Festival of Brewers Focus – Quirky Ales

Found in Garforth, one of Leeds’ suburbs, Quirky Ales perfectly fits the bill of our small and independent approach to Festival of Brewers. The Quirky Ales brewery and tap room are proving themselves to be a great addition to the local community, under the guidance of Head Brewer and co-owner, Mike Quirk.

A Wintry Tap Room Trip

My first trip to Quirky Ales tap room came just this year, on a cold wintry day. Set on Ash Lane on a small industrial estate, it is squirrelled away a little bit from the main hub of Garforth. However, it’s easy to get to, and a delight once you are there.

A small room greets you, that is warmly decorated, and a solid selection of ales available. Of course, Quirky Ales dominate the bar and the bottle fridge, but it is supplemented by a very good range of guest beers too.

On that first trip, whilst sat by a roaring fire, I enjoyed a range of the Quirky beers. From the beers that I tried, the focus for Quirky is clearly on traditional ales. And, they do them well. One of their first beers I ever tried, before my trip that day, was their 3.5% ‘Porter’. A 3.5% Porter? A style that is more often a little stronger, however this session version picks out all the flavours you would want in a porter. A malt-focused effort, with dark roast coming through. The mouth feel is smooth, and its session strength makes this a quaffable beer.

Amongst the rest of the range, you’ll find an IPA, a bitter, a pilsner; all traditional styles, brewed the Quirky way.

Quirky Character

On that day, I also met Owner and Head Brewer, Mike Quirk. Busy hosting a tour of his small brewhouse, he still managed to find time to talk to me and to stoke up the fire.

My first Quirky Ale

Mike’s brewery is a 2.5BBL kit. What this means, is in one batch he can brew 720 pints in one go. That sounds a lot, but in comparison to the capabilities of a lot of the larger breweries around Leeds, the output is still quite small.

However, whilst you’ll find a lot of the beer at the Quirky tap room, Quirky ales are becoming an increasingly more common site in Leeds too. From beer festivals, to some local, independent pubs and bars.

As for Mike himself, he is a terrific character! One who clearly enjoys his craft, and the sight of others enjoying the output of that craft.

I know a few people who live in the Garforth area, and Quirky is always something they want to talk and share about. It tells me that this is a terrific local community hub, and something that the people of Garforth are very proud of.

I’m also happy to have them on board for Festival of Brewers.

Festival of Brewers

Looking forward to the event, Mike took some time out from preparation to answer some questions about his beer, and the festival too.

What kind of beers do you usually brew?

Generally, I like to brew balanced session as beers due to my age I’m a complete lightweight and can’t drink some of the silly strength beers around as I get shocking hangovers

Outside of the Festival of Brewers, where can your beers be regularly found?

At the Quirky Tap in Garforth which is without doubt the best place in East Leeds for good beer and convivial company

What beers can we expect from your brewery at Festival of Brewers?

We will have Hip Hop on keg from our core range and version of the Rhubarb beer I did with Wakefield CAMRA last year. On cask the Porter is worth a try to show how much flavour there is in a 3.5% beer. Just brewed a single hopped Simcoe that should make a debut at the Festival

What are you most looking forward to about Festival of Brewers?

Meeting the other brewers as a small team I get very little chance to network and meet the faces behind some top beers

What would you say to people who are still thinking about attending, who haven’t got a ticket yet?

Support the local independent brewers it will be a great event

The Plug

The first ever Festival of Brewers event takes place on 29th and 30th June 2018, with New Craven Hall hosting, which can be found just one-mile South of Leeds City Train Station.

All too often, independent beer festivals choose to focus their attention on the same, larger, popular UK craft breweries. This makes it difficult for the hundreds of smaller breweries across the UK to share the spotlight. Festival of Brewers aims to address that by only showcasing the small and independent breweries.

You can find out all the information, including participating breweries and street food vendors, tickets and how to find the venue on the website www.festivalofbrewers.co.uk.

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