When Martin Kellaway conceived Wharfebank a few years back, he had a simple aim; create a brewery that brews beers that people want to drink, get a pub or two under the banner for people to enjoy said beer and locally-sourced food in, and get those beers into people’s homes.
Having sewn up the brewery and pub angle (Wharfebank not only recently saved The Half Moon in Pool from closing, they’ve joined forces with Nottingham mainstays Castle Rock and revived York favourite The Rook and Gaskill), those bottles have finally arrived. They look great and the beer they contain is as no-nonsense and solidly tasty as you’d expect from Wharfebank.
SPA (5.8% abv) is the surprise package. Not a beer that I’ve tried on cask (is it available on cask, guys?) it’s a true Strong Pale Ale, yet manages to hide that strength behind a cloak of creamy, pale malt. That digestive-biscuit nose is supplemented by touches of peaches and apricot, and the body is sweet, round and soft. It’s a lovely beer, and the one of the group that surprised me the most.
Yorkshire IPA (5.1% abv) ploughs a similar furrow but, surprisingly, with less power. Amber in colour to SPA’s golden hue, there’s that creamy malt again (the bottles seem incredibly fresh), but backed up with a nose of Orange pith and Lemon length (is that a term? Sounds dubious…), which lasts to the finish, which is long and drying. A sessionable IPA, for sure, but a pleasant one. Again, I’ve missed this one on cask, but I’d hazard that the slight effervescence in the bottle lifts this beer up a little more than the cask version.
As someone that drinks a lot of Tether Blonde (4.1%abv) when out, I could almost taste this beer before popping the cap. Pale gold, grassy/flinty in the nose and smoothy sweet, Tether is a classic Yorkshire Pale Ale that begs to be chilled slightly and enjoyed with the likes of Calamari, Schnitzel or, hell, a packet of crisps and a football game. Alongside Saltaire’s Blonde and Leeds’s Pale, Tether is one of those Blonde ales that slakes the thirst of Yorkshiremen on a daily basis.
So – overall – a great start to bottled life for Wharfebank. I’ll be picking up more of the range, for sure.