Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Want to buy a brewery ?

There have been rumours flying about recently about the fate of the Anglo Dutch brewery, we can now confirm the brewery is for sale. It does appear though, from the sale advert that I have seen that the brewery is being sold as a going concern, with the brewery being sold along with the recipes, good will and staff, rather than being closed down. So should you fancy taking over the opportunity is there.

On the same subject, Highwood brewery in Lincolnshire, the brewers of 'Tom Wood' beers recently went into liquidation, but the beers have been saved by a 6 strong consortium who have bought the brewery and intend to start brewing again, with Tom Wood reinstated as head brewer. So, should 'Tom Wood Bitter' or 'Bomber County' be your favourite tipple, then never fear, they should be rolling off the production line again in the very near future.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Meet The Brewer At Oddest In Chorlton

The excellent Manchester Camra rag "Opening Times" has long extolled the virtues of the pubs and bars in Chorlton, but on our trips to Manchester we have never managed to get there and to be honest, we didn't really know where Chorlton was.

An opportunity to find out arose last week, as Mallinsons were invited to Oddest to present a meet the brewer evening. Oddest is the third of a chain of cafe bars, the other two being Odd and Odder in central Manchester (an expansion restricting choice of name maybe?).

Anyone remembering New Labour's vision of a continental cafe culture in the UK will see that embraced in these bars. Outside, all weather seating areas are spread across wide pavements and an excellent internal layout provide for drinkers and diners (food is an important part of Oddest).

There are six handpumps, always including a mild and a stout, continental draughts, and lots of wine, and on the evening we were there they did sell a lot of wine.

Who came to see the girls? Back to "Opening Times" again, the local Camra branch turned out in force to support the evening - including a brewer from Marble. Beer and the future of pubs and bars were much discussed and, of course, pints of Mallinsons supped with all six pumps dedicated to our favourite brewery, on what was a cracking evening.

Number 85 and 86 buses take you to Chorlton in about 25 minutes from Piccadilly Gardens (85 drops you right outside Oddest), and even as I write it is possible that the new tram link to Chorlton may be open, with the station just yards from Oddest.

Many thanks to the bar staff, manageress and local camra for a great night, we shall endeavour to explore more of what Chorlton has to offer on our next vist to Manchester.

Buxton Brewery

A newish brewery that seems to be getting into West Yorkshire more in recent times is Buxton Brewery of Derbyshire, and they are brewing some pretty decent beers as well.

The brewery started in mid 2009 but moved last year to their current premises using a 5bbl plant. Their head brewer is James Kemp, who had previous experience at Thornbridge, so he obviously knows a thing or two about beer, and this shows, if the the beer from the brewery I have sampled recently is anything to go by.

Checking their website they brew a whole range of beers that suit every taste, admittedly some are easier to find than others but the three I have come across in recent weeks in our area have all tended to be on the light and hoppy side. The weakest of the three 'Moor Top', is a 3.6% session beer, full of chinook hops and bursting with flavours, increased by the dry hopping of the beer.I have also encountered their 'Buxton Blonde'. (a continental style ale) Using only European hops, and lager malt and wheat. It is a crisp tasting beer, very easy drinking, and very moreish. The background gives it more of a lager taste than an English style bitter but it is none the worse for that. In my opinion, the real star of their range is 'Axe Edge'.

This is a 6.8% double IPA. Not for the faint hearted, it is just crammed with hop flavours from the selection used. How can a beer with nelson sauvin, citra and amarillo hops not be full of diverse and interesting fruit flavours, there is everything there, from orange to pineapple to lychees. A real classic beer. It has already been awarded 'The Best Strong Beer' at the Bradford Beer festival, and I am sure more awards will be coming its way.

Add to these the promise of a black Ipa and an all English hopped pale ale in the near future then Buxton is certainly a brewery to look out for and sample. If you are quick then the 'Axe Edge' is currently on the bar at the Grove, but if previous experience of the brewery is anything to go by, it will not last long.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Do they brew some beers to wind me up ?

As most regular readers of a 'Swift One' will know, I am a beer 'enthusiast', a posh word for a 'beer ticker', and in this capacity I like to try new beers, or beers that are new to me. Often these fit into the category of average, but just occasionally I come across something really good, and often share this experience with you, the reader, should you find the same beer. Unfortunately, yesterday I had the opposite experience.

I thought a trip over the Pennines was in order to try to catch some of the more elusive beer on the Wetherspoons festival list. In and amongst I also visited some of my regular pubs to sample what they had to offer and it was in one of those that I came across a beer that had everything I dislike in a beer all rolled into one.

My preference is for light, hoppy beer as you will probably have realised but this was darker. A quick sniff confirmed my concerns, it was a smoked beer. There has always been something in the style that has put me off, I find the smoking of the malt detracts from the subtle flavours often imparted by the hops and the whole thing seems unbalanced. No doubt people will berate me for criticizing the German 'Rauch' beer style, but I just don't like it.

Oh well, time to actually taste it. Things did not get any better. Through the smokiness I did manage to taste the hops, and I am fairly sure they were 'Green Bullet' another of my bete noire.
So there I was, with a beer made of two of the things I dislike most in a brew. I tried another mouthfull, it just confirmed my fears.

This made me think a bit. Does everyone dislike the beer or it is just my tastes that are different to other peoples ? Did the brewer actually expect to get the flavours in the glass that ended up there, or was this a brewing mistake ? And more to the point, why had I wasted £1.50 to buy a beer I knew I would not enjoy ? The things we do for our hobby !

Anyway, now I have got that off my chest, I can confirm that I did find other beer that was more to my liking, so the day was not wasted. And the beer ? Well, I dare not name it it, but should have been in the 'Angel' in Manchester yesterday, then it should be fairly obvious from the pump clip. I will be more careful next time.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spoons Fest 2011

Tomorrow sees the opening of the 2011 Wetherspoons Beer Festival. It is a bit different to other beer festivals with their list promising over 50 beers available in their pubs in the next 3 weeks.

The format is tried and tested with some regular beers being supplemented by specials brewed for the festival and some foreign brewers brewing their styles of beer on British brewers plants.

The drawback is, that should you want to try all 50 beers then it either means a visit to a Wetherspoons pub daily or a visit to several to try to collect them all. If previous experience is anything to go by it seems all the beers are not released at once and often one finds the same beer on several bars at the same time, so some form of information of where to look for the more unusual beers is useful to save wasted journeys.

If 'Spoons is your thing, or if you do like to sample many different styles of beers that are often uncommon then get out there and start counting. See if you can get to 50 before your friends, or try and find that elusive beer that everyone else seems to miss. Its a bit of fun.

Mallinsons reaches the parts etc.....

If you look in your copy of Buses for April 2011, (what, you don't have a copy, shame on you !) and turn to p24 then you may be surprised to see a picture of some beer pumps taken in an unspecified Edinburgh pub. Taking pride of place on the bar is a pump clip for Mallinson's 'Lynx'. This explains the bus connection as it is no7 in their 'On The Buses' range.

To supplement the photo is a half page article that explains the origin of the beer and the clip and a short interview with Tara. Just shows that Mallinsons are now reaching the magazines that other beers cannot reach. Long may it continue !

I suppose there is a possibility that their beers may also feature in 'Viaduct Weekly' or some astronomical publication too, but as yet my copies have not yet been delivered.

Valley brewery on stream

As we anticipated a few months ago, a second brewery in Scarborough has produced its first beer. I have been advised by 'the bloke from Hull' that he just happened to be in the pub on Sunday when the first beer from 'The Valley' brewery came on the bar.

The beer was 4.4% and called 'Charlie Sheen' for some reason, and according to Dave it lasted less than an hour, so I assume it must have been good.

So should you fancy a day at the seaside then Scarborough looks a good place to go with beers from the North Riding Brewery also on stream now. No doubt some of the editorial staff will head over there in the near future and give a more comprehensive review, but if you see the beers, try them and let us know what you think.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

And I Thought I Was Weird !

A chance conversation at a certain beer festival yesterday led me into the uncharted territory of E Bay. What was I looking for ? Would I find it ? Did I actually believe it ?

I know that people collect all sorts of things, I am a prime example, just look in my spare room for proof, but when someone told me that there was a label from a bottle of Mallinsons 'CC' for sale on the site I had to check it out. And lo and behold, there it is. So should you want a used label from a bottle of beer for the princely sum of 99p it can be yours. (but it costs £1 post and packing as well !!)

If you do want one, then I suppose I have to question why, but as I said, it takes all sorts. But why not just write to the brewery and ask nicely and get a clean, unused one rather than spend time trying to get the label off the bottle, which I assume is not easy.

I can understand keeping labels as a record of beer that you have drunk, but not to sell on. Sorry have to stop now, have 4 bottles soaking needing my attention. Any opportunity to make a quick bob or two !!!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring Time at The Star

Last night saw the Star open its doors to its Spring Beer Festival, not that the weather was spring like. At 5pm there was the usual queue of punters snaking down Albert St waiting with anticipation to find what Sam had to tempt them this time. I am sure they did not go home disappointed.

The tried and tested system of previous festivals was in action again, 46 beers outside and 9 on the bar inside. Soon the marquee was full of enthusiasts taking stock and sampling their favourites. Wednesday night has become a popular night at the festival, to make sure that the beer you really want has not run off before you get chance to try it, and soon the 2 Mallinsons pumps were taking a bit of a hammering. 'Super Citra' was 4.1%, and was, surprise surprise, Citra dry hopped with citra, and 'I Should Be So Hoppy' was 4.6% and Castle Hill dry hopped with Citra. I can see some sort of theme here already.

When I started drinking, others had already set about the beers on the bar and hinting which was their favourite and what to try. Naturally I had my own agenda too, but we seemed to agree on most of our choices. Pictish ' Blue Lagoon' had its supporters, as did Little Ale Cart 'Blickling', both hoppy beers from well established breweries. I was a little surprised by Steel City 'South Pacific', firstly the green bullet hops in it did not make me sneeze, and secondly that it seemed more balanced and less aggresively hopped that some of their other beers. So far every beer I had tried was hoppy, light and what I would have expected from the brewery.

Time to strike out into the unknown and sample a few beers from breweries new to me. First up was Mithril, from North Yorkshire. Their 'Folk'n'Ale' , was only 3.7% but stood comparison with anything I had tried previously, and Blue Bee 'Moonbeams' was equally as good.

By this time, the beer meter was getting pretty full, but there were still plenty of beers I wanted to sample, and went for some advice as to what to try next. The general opinion said Fyne 'Jarl' was excellent, and would not be around long. After sampling it I could see why. It was a superb beer, again with citra to the fore and very moreish, (ask Tim, he seemed welded to the pump !).

However, time and capacity overtook me and I reluctantly had to turn my back on the rest. It does leave me with a wonderful array of beers to sample next time, having overlooked offerings from Goose Eye, Brew Co, and Yorkshire Dales to name but three. With stouts, and porters and a couple of IPA's to go at, as well, it looks as though this could be a long week !!

All the beer in the marquee were £2.50 a pint, which is good value these days, and should you want to diversify, there is the usual range of local cakes, cheese and honey to tempt you. Again, the makings of another classic festival from Sam and the team.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Star Spring Festival List

1 Citra Extra Mallinsons Well, well, well won't last long this one!
2 TEA Franklins
3 Spring Cottage Biscuit Newmans 4.2% Well balanced biscuity bitter
4 Decanus Brew Co 4.2% Malty with a fruity hop aroma
5 I Should be so Hoppy Mallinsons 4.5% Mmm lets guess!
6 Irwell 1888 Irwell 4.5%
7 E Type Sadlers 3.8% Fruity, fresh & golden
8 Follys Finest Goose Eye 4.1% A hoppy number with some colour
9 Orbial Glow Fallons 4.2% Light & hoppy with Amarillo
10 Pack Horse Light Brew Co 3.8% Light ale dry hopped with German lager hops
11 Pirates Gold Woodenhand 4% Easy drinking slightly tart
12 COB Ascot 4.5% Hazelnut Porter
13 Blue Lagoon Pictish 4.2% Light & Hoppy!
14 Brassed Off Spire 3.7% Session Bitter
15 Criffel Sulwath 4.6% IPA
16 200 Not Out Yorkshire Dales 4.5% 200th different ale brewed. Golden IPA with
8 hops in!!
17 Calendar Ale Barlow 4% Pale, blonde with floral aroma.
18 Palindrome Dark Ale Bridestones 4% As it says!
19 Duncan IPA Inveralmond 4.4% Inspirational IPA
20 Willow the Wisp Salamander 3.8% Pale & hoppy
21 Lusting for stout Blue Bee 4.8& Luscious stout
22 Maverick Fyne 4.2%` Dark robust bitter
23 Alpha Brew /Milton 5.2% Light hoppy number created by Milton
24 Jarl Fyne 4% Just ask Tara! Hoppy & yummy
25 Black Forrest Churchend 3.8% Hazy Black forest fruity beer
26 Folk `n' Ale Mithril Ales 3.7% Light hoppy little number
27 South Pacific Steel City 4.5% Fruity & bitter. Certainly well hopped!!!!
28 Parsons Barn Porter Yorkshire Dales 5.8% A brown porter with chocolate,
coffee & smokey richness.
29 Shire Ale Nutbrook 6.2%
30 C Wharfebank 5.6% 100th brew a strong IPA
No Beer Brewery ABV Notes
31 Brighton Rocks Whites 4% Summer quencher with a hint of honey
32 De Rail Box Steam 5.2% Hoppy IPA
33 Spring Target Mayfield 3.9% Copper colour with Progress & Target hops
34 Otters Pocket Marlpool 4% Easy drinking smooth amber ale
35 Spring Wells Goose Eye 4.1% Pale & hoppy
36 Impressionism Blackwater 4.5%
37 Daylight Robbery Bowland 3.9% Like surfing in grapefruit juice!
38 Slip Away Captain Cook 4.2% Full flavoured light hoppy ale
39 Old School Winster 3.9% Full tasting pale ale
40 Gold Dancing Duck 4.7% IPA
41 Moor Top Buxton 3.6% Dry hopped blonde ale
42 OveRAWed Muir House 4% Brown session beer with roast malt flavours
43 Moonbeams Blue Bee 4%
44 Mimas Salamander 4% Easy dinking pale & hoppy
45 Black Barlow 5% Tasty dark mysterious Stout
46 Blickling Little Ale Cart 4.3% Hoppy as always

47 IN Inner Daze Pot Belly 4.6% Light & refreshing
48 IN Merlin Castle Rock 4.7% English Porter
49 IN Pioneer Jarrow 3.9% Named after Ken Taylor the Pioneer of Real Ale in
South Tyneside. A pale session ale
50 IN Lockwood Gold Brew Co 4% Dry hopped golden with HGB
51 IN Rites of Winter Abbeydale 8.5% Now this is a hoppy wower!
52 IN Buxton Blonde Buxton 4.6% A tasty little blonde !
53 IN Magic Mild RAW 3.2% Dark heavy roast mild
54 IN Indians Head Bridestones 3.7% Light amber ale
55 IN Castle Hill Brew Co 4.3% Pale with Chinook & dry hopped for extra hop hit
56 IN Thirst Preview Keswick 3.6%
57 IN LPA Meantime 4.3% Goldings, cascade & centennial real London IPA
58 IN Thundercrack Salamander 5.2% Pale & Hoppy
59 IN March Winds Churchend 4% Golden., hoppy
60 IN Citra Pale Ale RAW 4.4% Single hopped Citra
61 IN Try Ale RAW 4.2% Pale with tropical fruit aroma
62 IN Broad Gauge Box Steam 4.8% Rich coloured with dark crystal & celeia hops
63 IN Responsibly Nutbrook 4.4% Light bronze with fruity tones
64 IN Utility IPA Marble/Whim 5.7% WOW—Hoppy collaboration with Whim head brewer
65 IN Hop God Empire 5.5% One to pray to!
66 IN Delta Pictish 4.7% Ooh another fab Pictish

Courtesy of Sam, Folly and Scoopgen

Usual system applies..beers 1-46 outside, 47 onwards on inside bar and randomly replace each other
Ps Know the photo is a winter festival, have not got a spring one !!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Just a reminder

For those who may have forgotten, this week sees the Star Spring Festival. Opens 5pm on Wednesday and Thursday and all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Hope to see you there.

When we know the beer list I will publish the highlights here.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Summer Wine Comes Good

One of the local breweries that has not often featured on 'A Swift One' is Summer Wine. There have been a couple of reasons for this; one still applies, one less so. Their beer has not been easy to find locally on a regular basis, this still is the case, but the other, the beer quality itself has improved in leaps and bounds in my opinion in recent times, and it not just my opinion as we will see.

The brewery has been going since 2006 and are based in a unit off New Mill Rd at Honley. Their plant there is capable of producing 30 barrels a week.

In the early part of their career their beer never really hit the spot for me, but in recent times their new look pump clips have been a sign of something special on the bar. On my travels I have seen them as a featured brewery in London and Sheffield, both on bars that have BrewDog and Thornbridge as well, so they must be doing something right. Their beers stand comparison with both the aforementioned breweries.

Their web site shows 6 beers in their core range, surprisingly for a local brewery I have only managed to find 3. Their 'Zenith' is a 4% pale ale, a good quaffable session beer; 'Teleporter' is the one I have seen around most, a 4.8% porter, brewed according to the pump clip, with 10 malts (how you can tell that is beyond my taste buds!); and 'Diablo' is a 6% IPA, packed full of flavour and exceptionally moreish. Throw a stout, a mild and a bronze ale into the equation and you have a brewery that has managed to cover all bases.

I started to hear good things about them with feedback from beer festivals over 'Diablo', which many people raved about. It took some finding but when I did I discovered what all the fuss was about, it was excellent. Now and again I had come across some of their monthly specials. Last year they produced a range of strong beers to showcase certain hops under the 'Project 6' title, some I liked, some less so. They all came in at 6.6% which was a fairly hefty strength for a session beer ! But recently I have tracked down some of their newer beers which continue the theme of innovation and I have not been let down.

Well to say tracked down was a bit of an understatement, they are this month's showcase brewery at the Sheffield Tap. I called in yesterday, and on the bar were two beers new to me, 'Heretic' at 7.2%, and 'Nerotype no1' a mere 6%. A quick half of each and time to compare and contrast. 'Heretic' is their take on the black IPA, that beer style that seems to be the beer to brew in 2011. It is a stunning example of the type. Bursting with hop flavour with the darker malt background, it does not drink its strength and stands comparison with other brewers beers of this style. 'Nerotype' is another take on the black IPA, but this time to showcase the attributes of using different hops in the same base beer. This one is single hopped with Simcoe, and gives a more fruity background to the beer that makes it different to 'Heretic' but equally as drinkable. I will look forward to their next effort.

Rather than overlook Summer Wine beers as I have tended to do previously, I am now actively trying to search them out to sample them. It may have taken 5 years for me to appreciate them but lets hope they continue to go from strength to strength.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The 3rd Ship Inn Festival

This time of year it seems that the beer festivals are coming thick and fast, this week it is the turn of Brighouse to host one, at the 'Old Ship Inn' . This is the 3rd time the pub has hosted a beer festival and they have used the method they have used in the past which obviously works for them.

There are 25 beers on at any one time, some on the main bar but most on a makeshift bar in the back room. All are handpulled and cellar cooled. When any of the 25 beers runs off they are replaced by another which is indicated in the programme, so the punter knows what is coming and where it is likely to be. All beer is £2.50 a pint, and all have to be paid for with tokens. There are 6 ciders available as well.

When I called on Thursday there were a few drinkers taking advantage of the festival, but surprisingly few 'tickers'. Anyway, armed with my tokens and a programme, it was just a question of where to start.

It soon became apparent that Mark, the landlord, had managed to collect a decent range of beers from near and far. All the beers had comprehensive tasting notes so you could identify the style you wanted. As usual for me at festivals, it was a case of searching out the new breweries first, and I was pleased to find at least a couple to sample. First up was Hopping Mad 'Fruitcase', a 4.5% golden ale from Olney in Buckinghamshire; the tasting notes revealed this was a newish brewery from Mark's home county that had made its first trip north. A coup for Mark and a very acceptable start. In the back room I found Swanage 'Ginger', a test brew from a brewery that had not even started yet. Another coup, and another acceptable effort.

Many of the beers had been sourced from the South and West, and breweries such as Goachers, Bristol Beer Factory, Isle of Avalon, Otter, and Wickwar will feature during the course of the festival, and will be rubbing shoulders on the bar with more local offerings from Goose Eye, Empire, Nook, and Brass Monkey. In fact, Mark has even been let loose again at Brass Monkey and brewed his third beer with them, called 'Fruit Monkey', with overtones of honey and bananas.

With two more tokens to use I selected Farmers 'A Drop Of Nelson's Blood', another rare brewery in these parts, and finished with Brimstage 'Sandpiper', brewed with citra hops.

There are plenty of interesting beers to go at, and just as many interesting ones to replace them, so that one visit is not enough to try everything you want, especially since one is the classic 'JJJ IPA' from Moor, an absolute bargain at £1.25 for a 9% spectacular beer. I will be back to see what has changed during the weekend and try to catch some of those beers not available on my first visit. The Ship has rapidly become one of the years 'must visit' festivals. Well done to Mark and Katie and the team for making it so.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

No Eastwood Brewery beers for the moment

Again courtesy of Dave Litton.

Since the Barge & Barrel at Elland has changed tenants on Monday, Punch intend some structural alterations at the premises, part of these alternations will involve the closure of the on site brewery for the time being.

York has plans for their own Tap

Courtesy of 'The York Press, via 'The Bloke from Hull'.

Plans are under way to covert part of the historic railway station at York into a bar. The news gets even better. The company who are intending this are 'Pivovar', better known in York for their venture 'Pivni', and throughout the country for their tasteful conversions of the 'Sheffield Tap' and the 'Euston Tap'.

Their intentions, subject to the necessary planning permission, are to convert the building which was previously used by the York Model Railway Society, if my memory is correct, on the city side of the station, into a flagship pub. They are budgeting around £200,000 to convert the premises into a pub that will hopefully take over 100 inside drinkers with a similar number outside.

They intend to have over 20 beers on draught, featuring breweries like Thornbridge and Brewdog and a large selection of bottled beers. The same formula used their other premises will
be applied with a mahogany bar installed in the 1906 premises along with features already seen in their other conversions.

No date has been set for the conversion, as I said, they still await the council's go ahead, but I for one, will be making trips out there once it is up and running. Another addition to York's already excellent drinking establishments. Watch this space !

Monday, March 07, 2011

If you like Citra, read on

Just like last years must have hop was 'Nelson Sauvin', this year brewers seem to have developed a taste for brewing with 'Citra' and it seems drinkers have developed a taste for drinking it as well.

The hop was only released to brewers in mid 2008 but many breweries have already used it to great effect in their beers, often as a single hopped beer. Once you overcome the somewhat unusual aroma, the taste of fresh fruit takes over the pallette, giving a massive grapefruit and passion fruit hit.

If you have not yet tried it then this could be the week for you. The 'Rat & Ratchet' promises a 'Citra Off' between Pictish and Mallinsons single hopped versions of the brew, with both on the bar at the same time, to allow the drinker to compare and contrast the efforts of both brewers. Should this not be enough for you then a walk down to the 'Star' offers two other versions on the taunting pole, with Allgates and Hophead versions due on in the next few days. No doubt there will be other breweries efforts waiting in the wings as well.

Obviously the editorial team will have to test these out to bring you a fair assessment of the beers, but if you have time or the inclination to try out this excellent new variety may be this could be the place to start.

A less well known hop that has made an appearance is 'Galaxy'. So far I have only come across it once, in a beer from the innovative Thornbridge brewery,'Galaxia' but what I tasted was good. So good in fact that when I wanted a second half it had run off ! Their tasting notes describe the Australian hop as giving off the aroma of grapefruit, guava and mango and giving the beer 'an intensely tingling bitter finish' - another one to look out, no doubt appearing on a bar near you soon.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

A Couple of Calderdale Festivals

This weekend there is a festival at The Oddfellows, in Elland, (often known as the 'Drop'). It is easily accessible from Huddersfield on the 503 bus which stops around 200 yards away. I called across yesterday afternoon and must say it was worth the trip out.

If you do not know the pub it is hidden away in the back streets of Elland, away from the Town Centre, and is one of the chain of pubs bought a few years ago by Ossett. When I used to frequent it it was not unusual to be the only customer there and the range of beers coming from the stronger end of the spectrum. I did not quite know what to expect when I called yesterday but was pleasantly surprised. The main room was almost full of drinkers, and the festival had a good range of beers from near and far, all at a sensible drinking strength.

The festival itself was fairly unpretentious, no entry fee and no festival glasses, and all beer at £2.55 a pint. The festival showed 17 beers, all available at once on the main bar and a makeshift festival bar, but all were cellar cooled and handpulled, and the one's I sampled were in fine form.
Most of the beer was light and hoppy, I sampled Derventio 'Centaur', Elland 'Head Brewers Reserve', Fugelstou 'Hop Swop' and Goose Eye 'Parsonage Pale', but I left many other interesting beers untouched. There were dark beers too, Leyden 'Black Pudding' and RCH 'Old Slug Porter' to name but two.

So should you be at loose end over the weekend, maybe a couple of hours at 'The Drop' may fit the bill.

On the subject of Elland, today is the last day for Liz and Mark at the Barge & Barrel before they move on to pastures new, we wish them well.

Previously I have mentioned that Milan's in Halifax was an outlet for beers from the 'Landlord's Friend' brewery, not any more they aren't, I called up yesterday to discover the receivers had got there first and closed it down. Whether this affects the brewery as well, I am unsure at present.

Next weekend sees another Calderdale festival, with the 'Ship' in Brighouse having their beer festival. Having been previously it is worth visiting with plenty of interesting beer available, and is always worth the trip out. See you there.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Glentworth brewery

For the lover of light, hoppy beers one brewery has been doing the business for 15 years and, if the beers I tried last night are anything to judge them by, they continue to put out real classics.

Glentworth started their brewery in Skellow, on the outskirts of Doncaster, in an old dairy using a 5 barrel plant that came from the erstwhile brewery at Lastingham. They started in February 1996, which is a testament to their commitment and longevity in these troubled times.

As I said at the outset, their range is based on light beers, in fact, I am struggling to think of a dark beer of theirs that I have encountered. I first encountered them in the 'Rat & Ratchet' when it was owned by Mr Moorhouse, often there was 'Lightyear' on the bar but this was often backed up by one of their not inconsiderable range of one offs, (my beer shows over 200 different ones at least so they have always been prolific). The quality of their beer has always been good but in later years they have not made it into our area that often, but when they do, they do not stay around for long, again a testament to their quality and their skill in brewing what the drinker wants.

Most of their beers are light, and hoppy but never overhopped nor especially bitter. They seem to concentrate in the 3.9 to 4.3 % range of strengths and are very quaffable.
Their beer list does show some hop names so I assume they do brew single hopped beers but most have a pleasant blend of hops that do not overpower the tastebuds, but leave the drinker wanting another pint, and often another !

I cannot single out a regular outlet for them, where you can guarantee a Glentworth beer on the bar, it is more a case of taking them when you find them but I have come across them in recent times in The Head of Steam and The Star in Huddersfield and the Harlequin in Sheffield but they often make to other pubs too, just not regularly.

So if you come across their simple oval pumpclips, with easy to read script on a white background, think your self lucky and settle down for a pint or two from one of South Yorkshire's better breweries. And let me know so I can join you !!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The 'Jimi Hendrix'

One of the Huddersfield Town Centre pubs that we all use but rarely features on 'A Swift One' is 'The Kings Head', known to some as the the 'Hendrix' because of the sign outside on the wall, and others, who are still still in a time warp, as the 'Station Tavern'. If you are unfamiliar with the place it is at the right hand end of the railway station and well worth a call.

For many years now it has been in the care of Bruce and Michelle, and they know what makes the pub work. It is a basic boozer, more or less one large room, with the emphasis on the beer. There is a small snug on the right hand side of the entrance, and a room at the far end of the pub which is presently closed off for refurbishment. There is nothing pretentious here, just lots of space and some pretty fine beer.

The selection is mostly light hoppy beers or dark stouts or milds, with a couple of Taylors thrown in to satisfy the traditionalists amongst us. Should you be a smoothflow fan, then there are a couple of them too, but why any one wants them when there is always a great selection of others to choose from is beyond me.

Often Dark Star 'Hophead' features on the bar or Goose Eye ' Chinook Blonde' or on some occasions, both are there. There is often a Newby Wyke beer or two, something from Brown Cow, or possibly a Pictish, A great place for the lover of light hoppy beer, with always something on to tempt them. Interspersed with them come the darker beers, often from the same breweries, but sometimes others from the South Midlands feature which are fairly rare round our parts.

Food comes in the range of decent,value for money, sandwiches, and Sundays afternoons are often taken over by local bands playing there. If you have never called in, shame on you, you don't know what you are missing. A good pub, good beer and good value, what more can we ask for.