Friday, May 30, 2014

North Leeds Beer Festival starts today

The third annual North Leeds Charity Beer Festival starts today (Friday) at 5pm.
It is at St Aidan's Community Hall on Roundhay Road today until 11pm and tomorrow from 11am to 11pm.
The festival will feature 11 Leeds beers from the wood and 17 Grand Depart beers to celebrate the Tour de France starting in Leeds in July.
It has been organised by beer writer Sam Parker and the Rotary Club of Roundhay.
Entry is just £2 but free to CAMRA and SPBW members.
For more information please visit:

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ilkley Brewery reaches its 1000th gyle

Yesterday  I called in a pub I very rarely visit, the revamped 'Warehouse' on Zetland St at the bottom of town. I had heard they had a couple of cask beers on but I was not prepared for what was there. On the bar were a couple of Ilkley beers, their 'Fireside Porter' and the one I went for,'Mash Tonne'.

I chose it as a new beer before I read the pump clip which advised me that it was the brewery's 1000 th gyle. Getting better then, a one off special. I read further. It was a tea infused, blackberry brown beer. Ah, a bit weird then ! I settled down to taste it. It was a brown ale certainly, and it certainly had a taste of blackberries, I must admit that I did not get the tea flavour, maybe the blackberry overpowered it a bit, or maybe brown ales are a little robust for the taste of tea.

It was time to check out the website and see what the brewery had to say about it. I am impressed by the Ilkley website and the information there was just what I wanted. It confirmed that there was a cold infusion of Darjeeling tea in the beer, and fresh black berries, along with a quintet of hops - Northdown,and admiral from the UK, and from America the hops, Bravo, Mosaic, and Nugget. 

I will admit it was an interesting experiment - but just not for me sadly.    

Monday, May 26, 2014

Remember Yakima Grande - its coming back

With thanks to Tandleman's beer blog for bringing this to my attention - I thought our readers deserved to be advised as well.

Many years ago, in those dark days before brewers discovered hops, one of the forefront of brewers was Brendan Dobbin and his West Coast brewery in Manchester. He brewed some damned fine beers, as some of our more aged drinkers may recall. In fact I was so impressed with his beers that I made a pilgrimage to the brewery tap in the wilds of Greater Manchester to sample them all. I was not disappointed.

His flagship beer was 'Yakima Grande Pale Ale'. Not strong by current tastes, weighing in around 5% but packed with US hops from the Yakima Valley and bursting with flavour. It may be that this was the beer that started my passion for hops so it has a lot to answer for !! 

Brendan has teamed up with Conwy brewery in North Wales to recreate the beer, using the original yeast, and brewed to the original recipe. It is hoped to around in pubs at the end of June.

It seems that initial production may be concentrated on its previous heartland in Manchester and the surrounding area, but one can only hope that the odd barrel may make its way over the Pennines.If you see it, try it, and let me know so I can do too !!   

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Fox at Holgate

After years of poor management and an acute lack of investment The Fox at Holgate has finally had the make over it so desperately needed and is once more set to become the community hub in the York suburb once famous for it's carriageworks.

With Punch Taverns looking for a partner to invest in a comprehensive overhaul, it was Ossett Brewery who stepped up to bring it's distinct style to the pub whilst sympathetically restoring this magnificent gem.

The Fox boasts York's largest beer garden in a surprisingly leafy setting for such a built-up area and  has the distinction of being a blue-plaqued heritage inn, making it a must-visit for anyone seeking out the city's finest watering holes.

The usual Ossett nod to local history can be found on the walls whilst the bar is home to ten handpumps split between the brewery's output, Tetley's and guests. 

Fabulous weather for the opening weekend saw residents and beer tourists turn out in force to get the latest chapter in this remarkable inn's history off to a flying start.

The Fox
168 Holgate Road
YO24 4DQ

Navvy Festival - A Lincolshire treat

This weekend sees the summer festival at the Navigation at Mirfield, a place I usually try to fit into my years festivals list. It is a place that sources some interesting beers, and this one was no different with 30 odd beers sourced from Lincolnshire. This is a county dominated by a couple of larger breweries like Batemans and Newby Wyke, and the smaller breweries rarely make it across their border. Here was a chance to catch up with some of the less common ones.

The beers are all cellar cooled and served through handpulls and at £2.70 a pint for most of the list, was decent value for money. As usual, it was just a matter of where to start my adventure. Austendyke from Spadling were a new brewery for me and their 'Long Lane' was a traditional style bitter, good but it was what is said on the can. Likewise with 8 Sail 'Merry Miller', another traditional style beer - more malty than hoppy.

Sleaford 'Tropico' was a bit weird - it divided opinion on our table - dry and astringent to my taste; hoppy and pleasant to others. Then came Star 'Nebula' , 4.3% and very hoppy, my style of beer, and certainly the best beer so far. I was on a good run, as I followed this with 'Learning To Fly' from Tydd Steam which continued the hoppy theme.

There were four beers from Hopshackle brewery in Market Deeping, 'Zen' was a amber beer, tending towards the toffee malt rather than the hop, but not bad. 'Legacy' was 4.3% beer, which I found really pleasant and interesting - a blend of three English hops gave a flowery, herbal taste. Somewhat different to the other beers on offer.

Time was pressing and I wanted to try a couple of beers that looked interesting on the programme. Sleaford 'Hedgerow Gold' was a summer beer brewed with local honey and spices. Sounded a bit odd, and frankly the spices came through rather than the honey but it was a very quaffable beer. My swan song came from Hopshackle again. Their 'Black Mule' had been recommended by several people and the write up looked ok, a 'hybrid between an Imperial IPA and an Imperial porter'. Obviously dark but more like a black Ipa, but for a 7% dangerously drinkable, and very moreish, a good job it was time for my bus !!

Thanks must go to Derek and Kevin for another good festival, Just hope it all goes well, it deserves to,

Friday, May 23, 2014

Scouting for beer this weekend?

Kirkburton beer festival has kicked off.
The first session festival at Scout HQ on Hallas Road runs until 11pm tonight (Friday). Tomorrow's session is 11am to 11pm.
There are a number of new beers on, please check the list below (click on image to enlarge).
Entry costs £2.
Here's the gen from Kirkburton Uniformed Groups
Please come along to support us and to have a really enjoyable time. 
We aim to have around 28 varieties of real ales, ciders and wine plus soft drinks to “wet your whistle".
Friday night is “pub night” with our traditional pie & pea supper and pub quizzes!
On Saturday bring the family along for an afternoon of activities & entertainment including live music, stalls, raffles, activities and of course, the Beerfest. It’s a great afternoon out. Our ever popular catering team will be providing burgers & hot dogs during the afternoon and there will be snacks available.
Always conscious of providing value for money we are maintaining our prices and beer will still be only £2 a pint!
Remember, this is not just a great event but you are also supporting the fundraising for the group and in doing so you are helping to keep Scouting and Guiding alive in Kirkburton.
We welcome your support.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A tribute to "the nicest man in brewing"

Simon Bolderson  and wife Sally. Picture c/o Sam Parker
This is a tribute to Ridgeside Brewery's Simon Bolderson who died on Saturday aged just 46.
It's been sent to us from Leeds CAMRA vice chair and beer writer Sam Parker, who has shared his memories of the "nicest man in brewing".

Born and raised in Yorkshire Simon studied engineering at Huddersfield University. After a very successful career in that industry Simon took redundancy in 2009 and an interest in homebrewing led him to establish Ridgeside Brewing Company in 2010. Helped by his family and fellow homebrewing friend Dean, Simon designed and built his 4bbl brewery himself (using Hartley's jam tanks amongst other things) and the brewery was opened that year in Meanwood by former chair of the British Guild of Beer Writers' Barrie Pepper. 
Since then the brewery has gone from strength to strength satisfying local drinkers as well as winning many plaudits including a CAMRA Gold award. Besides its flavoursome ales the brewery is well known for it's community involvement, supplying a house ale to the local Myrtle pub and supporting the campaign to save the Templar Hotel with a beer of the same name, and in partnership with The Junction Inn, Castleford, has done a lot to promote beer served from the wood.
Diagnosed with a brain tumour in December 2012 Simon lost his brave battle on Saturday, May 17 peacefully at St Gemma's Hospice, Leeds.
Sam Parker, beer writer and Leeds CAMRA vice chair, remembers Simon as the "nicest man in brewing". 
He said: "There was never a dull moment when you were around Simon and he always had time for you no matter how busy he was. The city has not just lost a skilled engineer and brewer but a genuinely selfless and humble man that I was rightly proud to call my friend".
Simon is survived by wife Sally and three children.
The funeral is to be held at Lawnswood Crematorium Friday May 30 at 1pm, followed by a celebration of his life at Myrtle Tavern, Meanwood.
RIP Simon Bolderson September 12, 1967 - May 17, 2014.

Please note: The mildfest at The Templar Hotel on Tuesday, May 27 will be raising money for St Gemma's Hospice and is the first I'm sure of many events to be celebrating the life and work of Simon.
The event starts at 7.30pm at the pub, which is off Vicar Lane, Leeds.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Navigation's 'Lincolnshire Fest' May 22-26

Picture: Bloke From Hull
The Navigation Tavern in Mirfield is showcasing 32 beers from Lincolnshire at its festival this week.
The event at the Station Road will run from Thursday, May 22 until Monday, May 26.
It is expected to get underway sometime around 2pm on Thursday.
Here's the beer list: 
8 Sail 
Blonde 4.0% Blonde
Merry Miller 4.1% Traditional Bitter
Victorian Porter 5.0% Porter
Black Widow 5.5% Dark Ruby Mild
Millwright Mild 3.5% Dark Mild
Hogsgate 5.1% Strong Golden
Long Lane 4.0% Golden Best Bitter
Blue Bell 
Old Honesty 4.1% Bitter
Old Fashioned 4.8% Premium Best Bitter
Hop A Doodle Doo 4.3% Copper Ale
Decadence 4.4% Golden Ale
Darker Side of the Moon 4.2% Strong Mild
Moonlight 3.8% Light Citrus Beer
Luvly Jubblies 4.2% Golden Ale
Zen 3.8% Amber Brown
Legacy 4.3% Brown Bitter
Sumo 5.2% Golden Amber
Black Mule 7.0% Imperial IPA / Imperial Porter Hybrid
Heavenly Blonde 3.8% Blonde
Old Boy 4.8% Full Bodied Amber Ale
Sunnydaze 4.0% Pale Gold Wheat Beer
Lincoln Best 4.2% Best Bitter
Rock Ape 3.8% Pale Ale
Screaming Eagle Stout 4.0% Stout
Tropico 3.5% Session Pale Ale
Hedgerow Gold 4.4% Light Golden Summer Ale
Pleasant Pheasant 4.2% Copper/Brown Bitter
Star Brewing Company 
Comet 3.8% Session Bitter
Sirius 5.2% American Style IPA
Nebula 4.1% Extra Pale Heavily Hopped Summer Ale
Tydd Steam 
Cock 4.2% Premium Dark Mild
Barn Ale 3.9% Pale Session Bitter

There will also be the usual house beers from Theakston's, John Smith's and Caledonian.
The Navigation is handily located just off Mirfield Railway Station.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Halifax - it's festival time!

Just as you're waiting for a festival close to home, three come along at once. That is the story this weekend in Halifax, where  CAMRA's beer festival is taking place at The Square Chapel, alongside pub festivals at the nearby Three Pigeons and Dirty Dicks.

My problem was whether to sample a small part of each or concentrate on one specifically. Fortunately some kind person gave me access to the respective beer lists, so I chose the latter option. This is what I found on my trip to the Three Pigeons.

The Pigeons has been refurbished since my last visit (a fact covered in a previous post by Will), and has certainly benefited from its sprucing up. It feels fresh and a pleasant place to while away a few hours whilst sampling some interesting beers, in good company.

I was a little surprised to find the queue at opening time comprised of one person. Me!! But nevertheless I was not put off, and went in search of new beer and new breweries. Here I must acknowledge the problem with the festival, it promised 30 beers on the list, but in total only half were available at the outset, others appearing on the bar as the first wave ran off. Unfortunately, a couple of new breweries for me were on the 'to come' list.

I did espy one brewery I was desperate to sample, Tavernale from Newcastle, (a brew pub whose beers rarely leave the pub and who were not brewing during my north east jolly last year). So armed with a half of their 'Weekend Warrior' - a golden bitter, single hopped and very acceptable - I wandered a checked the rest of the beers available.

I was soon in company of a couple more like minded individuals and sampling more of the beers on offer. The festival, unusually for a pub festival, sold beer in thirds with three at the price of a pint, which at £2.60 across the board was exceptional value. Titan 'Gold' was next up - very similar to the Tavernale beer, then Stancil 'Barnsley Bitter' - an excellent recreation of the beer. I followed these with a couple of lighter, session beers; Totally Brewed 'Slap In The Face' and Thirstin 'Fruity Mick'. Both very acceptable quaffing beers and ones I would have been happy to stay on all afternoon, but there were further beers to sample.

Next up was probably my beer of the festival, and strangely for those who know my likes in beer, it was Harrogate 'No5 Porter'. Rich and full of flavour, it was an excellent example of the style. It was so good I had a second half. However time was pressing and I wanted to sample a couple of breweries that were common during my North East stays. Alechemy's 'Dr Rudi Burst' was one of their single hopped range and was hoppy but seemed to be missing something, not so the Anarchy 'Urban Assault', an IPA that did not skimp on hops or flavour, and sadly my swan song.

There are plenty of beers to follow, so a further trip may be in order next week to see what's left. But if you are in Halifax this weekend, and don't fancy paying the price or the hassle of the CAMRA festival, then this is the place for you. Give it a go.

My apologies if this seems a little rushed, needed to complete it before the battery life on my laptop died and my laptop with it!

Friday, May 16, 2014

James Taylor and his 'House' beer

Dan Jarvis MP, left, and
 James Taylor of  Two Roses Brewery
An out of this world Australian hopped beer - brewed by a Lancastrian in Yorkshire - is going down a storm in Parliament.
Galaxy by Two Roses Brewery, from Barnsley, has been on at The Strangers' Bar in the Palace of Westminster since Monday.
And two of the five casks in the cellar have already been emptied. It sounds like the Right Honourable Members have voted with their palates. 
This fine bit of political PR for Two Roses came about thanks to Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis.
The Labour politician and ex soldier toured Two Roses' Darton base in May 2013 to see how small businesses were coping in the tough economic climate.

Mr Jarvis went on to praise the brewery, now in its third year, and its hook up with The Talbot Inn in nearby Mapplewell.
It seems that brewery visit forged an ale alliance. Mr Jarvis has now exercised the parliamentary custom where an MP can nominate an ale from his or her constituency to feature at The Strangers' Bar.
Now this isn't any old pub. The Strangers' Bar is billed as one of the UK's most exclusive.
The cask marque accredited establishment has got rather a strict guest list: it is only open to MPs, parliamentary staff and the invited.
James got his lucky ticket on Wednesday when he travelled down to London for some ceremonial quality control.
He was given a tour of the political village and got to taste his ale in The Strangers' Bar.
James told aswiftone about his "great day out" during an unscheduled pit-stop at the brewery on Thursday.
My bottle buying visit had been prompted by a tweet from "The Ginger Beer King" about drinking a Tour de France celebratory beer from Two Roses. 
It's called T'Yellow Jersey: Yorkshire Ale. The pale 4.2% beer is brewed with French hop Aramis and English counterpart Admiral.
I remember Mallinson's single hopped Aramis beer of last year (?) with great fondness and I'm glad to say T'Yellow Jersey is another winner too.
It is very quaffable, so I guess I'll have to drink it in stages otherwise I'll be making another trip to the brewery all too soon.
Pictures courtesy of Two Roses

Monday, May 12, 2014

Brewery launches Dales ale trail

Press release:
Wharfedale Brewery is to launch a new tourist attraction this weekend which it is hoped will benefit businesses in the Yorkshire Dales.
The Ales Way takes beer lovers on a journey from Ben Rhydding to Hubberholme.
It encompasses 15 of Yorkshire’s most iconic pubs, the vast majority of which can be reached via the Pride Of The Dales bus services which the brewery - based at the back of The Flying Duck Brewpub in Ilkley - sponsors.
Visitors to each pub will receive a stamp when they order a pint of Wharfedale Blonde, Best or Black. When they have collected 10 stamps they will be given a free Ales Way t-shirt whilst also being invited to be entered into a “Hall Of Fame”. 
Should they manage to visit all 15 pubs on the ale trail they will also receive a souvenir box set containing two bottles of beer and a Wharfedale Brewery branded pint glass.
Marketing Director Jonathan Shepherd said: “I hope The Ales Way will capture the imagination of the public and become an exciting new tourist attraction throughout the Upper Wharfedale district.
"We have been overwhelmed by the fantastic support we have received from such wonderful pubs and hope to repay them by bringing them increased footfall, which in turn should mean extra brewery sales for us. 
Whilst encouraging more people to visit the pubs and use the bus company with added frequency, the ale trail is intended to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace which should allow people plenty of time to patronise the many wonderful little shops, cafes and restaurants as well."
The list of pubs signing up to the initiative reads like a who's who of country inns. The trail starts with the Wheatley Arms in Ben Rhydding, The Flying Duck in Ilkley and The Crown in Addingham, before moving up river to The New Inn and The Craven Arms at Appletreewick, The Red Lion at Burnsall, The Clarendon Hotel at Hebden, The Grassington House Hotel, The Foresters Arms and Devonshire Hotel in Grassington, before moving across to The Fountaine Inn at Linton, then onto The Gamekeeper’s Inn at Threshfield, The Blue Bell Inn at Kettlewell, The Buck Inn at Buckden and finishes at The George Inn at Hubberholme.
The Ales Way website features a host of useful information including bus timetables, pub opening and food serving times, a map of the route, tasting notes on the brewery’s beers and details of how to claim ale trail souvenirs.
Leaflets and stamp cards can be picked up from any of the participating pubs and local tourist information centres. 
For further information visit:

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Bloke from Hull was one of the chosen

The Ratnificent 7, plus one late call up
Being a dinosaur, I’m not much of a social media person but sometimes use it to glean information from those who are. In mid March I was mooching around Facebook and Twitter seeking such information when I spotted a poster for the Rat Brewery in Huddersfield stating, 'Fancy being a brewer for a day? We're looking for the Ratnificent 7 to design & brew a brand new Rat beer at the rat inn-fest at the end of April. If you want to be in the draw just comment yes please!'

I commented in the affirmative and duly forgot all about it.
Just before Easter, I received a message from Richard at The Rat & Ratchet informing me that I was one of the lucky seven and shortly afterwards received further instructions – turn up with old clothes at 10.00 for bacon butties on the appointed day.
Thus, on a Saturday at the end of April I set off on the 07.40 train from Hull to Huddersfield. Arriving in good time at the pub on Chapel Hill I was greeted by licensees Lisa and Richard and five of the other six of the chosen few. 
Unfortunately, one unlucky person was called into work at short notice until 3pm but a late substitute was contacted and soon made up the number to the full complement. We all introduced ourselves as we had tea and butties. I was by a long way the eldest and had travelled the furthest, the others coming from Huddersfield, Mirfield and Brighouse. We were then introduced to Rat brewer Robin and Ossett head brewer Paul.
The usual brewers!
There followed discussions about the type of beer we each wanted to brew. It was mutually agreed that in keeping with the beer name everything should revolve around the number seven.
It was decided to use seven different malts and seven different hops to produce a seventy minute IPA (more later). Paul showed us a variety of malts, explaining the properties and types of beer that they were best used for. On his advice, following discussion, seven malts were chosen - Pale Ale, Carared, Crystal, Melanoidin, Carafa Special 3, Roast Barley and Wheat. Paul calculated the quantities required and we weighed them out to make a grand total of 200 kilos. Under the guidance of Robin, we took it in turns to add a different malt to the hot water in the mash tun to produce a sugar rich liquid (wort) which was then mashed for an hour.
The team in action
After a hearty chilli lunch (kindly provided by Richard) and a beer or two, the wort was then strained through the bottom of the mash tun and then transferred to the copper. Seven different varieties of hops were chosen from a possible nine once Paul had explained their characteristics. These were then weighed out and added to provide flavour, bittering and aroma in increasing quantities at ten minute intervals in this order: Admiral, Cascade, Centennial, Columbus, Amarillo, Citra and Waimea. Hence seventy minute IPA.
Next, the wort passed through the heat exchanger (heating up water for the next brew) to the fermentation tank. Paul then added live yeast to the magic mixture and we were done. Paul and Robin kindly cleared up while we took to the bar for a pint or two and a team photo.
By now the fermentation at the brewery will be complete and our beer taken to Ossett for transfer to casks and late hopping. As the Rat Brewery is 5.5 BBL, 22 x 9 gallon firkins should result and we are all excited to see and taste the results of our thoughts and efforts.
Pump clip courtesy of Liz Crosby at Ossett Brewery
Our thanks go to brewers Paul and Robin for their patience and doing the hard bits. We were not able to catch them out with any awkward questions either! We are also grateful to Lisa and Richard for organising the day and for looking after us during their busy beer festival.
We shall return!

Friday, May 09, 2014

Even more Local Festivals to whet the appetite

Thanks to BFH we have dates and information about more local festivals, and are they coming thick and fast !

To coincide with the CAMRA Halifax Beer Festival, (beer list on their website) The Three Pigeons at Halifax is having a festival from 16th - 18th May. I won't copy the beer list here but it does include some very rare and new breweries - including Tavernale, (a brew pub in Newcastle), Crystal, Olde Potting Shed, Half Moon and Kentish Town to name but a few.

The following weekend, starting at 4pm on Thursday 22nd May through till Monday 26th May is the Navigation Festival at Mirfield. Always worth a call, this one is promising plenty of Lincolnshire beers.

And then on the 11-13 July there will be the 2nd Mirfield Cricket Club festival. 20 beers are offered there.

And as Will has previewed there is Fernandes Festival.

So get out there and give them some support.

Fernandes Real Ale & Cider Festival 12th -15th June

Over the course of the weekend 20+ Fernandes beers, 10 of which are new, in a range of styles from porter to wheat beer, IPAs and fruit beer will be available.

Cider festival in the Keller will feature 6 real ciders.

Live music Friday and Sunday. Friday from 8pm in the Keller, band TBC. Sunday from 4pm upstairs with Ruby Macintosh.
Saturday is open brew-day with Steve from 12pm.

The festival opens with a TUTORED TASTING SESSION - Thursday 12th June - admission by ticket only for this session.
  • 4 new Fernandes beers in a range of styles
  • Meat and cheese platters to share
  • £10 per ticket
The tasting session beers will be:
Janie's Addiction 4.3 - A full bodied red beer with deep fruitiness and notes of caramel and honey. Dry hopped with Chinook.
Ginger Ninja (that name's Fish's idea!!) 4.1 - Ginger and orange porter with hints of coffee.
Goodnight Vienna 4.0 - A floral and nutty golden beer.
Two Islands IPA 4.8 - A blonde, well hopped beer with citrus/floral aromas from three NZ hop varieties.

The Beer List

Black beers:
  • Ginger Ninja 4.1 - Ginger and orange porter with hints of coffee.
  • 10 Degrees 6.0 - Black IPA. Very hoppy with a smooth roast flavour.
  • Black Voodoo 5.1 - Terry's chocolate orange in a pint glass!
  • Irish Stout 4.2 - Black, deep roast and robust.
Brown/Red beers:
  • Trinity Ale 4.5 - Malty brown premium bitter.
  • Dustcutter 4.1 - Biscuity toffee notes with a balanced crisp hop bitterness.
  • Janie's Addiction 4.3 - A full bodied red beer with deep fruitiness and notes of caramel and honey. Dry hopped with Chinook.
  • Two Islands IPA 4.8 - A blonde, well hopped beer with citrus/floral aromas from three NZ hop varieties.
  • Session IPA 3.8 - A sharp, robust IPA with copious amounts of UK and US hops
  • Sunshine IPA 5.5 - Full on IPA with large amounts of Citra hops giving a huge citrus hop flavour.
Blonde/Gold beers:
  • Folklore 3.8 - Aromatic session beer with a zingy hop flavour.
  • Bramling Stoker 3.8 - Golden single hop beer (Bramling Cross) producing a crisp resinous flavour with hints of spice.
  • Octohop 4.0 - An old favourite and a best seller with complex fruity flavours from eight hop varieties.
  • Chinook 4.0 - A single hop variety beer. Citrusy with hints of grapefruit.
  • Goodnight Vienna 4.0 - A floral and nutty golden beer.
  • Whack-a-Mole 4.1 - A gold beer with a light, grassy, spicy hop flavour.
  • American Pale 4.2 - Brewed with four varieties of US hops producing a moderately hopped beer with a sweet hop flavour.
  • Centaur 4.5 - A very aromatic golden beer jam packed with Centennial hops and dry hopped with Centennial for extra flavour.
  • Cascade Torrent 4.6 - The full on flavour of Cascade hop in a premium blonde beer.
  • Hot Wire 5.2 - A gold full bodied premium beer, heavily hopped for a big citrus taste with hints of chilli.
Speciality beers:
  • Wheat and Juniper 4.2 - Cloudy wheat beer with hints of juniper.
  • Tropical Breeze 3.8 - A blonde beer delicately flavoured with passionfruit and jasmine.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Rat Badges

Rat Brewery fans now have a unique opportunity to obtain a set of exclusive limited edition button badges.

The images will be familiar to regulars at the Rat & Ratchet on Chapel Hill in Huddersfield where the set can be picked up for just £2.50 - but hurry!

Monday, May 05, 2014

Fancy a brew of Rooibos beer?

A 1kg 'tea bag' of Rooibos goes into the copper
One of my favourite brews is a simple cup of tea.
Recently tea has become a popular ingredient with brewers. Marble and Emelisse have done an Earl Grey IPA while Roosters have been doing a tea beer for a little while now.
It was the latter's High Tea, which set in train a beer that I helped (ever so slightly) to brew on Sunday.
Malcolm Bastow, of Five Town's Brewery, enjoyed the Roosters' beer at a festival and it inspired him to take the plunge with a tea beer.
He had been recently introduced to the healthy South African Rooibos/Red Bush tea and thought he would use that.
A boiling kettle?
A few clicks on Amazon procured 1kg of the decaf tea and he wrote about his brewing intentions on Twitter.
I responded with approval and was promptly invited to help brew the beer.
So last Sunday I made the trip to Malcolm's custom built brew house in Outwood to help brew Le Grand Depart, which will be one of his beers at the North Leeds Charity Beer Festival at the end of May.
Malcolm had already been brewing it for three hours before I rolled up late shortly after 9am (inauspicious start to my brewing career!).
He graciously told me he had saved the best bit for me: the opening of the nelson sauvin hops. This is a favourite hop of mine, but even I wasn't prepared for the aromatic assault on my nostrils. Intense was the word.
Next came the opening of the mosaic hops, another favourite. But this was much a more subtle smell than the nelson.
My job was to break up the clumps of hops ready for the copper. So I was a bit like the boy with the lids off the felt pens as the two hops mixed together under my nose.
The bucket of hops went in the copper and I set an alarm for the next stage in the multi-tasked process. Speaking of which, Malcolm used his down-time to finish off casking HB for Harry's Bar in Wakefield. This was piped from the fermenters into heavy casks at the back of his bijou brewery.
In short, this brewing lark looked like hard word. And I received a further shock when Malcolm told me it involved maths too. Little did I know the industry and academia that went into my pint.
He then produced some charts to show how we would work out the gravity of the beer. Malcolm wanted to produce a beer between six and seven percent. He then converted his mobile into a calculator and did some sums to figure out what needed to be done.
We later decanted some beer from the copper, cooled it down, and placed a hydrometer in the sample. It looked like it would be around 6.5 percent ABV at that stage.
ABV likely to be between six and seven per cent
We added some more of the same hops late in the boil and again set the timer for the key bit of when we would drop the rather large tea bag in.
Malcolm had earlier poured 1kg of loose leaf tea into a muslin bag and tied it up.
We dropped the giant tea bag into the copper and set the timer. There it sat, just just off the boil, for about five minutes along with the bubbling hops.
Then we joked about how we would get it out of the mix. But Malcolm improved a makeshift tea-strainer out of a bucket and his trusty home brew spoon.
With it being a red coloured tea, we speculated over whether it would change the colour of the beer much.
But it was difficult to tell in the copper, so we will have to wait for The North Leeds Charity Beer festival (Friday, May 30 to Saturday, May 31) to see how our brew turned out.
Festival poster courtesy of the organisers
Many thanks to Malcolm for the showing me the brewing ropes. When I next hold a glass of beer aloft, I shall pause and reflect on just how much work goes into it.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Yankeefest (2nd-5th May)

It's all things U.S. at Cluntergate in Horbury this weekend as The Cricketers Arms turns it's attention to the colonies and beyond.

Missing most of the pubs special events in the three and half years since reincarnation has been unforgivable considering my proximity, but to have this one pass me by would be verging on treachery considering my heritage.

Reading the press release it was apparent that a good deal of preparation, organisation and not a small amount of imagination has gone into Yankeefest.

Additional bar space in the front room
From the converted yellow school bus in the car park (arriving at 3pm this afternoon and serving fast food throughout), to the comprehensive beer list offering a good range of cask, keg and bottles, this has been a well conceived and executed festival. 

Some bloke from Hull is always first through the door!
'Must try' beers discovered so far include Flying Dog's amazing Mango Habanero and the very 'moreish' All Day IPA from Founders of Michigan.

For opening times and the full lowdown, including a live music schedule, please see the earlier post or the pub's flyer on our Facebook page.  

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Yankeefest at the Cricketers

Beer Menu for the upcoming Yankeefest below & attached.
Main Bar cask beers listed are those that will be available at the start of the festival but as they run off, they will be replaced by more American inspired ales from the likes of Bridestones, Red Squirrel, Mallinsons, Great Heck etc.

American food will be served from Road Hogs Diner, a big yellow school bus which will be parked up in the car park.  Expect pulled-pork, chilli dogs, burgers and fries, Philadelphia steak sandwich and more.  Food will be served from 3 - 9 Fri, Sat, Sun and 3 - 7 Mon.

Live music will feature 'Backyard Burners', a bluegrass band on Sunday from 7pm and 'Root 45' playing Rock and Roll on Monday from 5pm.
Cask Ales 
Festival Bar 
1. Allgates - California 3.8% £2.60 
An extremely clean drinking golden coloured ale with a zesty and fruity aroma. Brewed with gentlykilned malts and an aromatic blend of American hops. 
2. Mallinsons - Indulgence 3.7% £2.60 
Brewed using four classic "C" hops from the USA this is a blonde with grapefruit and tropical fruit aroma, a bitter tart citrus zest taste and long citrus hop finish. A real indulgence! 
3. Salamander - Apache 3.9% £2.60 
Pale and hoppy session ale with a refreshing citrus notes. 
4. Greene King - Yardbird 4% £2.60 
This beer is from Greene King’s new experimental brewery.  Full of hops with a lasting fruity flavour, this beer is inspired by bold American pale ales.. 
5. Phoenix  - Arizona 4.1% £2.60 
This pale ale is a classic.  Dry as a desert, refreshing as an oasis. 
6. Deeply Vale - Citra Storm 4% £2.70 
Citra is the archetypical American hop and is the base of so many modern pale ales.  This pleasant session ale is bursting with the flavours and aromas of lemon and grapefruit. 
7. Revolutions - Go Go American Pale4.5% £2.70 
U.S influenced pale a brewed using three of the ‘C Hops’ for a citrus finish. 
8. Tyne Bank Silver Dollar 4.9% £3.00 
Award winning American Pale Ale. Amber in colour with a robust malt base and West Coast American hops.  
Main Bar 
9. Roosters - Yankee 4.3% £2.60 
One of the original newstyle pale ales to be brewed in the UK, Yankee is a modern classic. Light and easydrinking, it showcases the floral and citrus fruit aromas of the Cascade hop, grown in 
the Yakima Valley in Washington State. 
10. Dark Star - American Pale Ale 4.7% £3.10 
The yeast strain used for the brewing of this American style pale ale is specially imported from the USA, along with Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops. 
11. Long Man - American Pale Ale 4.8% £2.90 
Made using only the choicest U.S. hops this triplehopped APA has a pleasant citrus fruit aroma and characteristic robust bitterness. 
12. Portobello - American Pale Ale 5% £3.10 
Brewed to showcase the finest American hops. Cascade and Summit give robust bitterness whilst Citra, Amarillo and Summit bring the aroma of tropical fruits, orange and pink grapefruit. 
13. Saltaire - Stateside IPA 6% £3.10 
American style IPA with Cascade, Centennial and Amarillo hops providing strong bitterness. 
14. XT - XT5 American Amber 5.5% £3.00 
Big biscuity malt base with lots of dark fruit flavoured American hops on top. 
15. Sonnet 43 - Bourbon Milk Stout 4.3% £2.80 
Aromas of bitter chocolate and oak, as well as multiple flavour levels comprising delicate sweet bourbon, silky chocolate and dry oak. 
16. Tyne Bank - Heavenly Porter 5.4% £3.10 
This porter has been blended with Heaven Hill bourbon from Kentucky.  As you drink the beer the slight warmth of the bourbon becomes evident, and adds an extra dimension with hints of vanilla 
and a real depth.  
Draft Beer 
1. Brooklyn, New York - Brooklyn Lager 5.2% £3.80 
Brooklyn Lager has won numerous awards, beginning with first place at the Great American Beer Tasting in 1989. A superb balance of sweet malt and crisp bitter hops. Dry hopped for more flavour. 
2. Anchor, San Francisco - California Lager 4.9% £4.50 
California’s first true lager was brewed in 1876.  Anchor have recreated that original recipe to brew a lager that is smooth and full of depth. 
3. Anchor, San Francisco - Anchor Steam 4.8% £4.50 
'The classic of American brewing tradition since 1896', Anchor Steam has a bronze colour with a thick creamy head. The palate is full and malty with a beautiful bitter hop aroma  a unique beer 
universally recognised as a world classic that traces back to the Gold Rush era. 
4. Founders, Michigan - All Day IPA 4.7% £4.50 
A great IPA for drinking all day!  Lower gravity than most American IPA’s but still packed with flavour.  A great introduction to modern American beers. 
5. Oskar Blues,  Colorado - Dales Pale Ale 6.5% £3.00/half pint 
This voluminously hopped mutha delivers a hoppy nose and assertivebutbalanced flavors of pale malts and citrusy floral hops from start to finish.   
6. Flying Dog,  Maryland - Mango Habanero  7% £3.00/half pint 
This is what American brewers do best; take a traditional ale and morph it into something totally new. Two pounds of habanero pepper and ten pounds of fresh mango are added to each batch 
of this IPA. It’s unfiltered to retain as much flavor as possible and also mimic the look of fresh mango juice. 
Bottled Beer 
1. Flying Dog - Underdog 4.7% £3.20 Lager 
A light and refreshing lager with crisp hop character. 
2. Goose Island - 312 4.2% £3.20 Wheat Beer 
A hazy wheat beer with the spicy aroma of Cascade hops is followed by a crisp, fruity ale flavour delivered in a smooth, creamy body that's immensely refreshing. 
3. Flying Dog - Doggy Style 5.5% £3.40 Pale Ale 
A classic American pale ale with hoppy citrus notes. 
4. Sly Fox - Phoenix 5.1% £3.60 Pale Ale 
A bold American Pale Ale brewed with Pale and Crystal malts and hopped with Centennial and Cascade hops from the Pacific Northwest. Copper in color, mediumbodied and spicy. 
5. Anchor - Liberty Ale 5.9% £3.60 IPA 
First brewed in 1975, Liberty Ale was one of the first of the new wave of modern American IPAs. More balanced than some of the more recent IPAs on the market. 
6. Brooklyn - EIPA 6.9% £3.60 IPA 
East India Pale Ale is a deep golden beer brewed from British malt and a blend of hops. It is dryhopped for a bright aroma of hops, lemongrass, pine and citrus fruit, and has a robust 
bitterness, a warming malt palate and a clean hoppy finish.  
7. Founders - Centennial  7.2% £3.85 IPA 
Relish the citrus accents from the abundance of dry hopping. This one’s sweet, yet balanced. Malty undertones shake hands with the hop character for a finish that never turns too bitter. 
8. Ska - Euphoria 6.2% £3.85 Pale Ale 
A big backbone of malt with plenty of caramel sweetness and just a touch of chocolate and toast. But it's the epic grapefruit hop aroma and flavor, provided by a huge dry hop addition at the 
end of fermentation, that really make this beer shine. 
9. Odell - Levity 5.1% £4.20 Amber Ale 
A lighter take on the amber ale. Munich and honey malts give it a fullbodied flavor then the finishing hops shine, for a beer that’s crisp instead of bitter.  
10. Sierra Nevada- Beer Camp #93 6.9% £4.20 IPA 
Cascade and Citra hops give pine/citrus and tropical fruit flavours.  
11. Stone IPA 6.9% £4.20 IPA 
One of the most well respected IPAs in America, this golden beauty explodes with citrusy flavour and hop aromas, all perfectly balanced by a subtle malt character 
12. Maui - Big Swell 6.8% £4.25 IPA 
Ahandcrafted India Pale Ale brewed with four different kinds of Northwestern hops and malted barley…dryhopped to perfection.. Its flavor begins smooth and malty and is followed with a big 
burst of hop flavour. 
13. Oskar Blues - Mama’s Little Yella Pils 5.3% £4.50 Lager 
An uncompromising smallbach pilsner brewed using German malts and Saaz hops. 
14. Goose Island - Pepe Nero 6.4% £4.95 Black Saison 
With an aroma of roasted chestnuts and a mysteriously dark, mahogany hue, Pepe Nero is a farmhouse ale brewed with black peppercorns. His roasty sweetness melds into a lingering, 
earthy, black pepper finish. 
15. Odell - Lugene 8.5% £5.95 Chocolate Milk Stout 
Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout is brewed with milk sugar and milk chocolate. The rich and creamy brew reminds us of a cold glass of chocolate milk. 
1. Original Sin Hard Cider 5.5% £3.50 Cider 
Dry Traditional cider from New York, fermented with two types of Champagne yeast 
1. Jack Daniels 40% £2.50 
2. Jim Beam 40% £2.50 
3. Makers Mark 45% £2.75 
This smallbatch bourbon is aged for 6 years to develop it’s trademark smooth flavour. 
4. Bulleit  45% £3.25 
Bulleit Bourbon is made with smallbatch techniques inspired by those pioneered by Augustus Bulleit over 150 years ago. 
5. Evan Williams Single Barrel 43.3% £3.25 
A smooth easy drinking bourbon distilled using an original recipe from 1783. 
6. Rowan’s Creek 50.05% £3.25 
A rare smallbatch bourbon.  The bourbon equivalent of a fine malt whisky. 
Flavoured Bourbon 
7. Jim Beam Red Stag (Black Cherry) £2.70 
8. Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey £2.70