In my last post I said that I needed to get out more, visit more local venues and sample more local beers. Thankfully I have managed to fulfil all three of those goals and, conveniently, make a start all in one visit. On what was a glorious Saturday evening after a full day of sunshine, and an excellent England victory, I headed over to Brew York for their City of Ale festival.
Taking place over three days (5th-7th of July) they hosted a number of breweries and guest beers, highlighting some excellent beer that is being produced in the Yorkshire region. Helpfully they ran both afternoon and evening session ensuring maximum exposure and availability for patrons although I’m not sure who could have made it on a Thursday afternoon. Regardless, a ticket got you in with a glass to keep with a choice of either a pint or half pint glass.
Ever the opportunist, attending as a couple meant that we could pick up one of each and add to our every growing collection of brewery glasses (we will have enough to supply a bar soon). Tokens were the currency and you could buy them on entry and later on with any spare tokens refundable at the end of the night or you could spend them in the pop-up bottle shop courtesy of Trembling Madness (a first for this years event). Breweries in attendance were Bad Seed, Brass Castle, Half Moon, North Riding, Bone Machine, Turning Point and Roosters. Cocktails, cider and food were also available as well as soft drinks for those who were playing Des…
The only problem (if this even is a problem) with events like this though is the sheer selection of beers on offer and having to accept you simply cannot try them all. Thankfully, having not heard of most of the breweries there, there weren’t too many beers I had sampled already meaning I was truly stepping into the unknown. Thankfully I had my trusty guide with me for reference and tasting notes of beers that I was eyeing up and tempted to try. Where I could I tried to start low and work my way up to the stronger stuff later but unfortunately, or not, most of those I was after were stronger in strength. I looked out for anything that was listed as fruity, hoppy or contained any of my favourite hop flavours such as simcoe, mosaic or citra.
For the most part I wasn’t disappointed. Naturally there were some I tried that weren’t as nice as I’d expected, but that’s part of the journey; every beer can’t, and won’t, be the best you’ve ever tried. Sure samples were on offer as a ‘try before you buy’ but I like trying something on a whim and supporting the brewery on their adventure as well. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and all that! Highlights included Nuba by Brew York, Cloud Piercer by Bone Machine and Murk Merchant by Bad Seed amongst many others.
What was equally as satisfying as sitting and drinking beers all evening was seeing the enjoyment had by all the patrons too. Potentially spurred on from the world cup quarter final result, everyone was in good form and very friendly and welcoming. Staff behind the stalls and pumps were very helpful and insightful too, offering advice on what beers to try based on your preferences. The food was also spot on too with what can only be described as posh cheesy chips with gravy, on offer alongside meatballs and other options.
As I mentioned in the opening of this post, Trembling Madness had a pop-up shop at this years festival which was great to see. They have just recently opened their new drinking spot which I need to visit shortly but their permanent bottle shop has to be seen to be believed. They have so much choice it’s easy to get lost amongst them all. In some ways their selection was limited in comparison on the night but still had some great beers to spend your left over tokens on.
All in all it was a great evening that showed that the local brewery scene is still in full growth, people are enjoying and wanting more craft beers and can come together in mutual respect for them. Brew York, you did good and we will be over to your tap room and beer hall again in the very near future…