Kelham Island Family Tree (beta)

Snapshot of the Kelham Island Brewery Family Tree


When we put togeth­er our Thorn­bridge Brew­ery ‘Rock Fam­i­ly Tree’ a while ago, sev­er­al peo­ple respond­ed with sug­ges­tions that we do the same for Kel­ham Island. Then, last month, we heard the sad news of the death of Kel­ham Island’s founder, Dave Wick­ett (and read trib­utes from Simon ‘Reluc­tant Scoop­er’ John­son, Melis­sa Cole, Adri­an Tier­ney-Jones and Pete Brown).

That spurred us on and, with help from Stu­art Ross, a for­mer head brew­er at Kel­ham Island, now work­ing his mag­ic at, er, Mag­ic Rock, we’ve put togeth­er a first cut. We also referred to some old Kel­ham Island newslet­ters and Linkedin, which is great source of infor­ma­tion on brew­ers’ CVs. (Though it makes you feel like a stalk­er.)

Our first thoughts: this for­mat does­n’t quite cap­ture all that Dave Wick­ett did for beer and brew­ing. He’s there in the first box as the first head brew­er at Kel­ham Island, but his role as own­er was more than just ‘mon­ey man’. The con­sult­ing, advis­ing and encour­ag­ing he did is also not record­ed.

Nonethe­less, it shows how many brew­ers passed through Kel­ham Island and, when put side by side with the Thorn­bridge chart, the strands con­nect­ing Britain’s brew­eries do become more obvi­ous.

Cor­rec­tions and sug­ges­tions wel­come! Off you go.

Snow and stout in York

Last time we went to York, in the ear­ly days of this blog, Maieb (now Tweet­ing instead of blog­ging) told us in no uncer­tain terms that we real­ly ought to make it to the Malt­ings. So, a cou­ple of weeks back, find­ing our­selves near­by, in a heavy snow­storm, frost­bite begin­ning to affect our extrem­i­ties, we decid­ed final­ly to take his advice.

It’s a very cosy pub – a place where the bark of pas­sive-aggres­sive signs is def­i­nite­ly worse than the bite. There is a tongue-in-cheek tone to some of it (“Our staff are not high­ly trained – please treat them accord­ing­ly”) and the ser­vice was very friend­ly. It was stand­ing room only, no doubt in part because of the roar­ing fire and huge por­tions of basic, tasty, pip­ing hot old-school pub grub.

On the beer front, the high­light for us was Saw­bridge­worth Stout – so thick and choco­latey we want­ed chur­ros to dip in it. As well as sev­er­al cask ales, there was also a real­ly well thought out selec­tion of bot­tles and, in hon­our of the sea­son, hot Gluhkriek, per­fect for sup­ping while the snow falls out­side.

Yes, we are south­ern soft­ies. It was­n’t real­ly that cold. And this is yet anoth­er pub which we are the very last peo­ple in Britain to vis­it…

A swift one in Leeds

We had a bit of time to kill Leeds between trains on our way back from Haworth and so found our­selves at The Pin on Dock Street. It’s one of the out­lets for the rel­a­tive­ly new Leeds Brew­ery and a loungy, brunchy cafe-bar. It isn’t a pub and, if we had­n’t been hun­gry and stopped to look at the menu in the win­dow, we would­n’t have noticed it espe­cial­ly.

The food was posh pub grub and excel­lent val­ue for mon­ey at that, with a spe­cial men­tion for the best bat­tered fish we’ve had in ages.

We tried one each of the Leeds Best Bit­ter (bis­cu­ity, brown and like­able) and Pale (a crack­er – spicy, flow­ery with a lin­ger­ing hop after­taste).

There were Some inter­est­ing bot­tles (Brook­lyn, Lief­mans Kriek) but also a lot of pre­ten­tious ‘world lager’ like Cusque­na and Paci­fi­co.

We think it’s real­ly great to see a dif­fer­ent, more Euro­pean mod­el of booz­er work­ing in the UK – not every­thing has to be a pub or even a com­pro­mised pub.

We also stum­bled upon their brew­ery tap on the way to catch our train and popped in there, too. This is more like a pub, albeit a would-be trendy one, and with a lot more beer on offer, includ­ing Mid­night Bell, Leeds’ “pre­mi­um dark mild”. It was OK but by no means a com­peti­tor to Tim­o­thy Tay­lor’s mild. Leodis, their lager, was off – shame.

Tim Taylor country

They call it ‘Bronte Coun­try’ or bang on about the Rail­way Chil­dren but, for all the wily windy moors and choo-choos, it’s the ubiq­ui­tous pres­ence of Tim­o­thy Tay­lor which, for us, was the most obvi­ous fea­ture of Keigh­ley and its sur­round­ing towns and vil­lages.

The Fleece in Haworth vil­lage was every­thing you could want from a pub: packed full of peo­ple of all ages, most of whom knew each oth­er, but no less friend­ly for that. Anoth­er out of town­er put it well: “Did you hear that sound from out­side? A prop­er pub sound…”

They have a full range of Tay­lor’s beer, includ­ing Ram Tam, Dark Mild, Gold­en Best and, yes, a crack­ing pint of Land­lord.

Amaz­ing­ly, though, the beer was per­haps even bet­ter aboard a steam train on the Keigh­ley and Worth Val­ley rail­way. Our per­fect, almost porno­graph­ic pints had big mar­malade flavours we had­n’t real­ly been struck by before. The KWVR is the only mobile entry in the Good Beer Guide and thor­ough­ly deserves it. We rode up and down a few times mar­vel­ling at the hard work and enter­prise of the enthu­si­asts who had made this mar­vel pos­si­ble.

Of course, it did­n’t hurt that the bar­man had some­thing of Bernard Crib­bins about him.

We weren’t there long enough to vis­it every­where rec­om­mend­ed by Ten Inch Wheel­er who grew up in the area, but there’s always next time. Thanks for the advice, TIW!

And, of course, it’s a reg­u­lar stomp­ing ground for Leigh, who’s also fan of the Fleece!