Some of you may remember Kevin Yelland who used to be the barman at the Rat & Ratchet. Big bloke, ginger hair in a ponytail and a beard - and a fervent Wolves supporter. He left the area a few years ago and became the brewer, and I think, owner of the Alehouse Brewery in St Albans as well as the manager of the local classic pub, The Lower Red Lion.
Just recently I came across him delivering to a pub in Sheffield and we caught up over a couple of beers. He has moved on from the Lower Red to The Mermaid, still in St Albans, and due to the move his brewput slowed down but now, with everything settled, he is back brewing as normal. If anyone has tasted Alehouse beers they will recall their assertive hoppiness and Kev's fanatical devotion to different hop varieties. This has not changed - well at least the latter part.
He was one of the early champions of foreign hops, especially American and New World, and was happy to have succeeded in obtaining Simcoe hops to recreate one of his favourite beers this year, 'Simplicity', along with Sauvin from New Zealand which he said have become more prevalent this year due to a better harvest than for the fellow Riwaka and Mortueka varieties.
He did admit that his brewing style has changed lately. He is using the same quantity of hops but adding some later in the boil as aroma, rather than bittering, hoping that this change may be more acceptable by resulting in less aggressively hopped beers. He believes that his beer will still go down well in Yorkshire, he just needs the chance to be able to get some on the local bars to prove it - so if you spot an Alehouse beer, try it, see what you think and remember it's local connection.