#AroundTheNorthIn80Beers Day 3: Relying on quality to be a stand out beer from a Yorkshire market town
#AroundTheNorthIn80Beers – Day 3
Beer: Black Sheep Ale
The Brewer: Black Sheep Brewery
Having watched England rack up six goals against Panama in the World Cup, it’s time for a modern classic of English brewing from Masham, a village that more than punches above its brewing weight.
Many people will be familiar with Black Sheep Ale, which is a flagship for the former upstart of brewing. If brewing was banking, Black Sheep would have been a “challenger” brewer long before the craft revolution, as founder Paul Theakston, having departed the family brewery, set out to challenge boring beer.
But what does it taste like?
Considering Paul’s desire to challenge, sitting here in 2018, Black Sheep Ale tastes very traditional, but it also screams ‘quality’.
It’s also a very comfortable tipple for me, feeling like an old friend and making me feel like I’m returning to my “first beer”. It wasn’t my first, but it feels so familiar that it could easily have been. In fact, it feels like the father of modern brewing, a label many would place on Paul Theakston himself.
Many traditionalists would say “this is what beer should taste like”, and in a world where brewers are trying many things to stand out, this particular offering by Black Sheep relies solely upon a quality, premium feel to do so.
At 4.4%, it’s also a beer you could stick with for s session.
Where in the North?
As mentioned above, the Yorkshire town of Masham punches above its weight I terms of breweries. Alongside Black Sheep, there is the Theakstons Brewery, and the small market town has its fair share of great pubs (complete with very locally sourced product). Not bad for a population of around 1,400 people. And if that’s not enough, the likes of Ripon, York and Harrogate are all close by, but visitors are unlikely to need them, with more than you might imagine going on in Masham itself.
Sheep and steam also play a big part in the culture of Masham, with an annual Sheep Fair, as well as an annual Steam Engine and Fair Organ rally.
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I’m 44, I don’t (always) have a beard (partly because when I try it is patchy, has gaps, with ginger and grey bits) and don’t take a clipboard to the pub. So, I’m not the stereotypical real ale fan of old, in the style that I was always told to look out for...read more