The brewing industry in the UK is booming and the nation has never been more in love with craft beer and real ale. Cities have seen an increasing number of craft beer bars and brew pubs opening up and nestling in with more established traditional boozers. York is a fine example of this and provides the thirsty beer seeker with a lavish choice of micro-breweries, tap rooms, traditional real ale pubs and modern vibrant craft beer bars. Using the luxurious and convenient York Marriott hotel as a base, we explored the historic city of York and its perimeters to find out more about the beer being brewed here and some of the places you can discover it in.
|York Brewery's Visitor Centre carries out daily tours|
Celebrating 20 years in the industry this year, York Brewery are firmly established and very much at the forefront of all things beer related in the city. As well as the central location of the brewery itself on Toft Green, they also have 3 pubs in York; The Three-Legged Mare, The Last Drop Inn and The Yorkshire Terrier. The latter of which is situated behind their very own gift shop on Stonegate. Brewery tours are held four times daily, Monday to Saturday and combine historical points of interest with a thorough explanation of their brewing practices. A cozy and easy-going tap room is also inside the brewery upstairs, with a wide range of their ever expanding beer selection which you'll get to try afterwards.
York Brewery Beer Fact: Their 'Mostly Ghostly' beer is infused with one of the world's hottest chillies.
|Brew York on Walmgate has a modern tap room with riverside seating|
Staying within the walled city, arguably the most modern, forward-thinking brewers in York, Brew York on Walmgate have come a long way in little over six months. Co-founded by friends Lee and Wayne, this ten barrel craft brewery and tap room is a welcome addition to York's thriving beer scene. Stunning artwork combines with hop-forward beers of all styles in a relaxed and friendly tap room. Brewery tours run at regular intervals through Thursday to Saturday and are highly interactive, informative and fun. Plus you'll receive four half pint samples of their very quaff-able beers as you go along, of which there is something for every palate.
|Brew York's award-winning Tonkoko|
Outside the walls...
There are some very interesting occurrences on the outskirts of this historic city too that are well worth seeking out. The once self-governing medieval Wapentake area of Ainsty is home to Ainsty Ales in Acaster Malbis, a mere 10 minute drive south of your stay at The Marriott. The newly-opened brewery is surrounded by typically beautiful English countryside and once inside, brewer and founder Andy Herrington will assure you a warm and friendly welcome. The artwork for the pump clips and the beer labels is intricate and eye-catching, and the names of the beers are cleverly thought out.. 'Flummoxed Farmer', 'Wankled Waggoner' and 'Kolkata Karma' for example. Ainsty Ales have just begun brewing from this new premises and plans are on-going for a tap room and tours.
|Ainsty Ales brand new brewery|
Ainsty Ales Beer Fact: The only hand-pulled ale on the bar of the York Marriott hotel belongs to Ainsty's, and it's their aforementioned blonde ale 'Flummoxed Farmer'.
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Heading North out of the city on the A19, arriving in the picturesque village of Shipton just 9 miles away, Treboom Brewery are banging the drum for innovative, hand-crafted beers. Their award winning brewery produces a wide-range of regular cask and bottled ales, along with monthly specials including American style ales, Saisons, IPA's and Stouts. Treboom open their doors for a free guided tour and tasting session every second Saturday of the month. Husband and wife team John and Jane who behind this microbrewery are very welcoming and passionate about their craft. Souvenirs in exquisite bottle form with distinctive artwork are plentiful to buy there and take away during your visit.
|Treboom Brewery's friendly owners will welcome you for tours each month|
Treboom Brewery Beer Fact: Their 'Myricale' Wheat Beer uses a plant known as Myrica gale or 'Bog Myrtle' which was used in recipes before hops came into play
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|Tim - head brewer at Yorkshire Heart, hard at work!|
Tucked away near the beautiful village of Nun Monkton, Yorkshire Heart are producing a core and evolving specials range of beer just a stones throw from their established vineyard and award winning wines. Visitors can take a look around the vineyards 10 acres as well as the micro-brewery which came into being in 2011 after the vineyard began its production in 2005. Yorkshire Heart's family run operation sees son Tim at the helm of the brewing, overseeing everything from recipes, through to labeling. He will happily guide you through the brewery's production and give you an insight to modern day brewing. Tour bookings must be made in advance and this cross selection of wine and beer production in the heart of Yorkshire is a trip out of the city to remember.
Yorkshire Heart Beer Fact: Local MP Nigel Adams was so impressed with their JRT Golden Best Bitter he chose it to be a guest ale in the House Of Commons 'Strangers Bar'.
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The stunning range of beer styles being brewed in and around York continues on the perimeters and outskirts as you venture out into the beautiful Yorkshire countryside. The market town of Malton heading North east out of the city is home to Brass Castle Brewery and their vegan and vegetarian friendly cask, keg and bottled beer selection. Rudgate Brewery between York and Harrogate are traditional, long-established brewers of quality casked and bottled ales in Tockwith. Half Moon's family run 5-barrel microbrewery in the idyllic village of Ellerton half an hour heading South East is producing a small but perfectly formed range of quintessential British beers. Finally, The Hop Studio in Elvington directly North of Ellerton have a vast selection of craft brewed beers catering for all tastes, with an on-site tap room open from 3.30pm each Friday.
Away from the beer's birthplaces, York offers an exceptional choice when it comes to relaxing over a pint of ale or two in its old traditional Inns. Keg beer, bottles and modern-day cans are also hitting the bars and the choice for the average beer drinker is now widely beyond anything we've seen before. No more so than inside the legendary and quirky House Of Trembling Madness on Stonegate. Downstairs you'll be greeted with hundreds if not thousands of different beers to buy. Up the narrow staircase and the tiny room above is usually full to bursting with drinkers and diners, jostling for position amid the hanging taxidermy.
Micklegate's lengthy pub crawl, often referred to as 'The Micklegate Run', is notorious among the city's dwellers. Along this famous street there's a bar or pub to cater for every possible taste. Brigantes is possibly the stand-out one of the lot, offering a mixture of local hand-pulled ales as well as an ever increasing selection of modern craft beers on keg and in bottles. It's a great place to explore the wonderful world of beer, relaxed and friendly with knowledgeable staff to guide you through the fine choices available. If you're after some lively and loud music with your beer then Gibson's should also be on your 'to do' list on Micklegate too. Finally, plans are afoot for Scottish multi-national craft giants Brewdog to open a bar on this street packed with tremendous options for the beer seeker. Just a few doors up from Brigantes, expect their usual hop-packed beverages to be popular as ever with the younger crowd of drinkers.
There are many more craft beer and real ale hideaways to discover and enjoy on your beer seeking quest in this fair city. Sit with fellow visitors and knowledgeable locals who will be only too happy to point you in the right direction for York's best beers!
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