Meet the Brewer – Red Willow

This is a slight diversion from the usual food talk, but I’ve discovered a real taste for ale recently.

It all started back in January 2012 when we went to Create in Leeds (currently closed) to a talk from local brewery (Ilkley) and Elaine Lemm about Rhubarb. We tried different ales and were given a basic education in them. I was really surprised on that day to discover that my favourite was ‘Stout Mary’ – I mean, who drinks stout?! I’ll confess that now I do.

I caught wind of an event happening at The Grove Inn in Huddersfield. It was to be a Meet the Brewer event with the beer being brewed using food, or being tasted with food. Excellent – we booked in. I didn’t really know what to expect from the event, but at a fiver a ticket we thought it was worth a punt! (it definitely was)

We arrived early and I opted to start the evening with a half of the beetroot stout (which was to be in the upcoming tasting session). The evening was spent with Toby Mckenzie of Red Willow brewery telling us about the beers he brews and us sampling some of his creations.

Beetroot stout and menu

Beetroot Stout and horseradish Seville Orange IPA

PHOTOS: Beetroot stout with horseradish & Seville Orange IPA and duck pate

I liked the beetroot stout, I thought the flavour came through well but I didn’t get the combination with the horseradish (I know others did on the evening). The Seville Orange IPA though went perfectly with the duck pate. It worked so well, one of the bar guys described it as tasting like Christmas.

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Smoked chipotle porter Ageless - Double IPA and Brie

PHOTOS: Smoked Chipotle Porter & Ageless (double IPA) with brie

The chipotle stout wasn’t as strongly flavoured as I’d have liked. But Toby got a couple of jugs filled with the stout and added chipotle chillies to them. We then tried these after 15 minutes and then 30 minutes. After 15 minutes I really enjoyed it – but after 30 minutes I found it a bit too hot for my liking!! Then we had the Ageless, a double IPA with some brie. The Ageless was my favourite beer of the evening, I loved the fruity taste – it’s typical I liked this as it’s a high % beer! I liked this with the beer and I’ll definitely be looking to drink more IPA with brie 🙂

Sour Cherry Stout Faithless XX

PHOTOS: Faithless XX with Chocolate and Sour Cherry Stout

My memory starts to go at this point. There were two beers, very similar in the way they were produced. The Faithless XX I think had the sour cherries added at a different point and the other was aged for longer in Rioja barrels. The first one we had with chocolate, I actually found this one quite bland in flavour. The sour cherry stout was an amazing flavour though – not my favourite of the evening, but the taste was perfect.

I really enjoyed the experience of trying the different beers and learning about them. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on future events at the pub.

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