Sunday 10 September 2023

Welcome to the Windsor beer (half!) mile

“Where’s the local beer?” I half-jokingly asked my hosts at the Windsor (as in Castle) office of a US tech company, as the day’s meetings finished and the social hour began. In a similar office in California or Colorado, I’d be entirely unsurprised to see a local microbrew on tap in the kitchen for an after-hours social event, never mind in cans. But here it was Peroni and the like – well meant, for sure, but perhaps missing a trick.

For not only does the town have Windsor & Eton Brewery, now venerable in craft beer terms at 13 years old, but others have appeared more recently too. Just a short walk from that office took me to a little industrial estate in the arches underneath the western end of Windsor & Eton Central railway station, where I was greeted by the happy sight of tables and benches outside not one, but two microbrewery taprooms. 

The sightly older of the pair is Two Flints, and it’s also perhaps the more traditional looking. Neutral painted walls, some exposed beams – metal rather than wood, though – and the bar, with its menu on the wall behind, is the first thing you see on entering. The 20hl brewery is visible towards the back of an arch which, to someone more used to Bermondsey, felt very high and deep. 

Next door’s Indie Rabble Brewing takes more of a carnival theme. The bar is slightly hidden around a corner, and instead the first thing you see is bright colours and stripey round parasols – it would have been a bit of a fun atmosphere, if we hadn’t all been so sluggish from the heat!

Both taproom menus seemed to be dominated by West Coast IPAs, hazy pales and the like, plus there’s always a craft lager or K├Âlsch on the bar these days, but both also had guests on tap. Some of these looked very tempting, sadly though I was driving back, so had to skip the likes of Burning Sky’s Saison Anniversaire 2023 in Two Flints, and the 12.2% Tartarus Herne the Hunter in Indie Rabble. In Indie Rabble’s case, everything on the bar was also a collaboration – they have only just got their brewkit (another 20hl outfit) installed so all their brewing thus far has been collabs

Taking my Elusive/Indie Rabble collab Westie outside, I realised just how central we were. Sure, you’re sitting in a car park in the shadow of a railway embankment, but there, just over the rooftops in front of you, is one of the most famous castles in the country. And it’s literally a 10-minute walk to WEBrew, so if you fancy three brewery taprooms in an afternoon, put Windsor on your visiting list. 

Incidentally, they are selling tickets for a dual-brewery Oktoberfest on Saturday 7th October - £14 gets you a pint of Festbier in each, plus entrance. (I've no idea if you'll be able to get in that day without a ticket, sorry.)