Monday, August 18, 2014

Beer festivals in Marsden & Shelley

The fourth annual Marsden Beer Festival brightens up this Bank Holiday weekend.
The free entry event at Marsden Mechanics Hall, on Peel Street, runs from Friday, August 22 (7pm till midnight), Saturday August 23 (noon till midnight) to Sunday, August 24 (noon till Midnight)
It will feature 20 real ales, plus scrumpy ciders with live music on Saturday and Friday nights.
Beer List and tasting notes
Brewed with Chinook & Pride of Ringwood hops to give a fruity /grassy flavour balanced with a biscuity malty finish.
Premium strength pale ale with a good hoppy taste and a smooth bitter finish.
A blonde ale with fresh citrus flavours. Very Moorish.
A special ale brewed to commemorate Granny Clarke the old gatekeeper. A nicely hopped pale ale with a lingering bitter sweet finish.
Glowing on the taste buds with delights of tropical fruits. This is one for the hopheads.
Easy drinking traditional brown ale. Nice malty flavours and a lingering finish.
Full bodied dry stout with a bitter finish, spicy with hints of licorice and dark berries.
A light pale ale, slightly hopped with a good bitter taste to finish.
Pale hoppy ale with a good fruity taste and a sharp bitter finish.
A light and lively pale ale. Carefully hopped to give a nice citrus flavour. A firm favourite.
A dark mild with tastes of roasted barley and malt. Very smooth and easy drinking.
Floral and malty aroma, with a sweet malty taste and hints of citrus and even less so grass.
Packed with American hops for an intensely refreshing and satisfying balance. Good body for such a low abv.
A light refreshing golden ale with a tangy citrus aroma and flavour.
A ruby coloured bitter with a rich, spicy, roasted aroma and a full malty body, resulting in a full-bodied mouthfeel.
Ominously dark, rich old style London porter. Good roasted malty flavours and a smooth, silky finish. 

A lovely cloudy orange cider with an appley aroma and pleasant to the mouth.
Award winning cider 'its just gorgeous'. Its got a lightness, a refinement yet not lost any of it's heritage.

The Bloke from Hull has also sent us advance details of next month's Shelley Charity Beer Festival 
It's at Shelley Village Hall,  on Huddersfield Road, from Friday, September 12 (6pm - 10pm)
to Saturday,September 13 (12pm till dry)
Shelley’'s Small World Brewery will be making an appearance with three of their ales. (See previous post from BFH) 
Other breweries being represented this year are: Daleside, Bradfield, Empire, Nook & Wold Top.
More details when we have them.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A big insight into a Small World

Small World Beers, Shelley
By The Bloke from Hull
Local jungle drums and a feature in the Huddersfield Examiner had told me about Small World, a new brewery in Shelley. A planned visit to the beer festival at The Star at Folly Hall needed something to fill up the day before its 5pm start. I gave the guys at Small World a call and we were on.  A half hour bus ride took me to Shelley followed by a pleasant downhill walk in the sun to the Barncliffe Mills trading estate where I found the brewery.

I was greeted by owner Dave Hill and Operations Manager Pete Forder. Dave kindly broke off from work to tell me about the business. Originally from Yorkshire, Dave had been working in sales and production in Cheshire for some time and decided to return to God’s Own County to live and start a brewery. After four years of developing his skills including a brewery course at Sunderland he was ready. Whilst in his local pub, The Woodman at Thunderbridge, he got talking to Pete over a pint or two and they found that they had shared interests including a passion for beer – hence “Small World”. Peter’s background in purchasing, procurement and sales made him a great foil for Dave in the new business. Their ethos is to not only work with the “Small World” of local suppliers, businesses and outlets but also in time to experiment and develop recipes with interesting and exciting ingredients.
Knowing that the area is famous for spring water at Shepley (the home to one of the United Kingdom's largest bottled water companies) they decided to put a bore hole down 51 metres below the brewery building. Analysis of the water showed that it was perfect and it was full steam ahead! The brewery premises are quite old and were given a complete overhaul.  The bare shell that has seen many uses has been completely transformed by the expertise of local tradesmen.

The brand new brew kit was purchased from the Sheffield arm of the German steel tank specialists Moeschle and carefully installed to fit precisely between the original roof trusses. At present brewing on the 20 BBL (British Brewers Barrel) plant is running at 12 BBL to produce 48 nine gallon casks once or twice a week depending on demand. The mash tun sits above the liquor tank and the copper is gas powered. There are two fermenters with room for adding a further four while the temperature controlled conditioning room currently contains three conditioning tanks.

The first beer, Barncliffe Bitter (3.7% abv) first appeared at The Flying Ferret, Shelley on Monday, June 2 and was officially launched at the lads’ local, The Woodman on Friday, June 6. It was soon followed by Spike’s Gold (4.4% abv), a golden summer ale named after the one time resident, chief mascot and logo inspiration. The floral and zesty pale Summer Bank (3.7% abv) named after Shelley's two steepest roads also made its first appearance in June as did Long Moor Pale (3.9% abv). Not bad for the first month. On my visit Dave invited me to try generous samples of all four on handpump at the uniquely designed brewery bar. They were all excellent. The beers have sold well at freehouses, pubs, fetes and festivals throughout the Huddersfield district and beyond including Barnsley, Bradford and Halifax in Yorkshire. It should be noted that every pump clip features the “spike” logo, and mentions the brewery’s unique selling point (the spring water) and the hops used in each beer – a nice touch.
 After thanking Dave for his time and hospitality, he showed me a short cut to the Woodman across the fields to check out the Barncliffe Bitter which was just right. Later in the day, following a break for tea, I made my way down to the superb beer festival at The Star where I found Long Moor Pale on great form.
 A week later, while celebrating Yorkshire Day at the superb beer festival at The Cross Keys at Siddal near Halifax, Spike’s Gold and Long Moor Pale were on the bar but you had to be quick to catch them as they were very popular. So much so that Hugh, the licensee, reordered immediately.
A full bodied pale ale called Twin Falls (5.2% abv) was brewed at the end of July and is soon to appear at the Peterborough CAMRA beer festival. The word is spreading!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Yorkshire takes Camra Beer of Britain 2014 Award

The votes came in yesterday for the 'Champion Beer Of Britain 2014' at the Camra Great British Beer Festival, and it was a Yorkshire beer that came out on top. Timmy Taylors 'Boltmaker' took the crown.

Surprised? You bet I was. 'Boltmaker' is the old Taylors Best. I must admit it is not my favourite beer, in fact it is not even my favourite Taylors beer, but there again, what do I know ? (don't answer that !!)

I scanned the full list in the hope of finding some other representative of Gods own county, eventually I found Saltaire 'Triple Chocoholic' as winner of the Speciality Beer Category. That will please a mate from the north east, but sadly it does little for me.

My attention was drawn to the Golden Ales category, with Oakham 'Citra', Hawkshead 'Cumbrian Five Hop' and Salopian 'Hop Twister' all represented, and all decent beers in my humble opinion. And Offbeat 'Way Out Wheat' took silver in the Speciality category - another personal favourite.

So there you have it. A brief overview of the winners. Very few would have made it anywhere near my favourite beer list, but as we all know beer drinking is a personal thing. All I can hope for is some of my choices to be recogonised next year.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Beer festivals in Holmfirth & Dewsbury

Our newsgatherer, the Bloke from Hull, has been in touch with details of two more beer festivals. 
The first in time is The Nook's summer beer festival in Holmfirth from August 22 to 24.
The reverse of the flyer informs us that the Nook/Rose and Crown is celebrating two significant anniversaries this year. Firstly, brewing began there 260 years ago, and secondly, the Roberts family are celebrating 50 years at the helm.
Expect 50 beers from across the country and a large selection of Nook ales, including one-offs.
Then the week after The Leggers in Dewsbury is holding a festival from August 28 to 30. The poster just says there will be a wide range of real ales and ciders.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

It takes for ages and two come along at once !

Despite my love of hops and hoppy beers, I am always willing to try something out of my comfort zone, and in the last couple of days have found a couple of lighter ales, both in flavour and strength, that have really hit the spot. One I had high hopes for and was not disappointed, the second surprised me.

To take the first first. Stancill brewery has been mentioned before in these pages by my esteemed collegue Mr Ambler. It is a new brewery in Sheffield with a recognised brewer in Jonathan Stancill, formerly brewer at the Oakwell brewery in Barnsley. I have sampled several of the beers and always found them very acceptable, but their most recent special really hit the spot. 'Ginger Pale Ale'  is 4.0% and is what it says on the tin. It is pale, and gingery. Nothing you wouldn't expect then; except Stancill seem to have created the perfect summer beer. The taste is refreshing and soft and the ginger does not slap you in the face but rather complements the beer to make it well balanced, easy drinking and very moreish. Just need decent weather and a cricket match now!

The other beer to tickle my taste buds came from Riverhead brewery at Marsden. I have sampled plenty of their beers and always find them solid rather than exceptional. So when I ordered their 'White Moss Mild' I expected much of the same. I was pleasantly surprised. It was a very good example of the Pennine light mild style. Light in colour, and very easy drinking at 3.6%. No discernable hop character but very well crafted and another beer that would go down superbly sitting watching the world go by in a beer garden. As it happens I was in the 'Rat & Ratchet' and it was hosing down outside! Nevertheless, the beer was excellent and I will certainly be sampling it again. And the Stancill as well, if someone has left me some to try.

Time to Calypso!!

Before I start I must apologise for not posting much recently, due to a couple of reasons ,one technical, one personal. The former being a nasty computer glitch which has taken some sorting out, and the second being a lack of interesting beery things to pass on to you. Hopefully both have been resolved and normal service will be resumed. Tim.

Despite the above comment I have discovered a new(ish) hop which has tickled my taste buds as much as my old favourites. I have previously waxed lyrical over Citra, (but recent brews with citra seem a bit thin in my opnion), and Mosaic, (which I still consider the best of current hops - and some single hopped mosaic beers have been the best beers I have ever tasted). The new kid on the block is Calypso.

Calypso is a hop developed from the Nugget variety of hop, which I have never really found too interesting, a plodder rather than a front runner. Calypso is certainly a front runner - almost the Usain Bolt of hop! It has a high alpha acid content between 12-15% and has all the bitterness that this brings to the beer, but it is the background flavours that make it stand out.

It has a slightly earthy background, but  balanced with a complex fruitiness with hints of pear, melon and citrus fruits to give a really well balanced taste that is ideal for summer. It does need a certain strength to out the better flavours but only in the 4% range.

But don't take my word for it - find it yourself and check it out.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Bloke gets on his bike in Barnsley

The Bloke from Hull writes...
Friends Maureen and David recently offered me the chance of a ride round some of the countryside pubs in the Barnsley CAMRA area. We agreed on a Sunday in late June prior to Le Tour. This meant that we were in for a treat as many of the hostelries had pushed the boat (or is it bicycle) out to welcome visitors to the area with fantastic tour decorations and equally amazing beers.
With the local Real Ale Guide in hand, our day began at around midday at the Rose and Crown at Hoylandswaine. Of the four cask ales available, Bradfield Blonde was chosen to refresh our palates after the ride from Leeds. A great start. We left just as the kitchen warmed up for the diners who had begun to arrive for lunch. Such a pity we had to go!
As we drove into Thurlstone it was clear we were now in Le Tour country as notices for camping and viewpoints began to appear on lamp posts and fences. The Huntsman pub even had a yellow bicycle suspended from its sign. I had read good things about this place in various pub guides and it certainly lived up to its billing as a great community local. Oak beams, friendly staff (and locals) were topped off with six Yorkshire beers (of which three were very local). Here we chose the Acorn Sur Votre Velo beer and all too soon we were, metaphorically at least, on our bikes to the next pub.
On reaching Millhouse Green The Blacksmiths Arms came into view. Although not on our list we decided to investigate due to the “Under New Ownership” sign. Our curiosity was rewarded by friendly staff, a pleasant interior (featuring several old photos of the building) and a pint of the Marston’s seasonal beer Fever Pitch. Well – we were still in the World Cup then!
The Foxhouse Inn at Hepworth was the next stop. Despite being an extremely popular destination for dining, we found a good spot close to the bar and were served straight away. A great feature was the pot of nuts that was included in the “three thirds” deal of different beers from the Two Roses Brewery.
Heading south to the Woodhead Pass in the Dark Peak District we were greeted by the fine sight of a giant yellow bicycle in the car park of the Dog and Partridge at Hazlehead. A photo opportunity if ever I saw one! We could not resist. Given the location, the pub was obviously geared up for accommodation and dining. However, we found an area opposite the bar to sit and have our pint of traditional bitter from Stancill Brewery.
We continued into the depths of Le Tour country soon arriving at Langsett where we found that the Waggon and Horses had been transformed into the Pedalers Arms. As it was on the route, the pub had got together with cycle clothing company Polaris Bikewear and students from Leeds Metropolitan University to re-imagine the pub to create a vintage cycling look both inside and out. For over a year a group had been knitting bunting to gradually cover the pub with brightly coloured hand knitted and crocheted triangles. Even the food menu holders had been sprocketized! We played our small part by drinking cycling beers from Timothy Taylor and Bradfield breweries. As we departed we could not help but admire the Bank View Cafe dressed as the “King of the Mountains” directly opposite. Another photo opportunity!
I had been told great things by a friend from Barnsley about Cubley Hall and this day was my opportunity to confirm that he was right. This multi-roomed former gentleman’s residence retains much of its charm and character with some fine interior architectural features. Despite being very much a large function venue majoring in dining, there is a comfortable bar area where three regular and one guest cask ale were on offer. We struck it lucky with a beer from a brewery I had never tried before - Long Man in East Sussex.
A short ride to Penistone led us to the newly reopened Spread Eagle following a year of closure. Four cask beers gave us plenty of choice while over at the Penistone British Legion we signed in for a pint of an appropriate cycling beer. The final call of the day was The Fountain at Ingbirchworth. As the heavens opened we sought shelter with a choice of beers from Ossett, Taylors and Pennine breweries.
As we made our way back to Leeds in the rain we were grateful that it had only arrived at the end of our grand tour around some great pubs, most of which had previously been merely names in books and magazines. Many were supporting Le Tour and were a great advert for God’s Own County for the event that was soon to come.