Breweries in Oxford and Oxfordshire

Oxford City & Oxfordshire | Magazine 

Brewery in Oxfordshire

Nestled among the rolling hills and historic spires of Oxfordshire, the craft beer scene is thriving with an array of breweries that are as diverse as they are passionate about their craft. From the venerable Hook Norton Brewery, steeped in tradition and Victorian innovation, to the vibrant and community-focused Little Ox Brew Co, which infuses each batch with local charm and creativity, these establishments are just a small sampling of the county’s flourishing beer culture. Each brewery tells a story, not just through their unique brews but also through their deep connections with the heritage and community of Oxfordshire, making the county a must-visit destination for any beer enthusiast.

Hook Norton Brewery

Brewery Lane, Hook Norton, OX15 5NY

Hook Norton Brewery

In the rolling hills of Oxfordshire, Hook Norton Brewery stands as a testament to the timeless craft of brewing. With a legacy dating back to 1849, this family-run brewery invites visitors to step into a world where traditional techniques are celebrated in every pint. A visit to Hook Norton is not merely about sampling the award-winning ales; it’s an immersive experience that transports you back to the roots of British brewing. Their Malthouse Kitchen welcomes guests for a hearty breakfast or a leisurely lunch, encapsulating the essence of local hospitality.

Visitors to Hook Norton Brewery can expect to be guided through the storied Victorian Tower Brewery by knowledgeable tour guides. The tour, lasting approximately 1 ½ hours, is a journey through time, revealing the sights, sounds, and smells of heritage brewing methods, culminating in a tutored tasting that delights the palate. It’s a rare opportunity to observe brewing history in action and understand the intricate process that gives Hook Norton beers their distinctive character.

A unique feature of the Hook Norton Brewery is its commitment to maintaining a living piece of history with its team of magnificent Shire horses. These gentle giants, once the backbone of brewery deliveries, continue to be a proud tradition at Hook Norton. Visitors may witness Brigadier, Balmoral, Cromwell, and Nelson in their purpose-built stables, amidst the picturesque Cotswold landscape. The brewery’s dedication to these animals extends beyond their practical use; it is a commitment to preserving the breed and raising awareness about their critical status.

As an ‘Approved Shire Horse Society Centre,’ Hook Norton Brewery plays a pivotal role in the conservation of these majestic animals. While the brewery’s delivery system has evolved, the Shires remain central to their identity, often seen at local and private events throughout the year. The planned reintroduction of horse-drawn deliveries to local pubs is a celebration of tradition that both locals and visitors eagerly anticipate.

The brewery’s calendar is dotted with events where the Shires make grand appearances, adding a touch of nostalgia to festivals and shows across the county. From Hooky on Tour to the Towersey Festival, each event is an opportunity to connect with the community and share the heritage that Hook Norton Brewery so passionately preserves.

Oxford Brewery

Tap Room and Brewery Shop, Oxford Brewery, Coopers Yard, Manor Farm Road, Horspath, Oxford, OX33 1SD

Oxford Brewery

Deep in the storied city of Oxford, a place renowned for its academic excellence and historical grandeur, stands the Oxford Brewery—a testament to the city’s rich cultural heritage. Born from the fusion of The Shotover Brewing Co and Oxford Craft Beer Co, the brewery weaves the fabric of tradition with threads of innovation, producing not just beers, but legends in a glass. Their narrative began with the fabled Scholar beer, born from a tale as old as Oxford itself, where knowledge triumphed over the wild, a spirit that continues to guide their brewing philosophy today.

For over a decade, Oxford Brewery has been at the forefront of the city’s craft beer revolution. They proudly claim the title of one of the pioneering new wave brewers in Oxford, a mantle they carry with pride as they continue to shape the future of local brewing. Spring 2021 marked a new chapter for the brewery with the launch of the Oxford Brewery Tap, alongside their established brewery shop. Here, locals and visitors alike can taste the innovation in every pint, crafted with care in their Coopers Yard brewhouse.

Strategically located in Horspath, just a stone’s throw away from the bustling city centre, the Oxford Brewery Shop and Tap Room are where the magic of brewing comes to life. This proximity to Oxford’s vibrant city allows for a seamless blend of urban innovation and rural charm, creating the perfect setting for tasting their full range of creations, from the comfortingly familiar to the excitingly novel.

Oxford Brewery’s ‘Music @ The Tap’ nights have quickly become a cornerstone of the local scene, providing a platform for Horspath’s incredibly diverse and talented musicians. On the third Thursday of each month, the brewery becomes a hub of musical diversity, showcasing an array of genres and styles. These evenings celebrate the community’s shared love for music and beer, inviting musicians to collaborate in a symphony of taste and sound.

Loose Cannon Brewery

Unit 6, Suffolk Way, Abingdon, OX14 5JX

Loose Cannon Brewery

Located in the heart of historical Abingdon on Thames, Loose Cannon Brewery stands as a modern monument to the town’s ancient brewing legacy. Since its establishment in 2010, Loose Cannon has rekindled Abingdon’s brewing fire, once doused with the closure of Morland Brewery at the turn of the millennium.

The brewery was the brainchild of Will Laithwaite, whose less-than-lucrative degree in Ancient History unexpectedly paved the way for a return to the town’s time-honoured tradition. With the town’s roots running deep into the oldest strata of continuous habitation in Britain, Loose Cannon Brewery is a tip of the hat to a past that once thrived with monks and their monastic brews.

With Abingdon’s long-standing connection to monastic and commercial brewing dating back to the days of medieval abbeys and the eventual rise and fall of commercial ventures like Morland, Loose Cannon has seamlessly woven itself into the fabric of this historic tapestry.

In a modest industrial unit, on land once farmed and possibly roamed by monks, Will, alongside his trusted companion Caleb, built more than just a brewery—they resurrected a tradition. Their inaugural brew, Abingdon Bridge, was the result of community collaboration, a nod to the importance of local palates and preferences, a beautifully balanced English Bitter infused with a contemporary twist.

The Loose Cannon Brewery quickly distinguished itself by releasing an astonishing variety of over sixty-eight distinct and palatable beers, catering to a wide spectrum of tastes with twenty-one unique beers released annually across various ranges. This commitment to variety and quality underlines Loose Cannon’s dedication to satisfying even the most discerning of ale aficionados.

As Loose Cannon Brewery continues to grow, so too does its infrastructure, with consistent investments in state-of-the-art equipment enhancing both production capacity and brewing prowess. Bursting at the seams of their current locale, the brewery is poised for expansion, exciting fans with plans to enrich the Loose Cannon experience further and inviting them into the next chapter of the brewery’s flourishing narrative.

For those who share the brewery’s passion, Loose Cannon extends an invitation to their open evenings, where the fusion of community and craft comes alive. Guests are welcomed with a samples bar showcasing the latest brews, enriched by talks from the brewers themselves, and complemented by a selection of street food.

Little Ox Brew Co

Unit 6 Wroslyn Rd Ind Est, Freeland, Witney OX29 8HZ

Little Ox Brew Co

Rooted in the fertile grounds of Freeland, Little Ox Brew Co stands as a testament to the joy of craft beer, echoing the vibrant spirit of Oxfordshire itself. Established with the intent to blend traditional brewing techniques with inventive twists, Little Ox is not just about creating beers but about fostering a community around them. Their vision extends from the fermenting vats to the local pubs and eateries, sharing their unique flavours with beer enthusiasts and casual drinkers alike, challenging palates and inviting everyone to embark on a taste adventure.

The bond between Little Ox and the local community is palpable, with the brewery keeping the conversation flowing like their ales. Through social media, newsletters, and their inviting brewery shop, they call upon locals and visitors to engage in taproom events, celebrating the shared love of hops and barley. This outreach isn’t limited to virtual spaces; Little Ox makes its presence known with a refreshing presence in pubs and restaurants, where the clink of glasses resonates with the warmth of shared experiences.

In line with their inclusive philosophy, all beers at Little Ox are vegan and gluten-free, catering to a diverse range of drinkers. The brewery operates a core range of brews while regularly introducing new and seasonal specialities, ensuring a year-round variety of flavours that keeps fans anticipating their next sip. Their direct sales model invites beer lovers to purchase by the can, keg, or cask from their online shop, reinforcing the personal touch that defines the brand.

Little Ox Brew Co’s calendar is dotted with events that showcase their vibrant culture. The Witney Beer Festival and their open days are gatherings that fuse the essence of beer with the heart of community festivities. Here, amidst live music and tasty bites, Little Ox’s brews pour freely, accentuating the joyous atmosphere of local pride and LGBTQ celebrations, traditional fêtes, and the family-friendly Witney Carnival.

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