No, not something I think people would immediately associate with me, and I have to confess to not being the biggest beer drinker. But what I do love is people creating great tasting products, doing what they love with great passion and being more interesting than big, multi-national faceless producers. And given the current horsemeat scandal then we all know where that leads!
And I’m loving where restaurants are moving into matching beer, lager and cider with dishes, just great to give some variety and great interest. From just beginning to keep a watching eye on interesting stories and brewers, these are some of the ones I’m lining up to try:
* The Ilkley Brewery Company – whilst not born, definitely partly bred in Yorkshire so consider myself an honorary Yorkshire girl, so would definitely need a Yorkshire brew or two to try. Ilkley started in 2009 and has won many awards in the four years. I like the sound of Dinner Ale, sounds like it would fit perfectly into a food matching menu.
* Bradfield Brewery – a very scenic site for a brewery in the heart of the Peak District, this is a small family run business brewing the traditional way. The water for the ale is pure Peak District water that comes from their own bore hole on the farm. Farmers Blonde appears to be making a lot of news for them at the moment, sounds perfect for summer evening drinking.
* Oldershaw Brewery – this is pretty local to me and is again a small, family run business, running on a local scale. Given some of my family heritage is Irish, then I am quite partial to a drop of the dark stuff, so would give the Grantham Stout a go, at least once!
* The Triple FFF Brewery – for the name if nothing else! This is a longer established brewery, established in 1997, they even brewed a Supreme Champion in 2008. I love the design work on their bottled beers (such a girl, I know, but once a marketer…!) and can think of a few times when Comfortably Numb might have been a desirable state!
* Harviestoun Brewery – heading a long way north for this one, to the foot of the Ochil hills. This is a reasonably big operation when compared to some of the others but still a small business. For something a bit distinctive then I would try the Ola Dubh, where the ale is matured in whisky casks from Highland Park Distillery. Flavours sound delicious, and there are three different “ages” to choose from.
These are just five incredible breweries doing interesting things in difficult times, and I think could be the start of some interesting experimentation. Would love to know of others that you think are worth a look, and what you’d serve alongside them. As we look to buy local, even with the growth in the British wine industry, then British beer has to be worth considering for all kinds of drinking occasions.