Local drinkers have had their appetites whetted for some time in anticipation of the The Bridge at Holmbridge starting to brew, and Saturday gave us the opportunity to visit, view the brewery and sample the beers brewed there.
The Bridge itself is easy to find, on the right hand side of the main road to Holme from Holmfirth, opposite the church and straight opposite a bus stop. There is an hourly bus service (314) from Huddersfield, and it is served by an infrequent minibus service from Holmfirth. The main emphasis of the recently refurbished and extended pub seems to be food, but there is an intention to keep four of the adjacent brewery's beers on the bar at any one time.
I started in the bar, where there were five beers on offer. It seemed a sensible idea to work from weak to strong, so first up was the 'Blond' - at 3.8%. A very tasty offering, and well balanced, with all English hops. Goldings in the brew and Admiral in the late hopping. The rest of the range had a lot to live up to.
'Bitter' is 4.0%, and is brewed with US Cascade and Target hops, and is more traditional, and a little, but not much, darker than the Blonde. Also at 4.0% was 'American Pale' - plenty of taste here with grapefruit and orange notes coming through from the Chinook and Columbus hops. I deviated from the strength approach here, taken the strongest beer next. This is apparently an occasional brew, rather than a regular, and is 'NZ PA Double Hop' at 5.9%. A massive hit of hops here from New Zealand hops and scarily it does not drink its strength. One to look out for.
The final beer was the only dark beer on the bar and was 'Vanilla Stout' at 5.2%.. The tasting notes refer to the dark malts, oats and the final addition of vanilla pods, which apparently mature - if thats the right word - for a month before the beer reaches the bar. And another excellent beer.
I was very impressed by the quality and range of the beers on offer, and made my way next door to the brewery to pass on my compliments to the brewer. He showed me the purpose built plant, and explained a little of the philosophy of the brewery. It does seem though at present that the beers will only be available at the Bridge itself, the brew size precludes out sales at the moment.
So if you want an afternoon out in the Holme Valley, why not try out The Bridge.