We decided to have a nice quiet day relaxing in Devizes and went for tour around Wadworths Brewery which was opened in 1875 by Henry Wadworth and became and instant success. Henry was also famous for riding his bicycles, he rode a boneshaker from London to Bath in 1869 in just 2.5 days, and used the penny farthing to ride around his 36 pubs to check on their quality. He would have a half pint at each so must have been very drunk by the time he got back. It is believed that after his epic journey he coined the phrase Boneshaker for the uncomfortable ride he had on the bicycle named by the makers as Velocipede.
Wadworths still have the original gravity system which is used for special occasion beers including the old Copper and Mash Tun.
The ingredients include Barley which roasted to give different tastes and colours, hops, and yeast. The little Office behind the counter was used by the Customs and Excise Officer to ensure they were paying the right amount of Tax.
The modern method is all automated and uses stainless steel equipment for all its operations.
Until the end of this week there has been a Master Cooper on the site producing and repairing barrels for the company but they have now decided to do away with the post and call him in as a contractor as and when they wish to use or repair the barrels for the specialist beers. When a larger barrel is damaged it is recycled into a smaller barrel as the oak is still Ok thus enabling the wood in the barrels to last for about 200 years.
They also have an in-house sign making workshop although the artist is now self employed and they are one of the few brewery’s to use such signs. The lettering uses gold leaf as this is more durable than paint.
Wadworths also deliver their beer by Drayhorse in a two mile radius of the brewery and they have four Shire horses to carry our the task, Max, Monty, Percy, and Prince and magnificent animals they are. They carry out the additional duties of attending various shows around the country to promote the company beers.
At the end of the tour we were invited back to the bar to sample their extensive range of beers and as it was before lunch and I don’t drink, I am afraid it had a very inebriating effect so the afternoon was used to sleep off its effects.