“ Brand: York Brewery / Style: English Bitter Alcohol Content: 4.2% / Type: Bitter „
During my recent trip to York we thought it would be a good idea to sample beers from the local brewery. This is quite easy really because York Brewery have three tied houses in the city and their beers are also available in the bar at the brewery itself. So, armed with our map of York we went off in search of York Brewery Beer! We found plenty and the only real dilemma was which beer to drink first and where to drink them. It wasnt long before we found ourselves in one of York brewerys own tied pubs ~ they have three pubs in the city, as well as a bar at the brewery itself, so it wasnt surprising that we ended up in one! As we were in The Yorkshire Terrier we decided it would be rude not to try a pint of Yorkshire Terrier!
York Brewery was started up in the city (inside the famous walls) in 1996. It is now a working brewery and also has two shops (one at the brewery and one in front of the Yorkshire Terrier pub) and have brewery tours, leaving from the Visitor Centre ~ there is a viewing platform around where the brewing takes place to make this possible. The brewery has won a good few awards for their beers, which can be found in numerous pubs (either as guest beers or regular ones) nationwide and at regularly at Beer Festivals too.
Among the many beers produced you will find Centurions Ghost (a dark and bitter beer at 5.4% ABV), Guzzler (a light coloured session beer at 3.6% ABV) and Wild Wheat (a dry wheat beer at 4.1% ABV).
***A Bit of Background***
According to the guys at the brewery (who will happily relate the tale on demand!) the beer really is named after a Yorkshire Terrier! Apparently one of the original brewers used to take his pet to work at the brewery. He would tie the dog to the Mash Tun and wait for the days work to be over. The dog was loyal and patient, but eventually succumbed to old age and passed away. According to legend the dogs mischievous spirit continued to visit the brewery each day. Strange things happened and people could feel the presence of the little character around the place. Yorkshire Terrier is named in honour of this loyal and lively little dog!
Yorkshire Terrier weighs in at 4.2% ABV and is classed as a Best Bitter ~ this term applies to beers that are generally quite high in hop content and a dryer finish than other styles. They are over 4.1% ABV (as opposed to the ordinary less strong Bitter style). Best Bitters vary in colour (although many are copper coloured), strength and taste and were developed in the late 19th century to be sold in pubs without as much storage time as Pale Ales.
***Look, Aroma & Texture***
Yorkshire Terrier is a golden/light copper coloured beer. It is clear, crisp and bright, with a decent sized foamy white head that laces the glass nicely as you drink. Aroma is predominantly that of fruit and hops. The hops giving it a rather zesty citrus scent, combining well with a slight spiciness, hints of orange and a faint apple tang. There is also an underlying sweetness, coming from the malt, giving a smell not unlike the smell of a digestive biscuit (malty with a sweet edge). Texture is slightly creamy and has a good smooth feel on the palate.
***Tanges Taste Test***
Yorkshire Terrier is a nice balanced Bitter with a good combination of flavours. It starts out quite malty (a creamy effect), but this is soon replaced by the same citrus elements that were present in the aroma ~ the predominant tastes in this layer are lemon, grapefruit and a slight orange spiciness. This moves on to bitter hop flavours that grow and become more evident, leading to a finish that is quite dry and an aftertaste that is quite long and with a slightly bitter earthiness. This is all balanced by an underlying flavour of resiny pine and a slight honey sweetness.
~~~WHAT TANGE THINKS.
I like Yorkshire Terrier and found it was a good and well balanced Bitter. It is a good and well crafted example of this style of beer. I found it was a good choice and does the brewery proud! There are a lot of flavour combinations present, producing a multi-layered beer that manages to be balanced rather than too busy with taste. It also maintains the good dry bitterness that is so pleasant in a beer in the Best Bitter category.
Yorkshire Terrier was tasty, light and had a good mouth-feel. It was also good whether drunk during the afternoon or at night. We did have some with our lunch one day and the flavours were strong enough to be noticeable without overwhelming the taste of our meal ~ a good and hard to achieve thing! The bitter finish also helped to wake up the taste buds.
We tried Yorkshire Terrier in a couple of the York Brewery pubs in the city and paid around £2.40 a pint ~ a pretty standard price these days. Over the weekend we were there the quality was consistently good and the beers were comparable in flavour from pub to pub. I would certainly recommend Yorkshire Terrier as a good light and hoppy Bitter. I think it would appeal to a wide range of palates and would make a good choice for a night (or day) out ~ especially on a hot day because the citrus flavours make it quite refreshing and fresh.
Look out for Yorkshire Terrier in the future! If you find it I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. It is classic Bitter from a top class brewery.
Micklegate, York, UK
Tel: 01904 621162
York Brewery, the only brewery within the ancient city walls, produces a wide range of beers. They are: Yorkshire terrier "A premium bitter with a rich, creamy malt and full hop palate finish." Available in draft and bottle, this is a nice pint for the end of a long day. Stonewall "A smooth creamy session bitter with full malt character and hop undertones." Also available in draft and bottle, this is less stong, and so more suitable as a session bitter. I find it a bit too sweet however. Ebor lager "A dark, rich and distinctive ale. Taste the roast and chocolate malt, through to a bitter finish." This beer is only going to be available in March and April, and I've very much looking forward to it - a proper lager - none of your funny foreign yellow stuff! Ashes Ale "A pleasantly hoppy and malty beer, crist and fairly dry with a hint of fruitiness". This is one of Yorks several 'sporting fixture' beers, designed to be drunk while we commisserate over the latest cricketting disaster. Hence this beer is available June to August only. I had some last year and it's yummy. Winter wobbler "A well balanced dark bitter, full of mellow flavours. A subtly hop aroma, with a malty lingering finish. An ideal winter ale." I like the York winter ales - deep warming beer for sitting next to the fire of your local hostelry. Centurians ghost "A warming, dark bitter ale, with a roasted malt taste. Very easy to drink for its strength" Did I mention that I like the York winter ales? This is the all year round equivalent. It slips down so easy, but boy do you know about it the next day! It feels as if the ghost is pounding your head! York Bitter "Malt and hops well balanced leading to a full bitter flavour and pleasant aftertaste." This is a regular session pint
, many can be drunk (and then you are). I have been assured that this newest addition to the York stable is in fact just a rebadging of Brideshead bitter (see below). Brideshead bitter "Hops and malt are well balanced against a background of fruitiness, leaving a lintering, pleasant aftertaste". Sounds similar to York bitter n'est pas! Probably not available any more as the Brideshead brand. Mildly mad "A darkish mild with a nutty smooth full flavour, well rounded and balanced with chocolate notes. Refreshing and satisfying". Good luck in finding this! It's only available in May, but I have never been able to get hold of it. Up and Under "A dark, rich and distinctive ale. Taste the roast and chocolate malt, through to a bitter finish" Another sporting beer - celebrating the 6 nations. Very similar to centurian New Balls please "A smooth lightish bitter with a hint of fruitiness, leading to a dry finish" This time celebrating the tennis, I'm very fond of this, and it goes very nicely with strawberries... York brewery is an innovative brewery, with many seasonal beers, and some regular beers in its stable. The beers regularly win prizes, and are of a consistently high quality. The beers can be bought in bottles from many supermarkets, and specialist off licenses. They can also be found in many pubs around York, especially York brewerys own pub - The Last Drop Inn. If you are unfortunate enough to not live near York, the beers can be ordered over the internet from www.yorkbrew.demon.co.uk Their website also includes information about tours around the brewery, and some of its history.