Is this the first Martian brewery? Probably not, but they are on a different planet …
It’s not just me that thinks North Brewing Co. are out of sight neither. Back in July their Transmission West Coast IPA was awarded ‘Best IPA’ at Imbibe Live. And this week at SIBA BeerX in Liverpool, Transmission IPA was awarded gold within the ‘Keg Premium Strong Beers’ category before being crowned ‘Overall Champion of the SIBA Independent Keg Beer Awards’.
Not satisfied with that North Brewing Co. claimed the ‘SIBA Business Innovation’ top award, and in the same week also took the accolade of ‘Best Brewing Pub Company’ at The Morning Advertiser Publican Awards for the second year in a row!
That isn’t bad for a company that’s only being going for two years, the brewery that is, and not it’s sister company North Bar, the original and still the best craft beer bar in the UK, along with it’s growing empire of satellite bars.
It was quite timely then, that I popped in the week before with a group of friends from Clifford Champion Beer Festival (30th June noon till 11pm if you’re interested) and I must thank North Brewing Co. for their hospitality, our guys were truly in Transmission as they watched the Sputnik head off North …
There were quite a few other familiar faces in there too. Mark ‘Brewtown Tours’ Stredwick was already in full flight with his mini-bus full of beer tourists and we were greeted by the lovely ‘I thought you worked at Northern Monk’ Anja? Turns out she jumped ship last year. Anyhow, along with equally lovely and bubbly Sarah, they were the perfect hosts for the afternoon and No, they aren’t a strange caste of Mars Red really. It was just my camera (and it’s operative) that struggled to cope with the glow of the powerful heating lamps.
Mind you, they were quite welcome, as it was a freezing cold afternoon and the tap room is literally a bar in the brewery, which is an industrial unit in Sheepscar Grove, Leeds 7, but don’t let that put you off visiting as it’s only a short walk out of the city centre up North Street and you can combine it with stops at BrewDog North St, The Reliance and The Brunswick which are all very excellent. There’s also The Eagle which is a recently refurbished Sam Smith’s pub. We slotted in The Templar on Vicar lane as well because a) it’s a cracking traditional boozer and b) our bus stops virtually outside it so it’s rude not to. I think I’ve just given you all a cracking little crawl around Leeds city centre’s latest ‘Northern Quarter’, making us the only city in the world to have, by my reckoning, six quarters?
I’m indebted to Anja who recognised most of us thought we knew a bit about beer and tailored the brewery tour to an update on what North have been doing recently? Things like doubling production with the installation of three new fermenting vessels (15,000 x 330ml can capacity) at the end of last year. Essentially the new vessels are twice the size of the original ones which means they take two mashings to fill them. On that basis I predict they will be buying a new mash tun and kettle soon?
What do you mean, where’s the money coming from? Exporting across Europe to countries like Italy, Norway and Sweden and now China and Singapore, as well as the new deal with Booth’s (posher than Waitrose, but less of the hype) supermarket. And the new 440ml cans as well. It’s either get bigger kit or work night shifts I reckon.
Apart from the Herzhog (Kölsch style), nothing is filtered and everything at North Brewing Co. is unfined before getting put into key-keg, Ekeg or cans
‘So what’s that then?’, I asked.
‘What, the new hop canon’ Anja replied.
Looks cool, a bit like a rocket that’s landed on Mars , putting a new light on the reddy glow. It doesn’t just fire hops (or beer through the hops to be precise), it fires coconut into the Full Fathom 5 (Coconut and coffee Porter) too. Now that is cool.
Our quick trip round the brewery morphed into a seat at one of the bench tables, a bit of Q & A and an engaging discussion. We were assured that whatever level of discussion we wanted, we would get it, and believe me we did.
Like, why is Transmission called Transmission? Joy Division Song.
Where do you can your beer? Mobile canning plant once a week.
Whose malt do you use? Castleford (Fawcetts).
What about the yeast? We’ve got our own North Brewing Co. strains and each beer has it’s own yeast, we use them for five generations before starting again.
What do you think about Pink IPA? DO NOT get me started on that one!
Okay. Why do your new cans look like Cloudwaters? They dooooon’t.
I thought they did, a little bit. Anyway I drank the Kurious Oranj (6% Orange and Mandarin IPA), even though I’m a good Catholic lad and the 440ml can’s got William of Orange on it, or is it Charles I ? It definitely wasn’t Mark E. Smith.
The draught Kurious Oranj we drank was from the very first brew which came out of the tank the day before and it was <expletive> unbelievable. It might just be the best thing to come out of Sheepscar, ever.
North Brewing Co. are at Unit 6, Taverners Walk Industrial Estate, Sheepscar Grove, Leeds LS7 1AH. The Brewery Tap is open every Friday, 4 till 10 pm, and Saturday, noon till 10pm.