Thursday, November 27, 2008

Copper Dragon Brewery

Copper Dragon Brewery will be opening their doors tomorrow for the first time in their brand-spanking new premises. I was lucky enough to have a sneak preview this morning of both the brewhouse and the visitors centre - and a fine morning it was too.
Despite the inclement Yorkshire weather, MD Steve Taylor was in a fine mood - which we quickly caught on was his usual demeanour - especially when showing us round the brewhouse. Despite being caught up in paperwork and the day-to-day running of Copper Dragon, the brewery - including the brewing process and ingredients - is clearly still something he cherishes and is reluctant to compromise on. And the brewhouse is spectacular - the custom-made fermenting vessels and Mash Tun rise high into the ceiling space like gleaming monoliths, and everywhere hisses and bubbles with steam and industry.

We learn that only Yorkshire malt is used in all the beers, and the quality control is as strict as it ever was, despite CD's clear growth in the last few years. Gordon Wilkinson, head brewer, also echoes that. You can feel the pride as he explains the faith he has in his young but talented team of brewers - not to mention the recipes for the beer themselves. He feels CD is part of Skipton - and keeping things local is part of that.
Although the visitors centre and bistro was not quite finished, the overall feel of the place is that of a new, forward-thinking brewery; one that recognises that pleasing the tourists and the tourism trade as well as the beer fans are important as each other these days. One only has to look at the likes of Black Sheep and Guinness to see where Steve is coming from; gone are the days when only CAMRA would arrange brewery tours - and now Copper Dragon are proud to be one more place for the interested to visit.
The Bistro will, of course, feature all the breweries beers as complement to the food and as part of their make-up. We tried the classic beer-cooking dish of Fish and Chips with Golden Pippin batter - and wonderful it was too - clean, firm haddock in a super-crispy golden batter. Served, of course, with mushy peas.
I'll be visiting again in a few months time to see how things go; but something tells me I won't be the only one.


Anonymous said...

"hisses and bubbles with steam and industry - Fantastic phrase, another well thought out well written piece, a pleasure to read.

Oh by the way I was telling Pete about your brewing exploits tonight and he was very chuffed for you.

TIW said...

Great news. I just wish their excellent brews were more easy to find here in London.

Katie said...

Sounds like a good day out (on the train of course- you have to make sure your able to sample the goods)

Leigh said...

John - thanks fella! High praise indeed! Ten inch - from the way that CD seems to looking, I can't see it being too long before thier beers get more exposure down south. Katie - absolutely - or find yourself a designated driver who's happy to accept mug after mug of brewer's tea!

Heather said... crazy as you are for my American diner grub, I go gaga for good fish and chips with mushy peas. We should swap homes for a month sometime.

Leigh said...

heather, its a deal. you take me on a diner tour and i'll make sure you get the finest fish and chips Yorkshire has to offer!!!!

Ale Louse said...

Are they ok? Heard one or two rumours recently that they've over-stretched and are looking to make cutbacks - maybe off-load a pub or two.

Leigh said...

alright will - Steve Taylor, the MD who hosted the tour and lunch, certainly gave no indication to that - although he probably wouldnt to me...I could'nt possibly comment!