Sunday, March 16, 2008

Halifax Steam Brewing Co.

I finally found time this afternoon to pay a swift visit to the Cock O' The North in Hipperholme, Halifax Steam Brewery's tap. Not your average boozer this one, resembling an on-site construction company portakabin rather than somewhere to enjoy fine ale - but first impressions are often deceiving in the weird & wonderful world of micro-brewing. Indeed once inside I imagined being on board a nineteen twenties ocean liner with the dark panelling and subdued lighting complementing the somewhat art deco style - all quite surreal!

Due to it's size, an inevitable intimacy is created - aided and abetted by the hardcore of friendly regulars sat at the bar. A glass door leading through to the plant itself is a great touch, especially as how immaculate everything looked - a little like brew pubs in the States where you're never quite sure whether it's just for show or not!

Twelve beers, all home grown, grace the bar at any given time and would seem to offer something for everyone. In fact one reason for this visit was due to several recent reports of how good the ginger beer was. This particular style has always been a firm favourite so imagine how I felt finding two ginger flavoured concoctions available. The 4% Jamaican had a subtle finish of stem ginger and was balanced to perfection with just the right amount of lingering bitterness. The 5% version was really in your face and a bit over the top for my taste but I'm an enriched human being for the experience!

We were introduced to Ramsden's Lilly Fogg 4%, the good old pale refreshing staple and it didn't disappoint with it's delicious lemony zest. In fact this is the one to sustain you on a protracted session and whilst we didn't have time to sample all on offer, it get's my top vote so far. Cock o' the North at 5% was arguably the most accomplished ale, having a little something to please all comers though would probably appeal to 'traditionalists' the most. Marilyn was another pale quencher at 4% and only Toga at 4.4% was a disappointment, but by that time it really had too much to live up to!

According to chief Dave Earnshaw, Halifax Steam's watchword is flavour rather than bitter so don't expect to get your tongue skinned here - instead just sit back, enjoy the brewer's craft and forget where you really's a lot easier than you might imagine!

An organised visit to sample all the stuff we missed is now in the pipeline and with it some more pictures and notes hopefully.


Leigh said...

what a great-looking place!not sure about the ginger though...

a swift one... said...

Suggest you reserve judgement until you've tried one Leigh - it might just be the added je ne sais quoi for your next culinary marvel!

GothicSocks said...

Cock O' The North is my favourite Chill out spot. The guys there are brilliant, friendly and welcoming. David ( The Brewer, otherwise known as Mr E) Is a laugh, and more concerned with making people Happy rather than making money.

Simply an amazing environment. Big Thumbs Up to all!

Gary said...

I've only been to this place a couple of times but it's a favourite for some friends who live a bit closer. From what I seem to remember people were camping in the field at the side too. What a perfect combination!

Anonymous said...

Been loads of times, went Saturday night, February 26, and there was some hideous music (I think) booming away. I did a quick poll, all I asked thought it was totally inappropriate. Message to the management get rid of the moron who was playing it. Great place don't ruin it!!!