Wednesday, 15 February 2012

And The Winner Is....

It’s award season. Who’s going to get Best Actor, will there be a costume malfunction…? Whilst these are important issues, and at the forefront of all our minds I’m sure, we must not forget that beer is, and must be for all time, the winner. Here at Ilkley Brewery we have embraced the award season with vim, vigour, gusto and guffaws, and all the while making beers. Great beers. Award-winning beers!

January saw another red-carpet launch for Ilkley Brewery, with the eagerly anticipated unveiling of  MJ Fortis, our new Artisan Stout. Calls Landing cancelled Tom Cruise’s dinner booking and gave over the bar to the great and the good of the press world and the stout drinkers of Leeds. And here’s the twist, or should I say “shuck”. We know that drinkers of a particular Irish Stout are a very loyal bunch. They know what they like and they like what they like and they won’t settle for second best. But what if there’s a stout with more clout? We used our food-pairing experience to give our launch-night and oyster theme, so everyone who bought a pint of the black stuff was given an oyster-shucking lesson and a free oyster. Guests were then encouraged to put their shucked shell in a voting bucket, to show support for their new-found tipple of choice, MJ Fortis, or for the t’other one. And the results are in:

A roaring success at Calls Landing, you can now also sup this sumptuous stout in Dock Street Market, Sela and The Reliance in Leeds, with The Roast to follow next week. MJ Fortis will also be making an appearance at The Volunteer Arms in York, and at The Antelope and The Catford Bridge Tavern, both in London. This marks the start of an exciting new chapter in the MJ Artisan Ales range, as they spread their wings and shine their cask keg light across the country. MJ Pale is now available in Trof and Port Street Beer House in Manchester, and will be debuting in Bristol shortly at The Robin Hood. Anyone who fancies trying all three of the range should get themselves to Harrogate during the Harrogate Beer Festival (16th-18th Feb) and pop across the road to The Old Bell Tavern where we will be hosting a pop-up bar showcasing MJ Pale, MJ Summit and MJ Fortis. A selection of our cask ales will be available at the Festival itself.

January also saw the launch of our year-long “Wish You Were Beer” contest. We are inviting all drinkers of Ilkley beers to get in touch with their funniest Ilkley brew-related anecdotes, puns and photos, and each month we’ll choose a winner. Not only does that lucky person get a loverly prize, but also goes into the hat to win a days brewing here at Ilkley Brewery. Wish you were HERE? To get involved simply post on twitter with the hashtag #WishYouWereBeer or Like us and upload to our new Facebook page (The Ilkley Brewery).

Hats off (or on in this case) to January’s winner Ghostdrinker, who floated to the top with this snap of his goulish avatar clutching a bottle of Mary Jane. Congratulations, and a flatcap and bottle of Lotus IPA for your troubles. In acceptance of his award, a humble Ghostdrinker had this to say:
“…that’s how I roll” as well as thanking his parents and everyone who believed in him.

Presenting this next award, please welcome to the stage an organisation that is by the brewers, for the brewers, championing Small Independent Brewers throughout the UK. Yes folks, it’s everyone’s favourite National competition, the SIBA National Beer Festival! Queue rapturous applause… Now, we won a silver medal (for Stout Mary) in this year’s regional finals, and so didn’t have any of our cask competing nationally. However, we did enter into the Craft Beer in Keg part of the competition, alongside 32 other breweries and against over 60 beers from across the country. The judging was held at The Barrels in Hereford on the 3rd February, and a good time was had by all. The calibre of the judges involved, and the involvement of some of the leading lights in the Independent Brewing scene emphasised the growing importance of this category of beer, and we are delighted to announce that MJ Pale won Gold in the Champion Bitters, Pale and Golden Ales. This is the brewery’s first ever National Gold medal, and is for a beer that was only launched less than three month’s previously! It was with great pride that we lined up the MJ Pale on the bar at this weekend’s SIBA Beer Festival at The Canalhouse in Nottingham. 56 Regional cask winners were on show, but there was also a special section on the bar for Champion Beers of the Past, and there can be found our lovely Mary Jane, award-winner from 2009. The brewery’s own Stewart Ross was one of the chief judges this year, and we had a great day in Nottingham with the great and the good in the industry. We wait with bated breathe to see if MJ Pale will be crowned Champion Craft Beer In Keg in Britain at next month’s SIBA Conference. I would genuinely like to thank everyone who made this possible – the team here at the brewery, the many bars who have got behind the product and helped us develop (you know who you are!), the… sob sob… sorry…. Thank you!

The next award this evening, was voted for by the public. Last week the good people of Lancashire converged on Pendle and beer was king. The Pendle Beer Festival was a riotous occasion, full of beers and cheers. More cheers please: Mary Jane was voted Beer of the Festival by the CAMRA members at the festival!! Wild celebration has ensued, and we hope to ride this beery frothy crest of a wave onwards.

We've just had the fantastic Ilkley Beer Festival, with Harrogate Festival this week, and Rotherham after that… does the fun never stop?!

This next month will see plans move forward for no less than three collaboration brews. Our Spring Beer, Mary Hoppins will be born, as will a Saison Noire and a Rhubarb Wheat Bier. Also being born will be a new mini-brewer, in the form of my son who’s due any day (!!) and if people continue drinking our beer at the current pace, we’ll need to expand the brewery itself… again!! 




I’d like to thank you all, for without you, the reader and drinker, none of this would be possible. So let’s raise a glass and salute beer, and all who revel in it: the brewers the thinkers the readers the drinkers. Cheers!

2 comments:

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  2. AWESOME POST!!!
    Just sharing Anthony
    Canecchia
    is the owner of San Tan Brewing, which is one of the best
    breweries in AZ. Anthony
    Canecchia
    is an amazing brewer who loves great beer.

    Follow him on twitter

    Visit our website Making money guide

    How to download
    Thanks for your support!!!

    ReplyDelete