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Alright you lot, you asked for a straight op from me so here it is, no name-dropping, no jokes, just a straight op. Why is this ??? Well, Sue26, Marandina, Belinda9, Jenny029, and quite a few other’s keep asking me about beer, and sheep and stuff, so I thought I’d be serious !!
So, on with the serious stuff, the Black Sheep Brewery of Masham in the Yorkshire Dales. This company does have a website www. Blacksheepbrewery.com. Website indeed, at least it was “penned” by someone. The brewery was set up by one of the famous brewing family, Paul Theakston, the fifth generation of this family. The brewery now sells to over 700 pubs as well as a number of pub groups and supermarkets. I’ll tell you the names of some of their pubs first, before we get into the details:-
One Eyed Rat at Allhallowgate Tickle Toby Inn at Northallerton. Woolly Sheep in Sheep Street, Skipton. Dirty Nellies in High Street, Hull. The Hayride Butterfly Meadows, Beverly. Blind Jacks, Knaresborough. Boot Telephone. Shoe Thirn, Bedale.
I think there,s a little yoshie out there that’s gonna say, “Well, what’s wrong with them names!?”
Now, more serious than that even, Black Sheep was awarded the Beer of the Year in 1995 for their best bitter, according to the Good Pub Guide of that year, and also the Parliamentary Beer Club Brewer of 1997. They also had a bottled ale that did well in a Beer and Cider competition in 1995, the class and supreme champion at the International Food and Drink Exhibition held at Earls Court. Sounds a bit like Crufts doesn’t it, “Here, beery, beery, beery, sit bottle !!”
The brewery won Brewer of the Year in 2001 according to the Good Pub Guide again. Although relatively new, the brewery looks as though it?s been brewing for an awful lot longer, or is that the way people normally walk and talk in Masham ??? The vessels, plant and methods are from time gone by, but the building is actually part of the former Lightfoot Brewery. Theakston heritage here, Paul’s grandfather took it over in 1919. Paul left the second love of my love (alright darling, you’re still No. 1) The T & R Theakston family firm in 1988, after the take-over by Scottish and Newcastle.
Once the buildings had been obtained, the business of putting the band back together after being empty for a number of years began. Rats were of course everywhere, but who’d drink a pint of Black Rat Beer ?? A year later, building the brew house began, with the first pint being pulled in October 1992. I have just been handed the address by a fellow shepherd, and it is :- The Black Sheep Brewery PLC Wellgarth Crosshills Masham Ripon North Yorkshire HG4 4EN
Next, The Official Black Sheep fanatic fan club. The benefits are :- Quarterly draw to become a Brewer for a DAY. Car sticker. T shirt, exclusive to members. Quarterly magazine, “Ewe r baa’red!”. Membership card. Free daytime brewery tours. Discounts. Black Sheep Pub Book. Members offers. And all for only £20 a year.
There is a Brewery Sheepy Gift Shop, full of sheep and beer related products and gifts, including Glassware, Pickles, Books and Games, or you can buy on-line of course. But go there, the shepherded tours of the brewery is an experience. You will discover the brewing process, from the aroma and taste of malted barley, hops and Dales Water through to the end product, a glass of ale at the Black Sheep baa’r.. If you are daft enough not to be a member, the tour price is £4.50, or £12.95 at night (in the dark with the lights out, no sorry £12.95 gives you a hot supper and two pints as well!) If you like baaa’.r’s, there is also a Bistro there.
Now, anything I’ve forgotten, oh yes, the beers..
1. Yorkshire Square Ale. Doooh !! This is brewed using Blacksheep’s Yorkshire Square Fermenting Vessels, a fermentation process that results in a characteristic 5.0% taste. A full and richly flavoured golden ale. Wassat !!
2. Black Sheep Best Bitter 3.8% A firm favourite across the Yorkshire dales, a well-hopped light golden session bitter with a distinctive dry, refreshing taste enjoyed through a rich, creamy head. Just ignore the yoshie people, they’re alright if you show them a boot sale.
3. Black Sheep Special 4.4% A beer for the discerning drinker, that’s me all right squire. A clean-drinking beer with a creamy head, brewed with generous amounts of whole Goldings Hops and Man Otter Barley! eehhh ?? Can I say that again ???
4.Black Sheep Ale 4.4% This is prepared for the 500ml bottle, and I’m geeeeetin er leetle beet dwunk on it.
5. Riggwelter 5.9% (5.7% bottle) Rygg means shoulder and velte to overturn, both from the Old Norse. When a sheep is on it?s back and cannot get up without help, local dales dialect says it’s rigged or riggwelted.