Proud to be brewing in Henley
Brakspear first began life in Henley on Thames back in 1711, when William Henry Brakspear began brewing in the garden of 65 Bell Street. In 1769, nineteen year old Robert Brakspear, became the pub landlord of the Cross Keys, Witney and it's from here Brakspear Bitter was born and started being brewed. In 1779, so many people were enjoying Brakspear Bitter, they needed to move to a bigger brewery so Robert moved to Henley to join his uncle, Richard Hayward, at his brewery.
The brewery on Bell Street closed in 1812 and moved to New Street where it can still be seen today, though it was converted into residential flats and a hotel In October 2002. This was when Brakspear's brewing moved to Marston’s Wychwood Brewery in Witney, Oxfordshire, which is just around the corner from the Cross Keys.
The Bell Street Brewery sits within The Bull on Bell Street public house at 57 - 59 Bell Street at the back of the building, which is only 3 doors up from where William’s original brewery was, and is actually just over 100 feet away as the crow flies. This building has been a pub since 1564, and was leased by Brakspear in 1774, then bought in 1881. It was a coaching inn from 1744 to 1850 for those travelling between London and Wallingford. Over the years 57-59 Bell Street has been known as The Bull Brasserie and Ko-Kos too. The Brakspear head office still remains in Henley and shares the Bull courtyard with the Bell Street Brewery.
In January 2013 Brakspear gave 57 - 59 Bell Street a major makeover and on Good Friday, 29th March 2013, The Bull on Bell Street was revealed along with the Bell Street Brewery. After a few trial runs, the Bull on Bell Street began selling the first brew on the 11th May 2013. The building itself is one of Henley’s oldest, dating back some 700 years, and we like to think it has a modern look whilst making the most of its character. Come in, take a good look around, whilst enjoying a pint brewed onsite and let us know what you think.