Whilst this is a blog about boozers in the Midlands I have (once before) ventured out of my parochial homeland and blogged about the experience.
A brewery tour to Black Sheep in Masham was the perfect opportunity to see what Yorkshire has to offer and it came with a great tale to boot.
I loved the fact that when I rang up to book the tour it was a throwback to speaking to someone at the venue (with a broad Yorkshire accent) and it felt like they were interested as opposed to a big corporate behemoth company who send you to a call centre somewhere else (Merlin Entertainments spring to mind!!!)
This won’t be ground breaking news to anyone who writes about beer but the fact that Paul Theakston set up his own Black Sheep Brewery slap bang next door to a Theakston boozer in 1992 in the town of Masham speaks volumes for the drive and stubborn nature he possessed.
If I’m honest Black Sheep beer has never really leapt out at me but this tour was a cracker and the beer was absolute nectar at the end.
Black Sheep Visitors Centre HG4 4EN was where you could spend your tour beer tokens and kids in a sweetshop sprung to mind! Howard was our guide throughout…
…and his knowledge of the brewing process was second to none.
Not only was the beer good but the cheese I had (with Riggwelter inside Cheddar) was undoubtedly the cheese of 2018 thus far so it was well worth the visit.
For the record, the Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Black Sheep Best were better than I had ever tasted them before and clearly an advert for cask being drunk with a quick turnover.
The chap at the bar said they had put keg on once or twice before but no one was drinking it, so it was a waste of beer…food for thought there!
However, if that wasn’t enough then within spitting distance is the unofficial Theakston Brewery Tap The White Bear Hotel HG4 4EN.
Whilst Howard professed relations were cordial and that sweetness and light prevailed, it was noticeable that neither place was stocking each other’s beer. In fact, one of the locals we spoke to reckoned that Black Sheep wouldn’t be on Theakston’s Christmas card list, but the fact that such a small place can support two sizeable breweries is tremendous.
Again, Theakston’s is not normally a beer that leaps out at me but they had the full range on and we tried both the Lightfoot and the XB, which were in sensational form.
A cracking old boozer with real character that was welcoming and oozed history from every pore, as well as possessing a belting range of beers.
(a bit more history)
(doesn’t get any older than this! One for Mudge)
Both bars were incredibly warm and welcoming and whilst clearly in competition it is impossible to pick a winner such was the quality of the beers.
The Riggwleter cheese might just have swung it but a day out in Masham is well worth the effort.