|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!