Category Archives: Rooster’s Beer

>Congrats, Roosters

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It’s not often I post in a reaction to another post, but Zak’s congratulatory piece on Rooster’s recent retention of Gold at the World Beer Cup for English Summer Ale with their magnificent Leghorn and YPA Beers really made me smile – and damn it, Zak – you’re right. Congratulations are in order.

You see, Rooster’s (and experimental arm Outlaw) are a brewery close to my heart, and I think, close to the hearts of many drinkers, especially in Yorkshire. YPA, Leghorn and Yankee are all beers that recall my formative months in drinking beer. Sean Franklin’s uniformly pale, creamy-headed beers were simply the most unique beers I had smelt on the market back then, and they were truly special, no doubt. Notice I say smelt – I’m not exaggerating when I say that Yankee and Leghorn really did open open up a new world for me in terms of hops and aroma – an ingredient of beer that I did not know a great deal about back then.

…And it’s been a pleasure to learn. When I decided that writing about beer seemed like a lark, I contacted Sean to provide an interview, expecting the usual radio silence in return. But he responded promptly and courteously, and it really made my day. Despite my naive questioning, it’s still one of my favourite posts.

Ok, so this may seem like sheer fandom; and in a way it is. But what really makes me happy is this: Local guy done good. Simple as that. Look through that list at the WBC – there’s some wonderful, innovative breweries on there; and I have no problem putting Rooster’s up there too.
They deserve it – Sean and his team been making wonderful, aromatic beers – with a single-varietal hop mindset – since the early 90’s; ploughing a singular furrow in his own quiet way, and has always sat slightly outside the mainstream. He’s no stranger to awards, but I know he treats every one with pride. Thornbridge, BrewDog & Porterhouse were amongst the other well-known winners, but Rooster’s are local. Well, to me, anyway.

So well done, guys. Deserved, as always.

If you really haven’t tasted any Rooster’s Beers, they are available at The Palace, North, The Cross Keys, Nation of Shopkeepers, The Maltings (York) and The Tap & Spile (Harrogate), to name a few. Thanks for flagging this award, Zak.

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>The Hop, Leeds

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I’ve always liked Ossett Breweries’ beers – they do a great line in pales, and their beers always satisfy in a non-complicated, typically Yorkshire way. The Hop is their latest foray into real estate, and I dropped by yesterday evening after work to see how they were doing.

The Hop’s a nice space – vaulted ceilings and the (strangely comforting) occasional rumble of trains overhead courtesy of the Dark Arches location. Downstairs boasts a faux-pub decor, whilst the extra seating upstairs is welcome, given that it’s practically standing-room only at the bar.

Onto the beer. Ossett’s standards are all here, rebadged and all shiny and new. Silver King and its stronger cousin Excelsior are great pales, sherbety in mouthfeel and grapefruity on the nose. Yorkshire Blonde does what it says on the tin, but Big Red impresses. Very red in colour, this ruddy, deep-flavoured ale provides a tastier diversion from pale overload.

Nestled beside the Ossett beers are guests from Roosters (more pale), Great Heck, and Goose Eye’s wonderful Over & Stout, and the fridges boast the usual roundup of Belgian, American and German bottled gems.

So, it was a night for Pale fans, without a doubt. And what do I think of The Hop? I like it; a little more variation on the bar would be appreciated, but pale ales, like Roosters, are Ossett’s style of choice. The place is bustling, and there’s a lot of people in here, all drinking ale. That’s a good thing, no mistake. The Hop is a welcome addition to the pubs and bars of Leeds in my book, and it’s location serves as a handy pitstop on the way down to the River Aire run. Kudos, too, for using the Dark Arches. We should be making more of this beautiful, unique space – and hopefully others will follow The Hop.

Apologies for my crap photos. It’s a very gloomy bar, especially at 18.00 on a friday night. Bring on the sunshine!!

>Roosters 2010 Roster

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Here’s a sneaky peek at what to expect from long-time TGS favourite Roosters (and thier experimental arm, Outlaw) in the first half of 2010.

JANUARY 2010:
HUNTSMAN ALE 3.7% ABV
Very drinkable, copper coloured session bitter. Nice body. Crystal malt and Northdown hops create a balance palate with a nutty finish. Easy drinking.
FEBRUARY 2010:
APRES SKI 4.3% ABV
A lovely pale beer made with a blend of Lager and Simpson’s malts. The addition of Tetnang hops makes this the perfect modern lager. If you had just won Gold in the Vancouver 2010 Olympics this would be your choice at the bar. Pale as the snow, glides down easy, a lager style drink. A winner for sure!
MARCH 2010:
CELTIC CORKER 3.9% ABV
A signature Rooster’s pale ale enhanced with dried shamrock makes this the ideal beer for celebrating St Patrick’s Day. Not wanting to compete with the incredible range of stouts out there we are offering this fantastic alternative to celebrate the day. Golden in colour, moderately bitter and an excellent session ale.
APRIL 2010:
PATRIOT 4.7% ABV
A quintessentially British ale to celebrate St George’s day in style. All the ingredients, from the malt, to the water, to the yeast, have been carefully selected to create a showcase for quality local produce. This a Great British Pale Ale not to be missed.
MAY 2010
MAYFLOWER 3.7% ABV
Ideal summer session beer. Pale coloured beer made with some malted wheat and Chinook hops from the Yakima Valley in Washington State. Grapefruity bitterness. Light and dry and easy to drink.
JUNE 2010
ELDERFLOWER 3.7% ABV
Made with Golden Promise malt, Cascade hops and Elderflowers. Well balanced moderate bitterness, big aromas, long length of flavour.

Nice to see a few variations; Elderflower and darker beers coming through from the kings of Pale Ale. I can honestly say I’ve never even heard of a beer brewed with Shamrock!

>Yorkshire Day – As Good A Reason As Any…

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Yep, we deemed the first of August Yorkshire Day, and pubs across the city took that as an excellent reason to focus on local beers. Not that any of the pubs I visited ever really have an issue with stocking locals, but we Yorkshiremen (and women) are a proud bunch.

So, off the The Adelphi to start, with pints of TT’s Landlord and Leeds Best in cracking condition. Then a quick amble down to The Palace, which is one of my favourite drinkers in Leeds. Rooster’s perennial favourite Yankee was on offer, and despite the weather turning a little grey outside one sip of this refreshing, golden ale with its tropical fruit aromas made you feel truly summery. Beers from Little Valley, Daleside, Elland and Fernandes were proving popular too.
We followed that with Saltaire’s Yorkshire Pale; a truly moreish pint; smooth, hoppy and packed with Citrussy notes. This was the third pint of Saltaire’s beer I’ve had in two weeks – and I have to say I’ve been impressed with them all.

Yep, supping beer on a lazy afternoon. Gotta love Yorkshire Day.

The Palace, Kirkgate, Leeds LS2 7DJ
Tel; 01132445882

>The Hunter’s Inn/The Dyneley Arms, Otley, Near Leeds

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Life has a funny way of turning full circle at times.
The Hunter’s Inn, in Otley, near Leeds, was the scene of, or rather the cause of, my first real hangover. A real, adult, honest to god, head-throbbing, stomach churning, muscle-tremoring hangover. We were only young, and maybe that made The Hunter’s scarier than it actually was – although in those days it was clearly a Biker’s hangout; the pool table and jukebox were the most important things there – not the bar. Lord, not the bar. If I remember correctly, Newcastle Brown was the tipple of the evening that will forever be scorched into my mind. And forever scorched onto my friend’s mum’s lawn the next morning.
We drive past it often, and I had recently noticed subtle changes– a Theakston’s sign was up, and a notice telling me that up to 9 rotating cask ales were on offer. It ticked away in my mind, and last month, on the way back from The Leyburn Festival of Food and Drink, we dropped in – quite unsure of what to expect.
I don’t know the two landladies, but they have done a great job. Firstly, the place is way more welcoming, and there are no bikes in the doorway (sorry, bikers – no offence) – but the ales spoke volumes. My heart sank when I saw Rooster’s Yankee available – not only would I have to try it (being one of my all-time faves), but if it was in bad nick then it was game over. I’m outta there.
I lifted the glass to my lips and drank – perfect. A great pint. The bar stocked – to name a few – beers from Kelham Island (more on them later), Roosters, Old Bear, Goose Eye, Marston Moor, Barnsley and Sharp’s…a better choice than you would expect, to say the least. The fire was roaring, people were smiling and laughing – hey, we were in a good pub. Not a bar. A pub.
I’ve not written a pub review in a while, simply because I had nothing to say on the matter. The Hunter’s has improved so much, it’s a little beacon of hope for a time when the pub trade seems to be in a bad way. Put it on your beer map – it’s a worthy destination. There’s also an excellent farm shop next door if you need something for tea on your back home.
Another Otley pub from my youth, The Dyneley Arms, has been reincarnated as a Sam Smith’s pub. We dropped in, lured by the prospect of a pint of Smith’s Wheat Beer (which I believe to be greatly underappreciated) and found a much changed pub to the Dyneley of the past. The place is immaculate; and luckily the beer is too. Well kept, honest beer, in a cavernous , suitably rustic setting. My only reservation was a silly one – it all seemed a little too new. I’m used to enjoying my pints of Sovereign Bitter in slightly rougher surroundings. Oh well – I’ll get used to it. Drop by, see what you think.
· But aren’t the beer mats the greatest you have ever seen? You really don’t get them like that anymore. Well done, Sam Smith’s design guy (or Girl).

The Hunter’s Inn – Harrogate Road, Pool in Wharfedale, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 2PS, Tel: 01132 841090
The Dyneley Arms – Otley Road, Otley, LS21 1ET Tel: 0113 2842887
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