Ilkley Brewery is celebrating its fifth year anniversary this week with the unveiling of its 1,000th brew: a Darjeeling and blackberry infused brown ale called Mash Tonne – and to thank locals for all their support the brewery is offering a free pint to every reader tonight, Thursday (see today's Ilkley Gazette for voucher).

Some six thousand pints of the anniversary beer have been made by lead brewer, Christa Sandquist, and the first pint will be pulled at a celebration event, today, Thursday, at Bar t’at in Ilkley. Bar t’at, part of Yorkshire pub group Market Town Taverns, has been chosen as the anniversary venue in honour of it being the first pub to permanently stock Ilkley Brewery beer back in 2009.

“I’m really pleased Chris and the team at Ilkley Brewery have chosen Bar t’at to launch Mash Tonne,” said Market Town Taverns managing director, Simon Midgley.

“We have enjoyed a great relationship with the brewery for the past five years due to a shared passion for great, locally sourced beer and are proud to support such a great Yorkshire brewery.”

Mash Tonne will also have a special London launch on Wednesday, May 7, at the Hack & Hop pub in the City. This will be Ilkley Brewery’s first partnership with the Pubs of Distinction group. Made with a cold infusion of black Darjeeling tea and finished with fresh blackberries, Mash Tonne is a 5.5 per cent ale featuring a combination of British and American hops.

Chris Ives, managing director of Ilkley Brewery, said: “This time five years ago, I had really only just learned how to make beer so to be here celebrating our 1,000th brew alongside our fifth year anniversary, is actually a bit hard to believe! We’re marking the occasion the only way we know how: by brewing a momentous beer. Christa has created an exciting and quite unusual brown ale and I think it captures where we are as a brewery perfectly.”

Since brewing its first firkin in 2009, Ilkley Brewery has racked up a host of commendations and awards as well as UK-wide pub, bar, supermarket and restaurant listings, and, more recently, overseas deals.

The brewery’s turnover has more than doubled year-on-year and its staff has jumped from one to 14 and it ships its beers across the UK and as far afield as the USA, Sweden and China.

Chris added: “When we first started to brew, the microbrewery boom was just beginning to peak and I think that thirst for beer which is big on flavour and which captures people’s imaginations, has been the driving force behind our strategy to make the best, most inspiring beer possible.

“We also make it our business to continually gather feedback from customers to ensure we’re tweaking and perfecting our products wherever possible. I think this willingness to involve customers in the process has helped the business evolve and improve over the years.

“Suffice it to say, as we celebrate year five, we couldn’t have made it this far without the efforts of our passionate and hardworking staff, the friends and partners we have made along the way and our loyal customers. This is truly a team effort and we thank everyone for their support in reaching this Mash Tonne milestone.”