Sunday 30 September 2018

Saltaire Brewery

I managed to squeeze in a couple of brewery visits during our recent trip to Yorkshire. They were visits, rather than tours; the difference being we visited the brewery premises to buy bottles of beer to take away with us, rather than undertaking a guided tour of the brewing plant.

Saltaire Brewery was the first place we visited, and whilst it took a bit of finding, it was well worth the effort. The brewery is situated not far from the centre of Shipley; a small town to the north of Bradford, which has now been absorbed by its larger neighbour to form a continuous urban conurbation.

The brewery is named after the nearby model village of Saltaire, a development planned and built in the mid 19th Century, by Sir Titus Salt, who was one of the leading industrialists associated with the woollen industry in Yorkshire.

As well as the large complex of woollen mills built alongside the Leeds & Liverpool canal, Salt built neat stone houses for his workers. These were a huge improvement  on the slums of Bradford, as they were provided with wash-houses and bath-houses with tap water. The village also included a hospital, an institute for recreation and education,  a library, a reading room, a concert hall, a billiard room, a science laboratory and a gymnasium.

In addition the village had a school for the children of the workers, almshouses, allotments, a park and a boathouse. The name Saltaire is a combination of the founder's surname and the name of the nearby river – the River Aire.  The village has survived remarkably complete, and in 2001, Saltaire was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The buildings belonging to the model village are individually listed. 

Salt’s Mill closed as a textile concern in February 1986, and was purchased the following year by local businessman and entrepreneur, Jonathan Silver. The new owner set about renovating the splendid looking, stone-built, former mill buildings and today the complex is home to a variety of businesses and commercial ventures, with other parts used for leisure and residential purposes.

Strangely enough, the converted mill buildings do not house the Saltaire Brewery, which instead is situated a short distance away on a former industrial site, close to the Leeds & Liverpool canal. 

The brewery was founded in 2006, and since that time has gone from strength to strength. It now produces 56,000 litres of beer each week, delivering all over Yorkshire, the North West, the North East, Cumbria and beyond. Bottled beers are available from all major supermarkets as well as selected independent wine and beer retailers.

In August this year, the brewery carried out a major re-branding exercise and at the same time launched a new range of beers, with the aim of “bridging the gap between cask and craft”. The revamped range includes a session IPA, a citrus pale ale, a black IPA and an Australian and New Zealand pale ale. The recipes have a focus on flavour with hop forward, unfiltered and easy drinking beers, which are available in 33cl bottles and kegs.  

After parking in the brewery yard, we made our way to the Brewery Tap Room, which is housed in a single storey building on the other side of the yard. The interior is laid out like a pub, with seating and a bar-counter adorned with hand-pulls and keg fonts, dispensing a range of Saltaire beers. Chilled bottled beers are available from a fridge, with the full range of Saltaire bottled beers available to take away, by the bottle or by the case.

My wife and son sat themselves down at one of the tables, whilst I grabbed us some drinks. I opted for the cask Citra and ordered the same beer for Matt. He was impressed as to how good the beer was, as was I; the only trouble was I was driving so had to limit myself to just the one beer.

I made up for this by buying a selection of different bottles, all at brewery prices, and I shall enjoy drinking them later. The Tap Room was quiet, with only one other customer (and his dog), present, but the barman assured me the place would liven up later. He also told me hat business was going well and that Saltaire had been helped by having had a presence in the area’s pubs and bar for the past 12 years.

So much like the brewery bars I visited, whilst over in the United States, it pays to have a guaranteed outlet for your beers, where you can showcase them to the world whilst encouraging people to buy them. I would certainly be a regular customer, if I lived in the area. 

After drinking up and loading the beers into the back of the car, we left, with no clear purpose in mind, apart from filling the car up with cheap northern diesel. This entailed a drive into Keighley, just five miles down the road.

After re-fuelling, we failed to find the town’s most famous brewery – Timothy Taylor’s,  although the previous day we drove past the Cross Roads Inn, on our way to Haworth. The latter was displaying the livery of the Copper Dragon Brewery; a concern which has had several changes of ownership and also moved site a number of times. The brewery is currently based in Keighley.

Instead we took a drive out towards the town of Skipton, known as the “Gateway to the Dales”. On the way, we called in at the Naylor’s Brewery and Beer Emporium, at Cross Hills. I will write a brief piece about this enterprising establishment next time, so for the time being, it’s bye for now. 

Footnote: Saltaire are in the process of re-vamping their website, so for this reason I haven't included any links to the brewery site. It is worth bearing in mind that Saltaire beers can often be found in bottled form, in major supermarkets, and are well worth seeking out.


Russtovich said...

"which has now been absorbed by its larger neighbour to form a continuous urban conurbation."

Ah, progress. Get that over here as well. :)

"The new owner set about renovating the splendid stone, former mill buildings and today the complex is home to a variety of businesses and commercial ventures, "

The precursor to Canary Wharf? ;)

"I would certainly be a regular customer, if I lived in the area. "

I see they've partnered with Sovereign Beverage Company for international export. Sov is partnered with such breweries as Wychwood, Belhaven, Marston's and Innis & Gunn. I have access to some of their beers where I live. With luck I'll be seeing some Saltaire beers soon.

"After re-fuelling, we failed to find the town’s most famous brewery – Timothy Taylor’s,"

Good lord, no wonder. I just tried on Streetview. It's at 72 Queen's Road in Keighly, near Lund park. Definitely a little out of the way.

"It is worth bearing in mind that Saltaire beers can often be found in bottled form, in major supermarkets, and are well worth seeking out."

As mentioned above, I will keep an eye out in my local liquor stores around here. :)


PS - "He also told me hat business was going well"

My "hat's" off to them, and that should be that. ;)

Etu said...

That was another good description of places that I know quite well, Paul.

I have a bolt-hole not that far from Shipley, and the village pub stocks a dangerously good pint of Saltaire Pride. If there's a certain other ne'er-do-well in there, then that's the pair of us finished.

I hope that you managed to visit Skipton. I wonder if you got to The Woolly Sheep? (Have you ever seen an un-woolly one, on that point?)

I look forward to your next instalment.



Paul Bailey said...

Russ, my aim of finding the Timothy Taylor Brewery was more out of interest than anything else, but it would have been nice to have picked up a few bottles from their visitor centre (assuming they have one).

Etu, I was very impressed with the Saltaire Citra, I had on draught at the brewery. I might have been tempted to have had another half, but I knew I wold be driving later that evening, and wanted a pint with my evening meal.

We didn’t make it to Skipton in the end, and it wasn’t until we arrived home, and looked on line, that I realised we’d missed a nice market town. There’s always next time though.

Matthew said...

Do you ever see Saltaire beers down your way, Paul ? Probably in Spoons if anywhere. A bit like Copper Dragon, or Elland, or Ossett, I do wonder how good breweries survive the competition for space on the bar when they don't own significant estates of their own (I know Ossett have a few).


Etu said...

Yes, there's always another time indeed, Paul.

It was after a few too many pints of Saltaire Pride, that said friend and I resolved, that the way that you could tell if you were still half-functional, was if you could sing the middle eight from The Girl From Ipanema without it turning into the Star Trek signature tune.

Maybe it should replace the Breathalyser?



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