Ilkley Ale Quenches Capital's Craft Beer Thirst
One of Yorkshire’s fastest growing microbreweries, Ilkley Brewery, is taking London by storm following a high jinx win at the inaugural Craft Beer Battle earlier this month and two listings at Jamie Oliver’s barbecue steakhouse, Barbecoa.
The award winning real ale aficionados from the spa town of Ilkley have been racking up kudos in the capital for a number of months, with listings at the Rake at Borough Market, CASK in Pimlico and Craft in Brixton, to name a few. The brewery’s craft beer credentials hit a new high though after its Mary Jane IPA won the Craft Beer Battle blind tasting, staving off competition from Black Isle Brewery, BrewDog, Camden Town Brewery, Curious Brew, Fuller’s, Meantime and WEST. A ninth mystery brewery was also included in the line-up which was revealed to be Brooklyn Brewery from New York, USA.
Victory in the making
Organised by Tweat Up, who are famed for hosting food and drink feasts such as Ginstock, Fifteen Street and Ribstock, the Craft Beer Battle took place on 1 June at Merchant Yard and is set to become an annual event for Britain’s burgeoning craft beer brewers. Over 2,000 real ale fans gathered to take part in the blind tasting and it was Ilkley Brewery’s Mary Jane IPA, a 6% version of its flagship Mary Jane pale ale, that was victorious at the end of the sampling session.
“Winning against such a stellar line-up of craft breweries was a huge moment for us. Competitions like these really help to cement the hype surrounding the craft beer boom because it all boils down to taste,” said Luke Raven, from Ilkley Brewery.
On Jamie’s menu
A further string to Ilkley’s bow was added shortly after the Craft Beer Battle when Jamie Oliver’s hot new City steakhouse, Barbecoa, added Ilkley Brewery’s Mary Jane and its Rhubard Saison, Siberia, to its beer list. I the only brewery on the menu to have two listings, presenting yet another opportunity for Londoners to sample some of Yorkshire’s finest brews.
Richard Shelton, sales director at Ilkley Brewery, added: “Simply having the opportunity to feature in the Craft Beer Battle, alongside such craft beer greats, was a fantastic platform for us to introduce our beers to a discerning London market. Winning the competition was something else!
“We are delighted with this level of recognition and our recent listing at Barbecoa has only strengthened our profile in the capital. I hope it continues to open up growth opportunities for us in London and beyond.”
On 1 July, the team from Ilkley Brewery will be back in the capital at a Meet the Brewer evening which will be held at Craft in Islington* from 18.00 onwards. The Ilkley brewers will be trialling an experimental Saison at the event called Siberian Nights, a 5% dark version of Siberia which was originally brewed in collaboration with renowned beer writer, Melissa Cole. There will be an additional 10 real ales from Ilkley available on Craft’s hand pumps plus two keg products. Entry to the Meet the Brewer event is free and open to all.