglia, as well as in many of their pubs, restaurants and hotels in cities, towns and villages located across the UK.

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The Bushel. Photo: Emily Fae

The licensed premises featured in the Bury St Edmunds Ale Trail include:

Boosh, Dog and Partridge, Edmundo Lounge, Greene King Beer Cafe, Kings Arms, Nethergate, Nightjars, Oakes Barn, Queens Bar and Grill, The Angel Hotel, The Beerhouse, The Bushel, The Constitutional Club, The Corn Exchange - Wetherspoons, The Fox Inn, The Grapes, The Masons Arms, The Nutshell, The Old Cannon Brewery, The One Bull, Verve, Vespers, and Westgate.

Did You Know?

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Beer and Brewing in Bury St Edmunds

• Bury St Edmunds’ links with brewing go back a long way – almost 1,000 years in fact the monks at the Great Abbey were brewing ale in 1086.

• In the days of the Abbey men, women and children would drink ale for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

• Bury St Edmunds is the home of Greene King and the water for the beer is drawn from the same chalk wells used by the Abbey’s monks, 200ft beneath the brewery.

• In the middle of the 18th Century Bury St Edmunds had around 150 pubs. “Every other house is an inn’ is a well-known saying from those days.

• The Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds was once used by Greene King as a dilapidated yet magnificent barrel store between 1925 and 1962. Greene King purchased the freehold of the theatre in 1920 (and still owns it today) but in 1925, the company had struggled to keep the theatre in operation.

• Every year Bury St Edmunds has a popular Food and Drink Festival which showcases local food & drink as well as tasty delights from around the world.

• Bury St Edmunds is home to the annual East Anglian Beer & Cider Festival now in its 32nd year and held inside St Edmundsbury Cathedral.

• At 15ft by 7ft, The Nutshell Pub in Bury St Edmunds is officially Britain’s Smallest Pub. The iconic mummified cat which hangs from its ceiling is reputed to have been found in a house in Whiting Street. Years ago, people would put cats in the walls of buildings to scare off evil spirits and so, if you find one, it’s said to be bad luck to remove it.

The Masons Arms, located in the centre of historic Bury St Edmunds, dates back to the early 16th century and still retains many of the original features including beams and inglenook fireplace.

• The Old Cannon Brewery is unique among Suffolk breweries for having its two beautiful brewing vessels on display in the bar; meaning you can sit next to your beer as it’s being brewed!

• Historically The One Bull may be Bury St Edmunds’ oldest pub, selling the monk’s ale to the townsfolk, brewed in the Abbey next door.

• Belgian beer bar Vespers stock a number of "historically important" beers brewed by monks from 12 different Trappist breweries at monasteries across Europe.

The Corn Exchange in Bury St Edmunds was voted the UK’s Poshest Wetherspoons by readers of The Express.

• Through history, The Dog and Partridge has always been a favourite watering hole of patrons at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds particularly before the theatre got a bar. But back in the 1900s it was well known for a circle of hand bell ringers that entertained the public. A ringer’s pitcher was kept for them which is said to have contained four gallons of a fearsome concoction known as the Ringer’s Mixture!

The Bushel pub used to have its own brewery and served customers with its own distinctive beer until the 1860s.

Oakes Barn is new build real ale pub, which opened in 2013. The pub's name showcases its historical links with yarn merchant and banker James Oakes, who built the original building as a wool combing shed. The pub’s logo also includes an oak tree, which he featured on his bank notes and is on the sign outside Lloyds Bank - once the Oakes Bevan & Co Bank.

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Mark your place in history, share your experience, tell others about your favourite pub, bar or speciality shop on social media using the hashtag #BuryAleTrail

Follow the Bury St Edmunds Ale Trail on the free Bury St Edmunds LoyalFree app!

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