11:10 AM 11th November 2020
Beer Of The Month: A Wishbone For November
Adrian Chapman, the owner of Wishbone Brewery, has a dream. Firmly believing Keighley needs a good kick up the pants when it comes to marketing itself, he is certain it could become the Real Ale capital of the West Riding. "We’ve got the pubs, the breweries, the Worth Valley Railway, Haworth is on the doorstep – it will happen- it’s just a matter of when not if."
Covid has, alas, proved a temporary setback but he’s not going to let the idea go away. He founded the ten-barrel brewery in an old industrial mill in the heart of Keighley, where his Dad worked back in the day, when the overpowering smell was of wool rather than hops. "It took us eight months of hard work to get it fit for purpose," he remembers, "before we were able to open in August, 2015."
2020 was shaping up to be the best yet, after steady year-on-year growth, until everything ground to a halt in March. "It was a blow to us, but we ticked over with home deliveries within a ten-mile range, and by converting cask ales to minikegs and 10-litre boxes of beer."
Ever optimistic, he believes he is much better equipped to survive now than during the first lockdown. "We learned a lot during that early period that is helping us to cope with the current closure. Our beers kept really well, with longer shelf life than we first thought. The hops mellow out and the beer is still good. We were late to the party when we introduced canning in September, but it’s all up and running now."
Adrian is keen to acknowledge the invaluable help he receives from his wife, Emma, assistant brewer Oliver, and Paul, who is in charge of deliveries and sales."We are a good team, and we firmly believe there is no substitute for quality when it comes to brewing."
Quality is undoubtedly their watchword. "We use only the best ingredients, which is why we have to charge a fair price, and we don’t devalue ourselves by selling to supermarkets. We focus on our beers not on brand image."
Their core beers appeal to a wide range of tastes and ages. Dassler (4.2 ABV), a German-stye Helles hopped with Motueka, is their very popular lager, always selling well at, for example, the Cap and Collar in Saltaire, and The Fox & Goose in Hebden Bridge. Rubus Idaeus (4.5) is a Kolsch-style ale, with subtle hints of cherry and raspberry puree. Pixie Juice (5.0) is a tasty gluten-free pale ale.
Their American-style Pale Ale, Tiller Pin (4.2), their best seller and the Yorkshire Times’ Beer of November, is a brewing collaboration with The Boat House. It’s a hoppy pale, with choice American hops, Citra, Chinook and Cascade, dry hopped in the fermenter. Golden-amber in colour with a good foamy head, it has a crisply subtle citrus-pine freshness on the palate, tempered by a sweet maltiness. It has a perfect balance, and a finish guaranteed to bring you back for more.
For more details of the brewery and sales go to:
Web shop - https://shop.wishbonebrewery.co.uk
Website - www.wishbonebrewery.co.uk