Thursday 21 November 2019

A visit to Jennings Brewery

A spring visit to the historic Jennings Brewery in Cockermouth, Cumbria. The brewery is set beneath the walls of Cockermouth Castle, at the confluence of the Rivers Derwent and Cocker, which proved to be dangerous in the floods of 2009. The brewery almost closed, had it not been for the parent company Marston's, who brewed the beers temporarily elsewhere whilst Jennings brewery was repaired and cleaned out. Jennings started out brewing in nearby High Loughton in 1828. Surprisingly, the brewery cottages and the malthouse still survive, the latter converted into the village hall, now known as Yew Tree Hall, in 1910. The company had moved to its present site by 1874 and the distinctive Grade II Listed maltings were built in 1889. The reason for the move to this site was the abundance of well water which was used for the castle and is still used to brew the beers today. In 2005 the brewery was taken over by Marston's Brewery.

Above: Cockermouth Castle, the brewery is to the right of fortress

Above: Looking upstream of the Derwent, the Cocker is on the right

Above: the buildings on the left are the Grade II Listed former maltings, now unused, the other buildings house the brewery.
The former maltings are the most picturesque part of the brewery buildings, it's s shame they lie empty. There would be problems converting to alternative use due to lack of parking and the danger of flooding.

Below: the Jennings Brewery logo, on glass inside the brewery

Above: the gateway to Jennings Brewery, with the maltings in the centre

Above: the former maltings

Above: the shop and beginning of the brewery tour

Above and below: the tap room
Below: the brewery itself, the grist mill
Below: the hop store

Above and below: the mash tun

Below: the copper

Below: the fermenting room

Above and below: fermenters

All quite modern brewery kit, there were some older mash tuns at the brewery but we went past them too quickly on the tour to be able to photograph them
Below: the sample cellar for the tap room

 Prices for the brewery tour and tasting are (2019 prices) £9.50 for an adult, which isn't too bad for a couple of hours tour and tastings. Full details of the tours are on the Jennings Brewery website.

Cockermouth is easily reached by bus from either Workington or Keswick/Penrith and the Stagecoach bus X4/X5 runs every half an hour throughout the day.
There are a number of pubs in Cockermouth, the Bush offers the best range of Jennings beers outside of the brewery tap and marston's continue to use the Jennings brand for this pub rather than their own.

 The Castle Bar offers the best non-Jennings beers in the town and the building is a lot older than the facade makes out, dating back to the sixteenth century. The pub sign features the lion of the Matthew Brown & Co Brewery of Blackburn, who acquired the Workington Brewery (buildings still standing in 2019) in 1975, Theakstons in 1984 and were themselves taken over by Scottish & Newcastle Breweries in 1987 with the Blackburn Brewery closing in 1981.

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