This year's East Anglia event was held at the historic Greene King Brewery situated in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.
The Greene King brewery has been brewing from the Westgate site since 1799 when the company was founded by the 19 year old Benjamin Greene. During the next 200 years the company continued to grow with amalgamations, acquisitions and developments. There has been continuing growth up to now and great hope for the future.
Our group of 21 Fellows and their guests were welcomed by Cathy Truin, manager of the Beer Café restaurant who acted as our host for the day. After settling in following our journeys and taking some light refreshments we were introduced to our two guides Maureen and John. The groups were then treated to a very comprehensive two hour tour of the extensive brewery site. We were all very impressed with the depth of knowledge our guides possessed and with the enthusiastic and humorous style in which they delivered the information. The brewery tour was the highlight of the day demonstrating how real beer is brewed using natural ingredients and traditional brewing methods. One of the most important ingredients being “brewing liquor”, more commonly known as water.
We were blessed with fantastic weather and part of tour featured a roof top visit offering a fantastic 360 degree view across the whole of Bury St Edmunds. Many important landmarks were pointed out, including St Edmundsbury Cathedral. It’s Millennium Tower built in 2005 changing the Bury St Edmunds skyline.
No brewery tour would be complete without sampling some beer and we were royally treated to samples of their best selling Greene King IPA, Abbot Ale, Old Speckled Hen, Ruddles, 5X and others. There were also fruit ales available which the ladies (and some of the men) in the group found delicious.
The day concluded with an excellent two course buffet lunch served in a private room above the reception. The ambient atmosphere encouraged good conversation and the opportunity to get to know each other a little better.
Brian Childs, the event organiser thanked Fellows and their guests for their attendance, Maureen and John for their expert guidance and Cathy for hosting the group visit. We all said our farewells with the majority departing after lunch although some continued looking around the beautiful and historic town of Bury St Edmunds.