A brief bloggage on the Ilkley Brewery Company‘s craft-kegged beer launch at North Bar Leeds last night. The place was packed, this may have been typical for Wednesday night, but there was also a strong showing from the Ilkley Brewery crew, easily picked out of the crowd in their branded rugby shirts and the odd flat cap [nothing odd about flat caps]. The format was more informal than a Meet the Brewer type event, but the guys were clearly enjoying the fruits of their labour and were as friendly and approachable as ever.
Alongside their cask beers the MJ Artisan Ales on offer were MJ Pale and MJ Summit and I was informed by someone in the know that the MJ Fortis wasn’t ready for public consumption.
Demand for our cask-conditioned ales continues to rise but in order for city centre bars, restaurants and hotels to serve our beers, we needed to create something that didn’t require bulky hand pumps and a time-consuming process in order to serve cask-conditioned beer …. Kegged beers are a perfect solution for bar areas with limited service and cellar space – Luke Raven Ilkley Brewery.
After a fair wait at the bar I tried the MJ Pale, a 3.7% Pale Ale, but not before clearing up the confusion with the bar staff who was merrily pouring me an Ilkley Pale (their 4.2% cask Pale Ale). It was crystal clear, cold is ice and had a solid bitter finish. It was certainly a refreshing beer, but maybe lacked a little of the anticipated fresh citrus flavour.
Moving onto the MJ Summit, a 5.4% IPA, once again there was some confusion over which Ilkley beer I was ordering, and once again the wrong beer was poured before I noticed. With the correct beer in hand I enjoyed an aromatic, sweet beer with plenty of flavour packed in. I preferred this beer over the keg Pale but wouldn’t drink many of them in one sitting as it was quite rich, only my opinion of course.
I also got to try a few other beers from around the globe, but the best of the bunch was Ilkley’s Smoked Witch, their 5% dark ale which has a lovely mellow smoky finish. Must investigate this one further!
All in all it was a good night, lovely beer and great company. I look forward to trying their 4.1% craft-kegged stout, MJ Fortis, another time.