We hit Knaresborough under the cover of darkness not knowing what to expect, knowing only that Roosters Brewery are relaunching their famous Outlaw series.
For as long as we’ve lived in Leeds the beer on tap at the Cross Keys has been Roosters, week in week out. At North Bar, Wild Mule was virtually omnipresent and rarely defeated in having the fewest beer miles, which are chalked up next to each guest beer behind the bar.
So we arrive at The Mitre excited but confused as to why we’d swapped a typical Monday evening (ASDA, pizza, telly) for the drive into North Yorkshire. It was soon worth it.
The Mitre sits in the well of a steep lane, squeezed just opposite Knaresborough’s cute train station and a car park where there’s just enough room to turn a car, Austin Powers style. We’re greeted with a smart dining hall, a well turned out bar, and of course, Roosters on hand pull (a cheeky 284ml of Londinium please, with all it’s vibrant start and coffee finish. Yum yum but the lingering after taste means no kissing says the other half).
Before we’ve had a chance to waffle down a starter selection of lamb kebab, battered prawns and the most delicious bread and dips this side of a Greek Island, the pub is packed with people, all vying for a pint of Roosters Buckeye to kick start the evening.
Then we’re all bustling down the stairs to the underground brasserie where commercial manager and Roosters brother number one Tom Fozard explains why we’re here.
And as expected we are here to relaunch Outlaw Brewing Co, an offshoot set up by Roosters founder Sean Franklin to create innovative and challenging beers outside the brewery’s normal beer production.
It’s a concept that Ol Fozard, brother number two and head brewer (and apparently head brother too according his siblings introductory slip up) has embraced wholeheartedly, as the first new Outlaw brew is no less ambitious than a tea beer.
Yep, a beer made with tea, tea supplied by local tea empire Taylor”s of Harrogate. A family brewer and a family tea producer combining to make, well, a really decent brew!
Technically the beer served up at The Mitre is a prototype, and beer writer Melissa Cole is on hand to explain why she’ll be digging deep into Ol’s hop cupboard the next day when she mashes in with Ol.
And Melissa’s contribution has already been critical to direction of the final product. The beer – appropriately named Mad Hatter – is not just a tea beer but under Melissa’s guidance it’s a Jasmine Green Tea IPA.
It’s an artistic manoeuvre in adjunct flavours and the brewing traditions of tea and beer (we don’t quite get the IPA style but we can’t argue against the logic behind a green tea beer being designed as an India pale ale). Mad Hatter is flavoured with English bittering hops plus US Cascade and Australian Galaxy to maintain the colonial theme.
And then there’s the teabagging. Finest jasmine creates a blossoming floral nose and delicate sweetness, set against an easy drinking backbone with just a fleeting bitterness to reference to the catty dry palate of green tea.
Bittering hops and green tea naturally leaves our palette gasping for another pint…
But it’s a school night and we head back to West Yorkshire in anticipation. Not just of the official batch of what we believe to be the UK’s first jasmine green tea beer, but of what beery concoction the mad hatters of Roosters will come up with next for the green shoots of Outlaw Brewing Co.Tags: green tea, jasmine, knaresborough, Mitre, outlaw, roosters
September 27th, 2012Desert Island Beers
This weeks Desert Island Beers features Barrie Pepper who is one of Britain’s leading beer writers and for seven years was Chairman of the British Guild of Beer Writers. He has been Highly Commended three times in the Guild’s Beer Writer of the Year awards and was the first recipient of the Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award for services to beer writing. And in 2002 Barrie won the Guild’s Silver Tankard for his book ‘The Landlord’s Tale‘ for which he was also runner-up in the Glenfiddich Award for Drinks Books. Then in 2004 he won another Silver Tankard for ‘Fifty More Great Pub Crawls’.
He is a life member of CAMRA and a former member of its National Executive. He was recently chosen as one of its top 40 campaigners.
Barrie’s journalistic work includes writing for The Yorkshire Post, What’s Brewing, First Draught, Wine and Spirit International, Beers of the World, Inn Speak and several other newspapers and journals in Britain, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, the Czech Republic and the United States. He has now written eighteen books on pubs and beer and two on the Anglican church. In 2003 he was elected a Life Member of the National Union of Journalists.
When not writing about beer his other interests are the theatre, music, sport, travel – which he also writes about – and the convivial atmosphere and company of the traditional British pub. He is active in the Anglican Church being a member of the Ripon and Leeds Diocesan Synod and Editor of his parish church newsletter.Tags: barrie pepper, old peculiar, Orval, roosters, Theakstons, timothy taylor
January 27th, 2012Desert Island Beers
This week we have a friend coming to stay on our desert island. Welcome Leigh Linley!
Born and bred in Leeds, Leigh has been writing about beer and food on his blog, The Good Stuff, since 2005, which makes him one of the longest serving food and beer bloggers in Yorkshire. And he sure knows his stuff.
In conjunction with Dough Bistro (and soon also the famous Beer Ritz beer shop in Leeds) Leigh hosts beer and food evenings, as well as contributing to Leeds CAMRA’s Full Measure magazine and editing the ‘Tavern Tales’ section of Culture Vulture, which looks at pubs and pub Life rather than the beer in the glass.
Having witnessed Leigh once get on a train to Leeds only to realise it was actually a train to Sheffield, we can attest to the fact he’s a solid drinking companion (that’s what a Twissup session will do to a man!).
When not drinking and writing about beer and circumnavigating Yorkshire’s railways he writes fiction, watches Leeds United (through his fingers) and causes minor havoc on the streets of Leeds with his border terrier, Wilson.
So Leigh, which five beers will you be taking with you?
- Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (U.S.A – 5.6%).
“My gateway beer, as it happens. From this one American icon my obsession with beer – enough to make me want to do as much as I can to help the industry – was birthed. It still tastes so good today, although Torpedo takes some beating. For me, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale has the perfect balance of sweet and bitter, and it’s a taste that still hasn’t been replicated.”
- Magic Rock Brewing Co. Human Cannonball (Huddersfield, U.K. – 9.2%)
“For my stronger beer, Human Cannonball just fits the bill so perfectly at the moment. My current obsession, Human Cannonball hides the ABV so well amongst all that sweetness, but the bitter finish makes it so finely poised. Ruinously drinkable.”
- Rooster’s Wild Mule (Knaresborough U.K. – 3.9%)
“For a refreshing taste of home in the desert heat.”
- Buxton Brewery Co. Black Rocks (Buxton U.K. – 5.5%)
“One of the best – if not the best – Black IPA I’ve ever tasted. Wonderful stuff.”
- Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout (U.S.A. – 10.0%)
“Another beer that I think still has no serious rival. And it satisfies my sweet tooth.
And which beer (of those selected) do you regard most highly? Read the rest of this entry »Tags: brooklyn brewery, buxton, magic rock, roosters, sierra nevada
- Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (U.S.A – 5.6%).
November 4th, 2010Beer Events
Roosters Brewery, whose beers are the staple diet of many a Yorkshire pub, marked this Hallowe’en with a pumpkin beer. No ordinary pumpkin beer though, a pumpkin beer served in nothing less than a giant pumpkin. A really, really giant pumpkin.
Pumpkin 5 Spice Ale was tapped at North Bar in Leeds, in front of Calendar news and a small selection of excitable beer lovers. Arguably a more delicate task than tapping a cask, the job in hand was left to Sam Franklin of Roosters Brewery.
And what of the beer? Well, it’s eminently drinkable: sweet without being at all syrupy; conditioned to perfection with just a hint of carbonisation; spicy but not hot – nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves dominate, ideal for warming the spirit on a cold day.
Everything in moderation including moderation they say. Strangely perhaps, Roosters 5 Spice Pumpkin Ale is a beer that you could drink with little moderation. One of the best session beers of the year.
And it’s served from a pumpkin. A giant pumpkin. What more could you want on a lazy Saturday afternoon in autumn?!Tags: north bar, pumpkin, roosters, yorkshire