The Royal County of Berkshire historically was the land to the South of the Thames / Isis, so once included what is now swathes of South Oxfordshire including towns like Abingdon and Wantage. These were lost to the county in the boundary changes of 1974 and give us a county much reduced in area.
Originally named by the Saxons as Bearrocsir, the land of Box Trees, much of its early history was dominated by Abingdon Abbey. Many of the great battles against the Danes occurred within the county including the decisive Englefield, where the tide of the invasion was changed, many Civil War battles happened too within the boundaries. Reading became the County Town in the 19th Century and remains so.
The Thames remains the major geographical feature in the county. The land is made up of heavy clay soils mainly but also acidic soils around the Windsor Great Park area. Reading has long been a centre of technology, baking and brewing. Reading is also the largest town in the county, other significant places are Slough, Bracknell, Maidenhead, Wokingham and Newbury.
On Ratebeer we have a total of 33 Breweries for Berkshire with 26 still open and just 7 closed. 6 of the total are Client / Commissioner Brewers.
The oldest surviving Brewery we have on Ratebeer is Butts Brewery of Great Shefford (Est 1994). However the more famous brewery in days of yore would be Simonds Brewery of Reading Est in 1785. The brewery started in Broad Street but found a more suitable premisses in Bridge Street shortly afterwards and remained there until 1978. It was a very successful family brewery until 1960 when it amalgamated with Courage, Barclay, becoming Courage’s in 1970. The old Reading brewery was shut down by Scottish Courage in 1978 and is now apartments.
The brewery with the largest range on Ratebeer for Berkshire is Siren Craft Brew of Finchampstead (Est 2013) with 587 beers.
Siren Craft brew was also announced as Best Brewery for 2020 on Ratebeer with Siren Maiden 2017 as Best Beer. The best newcomer for Berkshire was awarded to Phantom Brewing Co.
The Top 10 Beers for Berkshire are –
- Siren / Evil Twin Bourbon Barrel Even More Jesus VIII Coffee R
- Siren Maiden 2017
- Siren / J. Wakefield Dark & Perilous Nights
- Siren Bourbon Turkish (Project Barista – 2019)
- Siren / Evil Twin Even More Jesus VIII R
- Siren Odyssey 001 R
- Siren Death by Caribbean Chocolate Cake R
- Siren / Cigar City Caribbean Chocolate Cake Barrel Aged (-2018) R
- Siren Bourbon Milkshake
- Siren Death by Caribbean Chocolate Cake (2020)
In fact the whole of the Top 25 are taken up by Siren beers.
The Top Pubs / Bars in Berkshire are –
- Nags Head, Reading – 93
- Siren Craft Brewery and Tap Yard, Finchampsted – 84
- Castle Tap, Reading – 83
- Alehouse, Reading – 81
- Five Bells, Wickham – 80
- Brewdog Reading – 80
The Top 5 Raters of beers from Berkshire are –
The Ratebeerian who resides in Berkshire with the most ratings is –
@berkshirejohn who remains a regular contributor to this meander around England.