THE GUARDIAN WROTE LAST YEAR THAT 'BRITAIN NOW HAS 1,300 BREWERIES, MORE CAPITA THAN ANY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, INCREASING BY 10% EACH YEAR.'
THE UK IS LITERALLY BOOMING WITH BREWERIES.
It might seem like this is no new thing but it’s taken a good 40 years (since the 70s favour for mass-produced keg bitter and low strength lager killed our brewing power) but the rise of home-grown heroes such as Scottish-born Brew Dog seem to have started a revolution that just keeps on gaining support.
The dust was blown off brew tanks up and down the country and the UK has been busy producing awesome brands such as Camden Town, Kernel, Meantime, Tiny Rebel, Cloudwater Brew Co. and Beavertown ever since.
Yet we’re never more proud than of our home-county Yorkshire, which has produced some of the best independant craft brewers of recent years (we may be a little bias there).
Here’s a shout out to our favourites….
1. ILKLEY BREWERY, ILKLEY
Originally founded in 1873, the brewer’s tradition was brought back to the Yorkshire spa town after a 100 year hiatus in 2009. Since then this awesome little brewery has won over 15 regional and national awards. Ilkley claim to brew their beer in the same manner in which it should be drunk; with passion, patience and most importantly, in a happy and hoppy state of mind! And we like the sound of that!
Try Mary Jane, a multi-award-winning pale ale packed with American hops. Intensely refreshing and satisfying, with surprising balance and body for such low abv. Their best-selling beer by a country mile.
Drink it here; The Cow & Calf, Ilkley
2. MAGIC ROCK BREWING COMPANY, HUDDERFIELD
Magic Rock is the result of the passion of the Burhouse brothers who, aided by head brewer Stuart Ross, were inspired to start a brewery by the burgeoning U.S craft beer scene. Committed to making modern, flavourful, hop forward, ‘big’ beers Magic Rock’s brews have flavour, complexity, balance and drink-ability. Their brand design packs a pretty punch too.
Try Cannonball; an Indian Pale Ale in the true tradition, high in alcohol and massively hopped to survive a long sea voyage. Tropically fruity, resinous hops compete against a sweet malty backbone, while a rasping bitterness builds to a mouth puckering crescendo.
Drink it here; Magic Rock's Tap Room, Hudderfield
3. SUMMER WINE BREWERY, HOLMFIRTH
Summer Wine’s beers are unapologetically flavour forward in nature, their hop and malt laden beers challenge today's modern beer lover. In their own words, they brew beers ‘with heart, soul & raging personality’.
Summer Wine plan to put Yorkshire beer on the map by brewing avante garde beers that make people think twice about what they have accepted as the standard.
Try their Oregon West Coast Pale Ale, brewed with lashings of US cascade hops. This zingy pale ale has grapefruit, sherbet, spicy and floral citrus notes all set against a surpisingly robust malt body to bring mouthfeel and sweetness to balance this very moreish hop-forward American Pale Ale.
Drink it here; Friends of Ham, Ilkley
4. GREAT HECK BREWING COMPANY, GREAT HECK
Established in 2008 in the heart of the Selby coalfield, Great Heck Brewery has gained a reputation as one of the best brewers of cask and bottled ales in Yorkshire. They proudly produce both traditional and excitingly modern beers with love. Each recipe is crafted by beer lovers, for beer lovers.
Try their traditional dark porter made with English Maris Otter malt and lightly hopped with whole English hops. It’s deliciously smooth and a great alternative to mass produced keg stouts.
Drink it here; North Bar, Leeds
5. BAD SEED BREWERY, YORK
Bad Seed make handcrafted, full-flavoured beers, using the best ingredients and innovative recipes.
"Beer that makes you sit up and take notice. Beer that makes you want to sing. Beer that makes you happy to be alive." How can you resist that as a tag line?
Try Saison, a light and spritzy beer with ballsy flavours of banana, bubblegum and tart citrus, complemented by sweet biscuity malts and balanced with a spicy bitterness. Yum.
Drink it here; The Falcon tap, York
6. NORTHERN MONK BREW CO, LEEDS
Northern Monk is committed to creating the highest quality beers combining the best of traditional monastic brewing values with a progressive approach to ingredients and techniques.
We love that this quirky brewery also strives to support and showcase like-minded brands and creatives. They’re committed to working with charitable organisations, local businesses and anyone who shares their passion for detail, respect for humanity and its natural resources. Now that’s a brewery we like.
Try Northern Star their Mocha Porter; a collaboration with Leeds' Micro Coffee Roasters, Northern Star. They blend ground coffee beans into the brew to create a full-bodied dark ale with hazelnut and dark chocolate hints.
Drink it here; The Grub & Grog Shop, Northern Monk Refectory, Leeds