Hoppiness, Hoppiness…

24 02 2011

“This might be all there is?” It’s 7:15pm on the 16th February 2011 in the Bacchus Newcastle, and we are looking around to see who is here for the unveiling of the latest creation by Yorkshire Dales Brewery. There are only eight people we recognize, but we shouldn’t have worried. A steady trickle, then a flood of Newcastle beer aficionados appear congregating in the snug.

Yorkshire Dales Brewing Co has been in existence since 2005 and brew out of Askrigg, North Yorkshire. They have developed a reputation over the last few years for producing quality beer of many varying contemporary styles. They are one of the most prolific breweries I know, Rob Wiltshire, head brewer, reckons they have brewed 193 beers in five years. Many have appeared at the Bacchus in the last two, first of all a steady stream of good beers, then an excellent eight course beer/food match event and finally a dedicated handpull in the bar has seen the brewery established at this venue. This relationship has also brought some excellent collaboration beers with Andy (the Bacchus manger) assisting: Stout Of This World, a sweet vanilla stout and the robust barley wine – Dead Mans Hill. A number of their brews have also appeared in other local hostelries most notably the Newcastle Arms.

This ‘Meet the Brewer’ event was to celebrate the unveiling of Cautley Spout, the first of eight ‘two hop’ beers, which will be a theme for the next year. As Rob explains on the Yorkshire Dales Brewing Co Site (http://www.yorkshiredalesbrewery.com/)

“In the addition to all the special beers I plan to brew this year will be something a little different. I feel single hop beers are very one dimensional. So to create a series this year of something exciting I will brew 8 brand new ales of varying beer styles, bringing together complimentary hops from around the world”

Cautley Spout, is a 3.7% golden ale using Amarillo and Cascade hops. Initial smell is sharp citrus, and initial taste confirms this with an instant bitterness balancing through the sip and ending with a pleasant sweetness. The first impression was quite good (considering I prefer the dark side) and I could imagine this being a refreshing change on a warm afternoon.

Rob also talked briefly of the second ale ‘Sedbergh Silver’ due out in early March, a heady mix of Chinook and Sorachi. This interested many in the crowd, but I fear may be a little too hoppy for me.

As we munched on the food match of Onion Bhaji’s and (Rocket Fuel) Piri Piri Prawn filo Wraps, Rob answered many questions from the brewing process to the design of his iconic pump clips. As always his answers were informative and he came across as someone deeply passionate about his art.

An excellent evening and I look curiously forward to trying the rest of the two hop ales.


Linked here is the pdf detailing the beers planned in this series (kindly sent to us by Eric)


18 01 2011

I attended my first CAMRA branch meeting yesterday despite having been a member of several years.  I went along with my sister, Cider Tart Lambda, who is the branch Cider & Perry officer and Cider Tart Gamma who is my better half.  I’d never been to a meeting before for a number of reasons; I’ve never felt the urge to become actively involved beyond handing over my hard earned cash or to become embroiled in the perceived, and actual, petty politics that always rears its head in any organisation.

But anyway I went along to have a nosey and also because the meeting was being held in Gateshead’s recently refurbished Central Bar which I had enjoyed on previous visits.   I was expecting maybe 20-30 diehards to be in attendance but there were easily double that number and we had to blag some stools from an adjoining room in order for the Tarts to sit down.  I recognised perhaps 80% of those present although a few I hadn’t previously realised were branch members.  Plenty of younger (30’s and lower) folk were present which, I guess, also surprised me although I can’t rightly say why.

Was there any evidence of the previously mentioned politics? Sure, but it rather reminded of a school yard version of PMQ’s.  A bit of name calling, giggly pointing and pantomime heckles which were all a bit sad and it certainly wouldn’t change my mind about getting involved.  However, in spite of all that the meeting was informative and a valuable source of news concerning up and coming events.  The pubs of the year were also announced for the local regions with no changes from last year noted which means the Bacchus remains Tyneside’s POTY (with an increased majority – congratulations Andy).  Not a bad choice but in my opinion there are better out there (sorry Andy).

The format of the meeting was a little strange in that there was no open discussion allowed which the chairman later explained to me is done to ensure that meetings don’t just turn into a protracted knockabout between 50 people.  I’m not sure how this then enables members to actively engage in policy formation but perhaps the whole thing will become clearer if I attend subsequent meetings.  And there is the question; will I attend any further meetings? I think I probably will although I don’t think I would go out of my way to make sure I get to them.  I found some of it quite interesting and some of it quite depressing but I’m long enough in the tooth not to judge things totally on first impressions even if they are usually right.

For the record I had two pints through the night.  First up was Allendale Wagtail which I had not come across before and to be honest I wish I hadn’t.  It was a flat, lifeless pint of brown nothingness which is a great shame as Allendale usually produce some cracking ales.  Next up I went for safety and a pint of Thornbridge Kipling my beer of the year 2010 and it was all I needed to erase memories of the brown muck preceding it.

Sunday Worship- The Return

26 02 2010

As you may recall, or not as the case may be, I took part in a beer and food matching event at the Bacchus in Newcastle back in November, well I’ve just got my tickets for the next one too.

This Sunday sees return to the Bacchus at the slightly later time of 15:00, I guess to allow Andy to maintain his normal Sunday lunch service.  This time the brewery in question is the Yorkshire Dales Brewing Company and the list is as below.  No word yet on the food to go with said beers but I’ll imagine we’d find out on the day as we did last time.

3.8% Coverham Abbey – A Blonde Lager style session ale.  Triple hopped with Centennial, Galena and finally Celeia.  Easy drinking but with a real fresh light hoppy taste.

3.9% Marsett Mild – A traditional Pale Mild brewed with plenty of vienna, amber and brown malts for a touch of malty sweetness and caramel.  Very lightly hopped with some English Challenger and Bramling Cross.

4% Fred Astaire – A Ginger Beer, golden in colour but with a real dry ginger bite.  This beer is hopped with a trio of American hops, Galena, Centennial and Cascade.

4.2% Warcop Fell – A Dark Marzen style Bock. Brewed with a range of dark malts including Vienna, Amber, Dark Crystal, Black and Chocolate, hopped with English Challenger and German Herkules hops.

4.3% Askrigg Ale – A Premium golden bitter hopped keenly with Northdown and Amarillo for a real grapefruit/citrus finish.  Very crisp and dry.

5.5% – Gaping Gill – a truly rich and smoky porter.  Brewed with the finest Bamberg beech wood smoked malt and plenty of brown malt for a smooth deep complex flavour.

5.5% Four Continents I.P.A – This is brewed with just Pale Malt and a small amount of Black Malt to reflect a simple malt bill but the abundance of hops in this I.P.A will blow you away.  The hops originate from 4 continents, Nelson Sauvin (New Zealand), Sorachi Ace (Japan), Chinook (North America), Celeia (Slovenia)

5% St’Out of this World – A vanilla stout hand crafted with a modern twist on a centuries old beer style.  Plenty of roast barley distinguish a stout from a porter and some rolled oats for a creamy white head.

Again a great looking line up and I can’t now wait for Sunday.