I thoroughly enjoyed my 30 years as a police officer. My last operational role involved the management of major incidents and firearms operations.
I was a keen home brewer and a chance meeting with Paul Lorryman, the excellent Landlord of The Fleece at Pudsey, led to me providing a beer for his festival. When I turned up it was on the bar between a Timothy Taylor’s beer and Elland Porter. My beer was one of the first to sell out, so this gave me the confidence to give it a go. To any aspiring brewer I would say that the industry is full of lovely helpful people, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.
I’m from the area and I realised that there was a gap in the market. I initially started Quirky Ales in a garden shed, then moved to a larger unit with enough space to open a small tap. Access to the brewery next door generates interest and adds to the theatre.
In truth I brew too many beers, but that’s half the fun. Our core range is quite large and I brew limited edition beers on a regular basis. When we know we have a food van booked, we try to supply beers that complement the food. For spicy food we will have a sharper hop forward beer such as Hip Hop 5.5%. When we had a vegetarian food van, we offered an unfined beer on tap. Running the bar is time consuming but rewarding, especially when I see customers having a great time. I feel that we provide a community base, almost as an old-fashioned pub might have done but with a modern twist.
We ran a community festival in the summer, with a stage in the yard and a large crowd watching some great bands. It was fantastic to see everyone having such a good time in a tucked away industrial estate. The local links are something we care about; our waste grain goes to a local farmer and the hops to a community gardening group. Overall I’m very proud of what we have achieved as this is only supposed to be a part-time hobby!
I’m planning a battle of the brew schools. I’ve kept a sample of beers from most of the groups so I’m hoping to get them together for a blind tasting session to see which is voted the top brew school beer. I must also mention that I plan to continue my work with the Harewood Food and Drink Project next year and further beers will be made using produce from the Estate
Interesting question, I think most brewers tend to design recipes based on their own palate, I like a balanced beer where the malt base provides an equal amount of taste as the hops. I would recommend our Porter; it shows that a 3.5% beer can still deliver on flavour. In December I’m going to brew a New Zealand pale using Rakau hops. If the test brew is anything to go by it could be very good
I think my best ever pint is based on the context and surroundings of the where I had the drink. I recently spent a day walking in the Dales and finally arrived at Kettlewell, where I had a Taylors Golden Best. It went straight down in one before I had even left the bar. By the way, I’m a complete lightweight when it comes to drinking.