Copper Dragon Brewery is clean, modern, efficient and the beer is well made, though lacking a little in excitement. You won't find any beers stronger than 5% as the brewery - or rather its owner - firmly believes that beer is a volume based drink and as such his beers should be easily drinkable. The exception is Conqueror, which is chock full of American hops and drinks well above its weight, though the exception here is in taste, not alcohol. Conqueror is only 3.6% and joins a growing number of beers that combine great flavour and drinkabilty with lowish alcohol. It was probably the beer of the day. The people there are charming and fun - yes not a dour Yorkshireman in sight - though the brewery while claiming uniqueness in design, seemed to me to be pretty standard for any brewery that uses dual purpose vessels. They are in the process of expanding capacity up to the limit of Progressive Beer Duty and things seem pretty healthy now, their previous troubles apparently behind them.
The Bistro is pretty good too and provided much needed sustenance for a three hour pub crawl of Skipton, which I won't bore you with in any great detail. The best pub was the Narrow Boat which is something of a classic and a "must visit" if you are in the area. The Narrow Boat also provided the second low strength/high taste beer of the day in Ilkley's Mary Jane, which has a lovely hoppy taste from Amarilo hops and is only 3.5%.
So there you have it, a good day out to a nice town and a very pleasant brewery. On a personal note, the most striking thing of the day perhaps was to bump into a lass that used to work for me over 20 years ago in Liverpool. She lives on the Fylde now.
What a small world.
A quick couple of pints of Ossett Citra back in Middleton also impressed. Ossett are going great guns at present.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, CAMRA Chairman and (local) activist, beer author, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010 and 2011. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
This blog mentions specifics; pubs and beer, good and bad. The opinions will be forthright, but you can always disagree, just don't be offended. Comments from those mentioned are particularly welcome and a right of reply is hereby offered.
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