Ones to Watch: Yorkshires upcoming Craft Breweries
We spent 3 days touring Yorkshire in search of the newcomers making fresh waves on the craft beer scene. Visited pubs, bottle shops, restuarants and breweries of Yorkshire, we talked to local experts and followed their leads and struck gold.
1. Eyes Brewing, Gypsy Brewing, Leeds
The UK’s first and only brewers focussing exclusively on wheat beers opened for business late 2016. “Eyes” may sound like “Weiss” but the name stems from the custom of looking into the eyes of your companion when you say cheers. The Eyes guys started home brewing 2 years ago, spurred on by a love of wheat beers and a desire to create their own. We tracked them down to Acaster Malibs where they were gypsy brewing for the day on Ainsty Ales kit. Brewer Chris designs the badass cans in primary colours and shapes bestowing the classic 80s arcade game feel.
Try the Nitro Milch Weisse (5%) everyone’s lunging about. A dark schops brewed with Lactose and six different wheat malts before carbonation with Nitrogen. The rich, creamy mouthfeel and roasted coffee tobacco notes are ample proof that creativity needs a wheaty constraint.
2. Wilde Child Brewing, Kirkstall
Passion and creativity bursting out in all directions, this one man beer mission has recently taken the leap into commercial brewing. Strong beard, snapback, branded hoodie, garage a meticulous meth lab of stainless steel, well ordered ingredients and studied recipes. In Keir’s house we find bags of malt, hops, yeast and paperwork competing for space with his understanding wife and young family.
As we fist bump goodbyes a courier pulls up and Keir signs for a parcel of rare yeast. He winks and remarks “hashtag haze”. The experience is reminiscent of scoring quality dope ahead of a big night out. The battle strength Pushing Boundaries (8.1% Double IPA) is very much the Yorkshire zeitgeist brew but if you want to drink more than one you can’t go far wrong with The Expatriate (4.5% Session IPA).
3. North Brewing Co, Leeds
Leeds based North Brewery and Tap Room opened in November of 2015 with a vision for playful super hopped flavour combinations, along with some classics. Founder John Gyngell is also the proprietor at North Bar, known for pioneering the craft beer scene in Leeds (if not the UK) long before Brewdog came wagging.
North Brewing isn’t the latest in a string of corporate money pumped beer brands jumping on the craft bandwagon. Success has been built organically over the long term, through attitude and relationships. Old school people with deep roots in craft beer mother earth. Try Piñata Tropical Pale (4.5%) for summer fruit or a chilled Herzog Kolsch Style (5%) for a welcome redefinition of lager.
4. Ghost Brew Co, Baildon
We tracked the spectral duo down to a Baildon haunt. A tall slim Ricky Gervais, James Thompson is an encyclopaedia of craft beer one liners. His partner Steve Crump works the experimental brew tools with a Mackenzie Crook intensity which explains the supernatural chemistry behind their killer brews Phantom Indian Pale Ale (5.3%) and Banshee Indian Rye Ale (5.2%).
Full-flavoured hops, quality ingredients, brewed long into the night. Their closely guarded recipes are perfected on small batch kit, before being outsourced for higher scale production. This keeps James and Steve focussed on small batch innovation. A smart move in a business that is 90% cleaning.
5. Ridgeside Brewery, Meanwood
Jorge Gonzalez Moore, Matt Lovatt and Juan Mendoza purchased the brewery in 2015 and began building on the late Simon Boldersons reputation for hop-forward pale ales. Ridgeside is about experimentation with different styles, flavors, and aromas to produce seasonal, limited-edition specials. A visit to the brewery will find the team tinkering with specialty malts, long conditioning lagers, or perfecting their kettle souring technique. Evidence of their commitment to bringing a fresh and better approach to brewing beer can be tasted in Roosevelt American Pale Ale (4.5%) and Thicket, Bramble Sour (4.5%).
Next Month, Manchester.