This Suffolk brewery has it all - great beers, local food and a dog swimming pool
- Credit: Archant
Star Wing Brewery has reopened its doors, and is ready to help people enjoy the rest of their summer.
Star Wing Brewery, which straddles the Norfolk-Suffolk border, has gone from strength-to-strength over the years. This is no doubt due to its delicious cask ales, atmospheric taproom and having something that no other brewery can boast – an onsite dog swimming pool. So just how did this Redgrave-based beer maker get its start?
Brewery manager David Upton said: “We took over an old Sawmill on Hall Farm and began renovating it with the plan to build a brewery. Over the next couple of years, we developed recipes and our branding before starting to sell to pubs.
“Although we were just a brewery for a while, we launched a couple events on site that we still do today. One was Hops ‘n’ Hogs, a community hop picking day and hog roast, and the other was ShakesBeer which is a beer festival featuring Shakespeare performances.”
It was through these events that David saw how much great potential the site had, and began to convert the other half of the twin sawmill to create the taproom that opened last May.
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However, the taproom was unable to celebrate its first anniversary due to being closed during the coronavirus pandemic.
Now reopen to the public, Star Wing Brewery is back and eager to help people enjoy what’s left of the summer.
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With its very own onsite hop farm, Star Wing’s ales are as fresh as they come and could not be more East Anglian if they tried. Currently selling seven beers in a variety of styles - pale, gold, bitter, red, IPA, black IPA and porter - the brewery is also in the process of adding two more to its offering.
“We developed them all as cask ales, in keeping with British tradition – although we now do some of the more ‘American’-style beers in kegs too. They all have pastoral themed names that fit into our beautiful, Suffolk-Norfolk border setting.”
For anyone who’s spolit for choice and is unsure which one to try first, David recommends Stain Glass Blue. “It’s a robust porter, which although may not suit all tastes, did just win the SIBA National Gold Award for British Dark Beers (4.5% - 6.4%), which hopefully goes to show the high quality that we strive to achieve.”
In addition, the brewery also prides itself on its welcoming, family and dog-friendly atmosphere. “Just about anybody can come to our taproom and have a great experience - families, dogs, beer drinkers and non-beer drinkers. In regards to real ale, we won the Mid Anglia CAMRA Pub of the Year 2020. For non-real ale drinkers, we also have a full bar stocked with soft drinks, lager, cider, spirits and wine.
“We have huge amounts of outdoor space with great scenery overlooking our hop farm, meaning people can come and relax in the knowledge that they are safe. It’s all about drinking great beer in a great environment.”
To accompany those beers, visitors should take a moment to indulge their tastebuds in a number of freshly-cooked hot dishes sold from the onsite food vans, or pay a visit to resident baker Mick The Baker, who specialises in fresh loaves, rolls and cakes.
“We always try and use local produce and suppliers where we can - from Harleston Cider and Betty’s Gin to Baron Bigod cheese. As a small supplier ourselves, we know the challenges that you face going into the market. We also know how fantastic the quality can be, and how unique and special the offering becomes when you start to bring it all together under one roof.”
Sharing its site with dog swimming pool Canine Dip and Dive, an afternoon at this brewery is the ultimate family day out. “Part of our aim is to create a great destination for people. People can come to buy their bread and stop for a drink or two, all the while watching a Labrador hurtle off a diving board into a swimming pool! It’s probably the only opportunity I’ll have to say those things together, but somehow it all works.”
If for some reason the dogs aren’t enough to keep you coming back for more, in a pre-lockdown world, the brewery would frequently host a number of events throughout the year, from its long-standing Hops ‘n’ Hogs and ShakesBeer, to Oktoberfest, vinyl nights, classic car shows and weekly curry nights – the latter of which is back thanks to street food vendors The Wicked Pig.
And even though the brewery had to close its doors to the public during the coronavirus lockdown, it was still able to sell its beers to pubs, as well as run a drive-through collection service from its doors which was a great success.
However, following its reopening back in July, David has seen a surge in business – and cannot thank his loyal clientele enough. “Since reopening, the tap room has been incredibly busy, as has the brewery.
“The support from the local community has been incredible throughout, and we think having large amounts of open, outdoor space has helped our customers feel safe to keep coming back. It may be a slightly different story when the weather turns, but with a nice wooded area and marquee, it’s still a great place to come.”
Star Wing Brewery’s beers
Dawn On The Border
A 3.6% dry-hppoed pale ale with a great body and mouth feel. Crisp and aromatic, is made with simcoe, cascade and chinook hops.
A delectable session beer made in lin with the classic British style, this 3.8% copper-hued bitter is well-balanced, and features slight esters and biscuit undertones that match perfectly with its fruity aroma and smooth bitterness.
A light and refreshing 4.2% golden ale, this beer is brewed with a simple grain bill, allowing the English hops to shine through.
Red At Night
Coming in at 4.5%, Red At Night is a rich red ale made with pale, crystal and carered malt and centennial and mosiac hops. Well-balanced, it has a sweet malt character and fruity aroma.
Four Acre Arcadia
Named after the brewery’s very own farmland it’s set aside to grow hops, this 5.0% IPA is hoppy and crisp.
Stain Glass Blue
Dark and distinct, this 5.4% porter is a firm favourite, and is as complex as it is delicious. It was recently awarded the SIBA National Gold Award for British Dark Beers (4.5% – 6.4%)
Into The Woods
A seasonal beer, it features earthy, chocolate undertones and is made from simcoe and amarillo hops. With an aromatic, velvety mouthfeel, it’s 4.5%.