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A Trip to Cheddar Ales

Behind the walls of this unimposing building one of the best beers in the region is created. 

The grand equation that is caving rarely works if one vital element is left out i.e. beer. Somehow the maths fails to add up. Or at least the experience without a post explore sup is somehow an incomplete experience.

The simple ingredients.

Yer Ed visited Cheddar Ales in February for a trip accompanied by Yer Ed’s father who despite sporting a beard (see BB 529) is sadly not a caver but a fine connoisseur of things brewed (other than tea). He was there in his capacity of President of the Weston Lions, his second tour of duty in that post, to arrange the Lions Beer Festival for this summer in sunny Weston super Donkey. This was done as an informal recce and to arrange a beery viewing with a select band of BEC-ers at a later date.

Then in April Jem Ham gave us an entertaining tour of the process of beer making answering questions (especially from the engineers within the group) about the subtleties of the craft. It’s extraordinary how, with a few simple ingredients carefully blended, so many varieties of flavours can be created to keep a multitude of cavers happy. Sadly numbers were not as expected but then that really was the fault of Yer Ed who arranged a visit early in the week. Next time it won’t be and if Jem will have us back I’ll arrange a more suitable and work friendly time.


Jem Ham takes us through the brewing process. Everyone is keen to get to the sampling.

After the tour Jem had kindly laid on barrels of beer for consumption including Cheddar Best, which proved to be a firm favourite. This has now been changed to Gorge Best. And most of us, I believe ended up taking a glass home with us as a souvenir.

Although looking like a Russian missile silo this is where the alchemy happens?


An added bonus was that the sacks the hops and wheat come in make excellent digging sacks. Mike has already delivered a stack to the Belfry.

Yer Ed would like to thank Jem and Mike Hearn (BEC 1986-97) for being magnificent, friendly and generous hosts. I’m sure all of you have your own ideas for cave related beer names, I for one can think of loads.