Friday, 16 September 2011

Time For A Change – What’s A-Brewing?

I think it’s official, today heralds Winter. We were lulled into a false sense of “Indian Summer” security yesterday, after our brush with the “hurricane” at the start of the week, and now reality bites. A new season arrives, and with it comes “New Winter Menu”, “Get That Autumn-Look”, “Wrap up warm – we don’t want you to catch cold” has replaced “Watch out for that nasty pollen – it’s out to get you”! But before we pack away the flip flops and bring out the wooly jumpers, we must remember that it’s not just clothing that we must change to suit the “Great” British Weather (oh, dear, I’m using those annoying “speech marks” rather a lot aren’t I?). For as we all know, it’s far too superficial to just look at the outside, it’s what’s inside that counts. Isn’t that the latest fad we’re being told to think like? In this case, what we have glugged inside of us. What beer is swishing around happily in our innards? That is the “inside” I’m talking about.
And so it with a heavy heart that we bid farewell to our fairweather friend, Ilkley Summer ale, crowned Beer of the Month in August by our friends; the discerning drinkers at The Narrowboat in Skipton. She was light and dry, with a hint, just a twinkle in the eye, of tropical fruits. Ah how we can reminisce about those heady sunny days (or day)…

The circle of life continues, the show must go on, the beer must still flow forth. And so it is here at Ilkley Brewery. Ilkley Summer will have her time in the sun once again (did you see what I did there?!), but for now, we must turn to tipples that warm our cockles. We have plans a-foot and beer a-brewing. First out of the tank, and making its debut to critical acclaim at the York Beer Festival yesterday, was IXB, a deep, strong Premium Yorkshire Bitter. Unfortunately, we fell just outside of the 25 mile radius set out by the judging committee at the festival, and had to be content with long queues and the clamour of excited and thirsty Ilkley Brewery fans surrounding our taps, rather than the rosettes and medals that perhaps our beers could have claimed. However, buoyed by the reception of IXB (4.5%), it is now available across the region – look for it in your local ale house of choice, and if you can’t see it – demand forthwith that your esteemed landlord must immediately straightaway get on the blower (01943 604604!!!) to us and we will henceforth tout-suite rectify said problem.

You might think that the release of this wonderful, rich Autumnal ale would suffice. Suffice to say that here at Ilkley Brewery, nothing ever suffices, and even as I speak (I often mumble out loud while I type, a trait often bemoaned by our long-suffering Office Manager, Julie) our Head Brewer Chris is busy concocting yet another seasonal special…The Green Lotus... I am going to tell you all about how it goes next week, but I will say this – we’re using Green Hops in this one, fresh from the Kent Farm, directly from vine to vat in the space of 48 hours. Only the freshest, only the best – I for one can’t wait to see (well… “taste”…) the finished product. Oh, and for good measure, watch this space, but I foresee the return of our old friend, Smoked Witch

Well, there’s certainly always something a-brewing at Ilkley Brewery.

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