Tag Archives: Real Ale

York Brewery- Real ale

As you know we’ve been trying real ales recently, this is just a quick post about two ales that we tried from York Brewery. Despite York being an ancient city in our country’s history, the brewery is only 14 years old. But is becoming increasingly popular with its award-winning ales. This was the first time that we had tried any of the ales from York.Both beers, York Minster ale and Yorkshire terrier are golden. They both had the same “tasting notes” which were,

See – Golden

Smell – Orange zest, light hop

Taste – Clean, sharp, bitter

What we thought about York Minster – Quite aromatic, long deep distinctive flavour, mellow. Definitely taste the hops but not too much

What we thought about Yorkshire Terrier – It reminded us of a Yorkshire terrier, those feisty little dogs. It had a lager-esque taste about it. Quite gassy for a bitter. Refreshing in comparison to a traditional cask ale. I didn’t agree that it has smell of orange zest. However it definitely had a long hoppy aftertaste which lingered and became quite metallic.

They were both ok, but I think I would like to try something in a darker malt from this brewery, and to try the Yorkshire terrier again but on tap.

Copper Dragon Skipton- Real ale

I think as you get older, your palate continues to evolve. I don’t think that many people are born with a liking of red wine and espresso coffee! In recent years, Mark and I have developed a taste for Real Ale. We had both gone through our early 20’s on nights out consuming special student deals etc. I think that we got to a point that we started to really appreciate what we were drinking.

We live in Castleford which is home to T.Fawcett’s Maltsters and Malt Roasters. both processes fascinate me. (I know that won’t get everyone going!) However they are important because they allow the sugars in barley to ferment and produce alcohol and give beer its distinctive colour.

I first became intrigued by Copper Dragon as I saw one of their vehicles in Castleford. I wasn’t sure if they used T.Fawcett’s or if they were supplying a local pub. I also noticed that they had started to follow me on Twitter. They’re also based in Skipton Yorkshire. It was fate, I had to try their beer.

Sorry, this is an after drinking photo

We drank the beers from dark to light (darker roasted malt first)

Black Gold – what the brewer says

“Recipe recreated from restored brewing records from the 1800’s. The use of traditional coloured and roasted malts give a unique, rich and luscious flavour.”

What we thought – Hints of treacle and cinder toffee. Smooth, no aftertaste (not over hopped) rich and velvety. Dark but not black. Totally delicious. Would be lovely as the evenings creep in.

Best Bitter – what the brewer says

“A refreshing amber coloured Best Bitter brewed with English malt and hops creating a traditional session ale to suit all palates.”

What we thought – Easy drinking bitter with a trace of honey. This beer is exactly what is says on the bottle. I think if you’re not a huge fan of real ale this would be a good one to try. I could quite easily find a nice little pub and have a few of these.

Golden Pippin – what the brewer says

” A light refreshing blonde ale brewed using a variety of hop creating a citrus fruit flavour. Originally brewed as a seasonal ale, it has become such a favourite that it is now brewed all year round”

What we thought – this is a very summery drink, you can taste the hops with the kick coming after you’ve swallowed. It almost tingles on your tongue. Floral and citrusy. Very refreshing on a hot day. Slightly more bitter than the other two.

All of the beers were delicious, you can really taste the quality. Our favourite was Black Gold which surprised us as we don’t usually go for the darker ales. But this has changed our minds. I think we also preferred this as we drank it on a dark, damp and cold evening. I’m sure we’d prefer Golden Pippin in the summer on a steaming hot day. Would definitely recommend these they’re top class!

We’re hoping to review more Yorkshire real ales, please let us know if you have any suggestions for us.

Farmer Copley “Know what you’re eating?”

Mark and I had both lived in Leeds for the majority of our lives, that was until we got married. House prices were too expensive in our area so we looked a little further afield. After much searching, we found the perfect little house in Castleford. Now, it’s not the most affluent area due to the collapse of the mining industry but, being part of the five towns (Castleford, Pontefract, Knottingley, Normanton and Featherstone) we’re surrounded by agricultural farm land.

One of the farm shops local to us is Farmer Copley’s in Featherstone, which has an impressive array of awards including “Best Farm shop in Great Britain 2009/2010”

As you can see, it is quite an impressive building. It has been extended since we started visiting three and a half years ago. With the extension, they have a children’s play area with small plastic ride-on tractors, a new cafe called “Moo” which sells hot drinks, cakes, hot and cold sandwiches etc. I’ve  had lunch there and the food is excellent.

The shop sells a variety of local produce (local to Yorkshire) including beer from Copper Dragon, wine from Leventhorpe, cheese, chutney, jams, and vinegar from Wormersley etc and is beautifully presented.

Cheese counter

Meat counter

condiments etc

The main ethos of the shop is that it prides itself on the quality of its produce and that all of the meat is locally sourced. The beef is reared free range by Rob Copley. His website explains that he’s chosen specific breeds to ensure that the meat is of the highest standard. This shows in the price. It really is significantly higher than the supermarket. I bought some top side beef which was just under £12.00/kg with the local supermarket being £8.00/kg. The big difference is, I know exactly where the meat came from, that it’s free range and has been hung for 21 days. I think that we’re used to eating cheap meat in this country. I spoke to my mum about it, she said that she didn’t have nearly as much meat in her diet when she was young because of the cost, but it changed when supermarkets became popular and people stopped buying from the local butcher.

Also people are buying “expensive cuts” of meat on a regular basis and not using their imagination with cooking to purchase cheaper cuts of meat from an animal that has been well cared for. I suppose we live for convenience. I think if we want that, then we really need to consider the practices of intensively farmed animals. I’m a realist, I’m guilty of buying two chickens for £7 but I would never dream of not buying free range eggs! It’s difficult with country coming out of recession, being on maternity leave but, it does feel good when you’re eating meat that has been well cared for. Is it better, that we all do a little bit to work towards improving animal welfare, or that a few do everything? It might just be hypocrisy, but it makes me feel better if I do a bit when I can.

The only question I had, was about the way they label the standard of the animal eg free range, freedom food etc. Their website says that some of the chickens “are locally produced and well looked after” I asked what it meant. They said it was higher than RSPCA Freedom Food standard but not free range. I thinks it’s misleading to the consumer if you’re selling free range and none free range together and it’s  not clearly explained what “well looked after” means. I think there might be the misconception that it’s all free range. I also expect that if I’m buying a small chicken for £6 that it’s free range further fuelling the misconception. I also think for a company that prides itself on locally sourcing meat, it should be labelled which farm the meat came from.

Despite that, the beef was delicious, you could taste the quality. We also bought sausages, at the moment they’re my favourite, high meat content and perfectly seasoned. However, I will soon be visiting Swillington farm which is the equal distance from me as Farmer Copley’s and specialises in free range organic meat. I’ve checked their prices which are marginally higher. But I imagine that’s expected with organic meat. I just wonder if some of the prices of Farmer Copley’s are driven by overheads rather than the welfare of the animals. I’m looking forward to see if I can taste the difference (pun not intended!)