Beer and Britain have a long history together. Though it is unclear when precisely beer arrived in Britain, the Britons were drinking enough of it during the Roman occupation for the Romans to note that the Britons largely drank ale. Though the Roman’s attempted to introduce grapes and wine drinking to the area it was to no avail, the grapes wouldn’t grow and the Briton’s preferred ale.
By the middle ages, everyone drank ale, pretty much all the time. It was safer from disease than water, one could brew it themselves and it had a low enough alcohol content to allow people to drink it all day. In the 1400s beer was revolutionised by the introduction of hops, transforming the ale they drank into the beer we know today. By 1600 almost all beers were being made with hops.
The Three Tuns Brewery comes into the story not long after this. What makes the Three Tuns unique is that it is believed to be the oldest working brewery in Britain. A brewing licence was first granted at the site in 1642. As part of the current brewery is of 17th Century origin, this would be consistent with it having been the original brew house, which would make it the oldest working brewery in Britain.
Today the remainder of the present brewery consists of a tower erected in about 1888, a classic, miniature Victorian tower which, together with the older building, is described as “a rare survival of a small, working rural brewery.”