Category Archives: Timothy Taylor’s
Like many of us, I have a pretty stressful job. I manage people, and have to keep a number of balls in the air at any one time. On one hand, I like my job; I’m in a good position, with a good rep and with prospects in front of me. On the other hand – i’m not really passionate about it. What I am passionate about – writing and beer – gets an airing here.
Last week I had a rare day off. I took a little lunchtime walk to a pub in Bramley, where I live, called The Old Unicorn. It’s a Taylor’s pub, and very much a ‘local’ atmosphere going on. Depending on the day, it can be dead or busy – on this day, there was a fair old crowd in there. I picked up a paper, ordered a sandwich and a pint of Landlord, and sat down.
Taylor’s Landlord. A beer risen to near mythical heights outside of Yorkshire, and normally a beacon of quality no matter where you drink it. Living in Leeds, I’ve spent many a night in Bradford, Keighley and Haworth supping this archetypal ubiquitous pale bitter. Despite the legend, it can be ordinary (very ordinary) when served in bad condition.
But this pint wasn’t. It was bang on. Fresh, floral, malty, sweet, with a tight, everlasting head, it brightened my mood so much that it vanished in four gulps and another was ordered. I wasn’t in glamorous surroundings, nor supping some imported US gem – this was plain old Yorkshire in a glass, with the sports pages open in front of me (dissecting our loss against Carlisle the night before) and a Club Sandwich to fill my stomach. This was heaven. This was four days ago, and I can still taste that pint now.
But then, as often happens, real life got in the way. A hectic period of work meant that the trip to my favoured Taylor’s inn – The Fleece, in Haworth, had to be delayed by a week – and this was disastrous. When I finally got there, the barmaid apologetically informed me that all the Havercake and Celebration Ales had run dry. In fact, had just run dry. Excursions to other Taylor’s pubs yielded similar results. I was running round Yorkshire, always one step behind this elusive beer. I gave up. I resigned myself to the fact that I had missed the boat. Lesson learned, young drinker.
Fast-forward a few months to October 2008; we’re in Haworth again. After a pleasant stroll through Bronte country, we popped into The Black Bull for a pint of Ossett’s Silver King, and then, purely out of habit, dropped into the Fleece. Whilst lifting my lips to the first sip of fresh Landlord, my eyes caught something on the back of the bar. A box. A presentation box. With a bottle each of Havercake and Celebration Ale gleaming within. I felt like Indiana Jones faced with the Crystal Skull. Needless to say, it was bought and promptly cellared; kept away for a special occasion: the first beer of 2009.
You will need (to serve four):
Three large fillets of white fish, cut into hearty chunks – (Cod,Haddock or Pollock are good)
250g plain flour (plus extra for dusting)
¾ pint of Timothy Taylor’s Landlord Pale Ale (well chilled)
Pinch of salt
3 tsps of baking powder
A pinch of chilli flakes, a pinch of black pepper and a good sprinkle of paprika
Sunflower oil to fry in – I mix half oil with half dripping or even goose fat!
1. To make the Batter, simply sieve the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add the beer and stir well. You want a thick emulsion – but not too thick. You’ll know when it’s ready.
Heat up your oil – it needs to be good and hot – about 160c. To test, simply fry a chunk of bread. If it fries cleanly and floats to the top, you’re done.
2. On another plate, sprinkle some of the flour and season this with pepper, chilli flakes and paprika. Dust the fish in this before dredging through the batter.
3. Drop the fish into the oil (away from you) and fry for about 5-6 minutes, or until golden brown. Don’t overcrowd the pan – only do a couple of pieces at a time. Take care not to overcook – you want the fish to stay moist.
4. When ready simply leave to drain for a minute or so on some kitchen paper. Serve with slices of lemon and a good dose of salt and vinegar!