Category Archives: Rodham’s Brewery

>Autmunal Pickings; Tumblers and Blasts

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Yep. It’s here. Officially. We are in Autumn (in fact, Winter’s around the corner) and incidentally, my favourite season for beer. This might sound strange coming from a self-confessed Pale freak, but Autumn – and Autumnal Beers – are so varied, from Strong Pales to Porters and Stouts, that I really look forward to October. Plus, as a cooling, slightly chilled Pale is to Summer, a full-bodied, warming Strong Mild or Stout is to Autumn. However, you don’t have to default to the more obvious darker beers – so here’s a pick of what I’ve been enjoying at home for the past month or so.
First up is Brooklyn’s Winter Ale (6.0abv). I guess it’s Brooklyn’s take on a Scottish Ale, and I like it. True, it’s not quite as full-bodied as we are used to in the UK, but there’s plenty to recommend; a biscuity, satisfying blend of malts in the body, and a restrained hoppiness that makes a nice change for Brooklyn; a touch of spice at the end rather than a full-on hop assault. One I’d like to try on draught; preferably on a chilly Autumnal, New York afternoon. I’d had this in the cellar since Spring, and it held up perfectly well.

Sierra Nevada’s Tumbler (5.5%abv) is a relatively new addition to their stable. The label and legend on the neck is Sierra Nevada at their idyllic best; talk of long afternoons and falling leaves. The beer itself is an odd one; the nose is all cola, black pepper and cloves, but this doesn’t really translate into the taste of the beer. There’s a savoury, almost vegetal note which fades to a sweet, maple-led finish – along with more restrained hopping. I’m not saying I didn’t like it; far from it – it’s an interesting beer, although I’d like to drink some more before I can fully get my head around it’s taste.

My final American beer is Dogfish Head’s Raison D’etre (8.0% abv). I love Raisin in beer – it’s a flavour we don’t do enough over here but I can always rely on DFH to produce something flavourful and rich. Crystal-clear Mahogany in colour, the nose is herbal at first before that rich, sweet vine fruit note pops up. On the sip, however, things are a little less sweet than you’d expect – there’s Demerara/Burnt sugar there, and little drying coffee on the edges. It’s much less cereal-led than Cain’s Raisin, for example – much more in the ballpark as, say, Chimay Red. My bottle was a little short in the way of head, although carbonated fine – again, another beer I’d like to sample on Cask (if such a thing exists!).

Ok, onto beers from our fine shores. Rodham’s beers are micro in the truest sense – produced by Michael Rodham in his house, and sold through a very limited selection of outlets, mostly in Yorkshire. I picked this up in the Temple Newsam farm shop, where I understand Rodham works in the grounds. Old Albion Porter (5.5%abv) is probably his best beer in my opinion; a porter which ticks all the boxes – slightly smoky, sweet, satisfying and rich with a firm, biscuity malt spine. You might not be able to find this one easily, but if you’re going to seek one out, seek out Old Albion. It occasionally finds it’s way into beer festivals – one assumes when Rodham finds time to brew it!

Autumn doesn’t have to mean dark – Orkney’s Orkney Blast is a perfect example of a warming, satisfying beer. An Award-winner (and rightly so), it’s one of the most complex golden ales you’re likely to find in the UK. Juicy malt, with a herbal (Thyme or Rosemary?) note running right through the taste, your tastebuds try to process that lot when a massive tart hop profile hits you right on the end of the sip. One of my friends actually thinks it’s more along the lines of an IPA than a ‘Strong Golden Ale’, and I can see where he’s coming from. It’s an aggressive beer, but one that begs to be enjoyed slowly, as the nights draw in and that heating gets turned up.

It’s not all bottled fun – BrewDog Edge remains my stand-out beer of the season so far, and Wetherspoon’s Autumn Beer Festival (on now) will see the beer popping up at a ‘Spoons near you. Saltaire’s Harvest Moon is one of the best beers they’ve produced for a while in my opinion, and York’s excellent Centurion’s Ghost should be doing the rounds a little more often now. Rooster’s Mocha Stout is also filtering through to handpumps near you right about now – speaking of Rooster’s, their peppery, gingery Pumpkin Ale pretty much sold out in a couple of days in Leeds from what I understand. I liked it; but obviously it divided opinion. Personally I thought it was one of the better Ginger and spice -led pales I’ve tried. Good work, lads.

>Skipton Beer Festival 2010

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Yesterday – a lovely, sunny day in Skipton. Maybe not the best day do be sitting in a town hall, but there you go – when it comes to beer fests, only a few have precious outdoor seating. Plus, you often get pleasant surprise. Keighley & Craven CAMRA did well – the beers on offer were generally excellent, and, as hoped, did indeed contain a pleasant surprise.

Rodham’s excellent IPA started things off. I wish I could get my hands on Rodham’s beers more often, because I’ve yet to be let down by them. The IPA is pale, with a lovely malt backbone and tonnes of citrus hops dominating both the aroma and the taste. The hoppiness stays with you long after the sip, and along with my second choice of Marble’s gloriously refreshing Pint, had me pining for a beer garden again.

Still, onwards and upwards. Triple FFF’s ludicrously-named (It’s a song by Cream) Pressed Rat & Warthog flew the flag for ruby-accented milds; a nice undercurrent of biscuit and a decent hop aroma amongst the fruit made this a moreish pint, and Dark Horse’s Best (chosen because I’m such a fan of their Hetton Pale) didn’t disappoint either – an eminently drinkable best with a slightly raisin-led flavour.

The real star of the show, however, was Nethergate’s Umbel Magna. Basically their stalwart Old Growler with added coriander, I really didn’t know what to expect. Given that my only experience of Coriander in beers are firmly in the Wit stable, this half of dark, creamy beer didn’t fill me with excitement. But after one sniff – wow. What an aroma. Malt sweetness tempered with a massively rich burst of black pepper. I expected the beer to be astringent and harsh – in reality it was smooth, with a slightly creamy hint, and only the tiniest of heat from the coriander coming in late in the sip. The aroma, however, stuck with me. What a pleasure to try this genuinely unique and well-balanced beer. That’s what beer festivals are for.

Later, we finished the day off with a few pints of Rudgate’s Ruby Mild in the always – pleasant environs of The Narrowboat. Overall, a decent day, with plenty of beer. And to cap it off, Leeds won. The sun was shining, indeed.

>Rodham’s

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A few weeks ago I was in Beer-Ritz browsing for a wheat beer to wash down some Calamari I was frying up that night. It was only by chance that I happened upon a very indistinct bottle called Rodham’s wheat. Well, the opportunities to pick up a Yorkshire-brewed Wheat don’t come along often, so it was duly added to the already groaning basket and off we went.

I was seriously impressed by this beer – crystal -clear, it turned out to be superbly made and surprisingly well balanced white beer. All the classic coriander, orange peel and citrus flavours abounded and it turned out to be a perfect bedfellow for my golden Calamari.

Last week I picked up their IPA, and again my other half found me rabbiting on at her like a loon after only one sip – a wonderfully sweet, grassy IPA; not too hoppy despite having that puckering crispness you expect of a new-world IPA -and really, really well balanced.

Rodham’s are based in Otley, and to the best of my knowledge don’t have a website as such. However small they may be, Rodham’s are brewing some wonderful beers right now and if you do see any of their wares – be sure to taste. They are presenting a number of beer’s at this weekend’s Otley Beer Festival, and that would be a great place to start.
Rodham’s Brewery, Otley, Yorkshire, LS21 1BZ
Tel: 01943 464530
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