I think it’s official folks, summer may finally be over. There may be no more bank holidays with their sizzling bbq’s and bustling beer festivals. The days may be getting shorter, and we may be starting to think about switching on the central heating for the first time (obviously we’ll at least wait until Thursday so it’s not August anymore!). But “Wait!” I hear you cry, “I’m not ready yet! We may get an Indian Summer! The kids aren’t even back at school yet!”. It’s a good thing beer tastes good all year round! And come rain or shine, it still gets made round here! We’ll just have to look forward to sitting by a cosy fire in our local, pint of Mary Stout in hand, warming our cockles... or whatever else it is you have to warm. And we’re still making the lovely Ilkley Summer for those of you who refuse to give up the ghost of summer – if you drink it, it will come.
So, what did you all think of the Beer Society night? For those of you that didn’t make it, have no fear, we’ll be throwing another one soon for you to make amends... watch this space. For me, it was a great opportunity to meet so many of the Ilkley Brewery fans and enthusiasts (and a couple of confused, yet ultimately rewarded, passers-by). Those of you I did meet will by now realise that I can talk the hind legs of a donkey, but hopefully as long as I stay on-track and limit my gushings to beer-related chat, hopefully you won’t mind too much! The beer flowed as freely as my chat, and finally ran out at about 10pm (not really surprising, it was only £2 a pint!). We were thrilled with the turn out, with people from near and far attending - one fellow was over from New Zealand and left with a mighty smile on his face knowing he can return to his adoptive home full of “proper beer”!
Lishman’s once again provided much needed sustenance, although I must say, that as I was manning the bar inside for the first few hours, I was mightily disappointed to miss the boat! As soon as I managed to wangle a free-transfer to the outside bar, you lot had snaffled all of the burgers and hot dogs!! Don’t worry, I’m assured stock levels will be higher at the next event!! With Lotus IPA on draft that night, lining stomachs was certainly recommended. It comes in at a hefty 5.6%, and it was one of the first to run out, testament to its lip-smacking tastiness. I must point out right here and now, that Lotus is my tipple of choice too. Alas not on the 19th, for my wife has not yet learned to steer a car and I was unfortunately on driving duty!
The brewery was truly transformed, a haven of sparkling lights, rain-protecting-marquee and flowing beer. Most people congregated outside, where we had Mary Jane, Ilkley Gold, Ilkley Best, Summer and Lotus available. However, those that ventured inside weren’t to be disappointed, for we had Ilkley Black and Stout Mary ready and waiting... alongside our “Mystery Beer”. Crisp, cold and refreshing, this experimental brew hit the spot for so many of you, and we only made it to 8.30pm before it ran out entirely! Well done those brave beer explorers who gave it a shot, and thank you to those who came back for more! Yes, I am talking about our first foray into the realm of kegged beer. Now, I’d like to save the cask Vs Keg debate for another day if you don’t mind, suffice to say that we don’t like “versus” here at Ilkley Brewery, we like “hand-in-hand” (preferably with the beer being in my hand!).
So, to keep the mystery going a little longer, I’ll sign off for now, as there’s beer to be made! I went on holiday straight after the Beer Society night, and have come back to find the orders piling up almost as high as the casks that need cleaning! So office clothes off, overalls on, and away we go with this week’s batches of Mary Jane, Ilkley Best and Lotus IPA!
I’ll be back at the end of the week to let you know how we’re getting on, but in the meantime, please let us know your thoughts – did you come to the brewery night but can’t remember getting home and need clarification as to when you left? Maybe you came from further afield than New Zealand and wanted to brag about beer-inspired-travel? Did you want to know more about our mystery beer? Did you just want to laugh at my Ilkley Brewery flatcap?