Singletrack Setting the Pace for Kirkby Lonsdale Brewery
Going with the flow means tapping into a whole new market for Cumbrian brewery.
When your brewery is nestled between the rolling Howgill Fells of the Yorkshire Dales and the rocky peaks of the Lake District, it would seem almost churlish to not get out into the great outdoors at every opportunity.
Meet the Stuart Taylor, head brewer and partner at Kirkby Lonsdale Brewery and and you’ll find a man who’s love for beer is only matched by his devotion mountain biking.
“Thursday night is ride night; every week, any time of the year, that’s when a bunch of us head out on the bikes.” explains Stuart. “The second most important thing is finishing off the night in The Orange Tree, our brewery tap, or one of Kirkby’s other great pubs.”
It was here that our brewery and pedal pushing pals hatched a plan. So deep run Stuart’s two great passions, it was only a matter of time before the two path crossed and after a few hours in the saddle a new beer was devised, to be brewed in honour of the UK’s leading mountain bike magazine.
“Singletrack is something of an iconic magazine; it’s well written, beautifully designed and features some stunning photography – all that was missing was a beer to go with it!” Stuart continues, “A beer for people just like us, who work up a sweat on the trails that can only be quenched by a beer brewed especially for us.”
The initial batch of Singletrack (a ‘flowy ale’, a play on words referring to the flowing nature bridleways and trails of the area) appeared in late Summer 2013 with subsequent brews refining the recipe until the guys were happy to present to the magazine.
“We got in touch with the editorial team at Singletrack to tell them about our beer (their beer!) and they were absolutely blown away to have a beer in their honour. They came up from Todmorden, Lancashire, for a ride out with us and to sample the brew. The beer was an instant hit and they were delighted to give their blessing for us to use the publication’s name and branding.”
In fact, so pleased were the publishers that a 9-page editorial on the brewery, the beer and their riding featured in the January 2013 edition of the magazine.
Singletrack (4% abv) is a pale ale, deep golden in colour with prominent citrus and floral aromas. Pale malts deliver a soft mouth-feel with a dry bitterness which builds at the end.
The beer has been a great hit in local outlets (although some insist there’s a typo on the pump clip and it should say “flowery ale”), but it’s been the interest from further afield that has delighted the brewers.
“Singletrack came up to see us – and ride with us – and ran a feature in the magazine; since then, the interest from other riders throughout the UK has been incredible, they all want to know where they can get their hands on ‘the beer made by the mountain bike guys’.”
The beer has also attracted interest from JD Wetherspoons and there have been enquiries from a number of supermarkets keen to list the brew.
A follow-up beer has also been created, Singletrack Black, a black IPA – if the original is representative of warm summer evenings then it’s darker sister is for those who brave the chill and pitch black of winter night mountain bike rides.
“It’s definitely a beer we’ve brewed for people just like us.” concludes Stuart, “It’s not too serious, but it’s beer that’s a celebration of something we love and, from the direction it’s going, it’s a beer that has got plenty of mileage.”