Yorkshire’s flowing with great breweries and you can check out their quaffable work on one of these tours.
Whether it’s craft beer or real ale, they’re a match made in heaven with Yorkshire, with breweries strewn across the entire county. But while you may be used to seeing their wares in pubs and bars all over the world, that shouldn’t stop you from getting a bit closer to the action. These breweries are happy to let you go behind the scenes to see how they make their brews, with a few tasty treats along the way.
Theakston’s is the original Masham brewery, dating back to 1827, and it’s packed full of history, which you can discover on their tours for just £12.95. Your ticket includes a complimentary pint, two halves or three thirds, but you won’t get to try their brews, which include Old Peculier, Best Bitter and Theakston IPA, until you’ve had a bit of an education. You’ll follow the entire brewing process, from blending ingredients right through to filling the casks, before enjoying your beers.
Theakston’s Brewery Visitor Centre, Masham, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 4YD.
Black Sheep Brewery
Take a trip out to Black Sheep where you can learn all about its history, from its controversial beginnings to its current successes. A one-hour tour costs £10.95 and you’ll also see how they select the ingredients, make the beer and why they still use centuries-old Yorkshire Square Fermenting Vessels. Afterwards, you’ll get to sample their wares in their renowned brewery tap – sup on everything from Best Bitter to one-off brews you won’t find anywhere else.
Black Sheep Brewery, Wellgarth House, Crosshills, Wellgarth Court, Masham, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 4EN.
You won’t just get a tour when you visit Quirky Ales – the Garforth microbrewery also has a Brew School, where you can create your own beer. Kick things off with a cuppa and a bacon sarnie, enjoy a tour of the brewery, learning about the history of beer and the ingredients they use, then make your own-recipe ale in their 50-litre Braumeister kit. For £60, you’ll also get four 500ml bottles to take home, as well as a glass and a free pint in their tap room before you go.
Quirky Ales, Units 3 & 4, Ash Lane, Garforth, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS25 2HG.
Set up in 2016 by two beer-loving pals who poured their passion into a 20 hectolitre brewhouse, you can see Brew York in full flow on their hour-long weekend tours. You’ll find out how they’ve mastered the perfect brew and get an inside look at the process from start to finish. It costs £10 per person and includes four thirds of beer to enjoy in their picturesque riverside taproom – you can sample anything from the Thorny Eagle IPA to the Goose Willis Sour.
Brew York Craft Brewery & Tap Room, Unit 6, Enterprise Complex, Walmgate, York, North Yorkshire, YO1 9TT.
Wharfdale Brewery tours are incredibly popular – you’ll start with a welcome chat and beer sampling before meeting their brewers and heading off on an informal walk around the brewery and The Flying Duck brewery tap. While you’re there, you’ll see all the equipment, learn about the processes and enjoy a Q&A session, before you finish with a couple of tipples straight from the tanks. The tour costs £10 per person, for a minimum of two.
Wharfedale Brewery, 16 Church Street, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 9DS.
Brewtown Brewery Tours
Unlike the others, this isn’t a brewery – Brewtown is an independent tour around three breweries in one day for £70, in either York or Leeds. In Leeds, you can see the inner workings of North Brewing Co, Northern Monk and Quirky Ales followed by beer tastings on Saturday afternoon. In York, it’s a weekday tour and there are three different options for you to choose, so you can visit everywhere from Rudgate to Bad Seed, with three 1/3s in each.
Brewtown Brewery Tours, 323 Clifford House, 7-9 Clifford Street, York, North Yorkshire, YO1 9RA.
Northern Monk Brew Co.
How would you like to see how Northern Monk Brew Co. make their award-winning beers with a behind the scenes tour of the Leeds brewery? You get to sample three different brews as part of the journey around The Old Flax Store, but that’s just one part of it – they’ll lead you on a detailed journey about their brewing methods, show you how they make their core beers and give you a deep-dive into Northern Monk’s already-illustrious past – all for just £10.
Northern Monk Brew Co, The Old Flax Store, Marshalls Mill, Marshall Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 9YJ.
Brass Castle Brewery
Brass Castle Brewery tours aren’t like the others. The 12-barrel brewery is right in the heart of Malton and it produces 200 casks of beer every week, including the likes of Bad Kitty and Helles Lager. The vegan-friendly brewery isn’t as big as some, but it’s as welcoming as they come. The brewery is always open to visitors and it has a tap room that’s open from Tuesday to Sunday. If you pop in, you can enjoy a free informal tour of the site.
Brass Castle Brewery, 10A Yorkersgate, Malton, North Yorkshire, YO17 7AB.
Kelham Island Brewery
Kelham Island Brewery is Sheffield’s oldest independent brewery and you can get an up-close look on their mammoth three-hour tour, complete with an expert guide, tasty food and, of course, plenty of beer. Starting in the Loft Bar, you’ll learn about ingredient selection for their brews before you check out the brewery in action with sampling, followed by more beer and food back in the bar. You can book onto one of their 12pm or 2.30pm Saturday tours for £25.
Kelham Island Brewery, 23 Alma Street, Sheffield, West Yorkshire, S3 8SA.
North Brewing Co. Springwell
One of Leeds’ best breweries welcomes beer lovers inside their Springwell home to see how they do it. From 7pm every Friday, 1pm or 5pm every Saturday and 2pm every Sunday, you’ll get a tour around the brewery, giving you a chance to learn about all the magic that goes into their beers and how they turn them into your favourite brews. Afterwards, it’s back to the brewery tap where you’ll get a tutored tasting of their core beers – all for £11.
Springwell, North Brewing Co., Unit 6, Taverners Walk Industrial Estate, Sheepscar Grove, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 1AH.Cover image copyright Tom Joy.