I’m not usually a fan of surprises. I like to have things planned and know what I’m getting myself into. I can make exceptions, however, when I find a new bottle shop completely out of the blue, especially when it is right on my doorstep! Despite being blessed in the Yorkshire area as a whole with great breweries and bottle shops, there are no craft stores in my immediate vicinity. That is until now…
Living on the outskirts of Castleford, anyone familiar with the area will know that there are few reasons to venture into the once-prosperous town. But the folks behind new bottle shop Yorkshire Craft Beers are intent on changing that, and rightly so. Situated in the recently refurbished mill building they are bringing life into the local craft beer scene. By showcasing fresh, local beers and offering tasting session and samples on some beers before you buy them they seem to be onto a winner already.
The refurbishment and renovation of the old mill building has been ongoing for some time now and the guys have kept the look and feel of the mill by recycling some of the items and furnishings as part of their display and decorations. Old boards and panels line the walls with an old gear being turned into a clock that sits proudly above the shelves of beer. If you were to think about how a craft beer shop might look inside, this fits the stereotype perfectly.
Upon entry I was greeted by one of the co-runners of the shop, Trev, who I had a good chat with before perusing their wares. Initially the only one in the shop, we had a good natter, but then more people started to come in which was great to see. For a shop that has only been open for around a month, they seem to have gathered plenty of steam already. As I mentioned, their shelves are lined with beers from Yorkshire so you won’t find any of the big familiar faces here such as Cloudwater, Verdant or Deya.
Whilst you might think this may limit their selection, you would be wrong. Yorkshire is home to many great breweries, both big and small, and the choice here is strong enough to warrant sitting in this niche. After speaking with Trev, this is something they are wanting to maintain and promote as they reach out to and are approached by more breweries from the local area. Drinking local has never been more of a focus than it is here…
Given that they are focusing on local brews, there is space for breweries to have multiple lines on show rather than just their popular or usual choices. The biggest brewery on display when I visited was Northern Monk, who were surrounded by the likes of Abbeydale, Wilde Child, Brass Castle and more. People from Yorkshire will likely be familiar with these names but it’s surprising how limited their availability sometimes is in bottle shops.
During our chat, Trev outlined some of their plans to do tasting and hosting nights which were in the pipeline as well as an ambitious plan to host a five course meal complimented by beers of their choice. Whilst mostly still in the planning stages, it was good to see that they are aiming high and looking to reach/attract a wider audience. For anyone in the area, or out of it, I would recommend paying a visit as soon as you can to get your hands on some fine Yorkshire produce. For someone who is proud to be from Yorkshire, I think we sometimes need more focus on our home-grown breweries rather than pining for the big ones out there.
Yorkshire Craft Beers can be found on Facebook by searching their name, on Instagram @yorkshirecraftbeers and on Twitter @yorkscraftbeers Their website also has all their current stock listed too.