Published on June 5, 2019 | by Alastair Gilmour0
New arrivals at the beer station
It’s no exaggeration to report that there’s a new beer available – often from a new brewery – almost every day of the week. Cans, bottles and craft keg dominate the new release field but cask still holds its own, although it tends to be less of the “here today” variety. Some of the region’s fresh faces that have come to our attention include:
The near 25-year-old brewery is pushing further into the popular craft styles. Durham loyalists will already have tasted Cashmere Blanc, an aromatic IPA. Following this is Azacca, named after a hop variety, and a Brut IPA with a pinky blush colour which is dry as a bone, aromatic and fruity.
To come soon is a Gose (pronounced “gosa”), an ancient beer of German origin, which is a tart, slightly salty, wheat beer, deliciously refreshing and ideal for summer.
Helles (pronounced “hell-ess”) is Durham’s Lagerbier with more than expected flavour which is becoming something of a core beer because of its popularity and under consideration for bottling and canning.
S43, formerly Sonnet 43 Brewhouse, has launched two new craft beers as part of its brand involvement and diversification plans. Fat White Milkshake IPA (6.0% abv) and Big Dank Hazy IPA (7.0% abv) join the flavour-forward direction of GoGo Juice and Get Snozzed which were introduced into the UK craft beer market earlier this year.
S3 lead brewer Alex Rattray has brought his American brewing experience to bear on the brewery’s production. He says: “I’m trying to push the creative boundaries with each new beer we produce as well as listening to the consumers; what flavours they like, plus the styles of beers they are really excited about and wanting to experience. Brewing beers that people love is the whole point, but I also want to be adventurous with the profiles of our beers and will always be experimenting.
“With Big Dank I really wanted to focus on the resinous, piney and dark fruit hop notes and the combo of Simcoe, Citra and Amarillo seemed like a fun way to go and get a huge blast of hops.
“Big juicy IPAs with tons of tropical fruit and soft bitterness are really popular right now – and very delicious – and our GoGo Juice was very much in that vein, so with Big Dank we wanted to go a very different direction and have a substantial bitterness in it. Nuance was not a descriptor we were wanting with this one; it’s a real kick of hops in the face.
“Fat White is our first, hopefully not last, expression of a Milkshake IPA. It was a lot of fun to brew as well and while sweet, creamy, fruity elements are what you’re after here I also wanted to make sure it still tasted like an IPA, so keeping a bit of bitterness there and not letting the sweeter aromas overpower the dry hop was a balance I wanted to strike.
“We used a lot of vanilla beans and hand cutting all of those wasn’t the most fun part of the day, but I think the end result will help my cramped fingers feel better. I think Milkshake IPAs can appeal to a really wide range of beer drinkers so I hope this beer will be enjoyed by hopheads as well as the less initiated.”
However, S3 managing director Mark Hird remains rooted in cask beer. He says: “We are still producing our cask range alongside these new beers and believe we are catering across the board for craft beer drinkers.”
As pubgoers prepare for warm weather and the beer garden days that stretch un-noticed into the twilight hours, Black Sheep has created a sessionable Yorkshire IPA. Twilighter (3.9% abv) is brewed with wholeflower Galena, Citra and Summit hops, providing a beer with exciting hop character and a refreshing citrus flavour.
Jo Theakston, Black Sheep sales and marketing director, said: “We have taken more pre-orders for Twilighter than any of our other seasonal cask ales in the past three years, which highlights its potential popularity. This strong demand is welcome news and builds on the success we enjoyed with Velo during the spring months which celebrated the Tour de Yorkshire cycle race.”
Not so much a clutch of new releases, more a tweet about busy production schedules: “Four days, five different brews – Swedish Blonde, Double Maxim, Maximus, Simcoe Kid & Wards Best Bitter. Everything will be going into cask as we continue trying our best to keep up
with sales. “
North Yorkshire-based Rudgate Brewery has expanded its award-winning portfolio to include something fruity. Three new fruit-based beers represent the Innovation Ales Range, available in 330ml cans.
Full of fresh juicy flavours, the beers are ideal for summer drinking. Blue Nose has deep blueberry notes; Key Lime Pie oozes fresh and zesty citrus flavours, while Mango in the Night packs a punch of tropical fruit.
Craig Lee, Rudgate’s managing director, said: “We wanted to develop something unique, and are really delighted with the new range. The brewing team are already working on exciting developments which we hope to launch in the coming months.”
The full Rudgate range can now be found in independent outlets around the North of England.
Rudgate Brewery was set up in 1992 by two former Bass brewers in an old armoury building on the disused World War II airfield on Marston Moor in Tockwith. As the brewery was on the Viking road of Rudgate it seemed natural to use the name and theme the brewery around Vikings. Viking Bitter was released in September 1992, followed shortly after by Battleaxe. They were the only two beers produced until Ruby Mild was created around 1995.
In 2011 a new brewery facility was built’ volumes doubled between 2002 and 2008, then grew further under a new leadership to reach its current volumes of around 120 barrels (35,000 pints) a week and developing into the expanding market of craft cans.