Cliff Road, Ipswich. Tel No. +44(0)1473 281508.
The Brewery Tap is a great pub and a genuine 'tap room'. It's located on the opposite side of the building from the Tolly Cobbold Brewery so you can always guarantee that this is the place to taste Tolly Beers at their finest. I know that some people will think that the words Tolly Cobbold and fine beer don't really go together - and for a while that was true - Tolly Cobbold actually dates back to 1723, when Thomas Cobbold built his first Brewery merging with The Tollemache's in 1957. The Company remained true to it's roots until the 70's when it was sold - eventually ending up under the ownership of the Brent Walker Group who promptly stopped brewing real ales and started making plans to knock down the Victorian Brewery which is home to the Brewery Tap today. Thankfully the Brewery was saved by a management buyout in 1990 and the production of quality cask and bottled beers was resumed with todays Tolly beers regularly winning awards for quality and taste. The Brewery Tap, which opened in 1992, was the first pub the new Tolly Cobbold opened - although I believe they have a few more today. From the first it has served good beer at good prices. In spite of being a fairly new and modern pub it has a lovely traditional feel - small snug like alcoves where you can sit and chat, larger enclosed rooms that can be booked for private parties, seperate areas with bar games (pool, darts and bar billiards plus a few machines)and no overly loud music to spoil the conversation. There are also two outdoor seating areas, one practically at the riverside which is idyllic on a summers evening as well as a spacious bar so you can easily bring the kids along for a family treat. For larger parties there's the option of hiring the bottlers room, where a museum of beer bottles decorates the walls without detracting from the overall smartness and formality of the room. It's played host to trai
ning seminars and wedding receptions so there's need to worry about the quality of your surroundings. The pub also offers a delicious and varied menu of pub meals - all freshly cooked on the premises. I've eaten here on several occasions and have never had a meal I didn't thoroughly enjoy. The prices are very reasonable and you get good sized helpings so you won't leave hungry. Plenty of things to recommend this as a good pub - but my favourite reason I've saved till last - The Brewery Tours. Starting and finishing in the pub, the tours take you around both the Victorian Tower Brewery and the current brewhouse. On the way round you'll learn all about the brewing process, a bit about the history of Ipswich and get to see the world's oldest brewing copper which dates from 1723, before finishing up with a sample of the brew. It's a fascinating way to spend a couple of hours and it makes the Brewery Tap an afternoon out rather than just a drinking venue. And if that's not enough - how else are you going to prove that you really can organise a P*** up in a brewery?