Wharfedale brewery taps into the appeal of beer festival

Ilkley Gazette: The Wheatley Arms in Ben Rhydding, which is holding a celebration of real ale The Wheatley Arms in Ben Rhydding, which is holding a celebration of real ale

Ilkley’s newest brewery, which will be located within the grounds of the new Flying Duck Brew Pub in Church Street when it opens, is to support two forthcoming local beer festivals.

In preparation for the launch of the third incarnation of Wharfedale Brewery, Michael Allan, of Maxwell Road, under the guidance of Westville Avenue’s award-winning brewer Stewart Ross, have been testing out some new recipes for their “Resurrection Range” at Five Towns Brewery in Wakefield.

Wharfedale Blonde, which is described as a straw coloured floral session ale, has already been on the bars of over a dozen pubs and beer festivals in the area, whilst Wharfedale Best, a traditional, chestnut coloured Yorkshire bitter, is being specially produced as the “Festival Ale” for the Wheatley Arms ahead of their inaugural real ale celebration which kicks off on Wednesday.

Steve Benson, one of the managers at the Ben Rhydding pub, is behind the idea. “Wharfedale Blonde has been a tremendous success at the Wheatley since making its debut in January and very well received by our customers,” he said. “We are always keen to foster relationships with other local businesses and we had no hesitation in asking the team to produce a flagship beer for us, which we are sure will go down well.”

The Wheatley is to showcase ten beers across a five-week period, pitting the best of Yorkshire ales against the rest of Great Britain. Customers can vote for their favourites with the most popular going into a grand finale on Friday, June 28.

Wharfedale Brewery has also agreed to take over the sponsorship of the Swan Beer Festival, from Ilkley Brewery, when the Addingham pub hosts its third annual real ale extravaganza on the weekends of June 7 and October 25, where 25 beers from across the UK will rotate across each event.

Landlord Ian Frost said: “When we held our first festival in 2011 we had no idea it would prove so popular and we look forward to hosting two more events this year, which we hope everyone will enjoy. We are delighted to welcome Wharfedale Brewery as our new sponsors and wish them every success with their new venture.”

Spokesman for Wharfedale Brewery Jonathan Shepherd said: “Despite being at such an early stage in our development as a brewery, we have hit the ground running and we are delighted with the positive feedback we have received. It’s both an honour and a privilege to be asked to take such a major role in these beer festivals at two such well liked and respected local pubs.”

Refurbishment work is well underway at the former Albert Inn, which is expected to re-open as the Flying Duck in late July. The new brewing vessels have been manufactured and are awaiting delivery to their new home.

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