Thursday, August 28, 2014

Wharfedale's Down Under collaboration

Rob Callin, left, with Stewart Ross
Press release:
Wharfedale Brewery, housed at the back of the Flying Duck Brew Pub in Church Street, Ilkley is launching a new beer called Wharfedale Gold to its range this weekend, following an approach from a former Ilkley resident who now lives in Australia.
Home brewing enthusiast turned commercially qualified brewer, Rob Callin has maintained regular contact with friends and family in his home town since moving to Cairns with his wife Rachel 9 years ago, and has kept a watchful eye on developments at what used to be his local pub via Facebook and local news websites.
Whilst planning his visit back to Yorkshire this summer, he got in touch with the brewery to see if they would be interested in producing a collaboration beer with an Australian twist during his stay and Wharfedale Gold is set to get the taste buds buzzing at the Flying Duck this weekend.
Rob said: “The transformation of the Flying Duck is simply unbelievable and this is exactly the type of pub I always thought Ilkley was lacking. I was really looking forward to seeing the work that had been done and with the added bonus of a microbrewery at the back I just had to get in touch.
"I would like to thank everyone at Wharfedale Brewery for giving me the opportunity to help add to what is already a top quality range of beers. It has been a great experience working with their Technical Director Stewart Ross, in creating a beer that fuses traditional Yorkshire cask ales with the more heavily hopped and intensely flavoured American / New World sparkling pale ales I’m used to brewing in Australia. The project has been a real highlight of my trip back to the UK and I’m tremendously excited about trying a few pints."
Stewart added: “Rob’s beers have won first prizes in the State of Queensland and he’s also won awards nationally down under so when he asked if he could work with us we were only too keen to oblige. It has been a thoroughly interesting and enlightening exercise and I am sure our customers will be impressed with the latest addition to our stable”.
Wharfedale Gold bursting with American Amarillo hop flavours, weighs in at 4.3% ABV.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Slubbing Billys get their clogs on for a bell-ting tour of Huddersfield breweries

Slubbing Billys

The Bloke from Hull writes...
Several years ago I was sat in The Navigation at Mirfield on a summer Sunday afternoon. A friendly bunch of people were sat near me and soon I was talking to them. They were members of the Slubbing Billys Morris Side, of Slaithwaite, having a day off from the rigours of dancing. We got on very well and all took the train to Huddersfield for further imbibement. I subsequently went to see them in action at various venues in the Holme and Colne Valleys and have kept in touch from time to time since.
Founded in 1986, they are a mixed team with members of all ages ranging from newish enthusiastic teenagers to those veterans who have been with the group from the outset.
This year they decided to enact their own prologue to the Yorkshire Stages of the Tour de France to welcome the international cycling fraternity in their own inimitable manner.
At the beginning of June they began Le Clog 8 to promote and celebrate the breweries and top pubs in Huddersfield, which many of us believe to be the centre of the microbrewing world not only in Yorkshire but in Britain! Most of the selected venues were indeed within a few yards of the Tour de France route.

Magic Rock Brewing
On June 3rd Stage 1 began with lots of energetic and enthusiastic dancing, laughs and giggles and some lovely real ale at the Magic Rock Brewery at Oakes and continued with Stage 2 down in town at the fabulous Sportsman pub. A great start indeed.
The Sportsman
A week later Stages 3 and 4 took place down at Lockwood with dancing at the home of Mallinsons and Briggs Signature Ales followed by drinking at the welcoming real ale mecca nearby, The Star at Folly Hall.
Stage 5 took place on June 17th and saw the Billy’s do some fine dancing for a very appreciative and varied audience outside the Hand Drawn Monkey Brewery at Lindley and it was then down to Chapel Hill for Stage 6 at the brilliant Rat and Ratchet brew pub.
The following week, the Tour ventured into the Holme Valley for Stages 7 and 8 at the Summer Wine Brewery in Honley followed by The Nook Brewhouse at Holmfirth. The evening was filled with more fabulous dancing, more fun and more wonderful beer than you could shake a stick (with bells on) at!
July 1 saw the final hurrah of the Tour de Dance at The Bridge in Holmbridge with lovely beer and fantastic dancing. The visit had been planned when the Bridge was due to have been brewing (hence it being the last venue) but those plans were delayed. A return is planned taste their beer when up and running. Fortunately young Mr. Briggs had commenced brewing in the meantime to restore the brewery total to eight.
With a training regime like that it was a sure thing that the Slubbing Billys were ready for the big event
just a few days later!
New members, to dance, play or just follow are always welcome – details can be found on their website:

Post script: Apologies to The BFH for the lateness of this post. The fault was entirely mine. AA.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Like the Old Days

Before you read this, let me confirm I have not lost my marbles !

Last weekend I was talking to Ken, you know Ken, everyone knows Ken, and he told me that he had been in Sheffield in a Sam Smiths pub drinking a new Smiths draught beer. Well, never been one to resist a challenge I set out to check it out in Huddersfield. This was the reason for me ending up where I ended up, and the other, more important reason was that it was hosing down and I was stranded without a jacket.

Yes I am talking about the Commercial on New St. I did not find the beer I was looking for, but there were 4 handpulls all serving 'Old Brewery Bitter'and several other pumps serving keg versions of their other beers, including a couple of different Smiths lagers. The cask came in at less than £2 a pint, (my half cost 90p) and was not a bad beer. But what really surprised me was how busy the place was.

I had wandered around town a bit and called in various pubs. Mostly there were a sprinkling of drinkers in them, some were busier but they were concentrating on serving food rather than beer. The Commercial was rammed, I struggled to find somewhere to sit and people watch.

It brought my thinking round to the old days. This was how I remember pubs from my youth. Lots of middle aged and older men, sitting around, chewing the fat with their mates and shifting gallons of beer. It was a proper pub. No pretensions, just lots of chat. I could overhear conversations on many and varied topics.Football, Politics, The inefficient local council, and so on. There was background music, but unobtrusive.

So if you have a desire to hark back into the past and want to while away a few minutes, call in. It is not the best beer in town, not the best pub either, but it is somewhere I will call in again. Just for the craic, which is what I think a pub is all about. And a chance to keep dry !! 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Beer list for Nook festival in Holmfirth

Here is the beer list for the Nook Beer Festival this bank holiday weekend in Holmfirth.
Expect more than 50 ales to mark half a century of the Roberts' family at the helm.
But the beer history stretches much further back than that as brewing first started on site 260 years ago.
Beer list:
Acorn - Old Moor Porter 4.4(%)
Acorn - Forrester 4.5
Brew Co. - Crazy horse IPA 5.1
Brew Co. - Chinook 3.8
Brightside - Amarillo 5.0
Brightside - Odin 4.6
Brightside - Manchester Skyline 3.8
Daleside - Monkey Wrench 5.3
Daleside - Daleside Blonde 3.8
Deeply Vale - DV8 4.8
Deeply Vale - Deeply Red 4.2
Deeply Vale - Golden Vale 4.2
Dukeries - De Lovotot 4.2
Dukeries - Blonde 3.8
Dukeries - Ray of Sunshine 4.2
Dukeries - Gunsmoke 5.5
Elland - 1872 Porter 6.5
Elland - Ellium 3.8
Fernandes - Wheat and Juniper 4.2
Five Towns - Guero 2.8
Five Towns - Old Norrell 5.5
Leeds Brewery - Leeds Pale 3.8
Leeds Brewery Leeds Leeds Best 4.3
Nook Brewhouse - Baby blond 3.8
Nook Brewhouse - Blond 4.5
Nook Brewhouse - Oat Stout 5.2
Nook Brewhouse - Rescue Red 3.8
Nook Brewhouse - Cherry Stout 5.2
Nook Brewhouse - Chocco Stout 5.2
Nook Brewhouse - Elder Flower 4.5
Nook Brewhouse - Berry Blond 4.5
Nook Brewhouse - Funky Banana 4.5
Nook Brewhouse - Sky Blue Blond 4.5
Nook Brewhouse - Strawberry Blond 4.5
Nook Brewhouse - Peachy Pale 3.8
Nook Brewhouse - Rose & Crown TBC
Ossett - Brewers Gold 4.0
Rat Brewery - White Rat 4.0
Raw Brewing - Amarillo 3.9
Raw Brewing - Grey Ghost 5.9
Raw Brewing - Baby Ghost 3.9
Ringway - India Pale Ale 4.8
Ringway - Single Bramling 4.0
Ringway - Wor Stout 4.3
Riverhead - Legger's Light 3.6
Stancill - Ginger 4.0
Stancill - No.7 4.3
Stancill - Barnsley Bitter 3.8

Pure North
- Appily Honley 6.0 (%) Medium Dry
Pure North - Fusion 6.5 Medium Dry
Pure North - Katy 6.0 Medium
Pure North - Sweet Union 5.5 Medium Sweet
Little Badger - Flowery Badger 5.2 Sweet
Little Badger - Badger On The Beach 5.2 Sweet
Little Badger - Tutti Fruity 5.2 Sweet

Monday, August 18, 2014

Beer festivals in Marsden & Shelley

The fourth annual Marsden Beer Festival brightens up this Bank Holiday weekend.
The free entry event at Marsden Mechanics Hall, on Peel Street, runs from Friday, August 22 (7pm till midnight), Saturday August 23 (noon till midnight) to Sunday, August 24 (noon till Midnight)
It will feature 20 real ales, plus scrumpy ciders with live music on Saturday and Friday nights.
Beer List and tasting notes
Brewed with Chinook & Pride of Ringwood hops to give a fruity /grassy flavour balanced with a biscuity malty finish.
Premium strength pale ale with a good hoppy taste and a smooth bitter finish.
A blonde ale with fresh citrus flavours. Very Moorish.
A special ale brewed to commemorate Granny Clarke the old gatekeeper. A nicely hopped pale ale with a lingering bitter sweet finish.
Glowing on the taste buds with delights of tropical fruits. This is one for the hopheads.
Easy drinking traditional brown ale. Nice malty flavours and a lingering finish.
Full bodied dry stout with a bitter finish, spicy with hints of licorice and dark berries.
A light pale ale, slightly hopped with a good bitter taste to finish.
Pale hoppy ale with a good fruity taste and a sharp bitter finish.
A light and lively pale ale. Carefully hopped to give a nice citrus flavour. A firm favourite.
A dark mild with tastes of roasted barley and malt. Very smooth and easy drinking.
Floral and malty aroma, with a sweet malty taste and hints of citrus and even less so grass.
Packed with American hops for an intensely refreshing and satisfying balance. Good body for such a low abv.
A light refreshing golden ale with a tangy citrus aroma and flavour.
A ruby coloured bitter with a rich, spicy, roasted aroma and a full malty body, resulting in a full-bodied mouthfeel.
Ominously dark, rich old style London porter. Good roasted malty flavours and a smooth, silky finish. 

A lovely cloudy orange cider with an appley aroma and pleasant to the mouth.
Award winning cider 'its just gorgeous'. Its got a lightness, a refinement yet not lost any of it's heritage.

The Bloke from Hull has also sent us advance details of next month's Shelley Charity Beer Festival 
It's at Shelley Village Hall,  on Huddersfield Road, from Friday, September 12 (6pm - 10pm)
to Saturday,September 13 (12pm till dry)
Shelley’'s Small World Brewery will be making an appearance with three of their ales. (See previous post from BFH) 
Other breweries being represented this year are: Daleside, Bradfield, Empire, Nook & Wold Top.
More details when we have them.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A big insight into a Small World

Small World Beers, Shelley
By The Bloke from Hull
Local jungle drums and a feature in the Huddersfield Examiner had told me about Small World, a new brewery in Shelley. A planned visit to the beer festival at The Star at Folly Hall needed something to fill up the day before its 5pm start. I gave the guys at Small World a call and we were on.  A half hour bus ride took me to Shelley followed by a pleasant downhill walk in the sun to the Barncliffe Mills trading estate where I found the brewery.

I was greeted by owner Dave Hill and Operations Manager Pete Forder. Dave kindly broke off from work to tell me about the business. Originally from Yorkshire, Dave had been working in sales and production in Cheshire for some time and decided to return to God’s Own County to live and start a brewery. After four years of developing his skills including a brewery course at Sunderland he was ready. Whilst in his local pub, The Woodman at Thunderbridge, he got talking to Pete over a pint or two and they found that they had shared interests including a passion for beer – hence “Small World”. Peter’s background in purchasing, procurement and sales made him a great foil for Dave in the new business. Their ethos is to not only work with the “Small World” of local suppliers, businesses and outlets but also in time to experiment and develop recipes with interesting and exciting ingredients.
Knowing that the area is famous for spring water at Shepley (the home to one of the United Kingdom's largest bottled water companies) they decided to put a bore hole down 51 metres below the brewery building. Analysis of the water showed that it was perfect and it was full steam ahead! The brewery premises are quite old and were given a complete overhaul.  The bare shell that has seen many uses has been completely transformed by the expertise of local tradesmen.

The brand new brew kit was purchased from the Sheffield arm of the German steel tank specialists Moeschle and carefully installed to fit precisely between the original roof trusses. At present brewing on the 20 BBL (British Brewers Barrel) plant is running at 12 BBL to produce 48 nine gallon casks once or twice a week depending on demand. The mash tun sits above the liquor tank and the copper is gas powered. There are two fermenters with room for adding a further four while the temperature controlled conditioning room currently contains three conditioning tanks.

The first beer, Barncliffe Bitter (3.7% abv) first appeared at The Flying Ferret, Shelley on Monday, June 2 and was officially launched at the lads’ local, The Woodman on Friday, June 6. It was soon followed by Spike’s Gold (4.4% abv), a golden summer ale named after the one time resident, chief mascot and logo inspiration. The floral and zesty pale Summer Bank (3.7% abv) named after Shelley's two steepest roads also made its first appearance in June as did Long Moor Pale (3.9% abv). Not bad for the first month. On my visit Dave invited me to try generous samples of all four on handpump at the uniquely designed brewery bar. They were all excellent. The beers have sold well at freehouses, pubs, fetes and festivals throughout the Huddersfield district and beyond including Barnsley, Bradford and Halifax in Yorkshire. It should be noted that every pump clip features the “spike” logo, and mentions the brewery’s unique selling point (the spring water) and the hops used in each beer – a nice touch.
 After thanking Dave for his time and hospitality, he showed me a short cut to the Woodman across the fields to check out the Barncliffe Bitter which was just right. Later in the day, following a break for tea, I made my way down to the superb beer festival at The Star where I found Long Moor Pale on great form.
 A week later, while celebrating Yorkshire Day at the superb beer festival at The Cross Keys at Siddal near Halifax, Spike’s Gold and Long Moor Pale were on the bar but you had to be quick to catch them as they were very popular. So much so that Hugh, the licensee, reordered immediately.
A full bodied pale ale called Twin Falls (5.2% abv) was brewed at the end of July and is soon to appear at the Peterborough CAMRA beer festival. The word is spreading!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Yorkshire takes Camra Beer of Britain 2014 Award

The votes came in yesterday for the 'Champion Beer Of Britain 2014' at the Camra Great British Beer Festival, and it was a Yorkshire beer that came out on top. Timmy Taylors 'Boltmaker' took the crown.

Surprised? You bet I was. 'Boltmaker' is the old Taylors Best. I must admit it is not my favourite beer, in fact it is not even my favourite Taylors beer, but there again, what do I know ? (don't answer that !!)

I scanned the full list in the hope of finding some other representative of Gods own county, eventually I found Saltaire 'Triple Chocoholic' as winner of the Speciality Beer Category. That will please a mate from the north east, but sadly it does little for me.

My attention was drawn to the Golden Ales category, with Oakham 'Citra', Hawkshead 'Cumbrian Five Hop' and Salopian 'Hop Twister' all represented, and all decent beers in my humble opinion. And Offbeat 'Way Out Wheat' took silver in the Speciality category - another personal favourite.

So there you have it. A brief overview of the winners. Very few would have made it anywhere near my favourite beer list, but as we all know beer drinking is a personal thing. All I can hope for is some of my choices to be recogonised next year.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Beer festivals in Holmfirth & Dewsbury

Our newsgatherer, the Bloke from Hull, has been in touch with details of two more beer festivals. 
The first in time is The Nook's summer beer festival in Holmfirth from August 22 to 24.
The reverse of the flyer informs us that the Nook/Rose and Crown is celebrating two significant anniversaries this year. Firstly, brewing began there 260 years ago, and secondly, the Roberts family are celebrating 50 years at the helm.
Expect 50 beers from across the country and a large selection of Nook ales, including one-offs.
Then the week after The Leggers in Dewsbury is holding a festival from August 28 to 30. The poster just says there will be a wide range of real ales and ciders.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

It takes for ages and two come along at once !

Despite my love of hops and hoppy beers, I am always willing to try something out of my comfort zone, and in the last couple of days have found a couple of lighter ales, both in flavour and strength, that have really hit the spot. One I had high hopes for and was not disappointed, the second surprised me.

To take the first first. Stancill brewery has been mentioned before in these pages by my esteemed collegue Mr Ambler. It is a new brewery in Sheffield with a recognised brewer in Jonathan Stancill, formerly brewer at the Oakwell brewery in Barnsley. I have sampled several of the beers and always found them very acceptable, but their most recent special really hit the spot. 'Ginger Pale Ale'  is 4.0% and is what it says on the tin. It is pale, and gingery. Nothing you wouldn't expect then; except Stancill seem to have created the perfect summer beer. The taste is refreshing and soft and the ginger does not slap you in the face but rather complements the beer to make it well balanced, easy drinking and very moreish. Just need decent weather and a cricket match now!

The other beer to tickle my taste buds came from Riverhead brewery at Marsden. I have sampled plenty of their beers and always find them solid rather than exceptional. So when I ordered their 'White Moss Mild' I expected much of the same. I was pleasantly surprised. It was a very good example of the Pennine light mild style. Light in colour, and very easy drinking at 3.6%. No discernable hop character but very well crafted and another beer that would go down superbly sitting watching the world go by in a beer garden. As it happens I was in the 'Rat & Ratchet' and it was hosing down outside! Nevertheless, the beer was excellent and I will certainly be sampling it again. And the Stancill as well, if someone has left me some to try.

Time to Calypso!!

Before I start I must apologise for not posting much recently, due to a couple of reasons ,one technical, one personal. The former being a nasty computer glitch which has taken some sorting out, and the second being a lack of interesting beery things to pass on to you. Hopefully both have been resolved and normal service will be resumed. Tim.

Despite the above comment I have discovered a new(ish) hop which has tickled my taste buds as much as my old favourites. I have previously waxed lyrical over Citra, (but recent brews with citra seem a bit thin in my opnion), and Mosaic, (which I still consider the best of current hops - and some single hopped mosaic beers have been the best beers I have ever tasted). The new kid on the block is Calypso.

Calypso is a hop developed from the Nugget variety of hop, which I have never really found too interesting, a plodder rather than a front runner. Calypso is certainly a front runner - almost the Usain Bolt of hop! It has a high alpha acid content between 12-15% and has all the bitterness that this brings to the beer, but it is the background flavours that make it stand out.

It has a slightly earthy background, but  balanced with a complex fruitiness with hints of pear, melon and citrus fruits to give a really well balanced taste that is ideal for summer. It does need a certain strength to out the better flavours but only in the 4% range.

But don't take my word for it - find it yourself and check it out.