I, my friends (if I may call my sole reader that!), am becoming a bit of a Professional Northerner. Especially when it comes to beer. To my mind, there’s nothing worse than going in a Northern pub (in my case, Manchester) and not seeing a drop of Northern beer. Don’t get me wrong now, there is some simply superb beer being made all over this lovely island, but London seems to get all the press (and blogging) inches.
Nearly a year ago now, I decided to focus (almost) exclusively on beers from the North. Because, for me, the brewers up here have nothing to learn from elsewhere. There is, quite simply, some astonishing beer brewed up in these parts that gets not a lumen of the light that’s shone on the likes of Bermondsey & Hackney.
If I’m honest, as much as I adore the history of The Cousins War (aka The Wars of the Roses) and the banter that flies from each side of the Pennines, but this focus on Northern beer was the genesis of The Independent Salford Beer Festival (#ISBF2014). The beers came from Crewe to Scarborough and were mightily well received if the feedback is to be believed. So much so that we’ll be doing it again. (More on that elsewhere)
I was made up when Malcolm & Beverley Bastow from Five Towns Brewery in Wakefield took the time out and came over to Salford in October. I was even more made up when (via an independent Twitter vote) one of his beers won Beer of the Festival – AND that another Yorkshire beer came second (Hazelnut Mild by Brass Castle). Mostly North West drinkers voting for two Yorkshire beers kind of felt like a validation.
I’d heard a rumbling about a potential Northern Beer themed festival and when Malcolm confirmed that he was organising, I knew it would be something else. You see, for the uninitiated, he makes some bloody good beer in that there shed of his! But I was both humbled and astonished when he approached me to see if I would help in sourcing the beers from this side of The Hill. Even more so when I read that #ISBF2014 was one of the inspirations behind his festival!
I couldn’t say no, could I?
The little place you see above is the venue. Wakefield Labour Club. Known locally (and affectionately) as “The Red Shed”. I’m told that it has a capacity of 70. Yes, you read it right! Seventy. Or, me plus 60 others. The festival (as you can see) takes place in just under 2 weeks. As far as I’m aware, it’s pay on the door. Having had sight of the beer list, I’m just hoping that I can get in when I arrive. To say that I’m salivating is an understatement!
So, without further ado…..
From the West :
Brewsmith Beer – Nelson Sauvin (Pale Ale)
Wilson Potter – Don’t Fall (Pale Ale)
First Chop – SYL (Black IPA)
Tickety Brew – Rose Wheat Beer
Squawk Brewing Co – Pale Ale
Shindigger Brewing Co – IPA
Black Jack Beers – New Deck (Golden Bitter)
Allgates Brewery – Shogi Porter
Marble Brewery – Spring (Pale Ale)
Quantum – UK Light (UK hopped Pale Ale)
Thirst Class Ale – Pale & Interesting (Pale Ale)
From the East :
Clark’s – Billy Ruffian (Stout)
Sunbeam – Shepherds Delight (Rose Water infused)
The Rat Brewery – Rye Rat of the Caribbean (Red Rye Ale)
Atom Beers – Schroedinger’s Cat (Pale Ale – Columbus, Chinook, Citra & Mosaic!)
North Riding Brewpub – Hunters Dream (Strong Mild)
Blue Bee Brewery – Real (A Sorachi Pale Ale)
Brown Cow – Yorkshire Sovereign (Pale Ale)
Revolutions Brewing – The Golden Age of Wireless (Mild) I DO love a musical reference!
Steel City Brewing – Troika Red IPA
Whippet Brew Co – Brew Number One!
Learn To Brew – Young, Gifted and Pale (Pale Ale) (+ a mystery beer!) – I DO love a musical reference!
and last….but not least, your hosts….
Five Towns Brewery – May Day. Fully loaded brew, with Citra, Mosaic, Nelson Sauvin, Chinook and Equinox hops, Double IPA.
It’s a rare Beer Festival when there is THIS much Northern beer and I haven’t so much as sniffed 75% of it!
I’m going (Train & Hotel booked!) along with Yoda (aka the Arch-Nemesis) and I can honestly say that I haven’t looked forward to a beer festival this much in years!
It’s all in a good cause too, so come along and have a beer or seven and help support some good causes by er…..drinking great beer!!!!
“Pushing thru the market square, so many mothers sighing
News had just come over, we had five years left to cry in.
News guy wept and told us earth was really dying
Cried so much his face was wet, then I knew he was not lying.
I heard telephones, opera house, favourite melodies.
I saw boys, toys electric irons and T.V.’s.
My brain hurt like a warehouse, it had no room to spare,
I had to cram so many things to store everything in there.
And all the fat-skinny people. And all the tall-short people
And all the nobody people. And all the somebody people
I never thought I’d need so many people”
(“Five Years” – Bowie)
(Clip courtesy Sante3d via YouTube)
For Malcolm & Beverley (As fans)
For everybody else – Do I REALLY need to explain this?
That’s all for now people. See you next week?