When I retired I received one of those Red Letter vouchers with a choice of activities involving near brushes with death (go-carting, parachuting, prosecco tasting etc). They should add some really scary things like “Taking your pint back in the Charlie Chaplin”
Our power boating trip on the Thames was a highlight of the year so far, but Mrs RM thought the overnighter at Cropton’s New Inn with brewery tour was a bit tame. She brightened up when I agreed not to make her walk 15 miles over the Moors to the other Beer Guide tick I was missing.
Cropton is just on the edge of the Moors, so sheep were only a few miles away. The walk before the brewery tour started helped us decide on our evening meal anyway.
The New Inn , home of Great Yorkshire Brewing, is a place that’s been just out of reach for many years. Annoyingly, even my parents had been there. It really is a classic all-rounder, managing to feel beery and pubby despite a fairly high quality food operation.
You may have noticed I rarely talk about beer itself on this blog. That’s because I have next to no interest in how the pint gets into my hand. The section on how beer is made in each new Beer Guide is the first one I skip each year.
That lack of beery knowledge made the tour pretty much perfectly pitched for a group of us who could just about name two of the ingredients.
Great Yorkshire’s immaculate modern plant (9 million pints per annum) may disappoint anyone who sneaked into Hook Norton in the ’90s, but an engaging and humorous delivery made up for that.
“What’s the difference between bitter and lager ?- 50p“. The problems with London beer and the origins of Fubar, brewed for Tiny Rebel, were also colourfully explained. That lady (below) knows her beer, and her hops.
After an hour Mrs RM was desperate for a tasting, so it’s just as well that’s how long it lasted. Other folk went for those beer paddles, while we went straight for pints of Pale and Gold (NBSS 4 each). We tried to convert a lovely couple from Mawdesley to the One True Way, but they were sticking to their thirds.
Cask works best for me in a pint glass, and I also found their keg range improved when decanted from those little tumblers into proper glassware. We quite enjoyed their keg range, the breadth of which was the major surprise. Exports are a key part of their business model (Dubai a big customer), and that means keg.
A five mile walk failed to both tick the Blacksmiths Arms or clear the beer. We did, however, feel it necessary before a rare 3 course tea at the New Inn. Some really excellent food (mussels, lamb, Eton Mess) in a really unfussy atmosphere, and only bettered by an even better breakfast. Those Yorkies know how to live.
One other observation is that Great Yorkshire have rebranded their range to make it absolutely clear what their beers are like, with some of the clearest pump clips I’ve seen (Dark Star also stand out for this).