Bitches’ Brewing Co: Miles To Go

 Well, that’ll teach me to be clever.

I’ve known Brian Dickson, one half of Bitches Brewing Company, for a while now. He’s the cheeky, bouncy barman at The Grove – one of the best pubs in Yorkshire – but I know that he’s a bit of a Jazz nut. So I  - as you do if you’re a smartarse like me – automatically assumed that the company name was a reference to Miles Davis’s 1970 album. When I suggest it, Brian takes a sip of his pint (Marble’s Draft, if you’re interested) and puts me right.

‘Not really!’ he laughs. ‘It’s just a jokey thing between Ian and me. Ian wanted to get more involved in brewing, and I’m the brewbitch, basically.’

Self-deprecating, I’m sure, but Brian takes it all in his stride. He’s much more than that, he’s the guy that goes and gets things done. When Ian Hayes (landlord of The Grove) decided he wanted to have an in-house brewery, it turned out that what they ended up with wasn’t just asking someone to brew for them every once in a while. Using his not-too-slim contact book, Ian and Brian realised they had some pretty high-calibre friends to call upon. Now, Bitches Brewing Co is a cuckoo proper; more than The Grove, and grounded in some pretty serious know-how.

‘When we decided to set it up, I wanted to brew’ explains Brian. ‘I spent time brewing and working with Dark Star, Red Willow and Thwaites, but spent a lot of time living with, and working for, Eddie Gadd.’ Gadd’s beers are still somewhat of an exotic import for this part of Yorkshire; although regularly featuring at The Grove. Brian returned from ‘work experience’ with enough knowledge to get cracking on The Graduate IPA, Bitches’ inaugural beer.

A pale ale in the US mould – think Sierra Nevada Pale Ale back when it was really good – and you’re on the right track. Except - perhaps with a subconscious nod to Eddie Gadd – it’s hopped with Goldings and displays that typically brassy  Kentish hop-bite on top of a chassis of boiled sweets. As a house IPA for today’s tastes it certainly does the job.

099Brian and Ian’s beers certainly carry an air of their own cheeky personality; their offering to Autumn’s IndyMan Beer Con was a Chocolate & Chilli Stout (Brewed with Stockport’s Quantum Brewery) infused (via a Randall) with fresh Naga Chilis. As someone that wasn’t expecting much for such a beer the stout certainly held up; all rich mocha and sweet, roasted grain, and the chili heat grew as the sip went on. And after it finished. Which I think, watching Brian’s face get more excited as I sipped it in a sort of here-comes-the-punchline kind of way – is the point.

So, what’s next for this boutique brewery? More collaborations, of course – with Brodie’s and Hand Drawn Monkey on the cards. Then maybe, just maybe, a place of their own. Keep an eye out for their beers in bottle (occasionally, not yet) and on Keg in selected bars across Yorkshire. Better still, get to The Grove. You won’t need much excuse to go back once you’ve been.

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About leighgoodstuff

Blog: http://goodfoodgoodbeer.wordpress.com/ I'm Leigh Linley; born and bred in Leeds, and writing about it since 2005. TGS exists solely to highlight the great beers that are out there; brewed with passion by Craft Brewers around the World. I also edit the 'Tavern Tales' section of Culture Vulture, which looks at Pubs and Pub Life rather than the beer in the glass. If you'd like to submit a piece for Tavern Tales, or contact me about any Freelance writing you think I would be suited to, then don't hesitate to contact me via email here.

Posted on 13/12/2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I’ve become a bit of a Choc & Chili stout groupie myself–that was intense at IMBC! I think Brian thinks I’m stalking him because I keep turning up where they’ve got the beer, but I’m not. I’m stalking the beer. I had the Graduate at the Grove a couple months back and it had some interesting funk going on in it–really cool beer.

    Brian’s a cool dude–great write up!

  2. I’m with Maggie on this one, we want some chic chilli bombers to take home!

    Brian???

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