Bardwell Brewing Company, the producers of Bardwell craft beer are a proudly owned and operated microbrewery situated in the heart of the central Drakensberg and tourism precinct – Champagne Valley, just 20km from Winterton. Established in 2012, Bardwell Brewery is the culmination of a lot of dreams and a fair amount of blood, sweat and tears. After a few years of being the quintessential gypsy brewer, roots planted on the farm and we finally opened our own sustainably, first-of-its-kind brewery in the Drakensberg.
Passionately brewing beer – our way – from natural, home grown ingredients. We think it’s just as important to explain what we stand for. At Bardwell Brewery we are dedicated to brewing pure, natural, hand-crafted beers that are bursting with flavour and aroma whilst being free of additives and preservatives. Quality, not quantity, is what we strive for. Put simply, we brew beer that that our locals, craft beer drinkers and ourselves would find a pleasure to drink. All of our beers are brewed on-site in our brew house. Our brewery is, solar and turbine powered and all ingredients organically farmed at the source. It’s what makes the delicious beer produced from sustainable energy effort on the farm. A good chunk of the original brewing gear was cobbled together from second-hand farming and dairy equipment. For us, beer is meant to be fun. We like to be adventurous and innovative with our brewing, making beers that you get pleasure from drinking. Basically, we reckon you can put pretty much anything into a beer, as long as it’s natural!
We will achieve our goals by not being dictated to by the industry about what a beer should be. Instead we will focus on our customers. We will ask them to guide us and what they want to see and taste in their beers. Being a microbrewer allows us to be agile and quick to respond. We will brew in small batches meaning we can and will experiment with recipes based on feedback and ideas from our customers. Rather than a focus on beers that are ‘approachable’ we will be brewers that are approachable. Like many things, drinking a beer elicits a flood of responses. Whether it sparks a fond memory or simply provides a great taste for the now, Bardwell Brewery is proud of its beer and we look forward to bringing more class beers to the market. With future plans for more beers types to call our own, it is exciting times ahead and we hope you will share the journey with us.
It is said that “the best place to drink beer is in the shadow of the brewery”
Our Brew master
Bardwell Henry Patrick Hall – Bardy for short, as he is well known, the founder and brew master, loves beer and brewing. It is not the only thing that drives to pursue his dream. An artist, craftsman, fisherman, farmer, father and grandfather he enjoy all the side benefits, like the camaraderie of fellow brewers and craft beer lovers. It’s the passionate people that bring to our craft and being around brew-centric culture. The fun had on brew days and being in the valley and with the community where our craft beer features.
After two years of intensive product development in Bardy’s backyard and a lot of red tape, the first serious Bardwell craft beer was born. We produce high quality craft beers for those who are looking for more from their beer. These beers are produced locally and customers are able to see where and how their beer is made. We have no interest in the commercial beer statement, that beer must only contain barley, hops, water and yeast. 99% of beer on the market follows this ‘standard’ but we stand proudly as the 1%. We are for the outsiders, beer thinkers and beer drinking radicals. We follow our curiosity to find new and exciting flavours to incorporate into our brewing. Our beer does not conform to style guides for the sake of it , instead our focus is about delivering flavours we can be proud of. We strive to take our brewing in new directions all in the name of creating beer people can enjoy. The brewery has a simple philosophy, grow good quality ingredients, and create great flavour, and balance.
The habitational name from Bardwell in Suffolk, so named with an unattested Old English well (a) ‘spring’, ‘stream’. Alternatively, the first element may be from a dissimilated form of Old English bre(o)rd ‘brim’, ‘bank’. So we find it fitting us “Men of the river” to place our brewery on the banks of the Sterk River, which meanders the Central Drakensberg’s, Champagne Valley. It is also our founders Christian name and proudly handed down through the family for three generations. We are also proud of our region, but something was missing. No real beer. No regional beer. Just beer from the cities. So we did something about it! We started brewing in early 2012. Our focus is on the supplying the (North, South, Upper, Lower and Central) Drakensberg area, but we also sending our beers to leading bottle stalls and bars along the East Coast and a bit further.
The brew house is a four vessel solar ,water turbine and electric driven system (hot liquor, mash/ lauter kettle and whirlpool). An artesian well delivers the freshest water from 120m below ground, unpolluted having never breathed or even having been kissed by the sunlight that generates most of our energy requirements. The mechanical beauty of the fermentation system is comprised of an ever-growing farm of cylindro-conical tanks. The brew farm is managed daily and contributes wholly to the basic ingredients required in our beer. The farm also generated surplus which is commercial rendered to the craft community. Our brewery is manually controlled and is fully hands on. We work with those who are as passionate about craft beer as we are. We know from painful experience how hard it is to start a brewing business. We are fortunate to be in this position and we want to share that with others. We give them access to our brewery to be able to brew in the small batches ideal for starting a craft beer brand. This way we believe we help to lower the barriers of entry. They also help us by utilising our facility and overall this helps to improve the local craft beer scene. In partnership we will help each other grow and each brings something unique to the market. We will help grow craft beer by helping those who like us stand against all that is bland in beer.