The Maltings, York: A Chat With Shaun Collinge
This article was commissioned to appear in the next issue of Beers of The World, but, as we have since found out, there has been a change of publisher and I’m not sure when – if at all – it will surface. So, here it is – an appreciation of one of the longest-running (and well-loved) pubs in York for those of you who aren’t subscribers.
When Yorkshiremen (and women!) think of a pub that’s held dear in the hearts of all who drink in her – and yet garners almost no press – The Maltings in York is often the first one that springs to mind. This arresting, black-fronted pub has stood proud on Tanner’s Moat since 1842, and its close proximity to the Train Station means that it’s long been serving the first – and last – pint to the hordes of tourists that visit York every year – as well as being the epitome of ‘local favourite’.
Without feeling twee, there’s a undeniable cosiness to The Maltings. The walls are festooned with beer signs and York ephemera, the tables low and stools well-worn. A recent extension has not only practically doubled the drinking space but also created a much-needed patio for the warmer months.
The pub has been run by Shaun Collinge and his wife Maxine for over twenty years. Purchased from Bass by Maxine’s mother, the couple have worked hard to mould The Maltings into what they wanted it to be. ‘At the start, we had to keep in line with what Bass where selling in terms of beer – in particular Timothy Taylor’s Landlord. But after a while they only wanted it in their own pubs. I really wanted a ‘house’ beer that people could always trust, so we approached Black Sheep.’
Shaun’s relationship with Black Sheep blossomed and now the pair are a trusted partnership, with The Maltings consistently serving one of the best pints of the iconic beer outside of Masham. ‘As long as I’m here, they’re here.’ he smiles. Such commitment to doing things the right way has served The Maltings well.
Shaun likes to keep things simple when it comes to beer on the bar; trying to cater for every taste whilst keeping drinkability at the top of the agenda, without blinding customers with too much choice. ‘I’d rather offer a smaller range of beers, but do them really well, than have twelve badly-kept beers.’ he asserts. Still, rotation is key to customer interest; Shaun reveals the pub can get through as much as 60 different beers their seven pumps a month during busier seasons.
Alongside Black Sheep, York Brewery’s light, fruity Guzzler is an ever-present. Over the years, Shaun has found these two beers to be what his customers want, bolstered by the addition of locally-brewed guests. Shaun has had a long-standing relationship with Rooster’s, and is currently helping nurture the new generation of brewing in Yorkshire. On my last visit, two very different Porters from Huddersfield’s Hand Drawn Monkey and Elvington’s The Hop Studio graced the wickets.
Despite that, Shaun has also reflected his own tastes on the bar. He championed Richard Hand’s Taddington-brewed Moravka Lager for a few years and has been extending his range of kegged beers of late with the likes of Sierra Nevada, Camden , BrewDog and Summer Wine all being offered to the regulars. He’s also proud of his range of bottled stouts, boasting the likes of Young’s Double Chocolate and Brooklyn’s Black Chocolate Stout.
If the beers require a little ballast, then you’re in luck, too. The Malting’s tasty and unfussy bar menu is a firm favourite amongst the locals and office workers at lunchtime, with Jacket Potatoes, Toasties and Ploughman’s Platters all popular. They’ve also been hosting one of the longest-running folk nights in Yorkshire, every Tuesday night.
Shaun and Maxine have managed, simply through evolving with their customer’s tastes, to remain both true to the history of the pub and remain a vibrant, relevant drinking spot. This subtle blend of old and new, traditional and modern has ensured that The Maltings not only remains a favourite for its regulars, but is attracting the next generation of drinkers through social media and welcoming new breweries onto the bar. It works without feeling at all contrived, and has more than held its own in the amazingly busy pub scene in York.
It’s heartening to see that with all that’s happened in the last twenty years in the pub trade, this York institution is showing no signs of fading into the past.
Posted on 24/06/2013, in beer in yorkshire and tagged Beers of The World Magazine, Black Sheep, Chocolate Stout, Moravka Lager, The Maltings, York Pub Reviews, York Pubs. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.