Yorkshire’s Best Beers

If you are an unrepentant beer drinker you will already know a lot about Yorkshire’s best beers. It is a well known fact that to a Yorkshireman a good brew comes from God’s Own County.

Best Beers in Yorkshire

  • The rapid and welcome increase in micro breweries means some of Yorkshire’s best beers no longer come from Tetleys but from clever niche brewmasters or in pub brewery.
  • You may never discover all Yorkshire’s best beers but you will have great fun trying!
  • Sorry to all the larger drinkers but I am afraid you do not have any products that qualify as one of Yorkshire’s best beers! That is because larger is fizzy pop not beer.

Names for Yorkshire’s Best Beers.

  • Websters Best, Ramsdens, Heys or Bentleys Yorkshire breweries are sadly now names of the past, Even Tetleys is no longer a Yorkshire brewed beer!
  • Enter the new breweries such as Saltaire, Copper Dragon, Ilkley, Wharfedale even Leeds.
  • Micro breweries are ‘the new black’ providing an ever growing choice for the discerning drinker
  • Can you match Yorkshire’s best beers with their breweries. Try Ale Mary, Hellfire and Yorkshire Gold, Mary Jane and Mary Christmas, Golden Pippin, Fire Dancer, Amarillo Ale and Triple Chocoholic 4.8%
  • Brewery trips around Black Sheep and Theakstons have long been popular but now Copper Dragon in Skipton and Saltaire brewery in Shipley have cafes and visitor centres to try out the magic ales.

Let us know the best beers of Yorkshire that we have missed out on. Then I can try sup some of them and say cheers on this web site.

Newly Haunted Bradford – Sunbridgewells

Was the opening of the Victorian tunnels under Ivegate a good idea or have old ghosts and ghouls been released on the unsuspecting public. The Victorian tunnels have previously contained and constrained all sorts of undefined mysterious bodies best left alone from Little Fat Black Pussy Cats to  Pretty Things to say nothing of many haunting noises.

Book Cover

The converted tunnels reopened off Centenary Square linking through 3 levels to exit in Ivegate.  The former Berni’s Inn  and Bier Keller were old  name changes in attempts to suppress  the atmosphere of the  Grosvenor well known as a haunted pub.

How quickly will the ghostly spirits ensure the new name of Sunbridgewells need to alter to protect visitors from spooks and specters.

Graham Hall the renovator says “Well I hope it increases the footfall into Bradford, i.e. the night life………’ Mmm yes we see what he might mean. Still it is along time until Halloween and the goths, aliens and related monsters might keep away long enough for you to grab  a meal or drink.   However  Bradford’s own ghosts are already in the fabric of the tunnels and you wont really be drinking alone.

Skipton Gala & Pies


Skipton Gala Food
If you want Steak & Kidney Pie, Chips and Mushy Peas you will find it on the blackboards at the Dales Cottage Cafe behind Rackhams or more correctly on the plates inside.
Skipton and Settle based butcher Drake & Macefield’s traditional pork pie, ‘which has galloped away with a glut of awards in meat industry competitions’ will be available in Gala format on 13th June 2009. (My Uncle was a welder for British Rail in Skipton he used to put the top on Pork Pies.)
Copper Dragon Burgers are a temptingly on offer from the local brewery bar bistro. Washed down with Golden Pippin or Black Gold they are what your left arm is for whilst your right arm is busy.

Visitors Exercise

The Gala will be at Aireville Park from 1.00pm just at the left end of the map. In addition to the canal side walks Skipton is the base for many more good walks and forays.
An alternative to walking is to (Indian War) dance at the gala to ‘Custer’s Last Band’. The Lone Ranger will have his faithful side kick ‘Tonto’ jogging around the park throughout the Gala as he likes to keep his Injun’ running.

Whale Meet Again

Whale Watching

Whitby’s historical past is revealed in by the Abbey and the monuments that dominate Whitby’s east and west headlands above the harbour. For 84 years Whitby’s fishermen were engaged in whaling. The whale jaw bone arch on the West Cliff, pictured above, was presented to Whitby by Norway in 1963 (probably for having stopped Whaling and leaving it to Norwegians and the Japanese).

Whitby Whalers were doughty folk between 1757 and 1837 (when the last boat was sold). There is a full history ship by ship on Whitby Lad website.

Whitby Coastal Cruises now arrange whale watching trips and they claim ‘Minke whales are the main sightings but we have also seen humpback whales and an occasional pilot whale. Whales have been here for 1000’s of years, all that is new is that we are now taking the public out to see them.’

If you don’t mind queuing for Fish & Chips one of Whitby’s busiest restaurants is the Magpie Cafe but there are many excellent chippies around that offer great value for money. The ‘Whitby Whaler’ is now the eponymous name of fish and chip shops in Pudsey, Blubberhouses (why not) and other parts of the county. Poorpunsandbadbusinessnamesareus.com

Whale Watching by Nolleos CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Sam Smiths Old Brewery Tadcaster

I would like to tell you about the best beer in Yorkshire but I am still testing them all out. What I can tell you about is the best value for money beer brewed in Yorkshire (and therefore anywhere in the world). Tadcaster has been the home of great Yorkshire brewing since the monks of the 14th Century but in 1758 a brewing dynasty started to emerge. Started by David Backhouse and John Hartley The Old Brewery at Tadcaster was founded in 1758 and since 1848 bears the name of famous local brewer Samuel Smith.


In 1847, Samuel Smith, and his son John bought the struggling brewing business from John Hartley’s widow family. John Smith took over the brewery forming John Smith’s Brewery in the same year the railway arrived in Tadcaster. He was later joined by his brothers Samuel (Jnr) and William. However William bought Samuel’s (Jnr) half and moved the business to a new (John Smiths) brewery. Meanwhile, Samuel (Jnr’s) son Samuel Smith inherited the Old Brewery on William’s death in 1886, and re-opened the brewery under his own name. A reet family t’do I’d say.

So by 1880 there was John Smiths Brewery which went on to acquire 20 local breweries over the next 40 years before eventually succumbing to Scottish & Newcastle/ Courage et al. Fortunately Samuel Smith Brewery remained and remains today independent in ownership and spirit.

Now a-days, run by Sam Smith brothers Humphrey Richard Woollcombe Smith and Oliver Geoffrey Woollcombe Smith they are coming across as curmudgeonly by banning TV & music in their pubs (hurray), taking down signage and refusing to accommodate smokers in new purpose built units. The managers do not like the changes but it keeps the prices down and the environment drinker friendly. Old Brewery Bitter and Extra Stout (for the missus) are still both well under £2.50 a pint in Yorkshire and also the cheapest good pint you can find in London. See London Sam Smith below:
Continue reading Sam Smiths Old Brewery Tadcaster

Interlude for Afternoon Tea in Shipley

Afternoon Tea

King George V would recognise many of the items on display at Interlude the Cafe Society tearoom ‘to be seen in’ when visiting Shipley. Between Elsie Russell’s florists and The Samaritan charity shop is an exceptionally well furbished cafe with great food and an environment to savor. High Tea comes a bit more expensive than Afternoon Tea but with boiled egg with toast soldiers  the prices are very reasonable and the choice just right.

All the tables are similar to the one shown with old china crockery and a collection of old art books, comics  and magazines to peruse. When you wish to order you have your own little bell to ring and there are numerous other touches to take in whilst you drink your Yorkshire tea.

Upstairs at  this Westgate Cafe is a boutique of vintage clothes, although my daughter thought they were more secondhand than 1920’s. Still the sound of syncopated rhythms and an occasional Charleston  wafted gently through the rooms. The emporium at the front of the cafe sells cakes and treats for you to take home if you wish and this shows the enterprise a business needs these days to survive. Support your local shops and visit Interlude when in Shipley. More about Interludes history can be found on there own web site.


Candlelighters Charity Beer

Light ale

Candlelight beer was brewed, by Wold Top Brewery, to help raise funds for the Candlelighter’s charity.I am not sure it is still available and my last bottle is now showing signs of age.

Who and What are Candlelighters

  • Candlelighters is a charity formed and run by parents of children who have or have had cancer.
  • Great help is also provided by ex-patients and the medical staff who treat the children.
  • ‘Based in Yorkshire, Candlelighters provides essential services and support to children with cancer and their families.’
  • Candlelighters charity has operated in Yorkshire since 1976
  • Candlelighters fund raising provides money for additional medical, nursing and social support staff.

Wold Top

The Wold Top Brewery

  • Beer is usually packaged in barrels or bottles, large ones for preference.
  • All credit to Wold brewery for this ‘pack of three’ for transporting my bottles. Good beer packaging of the month award!
  • Wold Top is on a family farm in Wold Newton near Driffield
  • Other beers include Wold Gold, Mars Magic and Centenary Way Mild

Candlelight beer

What about the Candlelight Beer

  • Despite the power sockets no one can hold a candle to this beer.
  • Alcohol strength is a sensible 4.3%
  • It is brewed from Driffield grown malting barley and made from local chalk filtered water.
  • Maris Otter malt and Wilamette hops give the beer a straw colour and clean crisp finish.

There are many ways to get involved and help with Candlelighters

Wold Top’s suppliers helped them top their dream of raising £10,000 including;

Charles Faram for hops
Croxsons for bottles
Fawcetts for malt
Justinor for gift boxes
Springfield for labels
three60 marketing and pr for publicity
Wicked Poppy Designs for label design
Wellington Inn, Lund for hosting the launch event that raised  over £1300.

You can help by drinking the beer as a % goes to the charity. Better still, send them the cash your beer free New Year resolution is saving you.

Terry’s of York – A Bite of History

Chocolate Orange
Can you see what it is yet? Yes you probably guessed it is a mug!

Some History of Terry’s of York

What do an apothecary, confectioner and citrus peel importer have in common? When one of them was Joseph Terry you may make the connection to Terry and Berry the forerunner to Terry’s of York. Joseph Terry married into the partnership that had worked from 1767 and brought his Apothecary skills to the business with a factory in Brearley Yard and a shop next to the Mansion House.
Early products included candied peel, marmalade and medicated lozenges as wel as cakes and confections. In the early 19th century the conversation lozenges bore messages a bit like modern day Love Hearts such as ‘Can you Polka’ and the racy ‘Do you flirt’. After the arrival of the railway to York Terry was selling his Coltsfoot Rock, Jujubes, Gum balls and Acid drops to many towns throughout the country. (Price 52/- per cwt Mmmm a sweet price).
Joseph Terry was born in Pocklington in 1793 the son of a local baker. He grew up in the town before moving to York and starting out in business as an apothecary, then switching to making cakes and confectioneries.
Joseph Terry died in 1850 but his 3 sons including Joseph jnr took the business forward building a Chocolate factory in Clementhorpe in 1887. The business grew through two world wars and remained in family ownership and management until 1960. It then passed through various corporate hands including Forte, Colgate Palmolive, United Biscuits, Philip Morris, Kraft and Suchards.
The family were civic minded and Joseph Terry jnr was Lord Mayor of York during Queen Victoria’s Jubilee. The war office recognised the value of chocolate for the troops before the first world war as being of benefit ‘…..on the march, at manoeuvers or any occasion when staying power is needed’. Between the wars new products were created including Spartan and All Gold.

Pocklington is obviously proud of Joseph Terry and wrote a longer biopic on it’s web site From the son of a Pocklington baker to founding one of the greatest of York’s businesses – Terry’s of York

Terry's Chocolate Works, York
Terry’s Chocolate Works York

Contemporary History of Terry’s of York

Sadly in 2004 the production at York was stopped and transferred to Europe bringing an end to a proud Yorkshire food manufacturing operation. The old factory isn’t Terry’s anymore it’s For Sale as The Press report

Other products you may remember include Neapolitans, Twighlight, Spartan, Waifa, and York Fruits. I am not sure the other fruit product below were quite the success of the Chocolate Orange that goes right back to the companies origins as peel importers. In fact I never saw a Chocolate Banana or the Chocolate Apple for that matter.

There is a packaging display at York’s Castle Museum and more information from York history
For those interested in Confectionery there is a great American blog
By the time of Joseph Terry’s death in 1850 his firm, Terry’s of York, was the city second biggest employer, and under successive generations of the family it became a world famous chocolate manufacturer that is still renowned to this day for such delicacies as ‘Terry’s Chocolate Orange’ and ‘Terry’s All Gold’. Sadly it fell into the hands of the American food giant Kraft in 1992and the factory was closed in 2005.

Terry's All Gold Imagine Milk Chocolates

Photo Credits
Chocolate Orange by jovike CC BY-NC 2.0
Terry’s Chocolate Works, York by True British Metal CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Terry’s All Gold Imagine Milk Chocolates by hemanth.hm CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Relish and a Joke

You are unlikely to find this saucy little number in your local Chippy but you might overhear these old sores being repeated. ‘I have told you a million times not to exaggerate.’

So I went down the local supermarket, I said “I want to make a complaint, this vinegar’s got lumps in it”, The check out girl said “Those are pickled onions”.

The fast food shop at Windscale (you may call it Sellafield now but the name hints at how old my jokes are) is called “The Fission Chips.” It is called fast food so you eat it fast or otherwise you might taste it.

I’m in great mood tonight because the other day I entered a competition and I won, The prize, a year’s supply of Marmite……… one jar.
A friend got some vinegar in his ear, now he suffers from pickled hearing.

Another deaf friend had an ear transplant from a pig now all he can hear is crackling.

If a White Russian ruler is called t’Tzar and his wife is t’Tarina are his children t’Tardines?

Mummy tomato went for a walk with the baby tomatoes consistently lagging behind, so she turned round and shouted ‘Ketch-up’.

Being overweight is something that just sort of snacks up on you.

A friend was standing in line at a fast-food restaurant, waiting to place an order. There was a big sign posted that read, “No notes larger than 10 Euros will be accepted.” underneath was written “Believe me, if I HAD a note larger than 10 Euros I wouldn’t be eating here.”

Yorkshire Teaology

Yorkshire Tea

I am a fervent masher of tea although I have a brew in a mug on occasion.
‘Make us a mash’ is an invocation to perform wonders by pouring hot water onto tea leaves and leaving it to mingle until it turns to nectar.

For a horse, a mash is a warm mix of grain or bran and to brewers of beer a mash makes a wort from warm water and malted barley.

No sooner have we resolved to mash instead of brew our Yorkshire Tea when along came a learned article that recommends ‘steeping’ your tea. Steep it too long and it becomes stewed but you never stew your, tea or do you?


  • Brew is top of the naming charts even if it is a tramps brew in the drinking mug.
  • Most tea leaves will produce a decent cup if you steep them all in boiling water. Properly called letting it mash.
  • ‘Many of the finer teas will do much better at lower temperatures. Green and white teas, for example, are more delicate and you get more flavour if you brew in slightly cooler water.
  • These steeping times are only approximate, and you should adjust them depending on your own personal tea taste.

Black tea – Black from Ceylon, India or Kenya is the most robust of the tea varieties and can be brewed in truly boiling water, usually steeped for 4-6 minutes.

Oolong tea – As to be expected, oolong tea falls between green and black. The best temperature is around 190F. But oolong should be steeped longer than black tea, for around 5-8 minutes.

Green tea – You will need to be more gentle with your green teas. The water temperature should be around 150-160F and only steeped for 2-4 minutes.’ In my local Chinese the the steeping goes on until the tea has all been drunk or has gone too cold to sup.Read more from Ask.com

Most average teas are brewed for 4-5 minutes to bring out the best flavours, any longer the tea over-brews and becomes bitter and stewed.

So that is settled ( or not) – let’s have a cup of char.

Teaology 2

The Daily Mash ( and that is for real) reported in 2008;
Strong tea is to be reclassified as a category B drug’.

Since tea was downgraded in 2004 there has been widespread concern about the increase in stronger varieties including Purple Haze, Tetley Red Bush and the infamous ‘skonk’.

Rejecting claims that the Home Secretary had been influenced by the Daily Mail‘s Campaign for Weak Tea, Ms Smith added: “Our police forces are all too familiar with the consequences of tea that has been left to stew for too long.”

Smith also unveiled a new Home Office guide to drug terminology in a bid to keep vulnerable young people fully informed. The latest terms include:
Skonk: Tea that has been left to stew in the pot for more than half an hour and then served with just a tiny drop of milk ………..

Also good reading whilst drinking on International brands like Yorkshire Tea