York Brewery’s 5.4% ABV Centurion’s Ghost Ale is a deep red black ale with a beautifully creamy head. The aroma is of coffee grounds and this is carried through to the taste, along with burn toast and malt whiskey. It’s a big taste and the best of the range from York Brewery that I’ve reviewed. This is a beer that I could enjoy all evening (in moderation) but would also go well with steak frites. Very highly recommended.
Tag Archives: York
Yorkshire Terrier is the latest in my series of reviews of York Brewery’s excellent ales. It’s 4.2% light coppery gold ale with a light head. The aroma is fragrant and floral, and the flavour itself is dry, hoppy and full of orange zest. It wouldn’t be my choice as a session ale – it’s maybe a little too bitter/dry for my taste – but it’s a very clean, fresh taste, and if you prefer a hoppy ale, this one might suit you very well indeed.
York Brewery’s 4.2% ABV York Minster Ale is a light golden bitter. It smells of very little at all, to be honest, but the flavour is a good, strong dry bitterness, with plenty of zesty hops. It’s a much more robust sustained flavour than the Guzzler, and as bitters go, I really like it, but personally prefer Guzzler. I wouldn’t drink this with a meal, but wouldn’t turn down a pint at my local pub.
To get me started on my series of reviews of beers from Yorkshire based breweries, I’m starting at the York Brewery itself, with the excellent 4% ABV Guzzler. This is a light gold ale that pours with a light but enduring head. The ale smells of citrus and elderflower, and the taste is light on malt, with subtle notes of citrus lemon. Unusually, the tasting notes match my own assessment of the beer. It would be great with a salad, or a very enjoyable session ale. Highly recommended.
Over the next few weeks and months, I’ll be focussing on beers from specific parts of the UK, such as Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire, but to get me started, I’ll be visiting a county where I spent three very happy years as a student: Yorkshire. The historical County of York was the largest of Britain’s counties until a reorganisation in the twentieth century, when for administrative purposes, it was split into three. For the purposes of this blog, however, I’ll be reviewing beers from that historical county, and I’ll be starting in the City of York itself. As a student, Yorkshire is where I first encountered Theakston’s bitter and Old Peculier, Sam Smiths’ bitter, but also Tetley’s and John Smiths’, and my favourite pint was of Sam Smiths’ bitter in the Wellington Inn in Alma Terrace. These days, there are many more breweries in the county, and I’ll be reviewing beers from York Brewery, Rudgate, Brass Castle, Saltaire, Sam Smiths, Daleside, Hambleton and a few others, too, no doubt. So, off to God’s own country…
Last weekend, I made one of my regular visits to York, and by chance, arrived there at exactly the right time to sign up for a tour of the York Brewery.
First impressions are not great, to be honest. On arrival outside the brewery, I followed the signs down a short alley, through a tiny courtyard into the rear of the building, up a staircase and through a door into what looks like a clubhouse with its own bar (which it turns out, is exactly what it is, but this one has its own brewery too!).
Tickets for the tour cost just £6, and this includes two halves of any of the beers available. So my first half pint was of Centurion’s Ghost, which is a rich dark red ale, and just right for the cold and miserable March weather, and I enjoyed this relaxing in one of the shabby but comfortable sofas while I waited for the tour to start.
The tour includes just two or three areas within this small brewery, but we were shown around by a very knowledgeable and patient guide! He answered all questions from the more and less experienced visitors in our group of five with the same attention to detail and enthusiasm. I genuinely found the explanation and sight of the processes used, and the ability to smell, taste and touch the ingredients, fascinating, informative and memorable.
At the end of the tour, we returned to the bar for our second taste of a York ale, and this time I went for ‘Decade’, one of the seasonal ales produced each month. This was a much lighter, more citrus, flavoured ale and unfortunately did not appear to be available in bottles, otherwise I might have left with several!
One of the really great things about York Brewery is that it seems to have retained all of the ethos and ambition of a small independent craft brewery despite having been acquired by Lancashire pub operator Mitchell’s of Lancaster. And, so far, there seems to be no expectation that York’s independence will be compromised by its Lancaster-based owner.
So to conclude, York Brewery is well worth a visit (allow at least an hour, or as long as you like if you want to sample all of the beers available)
So this is Rudgate’s York Chocolate Stout! It has been sitting waiting to be opened since I spotted it in Evil Eye in Stonegate on a trip to York a few weeks ago and this seemed like the right time. It’s a beer that should suit me down to the ground: it’s a stout, brewed in the City of York which is famous for its chocolate factory and where I was a student, with added chocolate from the terrific York Cocoa House, so what’s not to like?! This 5.0% ABV beer looks like liquid chocolate as I pour it into the glass, and the frothy, chocolate coloured head soon dissipates. The aroma is quite spicy before the chocolatey notes kick in, and the taste is rich, warming and not surprisingly, the dominant flavour is the added chocolate essence. It’s a beer that would work well with strong flavoured meats like venison, game and beef, especially if in a pie or casserole.
York Cocoa House is a fantastic place to go for a hot chocolate or coffee, with a great choice of cakes; it’s small and friendly and much easier to get a table than a certain well-known tea shop nearby. Evil Eye is not far from York Cocoa House, and even closer to the fabulous House of Trembling Madness, which also sells Rudgate beers. They are all worth visiting next time you’re in York.