I don’t think I have ever made my husband as jealous in his whole life as I did last month. I was invited by Brewtown Tours to review their Yorkshire Brewery tour and sample three fabulous craft breweries. This chauffer driven day out included a big range of tastes and beer types. The three breweries which we visited were exceptionally generous with their samples and the variety kept us all busy. I never had an empty glass.
Setting off on a Brewery Tour
I met five other female Yorkshire bloggers at noon outside Leeds railway station. Our driver and guide Mark told us that although he has more men taking the tours, in fact it is mainly women who buy these tours, and often as gift vouchers. Mark was inspired to start Brewtown Tours after his experiences of visiting craft breweries in Australia, but I’m certain that Yorkshire is much more fun!
Personally I’m not a wine drinker – it gives me ocular migraines and temporary blindness so I avoid it completely. It’s no surprise therefore that I’ve been a beer drinker all my adult life. I am over the moon to finally get beer onto my blog, and this is a pretty stylish way to do it! It really did feel quite luxurious to be driven around and try such a wide range of brews.
A few of my fellow bloggers were not sure if they would enjoy beer quite as much as their usual tipple, but Mark told us about some of the flavours such as rhubarb, and it sparked a lot of interest. It was my mission on the tour to find a drink to complement Christmas dinner. Up to now I’ve never found a beer that goes well with turkey.
Yorkshire Heart Brewery
Our first stop was Yorkshire Heart at Nun Monkton, between Harrogate and York. There’s actually a vineyard here too but we sampled about five beers in the barn. We learned a little about their history, plans and brewing methods. In my opinion this brewery specializes in lighter, sharper flavours and citrus notes. Several brews were really punchy and this appealed to the non-beer drinkers in our group. I do think that the days of mild creamy bitter are a bit old-fashioned, and Yorkshire Heart certainly know how to attract new beer drinkers. I settled on their Christmas brew “Santa’s Little Belcher” as my choice to try on Christmas day.
Quirky Ales, Garforth
Our next stop on the brewery tour was Quirky Ales in Garforth. It was a cold winter day and in their little bar was a roaring wood-burner, so we settled in happily to warm up. Quirky Ales challenged our tastebuds by getting us to taste and smell the difference between hoppy and malty brews, and between very pale and porter ale too. We had a go at tapping and bottling ale, which was a fun hands-on experience. At this brewery I got some good advice for my Christmas turkey dinner and I bought a few bottles of Ruby Ale.
Northern Monk Brewery
Our last stop on the tour was Northern Monk in the Holbeck area of Leeds. The old red brick mills of this area have been renovated and the cobbled courtyards add charm. This brewery has a large refectory bar upstairs but first we visited the vats in the brewery downstairs. Northern Monk has several visiting brewers and aims to support local creatives. In the bar we tried a number of dark ales, some served with a keg-y fizz, which was a new experience. The beers on sale to take away are in cans rather than bottles but I can’t quite remember what made me choose a mocha flavour for my husband. I didn’t pick anything for the Christmas turkey as by this point I felt I had imbibed enough samples.
Mark drove us back to Leeds station at the end of the tour. Your chosen brewery tour can also start and finish in York. I must point out that it was my own choice to write this blog post and not a requirement of accepting the trip. I bought all my own take-outs. It’s my own pleasure and opinion to recommend Brewtown tours whether for yourself or as a gift voucher, perhaps for a birthday or a date such as Valentines.
We have a Winner!
Quirky Ales Ruby absolutely nailed it for Christmas dinner! The mild chestnut notes were perfect with roast turkey. I’m really pleased to have found this solution and I’m sure it would go well with roast chicken and pork too.
More alcohol reviewed on the blog: Boozy Valentine’s Gift Guide and Drinks Review.
What’s your favourite tipple? Please comment below.