Friday, November 29, 2013

An ode to real ale in Huddersfield

Sportsman Brewing Company's national name check
Huddersfield's brewers got a shout out on national radio this week.
Chamber folk duo Belinda O'Hooley and Heidi Tidow, from Huddersfield, have recorded Summat's Brewin', which was aired on Radio 2's The Folk Show on Wednesday night.
The song is all about good ale and its lyrics mention local brewers Mallinsons, Milltown, Magic Rock, Sportsman, Riverhead and Summer Wine.
The track is from O'Hooley & Tidow's forthcoming album The Hum, which will be released in February 2014.
But thanks to the BBC's iPlayer you can listen to it for the next few days or so.
Host Mark Radcliffe's introduction to the song is 25min 50sec in, and the song itself at 28min 17sec.

A Magic show in Barnsley

Drinking at the fountainhead
Last night I took an informed crash-course in Magic Rock.
Instead of me let loose at the wheel with no navigator, I joined a band of about 30-40 ale enthusiasts in a cellar bar for a meet the brewer session starring Stuart Ross, of Magic Rock.
I've drunk and enjoyed a fair few their beers like Ringmaster, Simpleton and High Wire, but have never managed some of their more experimental beers.
So I jumped at the chance of going to Stuart's talk at the Old No7 in Barnsley on Thursday night to mark the start of the pub's winter beer and cider festival.
Stuart started by giving us a bit of background on the brewery - which opened in 2011 and is based in Oakes, Huddersfield. He then handed out free samples of keg versions of his ales.
We drank tasters of and heard about Circus of Sour (3.5%), Carnival (4.3%), Salty Kiss, (5%), Magic 8 Ball (7%) Big Top (7%) before ending the show with Cannonball (7.4%), Magic Rock's first ever brew.
I won't spoil it by giving every detail of the talk as it is well worth catching at a pub near you. It's sufficient to say I enjoyed the explanations and description of beer-styles, some of which were new to me, like Gose.
The beauty of the Old No 7 festival on Market Hill means you can try the Magic Rock beers on keg and some on cask. But as I only had enough time for the kegs I'll save that thorny debate for another day.
If you get the chance then make a bee-line for Barnsley and do the cask/keg test yourself. 
The festival runs until Sunday but it is by no means a Magic Rock take over.
There are plenty from Acorn - which you would expect given it's their brewery tap. Their Old Moor Porter (4.4%), which has been aged in a oak barrel, is well worth seeking out on the main bar.
While downstairs you can find another star beer in the form of North Riding's Kerb Crawler (4.3%), described as a "rich dark ale with a smooth chocolate taste". 
Most of the breweries have two beers, mainly with one on and one waiting. For example North Riding's Chloe's Simcoe Citra (4.9%) is now very much on my radar.
Other beers available include ones from Abbeydale/Dr Morton's, Brown Cow, Elland, Fernandes, Hereford Brewery, Kelham Island, Lymestone Brewing, Offbeat, Ossett, Riverhead and Revolutions.
A Riverhead beer on at The Old No 7
I should emphasise that this is a beer and cider festival. So there are plenty of ciders and perries on offer.
The Old No 7 is after all the Yorkshire Regional Cider Pub of the Year 2013 as well as the current Yorkshire CAMRA pub of the year.
And Friday sees an informative chat about cider from Nicola at The Craft Cider Company at 3pm.  
The Old No 7 beer festival runs from Thursday, November 28 to Sunday, December 1.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

House beer - Is it cheating the punter ?

On a recent posting, the house beer at the Yetton Cask was mentioned, and seems to have sparked a bit of a debate. Should the provenance of the beer be available for the drinker or not, and in the wider sense does it really matter ?

As a drinker, I don't really think it does. If the beer is good and consistent, and the drinker knows what to expect, and he is happy with it it is fair enough. Lots of pubs have 'house beers' that fit that description, always on the bar so that the drinker knows there is something to fall back on. We all know of 'White Rat' drinkers who rarely, if ever, change from their choice of tipple, likewise 'Brewers Gold' or 'Ringmaster' drinkers - it all depends on which is your regular watering hole. And I can see no problem with this, but where the Yetton Cask is different is that they do not identify the brewer. And I must admit that I cannot really understand why. 

As a 'ticker' it becomes a little more disconcerting. Firstly, all my beers are listed under breweries, and one without messes up my list. That's how sad I am ! But in 20 plus years of ticking I only have 4 beers listed without a brewery so it is fairly rare. What annoys me is the rebadging of beers for individual pubs so that the same beer is sold in different pubs under different names. Ossett have been, or may still be guilty of this, with the same beer badged for the pub in which it is sold. On first appearances the beer is different but with a bit of digging you discover that you have 'ticked' the same beer in four different pubs under four different names. Why can't they just call it the same thing ?

But seriously, does it matter ? I actually don't think it does, provided the product is good, and consistent, and the drinker is happy with it and knows what he getting. And if occasionally there is no brewery shown, your average drinker will not be bothered, he will order by the beer name rather than brewery usually. And as a bonus the 'house beer' is sometimes cheaper than the rest of the beers, which cannot be bad. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Its here - its official !!

For all those lovers of the C know, that day that spurns adverts on telly from July onwards..and lots of beers with silly names...get into the Crown, in Westgate in Huddersfield. Yesterday, I called in to discover the place decorated for Christmas. It is everywhere. The place is full of decorations. Tasteful ? Well it depends on your opinion. I prefer the subtle approach, (ie ignore it and it will hopefully go away). And I am somewhat confused that a pub like the Crown, which has a fairly defined clientele, should want to spend money and time making itself into a bloody grotto. I prefer a pub to be a pub, and I like to go to the pub to avoid the stresses and strains of the 'real world' and Christmas is part of that. And I can do without being reminded of that in November.

And as an aside, the prices there have slightly increased, so it costs £2.60 for a pint of real ale, but for some reason, £1.45 for a half. Another case of the ticker being exploited.

Bah humbug. Scrooge.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pulp Citron is killed off first

Mallinsons Pulp Citron ran off first 
A beer featuring two hit men has been killed off first at The Star Winter Beer Festival.
Pulp Citron, brewed by serial winners Mallinsons, was the first to run off in the marquee bar.
It was followed by their other beer, Intense, which bit the dust minutes later on Friday evening.
The news was delivered by the @samatthestarinn twitter account.
I was lucky enough to drink Pulp Citron (4.1%) on Thursday night and caught up with Intense shortly before it became a gonner tonight.
I loved the Citron, which, I believe, was brewed with citra and 'pulped' mango. A real thirst slaker, packed with a tropical taste. This is the second mango infused beer I've had this year and have really enjoyed both. I hope we see more.
Intense (3.9%) proved to be a perfect post-work pick me up, which shook me out of my sluggishness and got my taste buds working.
Congratulations to Tara and Elaine on what Sam aptly described as their 'double tops'.
But weekend festival goers, lamenting the loss of two good beers, should fear not as there is still an avalanche of good ale to be had.
Ta Moko, a silver ferned Black IPA
I actually found a dark IPA I really liked. I love porters and stouts but Black IPA is not normally a beer style I go for.
But Hopcraft Ta Moko (5.5%) changed my outlook. It is described by its maker as a South Pacific hopped Black IPA. It was on the 'strong end' of the main bar and was attracting plenty of attention. Nearby is Franklins Black Pudding Porter (4.2%) whose aftertaste sustained me on the long walk back up Chapel Hill.
It really is a festival with something for everyone. We all had our favourites. I heard encouraging words about HDM's Liberty Super Special (4%), both Bluestone beers, the Revolutions and Five Towns Bowie combos, various red/amber ales, porter and stouts.
Whatever your taste in beer is, you'll find it down Albert Street.
Finally, a quick word about Briggs Signature Ales. There is a nice plug/good luck message for it on the back of the festival programme.
'Huddersfield's newest brewery' is currently cuckoo brewing at Mallinsons site just down the road.
It's the venture of Mallinsons collaborator Nick Briggs, formerly of Elland Brewery.
Check out the website and look for his beers, including American-hopped Northern Soul (3.8%) on bars soon:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Star Festival Review

Its officially winter. It must be, its the time of the Star Winter Festival again. Last night the pubs 12th Winter Festival opened its doors to a queue of avid beer enthusiasts,what did they (we) find ?

The set up is the tried and tested method with 46 beers on offer on handpull and cellar cooled in the marquee with others on offer on the pub bar. Beers from far and wide with many local breweries being represented with festival specials as well. Mallinsons are represented with two beers, 'Pulp Citron' with mango, and 'Intense' - both excellent, Hand Drawn Monkey have a couple, as do Yorkshire Dales and Wensleydale.

I was interested to try out the Revolutions/Five Towns collaborations 'Scary Monsters' and 'Super Creeps', the former a black IPA, the latter a straight IPA; I preferred the 'Super Creeps', but that was a personal opinion; Dark Star '6 Grain' was an excellent beer, and hoppier than I expected, and Yorkshire Dales 'Red Gill IPA' a 6% red IPA with amarillo and citra hops was also good.

On the dark side there is Hornbeam 'Ginger Domination' - strong but not too gingery; Havant 'Harvested' made with heather and honey; and Bluestone 'Night Hops' is  a stout, as is 'Top O'The Morning' from Late Nights.OMB 'Movember Mild' is obviously a mild, but there is a decent hop background to it as well.

The real winner on day one in my humble opinion was Loch Lomond 'West Highland Way'. Only 3.7% but light and packed with flavour, a very moreish beer, so much so that I broke my personal rule and had a second half ignoring other ticks.

As well as the beers the festival attracted custom from far and wide and it was good to see old faces and catch up. It is more like a social event than a beer festival.

That was day one sorted out. There are four more days to go to sample the rest of the beers on offer, so why not give it a go.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Five-day forecast for Folly Hall

Started tonight
The weather forecast for Huddersfield is looking decidedly beery over the next five days.
As of 5pm today (Wednesday) The Star Inn's Winter Beer Festival began.
The deluge of ale from England, Wales and Scotland - 55 plus beers, all on handpull - is predicted to last five days.

Matchday musings on dark beer Part 2

Bateman's 6.3% chocoholic
The Second Half:
After sampling two subtle dark beers in Sheffield, it was only a matter of time before I went to the other end of the spectrum.
I encountered it in The Fat Cat in the form of Bateman's Hazelnut Brownie. It weighed in at 6.3% and one sip transformed me into a kid in a sweet shop. Now I have a bit of a sweet tooth but I wasn't anticipating the real chocolate taste. I was expecting some syrupy taste like we see all to often in flavoured beers but this really was 'a hazelnut in every bite'.
The beer is part of Bateman's Bohemian Brews range and it struck gold out at 'Spoons Winterfest 2013.
The brewery's website tells me each beer in the range is "available on a limited release basis. They are craft beers infused with exciting flavours such as Belgian chocolate, orange peel, coffee beans, cinnamon and hazelnuts.
"Each beer goes through extended maturation in the brewery cellars and is available for a three-month period only". 
I only had a half but the beer didn't become sickly sweet in that time, although I'm not sure I could have managed a pint.
I was on a bit of a dark beer odyssey towards Hillsborough, scouting possible real ale venues for this Saturday's clash with  Huddersfield Town (12.15pm K.O). But too many more at 6.3% would mean I'd fall shy of my goal. These turned out to be prophetic words, indeed.
That's the drawback for me with all-dark sessions, I fade fast. I'd been drinking steady halves, less than three pints in total, but I knew my beer capacity was waning and I needed to slow the pace.
So I knew I had two more stops left and then it would be 'Goodnight, Vienna'.
Luckily the places I really wanted to try - ones I hadn't been in for months - were just up the street in Shalesmoor.
The Ship Inn, Shalesmoor
The first was The Ship Inn, which I erroneously had pegged as a Sheffield Wednesday pub. The landlady politely disillusioned me and pointed out the Wednesday and United brass plates over the bar. I'd assumed that it was a "Owls" place because it's on the way to the ground, a bit like the New Barrack Tavern further up. But the landlady told me it was a pub for all.
Having had a gentle lesson in football neutrality, it was time to order the beer. I think there were two choices on the darker side, Farmer's Brown Cow from Bradfield and Harthill Village Brewery's Dark Hart.
I went for the Dark Hart and it was the best dark beer of my session. I'm not crash hot on this tasting notes malarkey - no stint on Saturday Kitchen for me - it's just enough to say it was lovely and I would seek it out again.
Fortunately the Harthill website is more descriptive: "A rich, smooth, full bodied dark ale brewed with a trio of dark malts. Dark crystal malt for a toffee, malty sweetness, black malt for rich dark colour and pale chocolate malt for a biscuit dry fullness. 
"These toasted malts are perfectly complemented by the spicy, blackcurrant aromatic notes of British Bramling Cross hops."
Next up, over the road/tram stop was The Wellington.
Beer list at The Wellington, Shalesmoor
I looked along the bar and saw a single dark beer, Pictish Samhain Stout, which I've enjoyed before in Huddersfield. So I wanted something new and ended up with a 'bonzer' house beer full of Down Under hops. 
The Little Ale Cart's Dominion of New Zealand (5%) featured Nelson Sauvin, Green Bullet, Pacific Jade and Galaxy but with a German twist, Herkules and, possibly, Magnum hops too.
A hoppy pale beer was not quite how I envisaged ending my dark beer journey, but it was a fine end to a good day.
I would have liked to have completed the course with stops at the Hillsborough Hotel and a Belgian Blue in The New Barrack Tavern, in the heart of Wednesday territory.
But this all 5% session meant I was drunk up quicker than usual. Well there's always next time...
Enjoy the game on Saturday and the Valley of Beer.

For those wanting part one of this tour, here's a link:

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Star Festival List

Festival list for Star, Lockwood, Huddersfield.
Festival starts 5pm Wednesday 20th November, 5pm Thursday, and from noon
Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Local Dani Ali Band play live on Saturday evening.

Beers 1-46 are served cellar cooled on hand pull in outside marquee.
Beers 47 onwards served on the bar in the pub and are not all available at the same time.

  1. Mallinsons............Pulp Citron................4.1
  2. Goose Eye............Autumn Pale..............4.2
  3. Hornbeam............Ginger Domination.......5.5
  4. Allgates...............Winter Zing...............4.5
  5. Empire................White Caps................4.3
  6. Raw....................Tomlinsons Tipple........3.8
  7. Owenshaw Mills.....Movember Mild............3.8
  8. Lytham................Round Table...............4.1
  9. Raw....................Citra Black................4.4
  10. Roosters........All Star....................4.3
  11. Loch Lomond..West Highland Way......3.7
  12. Celt …..........La Tene....................3.3
  13. Havant.........Harvested.................5.1
  14. Old School....Absent......................5.5
  15. Yorks Dales...Dowkabottom..............3.9
  16. Double Top....Nelson......................3.5
  17. Bluestone.....Night Hops.................4.2
  18. Wensleydale..Headkeeper................4.7
  19. Conwy..........Riptide.....................4.3
  20. Five Towns....Outwood Dark.............3.9
  21. Hornbeam.....Nuggeting..................4.0
  22. Wensleydale..Decadence.................5.3
  23. Darkstar.......Six Grain....................4.7
  24. New Plassey..Thriller......................3.8
  25. HDM...........Liberty Super Special.....4.0
  26. Yorks Dales...Red Gill Ipa.................6.0
  27. Conwy.........Hoppy Xmas................4.3
  28. Firestorm.....Red Angel...................5.0
  29. Mallard........Specduckular...............4.2
  30. Clarkshaws...Strange Brew...............4.0
  31. Late Nights...Hop o'the Morning.........4.2
  32. Buntingford..Polar Star....................4.4
  33. 5 Towns/Revolutions..Super Creeps.....4.5
  34. Captain Cook.Red Bay......................4.0
  35. Bluestone......EPA..........................4.2
  36. Concrete Cow..Cowzat....................3.9
  37. Privateer.......Kitty Hawk................4.0
  38. 5 Towns/Revolutions....Scary Monsters.4.5
  39. Hopcraft.......Tidy.........................4.0
  40. Yorks Dales....Keartons Wood............3.7
  41. Dorset..........Movember.................4.5
  42. Glentworth....Star Turn..................4.3
  43. Oakham.......Citra........................4.2
  44. Gt Heck/Steel City....Yule Twig.........5.2
  45. Mallinsons.....Intense....................3.9
  46. HDM............Monkeys Love Hops & (Star Edition)..4.2
  47. Coachhouse...Regency Bitter...........4.0
  48. Celt............Apparition IPA............5.9
  49. Oldershaw.....Beattys Tonic............4.2
  50. Franklins......Black Pudding Porter....4.2
  51. Lymm..........Heritage Trail............4.5
  52. 5 Towns/North Riding...Mad Monk....8.0
  53. Pictish.........Multihead................4.0 54. Hopcraft....Ta Moko....5.5....etc etc !!!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A dark recon mission behind enemy lines

Rutland Arms, Brown Street, Sheffield
The international football friendlies meant a blank Championship weekend and the chance to scout Huddersfield Town's next opponents.
Well, not Sheffield Wednesday's playing stock but the ale houses to and from the ground.
Regular visitors may remember our post from mid-September when I went on a match day pub crawl for Yeovil Town's visit to Hillsborough.
During that trip we had to cut some pubs out from the itinerary because of time constraints. This time I had no such worries and decided to frequent those ale houses I'd missed last time.
But there was also another motive for this trip - a search for dark beer. I had been inspired by an Internet post on stout & porters ( This and the recent colder days had drawn me into yet another trip to the dark side.
I do like dark beer but I tend to finish with it rather than make it the bulk of my session.
My descent into darkness began at The Rutland Arms, near Sheffield station. But as I walked down Brown Street I began to have doubts as to whether I could sustain an all dark session.
True to form I fell at the first hurdle when I succumbed to Steel City's pale and hoppy All Hallows Eve (5.2%). But who could resist a mix of Summit, Chinook, Galaxy and Mosaic hops?
But I was soon back on track with Raw's Anubis Porter (5.2%). However, perhaps it wasn't wise to start with a Steel City as it left my taste buds all over the shop, but in a nice way! It took me fair few sips to pick up the mild coffee flavour of the Raw and what the brewer describes as "the gentle hop aroma".
I will definitely try this beer again but without having a hop explosion first.
Kelham Island Tavern, Russell Street
It was time for a move and The Rutland has a conveniently placed bus stop outside. Some of the buses handily head back towards Kelham Island (79A Chapeltown, which stops outside Shakespeares, or 47/48, which stops outside The Harlequin and near The Riverside).
My route was to be determined by the 79A coming round the corner. So I popped into The Shakey for a swift half of Mallinsons Yellow Dwarf to fly the flag for Huddersfield.
But I'd been to Shakespeares a lot recently, so I nipped over the road to The Kelham Island Tavern, which I shamefully have not been in since their excellent mid-summer beer festival.
The KIT is always a good banker for a dark beer, and they had three to choose from on Saturday: Daniel Thwaites' Phelan Fine (4.4%), Brown Cow's Captain Oates mild (4.5%) and The Naked Brewer's Palindrome Porter (4.7%).

I went for the latter as this Nottinghamshire brewery was new to me. The pump clip shows it's brewed out of The Corner Pin Pub in Westwood. A net search reveals The Naked Brewer has been going since 2010 after being set up by Sarah Webster. The name derives from the openness of the brewery from surrounding windows.
Palindrome Porter was a nice beer. Mellow and rounded, a bit like the Raw, rather than the in your face beer which was lurking round the corner.
End of part One
Join us next next time as we inch ever closer to match day at Hillsborough (23/11/13 K.O. 12.15pm), with stops at The Fat Cat, The Ship Inn and The Wellington.  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The old Mallard gets off to a flying start

The Flying Duck, Ilkley is open
Regular readers of this blog may recall we told you back in August about Wharfedale Brewery's plans for a brew pub.
At that time Wharfedale's chief consultant Stewart Ross was brewing at Five Towns in Wakefield while the finishing touches were put on the ambitious project in Church Street, Ilkley.
Well, at 4pm today (November 14) the doors were flung open on The Flying Duck.
As usual The Bloke from Hull came up with the goods in the form of a press release from the brewery, which tells the whole story. Here it is:
After more than 30 weeks of painstaking restoration work at a cost in excess of £200,000, Wharfedale’s first BrewPub, the Flying Duck, will finally open it’s doors in Ilkley this weekend.
In late 2012, sixteen businessmen and women, all with a close connection to the town, formed two companies (Flying Duck Enterprises Ltd and Wharfedale Brewery Ltd), which acquired the lease of the former Mallard Inn (more recently The Albert) on Church Street.
The majority of the investors are past chairmen of Ilkley Round Table and founder members of the highly successful Ilkley Beer Festival. 
They felt there was a niche in the market place to capitalise on the resurgence in the popularity of real ale, by producing and selling their own beer, in the kind of pub that they felt had been sadly lacking in the Ilkley area for generations.
The property is Ilkley's oldest pub building, dating back to the early 1600s. The current Grade II listed structure was built as a farmhouse in 1709 and retains many of its original features. 
This provided an exact match with the investors’ plans to create a Yorkshire Dales style real ale and fine wine venue, in a setting packed with character, which could also incorporate a microbrewery.
And thus, Wharfedale's first BrewPub was born. The pub has been renamed the Flying Duck, in a nod to its most famous previous name, and the third incarnation of Wharfedale Brewery has been established.
Ilkley based, Paul Whitehead, the project’s Chief Building Contractor commented: “As a listed building, and indeed probably the oldest structure in central Ilkley, numerous unexpected challenges were faced during the build programme. Working with architects and engineers effective solutions were found to protect the building’s character whilst delivering a superb customer environment. 
It’s been an absolute privilege to have been involved. I hope the investors get the returns they deserve and I am sure it will be a great success”. 
The pub will serve nine rotating cask real ales (from Wharfedale and other microbreweries throughout the UK) draught ciders, continental lagers, bottled beers from around the world, an extensive range of fine wines, whiskies and spirits, soft drinks, teas and coffees.
The brewery, which predominately serves the pub and other carefully selected local hostelries, can be viewed from an impressive gallery via a decked beer garden located between the two buildings.
Jonathan Shepherd, one of the investors who lives in Ben Rhydding said: “It’s been a long time coming and we’d like to thank the public for the great interest they have shown and the support they have given in what we have tried to achieve. More importantly we’d like to thank them for being so patient. 
"The work that has been undertaken is first class and a credit to everyone who has been involved. Both the pub and the brewery look absolutely fantastic. It has taken a little longer than we had hoped but I am certain that everyone will be enormously impressed and agree that it has been well worth the wait.
"We would like to think that it will be a venue for everyone; men and women, young and old, families, dogs, walkers, cyclists and so on. There are still one or two finishing touches to apply and there are bound to be a few teething problems, but we hope we have delivered an establishment that the town will be proud of."

The Pineapple Inn - Vintage Refreshment Room

The new venture for Sam Smith, the brilliant landlady behind the success of the Sportsman in Huddersfield over the last three and a half years, is as a partner at the Pineapple Inn on Gillygate in Pontefract.

Her side of the business is the Vintage Refreshment Room, a sister business to the Vintage Hair Studio for whom refreshments will be provided - in addition to being a tea room open to the public, providing fun, imagination and refreshment. The possibilities are as many as can be dreamt up - for example 1940's themed tea parties, jazz tea parties, hen tea parties or even wedding tea parties. Outdoor vintage catering can also be arranged.

The preview open day took place on Saturday 2nd November and many family and friends stopped by to appreciate the hard work that had been put in by the team over the last few weeks, transforming the place into something special. A license has been applied for and once obtained bottled alcoholic beverages will be available. The grand opening will be coming soon.

Further information:


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The best of Wakefield Beer Festival 2013

The results are in for Wakefield Beer Festival 2013
Bob Wallis, from Wakefield CAMRA, has kindly been in touch with the results from their recent beer festival at The Space.
Fernandes Brewery was top of the festival goers' choice with Black Voodoo. I'm pretty sure this beer was on gravity, so to take out the top prize while on stillage is pretty remarkable.
Brown Cow's Thriller in Vanilla Porter came second, with Grafton's Apricot Jungle Third.
A couple of Huddersfield beers also made the top ten, with Riverhead's Sherbert Lemon in at nine and The Rat's White Rat at ten.
I'll turn this over to Bob:
Here are the Top Ten Cask Ales from our festival:
1. Fernandes, Black Voodoo, Wakefield, West Yorkshire. 5.1%. Black moreish beer with a chocolate, orangey, vanilla flavour coming through.
2. Brown Cow, Thriller in Vanilla Porter, Barlow, North Yorkshire. 5.1%. A scrumptious rich porter brewed with fresh vanilla pods complimenting the complex dark malts. A Thriller in Vanilla that packs a punch!
3. Grafton, Apricot Jungle, Worksop, Nottinghamshire. 4.8%. A golden ale made from Challenger and Beata Hops and infused with Apricot, a unique fruit flavoured beer.
4. Grafton, Coco Loco, Worksop, Nottinghamshire. 5.0%. Dark Beer with a rich roast flavours infused with subtle taste of coconut.
5. Tigertops, Golden Hop Flanshaw, Wakefield, West Yorkshire. 4.6%. A golden hoppy ale
6. Five Towns, Five Years, Wakefield, West Yorkshire. 7.0%. A full-bodied, strong pale ale with tropical fruit flavours.
7. Enville, Ginger Enville, Staffordshire. 4.6%. A golden bright, gently gingered beer with no acute flavours but a satisfying aftertaste of sweet hoppiness.
8. Foxfield, Elusive Brown Ale, Foxfield, Cumbria. 4.4%. A gentle brown ale with some sweetness at the start,a rising bitterness in the middle and a gentle finish.
9. Riverhead, Sherbert Lemon, Marsden, West Yorkshire. 4.0%. A Light and refreshing lager colour clear wheat beer flavoured with lemon grass & lime leaves, plenty of citrus hops to provide a thirst quenching pint.
10. Rat, White Rat, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. 4.0%. This very pale, hoppy ale made from low colour Maris Otter malt. A combination of 3 high alpha American hops produce an intensely aromatic & resinous finish.

110 of 120 cask ales featured at least in somebody's nomination, so only ten got no votes at all; Some beers were "a bit Marmite" receiving both praise and condemnation from different festival goers!
Now that so many festival goers take part in the nomination it is worth sorting into categories. 

The top standard bitters (up to 3.9%) were:
1. XT, XT4, Long Crendon, Buckinghamshire. 3.8%. An amber beer with a special Belgian malt and a fruity mix of American and European hops. Very addictive, and our flagship beer.
2. Jolly Sailor, Bullseye Bitter, Riccall, North Yorkshire. 3.8%. A dark amber coloured bitter which is clean tasting, and malty brew.
3. Bosun's, Maiden Voyage, Horbury, West Yorkshire. 3.9%. A tradition northern English ale amber in colour, moderately bittered using Fuggles English hops.

The top best bitters (up to 4.9%) were:

1. Tigertops, Golden Hop, Flanshaw, Wakefield, West Yorkshire. 4.6%. A golden hoppy ale.
2. Rat, White Rat, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. 4.0%. This very pale, hoppy ale made from low colour Maris Otter malt. A combination of 3 high alpha American hops produce an intensely aromatic & resinous finish.
3. Bob's Brewing Co, Super Chief, Ossett, West Yorkshire. 4.6%. A well-hopped golden beer with a blend of U.S Chinook and Centennial hops.

The top strong bitters (5% and over) were:

1. Five Towns, Five Years, Wakefield, West Yorkshire. 7.0%. A full-bodied, strong pale ale with tropical fruit flavours.
2. James & Kirkman, Inter Planetary Ale, Pontefrac,t West Yorkshire. 7.4%. Deep Copper IPA. Mouth filling, sweet and malty. Intense hoppy and malty finish.
3. Pheasantry, Dancing Dragonfly, East Markham, Nottinghamshire. 5.05. A refreshing, blonde, summer ale with low to medium bitterness and medium sweetness. The blend of galaxy, summit and cascade hops gives this ale citrus and exotic fruit flavours.

The top milds were:

1. Foxfield, Elusive Brown Ale, Foxfield Cumbria. 4.4%. A gentle brown ale with some sweetness at the start, a rising bitterness in the middle and a gentle finish.
2. Fullers Gale's, HSB, Chiswick, London. 4.8%. Dates and dried fruit with some spicy hops in the nose add to the caramelised orange and treacle in the flavour of this smooth, brown beer. Malty throughout with a bittersweet finish.
3. Cap House, Winter Warmer, Batley, West Yorkshire. 4.2% A smooth traditional brown coloured ale, with a slight hint of coffee/dark chocolate and passion fruit undertones, joint with Jolly Sailor, Cue Brew, Riccall, North Yorkshire. 4.0%. Dark and mild, there is a taste of roast barley with a little malt mixed in for good measure.

The top in the Stout, Porter and Barley Wine category were:

1. Fernandes, Black Voodoo, Wakefield, West Yorkshire. 5.1%. Black moreish beer with a chocolate, orangey, vanilla flavour coming through.
2. Brown Cow, Thriller in Vanilla Porter, Barlow, North Yorkshire. 5.1%. A scrumptious rich porter brewed with fresh vanilla pods complimenting the complex dark malts. A Thriller in Vanilla that packs a punch!
3. Riverhead, Liquorice Stout, Marsden, West Yorkshire. 5.0%. A rich malty stout, full of roast flavours compliments by the addition of fine yorkshire liquorice finished with subtle spicy notes.

The top Speciality Beers were:

1. Grafton, Apricot Jungle, Worksop, Nottinghamshire. 4.8%. A golden ale made from Challenger and Beata Hops and infused with Apricot, a unique fruit flavoured beer.
2. Grafton, Coco Loco, Worksop, Nottinghamshire. 5.0%. Dark Beer with a rich roast flavours infused with subtle taste of coconut.
3. Enville, Ginger, Enville, Staffordshire. 4.6% A golden bright, gently gingered beer with no acute flavours but a satisfying aftertaste of sweet hoppiness.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Yeaton Cask Revisited

Having been open for over three years, the Yeaton Cask on Town Road at Kirkheaton is still serving a great variety of real ales. A visit last week using the 262 Dewsbury to Huddersfield bus proved very rewarding and can be combined with pub stops at Upper Hopton, the Flowerpot at Lower Hopton and the Navigation in Mirfield.

Previously known as the Junction Inn, it is owned and run by Jane Robson, who transformed the pub into a pleasant and welcoming place. Jane has run a few pubs in recent years including the Rose & Crown at Thurstonland and the Oddfellows (now the Drop Inn) at Elland and has maintained her very high standards in providing seven exceptional quality real ales at very reasonable prices.

The 3.8% ABV house beer “Yeaton Cask Ale” remains on the bar with the brewery still remaining a guarded secret. On my visit, the ever consistent Wainwright bitter and Nutty Black mild from Thwaites were on sale together with Yorkshire Farmer and the seasonal Jack O’Lantern from Bradfield, Phoenix White Monk and Galaxy from the always superb Mallinsons brewery. Other beers to feature regularly come from the Empire and Goose Eye breweries.

The pub opens at 4pm on Mondays and Tuesdays and at Noon every other day. If you arrive too early just as I did the fish shop does good pre-drinking snap.

Spurn Pint