A recent chance meeting with Tony and Jackie Rogers led to them inviting me along to their brewery to collaborate in the creation of a special beer. The Half Moon Brewery is located in the quiet village of Ellerton in the far west of the East Riding, close, but not too close to the river Derwent. They have brought a former village pub back to life as one of Yorkshire’s newest breweries.
Formerly the village forge between 1796 and 1968; it was also run as the Half Moon pub for around forty years in the nineteenth century by blacksmith George Huntswick. After a considerable restoration project, Tony and Jackie moved into the property as home and brewery.
I knew I was in good hands as they had already started winning awards within a year of starting up. The first was in May with Dark Masquerade (3.6% ABV) being voted beer of the festival at The Pub beer festival in Leicester. Then in September the same beer won a silver award in the Mild section of the prestigious Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) North Eastern competition. This should really come as no surprise as Tony had previously worked at Great Heck while Jackie had honed her skills under the tutelage of multi-award-winning Brewster Sue Simpson at the Brown Cow Brewery near Selby.
I would have made my way to the village under my own steam but the local bus only runs once a day on a Tuesday when there is a Z in the month. And so we arranged for Tony to pick me up at Selby railway station early one crispy morn in late January.
After a swift cuppa it was on with the job in hand. Four malts went in followed by Target and Northdown hops for bittering and later Galena hops for taste and aroma. The final ingredient, Nottingham yeast was added and we were done. Seven hours of banter with my sides splitting and in need of a breather from all the jokes and excitement there was a final cup of tea before Tony drove me back to Selby station for my train.
There followed two weeks of waiting and wondering. Then came the word via twitter. Our beer, Hull Moon was on the bar at Walters in Hull’s Old Town and I was out of the traps like a greyhound on heat. I was greeted by charming bar lady Katie who pulled me my pint. Well, that went down so quickly I had to have another two and unusually for such a beer of 5.2% ABV it was easy drinking. The tasting notes describe Hull Moon as a rich, gold, hoppy, Indian Pale Ale. Blooming lovely.
The beer has also appeared at various top pubs in Hull and East Yorkshire and across the north ranging from the Stumble Inn in Scarborough to the north and to the New Oxford in Salford in the west. I am told by Tony and Jackie that all twenty casks were either soon snapped up or earmarked for special pubs in the West Riding. It must be something to do with their reputation for fine beers rather than my interfering.
A great laugh and hopefully they might let me have another go some time. Thanks Jackie and Tony.
The Bloke from Hull