Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Briggs & Mallinsons staged a stellar tap takeover at The Star, Huddersfield

Elaine Yendall, left, Nick Briggs and Tara Mallinson
This is the post that so nearly got away.
Aswiftone is indebted to Steve Goodwill for providing us with words and images about one of the ale events of the year.
Regular readers will be recognise that Steve has provided the blog with a feast of photos over the last 12 months following the launch of Briggs Signature Ales last Christmas.
Well, he saved our bacon last Saturday night by stepping into the breach for the aforementioned brewer's first anniversary celebrations at The Star in Huddersfield.
Everybody knew that the anniversary, which included a joint tap takeover with Mallinsons, started at 7pm down at Folly Hall. Yet, two rather optomistic aswiftone.com scribes decided - independently - to chance their arm by turning up five hours early for an afternoon-only session.
Needless to say we were well and truly taunted by several one-off beers, which were so near but yet so far. I texted Steve to let him know which beers were headed his way and he kindly volunteered to ride to the rescue.
So after taking this opportunity to wish all our readers seasons greetings, I'll bow out of this post.
Words and pictures by Steve Goodwill:
Last Saturday night saw one of Huddersfield's premier pubs (and the Mallinsons/Briggs unofficial brewery tap) hosting an event that is becoming increasingly commonplace in progressive drinking establishments, namely a "Tap Takeover", combined with Briggs Signature Ales 1st Anniversary. Which really doesn't warrant an in-depth explanation, suffice to say 6 out of the 10 hand-pumps at The Star in Lockwood were dedicated to Briggs and Mallinsons Brews, including a number of one-off specials. Regrettably, due to all the regular contributors of Aswiftone being otherwise engaged, I thought I might just try my hand, I just hope I don't make a fist of it (with prior apologies to the English Language)! 
Elaine samples one of the takeover beers
So to the beers, three each from both breweries but where to start? Well, as a well known pedant I strongly espouse the ascending gravity method, so I started with one of my favourites, Nick Briggs' "Northern Soul" original pale ale at 3.8% abv, well hopped with Centennial and Cascade hops and a good opener, whetting my appetite for the special version to follow. The "Northern Soul, Anniversary Special" certainly lived up to expectations being the standard offering but "quad hopped" with additional Nelson Sauvin and Citra in the cask, giving an added citrous bite and making it my beer of the night!
Mallinsons was next on my ascending scale with Bravo and "Top Tap Takeover" both weighing in at 4.1%, Bravo being from the brewery's popular Single Hop range that imparts a nice fruity floral taste and the alliteration beer being a variant of the Lockwood Bitter. After discussions with the brewsters it seems that the "Top Tap Takeover" was something of an experiment in the use of the hop essence called "Hop Burst", which is a recently introduced pure hop oil product designed to replace actual hops when "dry hopping". Elaine from Mallinsons then informed me that rather than use double or triple the recommended dose of Hop Burst as on previous attempts, they actually used eight times the standard amount, as earlier attempts were left somewhat lacking in aroma and hop bite....not this time though, hop aroma by the bucket load. On the down side though it did have a strong residual saccharin sweetness that I personally couldn't quite get on with, though a couple of the punters were being rather effusive about it. Ah well, can't win 'em all, as they say!
There then followed a glowing tribute to Nick Briggs and BSA by Sam the landlady with Nick giving a generous return speech, thanking the Star and everyone present (except the local CAMRA branch, who were conspicuous by their absence) for their continued support. We were also introduced to his support group consisting of Martin Simpson of "Martin Illustrates", of Lindley, who produces the esoteric and expressive pump clip artwork (a most useful in-law), his friend and website designer Conrad Pigford and his wife Emily together with other members of his family, who I'm sure are suitably proud of his on-going success.
Right, just two more to go. The last one on the Mallinsons list was the beer with the psychedelic pump clip "Totes Experimental Citranel" (Totes are evidently nothing to do with gambling, it seems), Citra & Nel-son Sauvin hops being used in the boil then dry hopped with Citra and Centennial.......in a word, "Heavenly!" Definitely my kind of beery salvation (or should that be salivation?). 
With the evening inevitably blurring to a close, just time for the last libation "Black Metal", this being a black IPA variant of Nick's latest evidence of his continuing success, "Metal", also dry hopped with another undoubted success story, king of the "C hops", the versatile and very scrummy "Citra"!
A very enjoyable night was had by all, including a party of hardy aficionado's from Liverpool who I'm sure would agree with me that we are indeed very fortunate in Huddersfield to have the holy trinity of Mallinsons, Briggs and The Star to light up our lives!
Here endeth the first lesson.

Here commences lesson the second.
I managed to be in the pub on Sunday, and all the beers were still available, and all still in good form, and as a treat another Mallinsons special appeared . 'Super Nelson' was a dry hopped nelson sauvin beer with more nelson. A beer not for the faint hearted, but an excellent end to a great takeover. Thanks to all who it possible . Timbo 


Ale Ambler said...

Ta, Steve, top job. You've got me running scared!!
Ale Ambler

Ale Louse said...

Cheers Steve - felt bad about missing it - feel worse after reading that. Nice post!

Steveg said...

Thanks guy's......didn't intend to upset you...honest!!
"running scared"?? I don't think so Mr Ambler.....long way to catch you up!!
Ale Louse?!!! Ha ha ha or should that be "Ho ho ho"??

Anonymous said...

As a minor branch official for the local Camra, I was "regrettably otherwise engaged" rather like the regular contributors of A Swift One. It was the Saturday before Christmas afterall!
You mention the absence of the branch as if it was something of a deliberate act/slur on our part towards one or all of the Star Inn, Mallinson's and Nick Briggs. I can assure you it was nothing of the sort.
My visits to the Star as well as my drinking and espousing the qualities of the two brewers are as regular as my time and pocket will allow. Indeed the Star Inn has been the most mentioned pub in my weekly Examiner column over the past 9 months and will probably continue to be so.
There are over 180 pubs selling cask ale and over a dozen breweries within the branch. It is very difficult, nay impossible, for me to give them all the attention they all deserve.
Warm Regards,
Sapphire Blue.

Timbo said...

And the third of the 'Three Wise Men' (don't laugh !) also passes on his thanks...again wanted to be there and failed ...good write up Steve

Steveg said...

No personal slur or impugning of the local branch or any of the members was indeed intended in my write up, but merely a reference to part of Nick Briggs' speech and comments from others present on the night, who may well have regarded it as a snub! On a brighter note, there were only slightly fewer local branch members present than the ones who supported the recent Winter Beer Festival at the Star.

Merry Xmas!!

Nick Briggs said...

Could I just add that it wasn't at all taken as a slur that the presentation couldn't happen, in fact me and Neil (the branch chairman) had a conversation last week and arranged a date in February. I simply mentioned for those who were expecting a presentation that it couldn't be arranged. No offence was taken or intended by Briggs Signature Ales and I am looking forward to the big night next year in The Star.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Nick Briggs
Briggs Signature Ales.