Four months after its maiden voyage, Ilkley Brewery’s Scandinavian-inspired spruce beer, the Norseman, is set to embark on its second endeavour with listings in Nicholson’s and Castle pubs, both belonging of the Mitchells and Butlers brand.
From September through to November, the Norseman will be served in cask alongside other award-winning real ales and new-to-market brews which Nicholson’s and Castle pubs both celebrate.
In Leeds, the beer will be served in Nicholson’s pubs including the Victoria Hotel on Great George Street and the Palace on Kirkgate. It will also be on tap at the Adelphi, a Castle pub, on Hunslet Road.
The Norseman, which is a 5% ruby coloured ale, was originally brewed in collaboration with writer and beer sommelier Jane Peyton in spring this year. It is made using locally foraged pine needles along with Douglas fir needles and buds from Ilkley Moor. The beer features as part of the brewery’s Origins range which boasts beers that celebrate traditional methods and innovative brewing techniques from around the world.
Jane commented: “It’s so exciting that what was meant to be a one-off beer, has now been picked up by two large chains of pubs. Nicholson’s and Castle pubs have such an excellent selection of unusual and hard-to-find beers, it’s a real thrill that a beer I was involved in brewing with Ilkley Brewery, has intrigued the buyers at both pubs.
“I can’t wait to take my friends on a crawl of Nicholson’s and Castle pubs and make a big hole in the Norseman casks!”
Chris Ives, managing director of Ilkley Brewery, added: “With Jane’s expert palate and inspiring recipe ideas, we have managed to create a beer that not only stands alone as a fine seasonal ale but one which will now take to the Nicholson’s and Castle stage where its soft bitterness and fragrant pine and herbs notes will be enjoyed by a national audience.”
Meet the Brewer
On Thursday 3 October, Jane and the team from Ilkley Brewery will be hosting a Meet the Brewer evening at the Coal Hole (91 – 92 The Strand) in London where craft beer customers will have the opportunity to sample the Norseman and chat to its creators. The event will run from 17.00 to 20.00 and is open to the public.
Spruce beer heritage
It is believed that spruce beers were introduced to Britain by the Vikings and would have been drunk in Yorkshire, a region ruled by the Vikings in the 10th century. The beer was thought to give strength in battle, boost fertility and prevent scurvy.
In Viking culture, women were the brewers and by law, women owned the brew kit so if a marriage ended or a husband tried to sell his wife’s possessions, he could not take or sell the brew kit.
Haworth’s Brontë sisters were also known to make their own spruce beer, both as alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions, using pine needles sourced from the iconic moors that inspired Emily to write Wuthering Heights.
– Jane Peyton collaborated with Ilkley Brewery to create the Norseman which is to be listed in Nicholson’s and Castle pubs across the UK.
– The Norseman.
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Notes to editors:
The Ilkley Brewery Co. Ltd. was founded in January 2009 and commenced brewing in May 2009. The now famous Mary Jane , the brewery’s flagship session beer was first brewed in August 2009 and won its first award in September of the same year.
A string of awards has followed with most of the beers now brewed by the brewery winning medals at beer competitions up and down the country.
In January 2011, Ilkley Brewery secured a debt and equity package from Glentrool Capital Partners LLP, who also provide corporate support to help grow the company. This enabled Ilkley Brewery to move from its premises on East Parade to a new 2,600 square foot brewery on Ashlands Road, Ilkley. A new 20 barrel brewing plant was installed allowing the brewery to initially produce 23,000 pints a week.
In October 2011, a new 30 barrel fermenter was acquired, taking production to over 32,000 pints a week. In March 2012, production capacity expanded again to close to 40,000 pints a week.
In January 2012, Ilkley Brewery was crowned one of Yorkshire’s most promising companies in the Government-backed Local Business Accelerators campaign, going onto win the national prize in August 2012 for being one of the country’s fastest growing and successful businesses.
April 2012 saw the launch of the Origins range, showcasing the best in beer styles and brewing. Medina and Siberia were the first collaboration brews with renowned beer writers, and The Chief, Victorian Pale Dinner Ale, Wit Marie, Green Goddess, and Holy Cow have since followed to much critical acclaim.
As of August 2012, bottles of Mary Jane, Ilkley Best, Ilkley Black and Ilkley Pale are available in Morrisons, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Booths supermarkets across the north of England, as well as many restaurants nationally.
Additional SIBA medals for Ilkley Black and Lotus IPA were awarded in October 2012 (Bronze and Silver respectively).
November 2012 saw the first export sales to leave the UK.
In June 2013 the brewery won the London Craft Beer Battle with its new creation MaryJane IPA.