Welcome to Bartrams Brewery
...and welcome to Bartrams Brewery website. I am your host on this wander through cyberspace, my name is Marc Bartram. Leave your coat on the hook and follow me, don't mind the dog, he's worn out after yesterday's Jehovah's Witness.
Bartrams Brewery started in 1999 in a small industrial unit in the village of Thurston using a five barrel plant purchased from Buffys Brewery. In the first year of production The Bees Knees gained a commendation at the Cambridge Winter Beer Festival, and Captain's Stout was voted best Stout at the Doncaster Beerex. In 2000 Cherry Stout managed to win the Overall Champion at the Cambridge Beer Festival.
Demands for the beer grew and I gave up my day job to concentrate full time on the Brewery. In 2003 Cherry Stout won Best in Class and then was voted Second Best Beer in East Anglia by the S.I.B.A. (Society of Independent Brewers). It went on to win best in class nationaly. Stingo gained a silver at the Norwich Beer Festival. In 2003 production had moved to Buffys Brewery and for the last couple of years we have shared the same plant. In 2004 Grozet won a Silver at the Peterborough Beer Festival.
In the Spring of 2005, my original brewery plant was moved into a building on the Rougham Airfield, and in August the first tentative brews were let loose on an unsuspecting public.
2005 was quite a year! With Captain's Stout winning best in class at Leicester Beer Festival; Cherry Stout winning a Silver at Peterborough; Marld winning a Silver in the regional S.I.B.A. finals; and Coal Porter winning Supreme Champion at the Letchworth Garden City Beer Festival.
2007 on the other hand was a whirlwind. The regional S.I.B.A. awards saw me gaining a total of four - a bronze for Rougham Ready, a Silver for Marld and a Silver for Comrade Bill Bartrams Egalitarian Anti Imperialist Soviet Stout in cask whilst the bottled version was given a Gold. The National S.I.B.A. Finals saw 'Comrade Bill ...' being given a Gold and declared the Best Bottled Beer in the Country, and at the Bury 2007 Beer Festival Mother McClearys Milk Stout won the overall champion.
Meanwhile Waitrose had approached me and I was entered for their 'Small Producer of the Year Award' where I made it through to the final three. This in turn saw me in the Financial Mail on Sunday's Small Business Awards and I ended up in the final fifteen.
In 2007, the highlight of the year though, was when I was invited to attend the 'World Beer Awards' where I was presented with an award that placed Comrade Bill on the list of the Top Fifty Bottled Beers in the World, the smallest brewery to have achieved this accolade
2009 started promisingly, at the Regional S.I.B.A. finals the AH64 won a Bronze whilst 'Comrade Bill ...' won a Gold in Class and Bronze overall and then continued his march towards global domination by winning a Silver in the National Finals.
In 2010 The Bees Knees, (my best selling beer!), managed to win its first major award when it was voted the Champion Beer of the Festival at St Neots. I was asked to brew a special beer for the Bury St Edmunds Fringe Festival. Named 'Cheers and Booze' it gained recognition when it won the Silver at the Bury St Edmunds Beer Festival. Comrade Bill continued winning with a Silver at the Cambridge Beer Festival and then Cherry Stout once again proved its worth when it won the Overall Champion at the Gibberd Secret Garden Beer Festival.
2011 'Comrade Bill ...' was selected amongst fifteen representatives of the Imperial Russian Stout style of beer to recreate the 'Great Baltic Trade Route' and sailed from London Via Copenhagen, Stockholm and Helsinki to St Petersberg where it was chosen as the second best by the People of St Petersberg. (See short video clip) The full story of this epic journey, and our part in it, is to be included in a book by Tim O'Rourke.
In 2012 East Anglia CAMRA recognised Comrade Bill's achievements and he was voted the Best Stout in East Anglia. He then went on to be voted the Second Best Beer in East Anglia, second only to Adnams 'Old Ale' ...I can handle it if they can!
The National Winter Ales Festival 2013 held in Manchester saw the judging of the National Champion Winter Beer Of Britain Competition. Comrade Bill won Gold for Best Stout, and Silver in the Overall Winners Category. Photographs from the presentation
Comrade Bill was in the running for 'Champion Beer of Britain' at the 2013 Great British Beer Festival and got mentioned in despaches by Roger Protz .. apparently a film of the life of Comrade Bill is being mooted with Marlon Brando reprising his role from 'On the Waterfront' .. "Ah coulda bin a contendah". Also 2013 saw Comrade Bill winning the Champion at the Hitchin Beer Festival and we saw the branch turn up at the brewery for an afternoon of revelries and a presentation
We also had the distinction of not only appearing in eminent beer writer Roger Protz book 300 beers to try before you die book but were listed as one of the top ten British Beers!
The mother in law also got her fair share of press coverage ..
' .. there was a Bartrams Brewery in Tunbridge Wells and here is the reminiscences of one of the original Bartrams ..'
In 2014 the bottle version of 'Comarde Bill' was shortlisted by CAMRA in the Champion Bottled Beer of Britain category. In 2016 ... and here's the rub ... Captain Bill Bartrams Best Bitter, the very first beer I brewed, was recognised by East Anglian CAMRA in the Strong Bitter Category, so as I was in my eighteenth year I could say that he had acheived his majority!