Here’s the first of a series of articles that will focus on some of our participating breweries at Festival of Brewers 2018 – Leeds. Creating beer on historic brew kit that has seen award winning brewers hone their craft, Nomadic Beers have big shoes to fill. But, even after just 18 months of trading, they seem to be doing a pretty good job of it!
Burley Street Brewhouse
Tucked underneath the Fox & Newt on Burley Street in Leeds is the Burley Street Brewhouse. This small brew kit is the oldest active kit in the Leeds metropolitan area, having been installed there by Whitbread back in the 1970s. The size of the kit and its location make it nigh on impossible to replace or upgrade it and so it really has stood the test of time.
Throughout its 40 years in service (give or take a few dormant years), it has seen several brewers come and go. And, it has proven itself to become the breeding ground for some of Yorkshire’s brewing giants. These include Steve Holt, owner of Kirkstall Brewery. which is now one of Leeds’ largest breweries and Martin Kellaway, who’s Wharfebank Brewery enjoyed moderate success until it closed its doors in 2015.
Arguably, most notably though is Dave Sanders. Dave is one of Yorkshire’s more unassuming brewers, who has spent time at a few of Yorkshire’s breweries, including the aforementioned Kirkstall Brewery. Dave received national recognition after reviving an 1872 porter recipe when brewing with Eastwood and Sanders (now called Elland Brewery). The beer, appropriately named 1872 Porter, went on to win CAMRA’s Supreme Champion Beer of Britain award once, and is a three-time National Winter Ales Champion.
The Nomad’s Current Home
The current custodians of the Burley Street Brewhouse are Nomadic Beers. Owned by Katie Marriott, who is supported by Head Brewer Ross Nicholson, Nomadic are quickly building themselves a reputation for producing traditional beers with a modern twist; great tasting and great quality. The size of the kit limits them to around 15 casks per brew (72 pints per cask), with a maximum production of 3 brews every fortnight.
Their core beers include the bestselling 3.8% “Pale”, “Strider” a 4.4% bitter brewed with British hops, and “Bandit” an American Pale Ale brewed with Cascade and Simcoe hops. These are supplemented by regular specials and collaboration brews, including an extra special one I’ll be writing about in a moment!
I wrote about Nomadic beers in September last year, and 10 months later it feels like they’ve come a long way. So much so, that they are out growing Burley Street Brewhouse and will be imminently moving into bigger premises with new kit. It’s an exciting time for one of Leeds’ up and coming breweries.
For the Festival of Brewers, Katie invited me along for a collaboration brew day. “What would you like to brew?” is probably one of the easiest questions I have ever been asked! “A strong IPA with Mosaic hops” was an answer I didn’t even have to think about.
And so, on a Friday in early June, I was unleashed into the Burley Street Brewhouse. This wasn’t a day just watching the process either, Katie and Ross put me straight to work throughout the process, so it really made me feel like I had legitimately helped make the beer.
The age of the kit means there are a few quirks when brewing on it, but to me this is truly what craft brewing is. Pressing a few buttons and watching everything happen automatically just isn’t the same as the manual labour of love that goes on at Burley Street.
It was also a humbling experience knowing that I was walking and brewing where so many brewers have walked before.
The output of the brew day is “Mike’s” a 6.3% IPA brewed with Eureka and Mosaic hops. I must admit this one surpassed my own expectations. This is a big, punchy, fruity, tasty IPA and, dare I say, Nomadic’s best yet? (Of course, I’m going to say that!).
Festival of Brewers
Nomadic will be joining eight other local, small, independent breweries on 29-30 June at New Craven Hall, just South of Leeds City Station. And, they’ll be bringing “Mike’s” with them too! Enough from me though, I asked owner Katie Marriott a few questions about Nomadic and Festival of Brewers, ahead of the event. Here’s what she had to say.
What kind of beers do you usually brew?
We brew anything from easy drinking pales to stouts. We stick to the more traditional styles, showcasing the beers the UK is known for with a modern twist. We also love playing with adjuncts, so you’ll find a fruity special every now and again, the most recent being Hermit – a one off cask available at Festival of Brewers – orange and grapefruit pale at 4.5% and a collab brew with the up and coming Chevin Brew Co.
Outside of the Festival of Brewers, where can your beers be regularly found?
We are stocked in several independent bars in Leeds including Whitelocks, Wapentake, Slocken, North Bar and Foley’s. We have recently released our first kegged beers so you’ll start finding us in more bars across the city. We are also stocked in various bars in Bradford, Hebden Bridge, Harrogate, Newcastle and Manchester.
What beers can we expect from your brewery at Festival of Brewers?
We will be pouring five cask beers at Festival of Brewers:
Agitator (4.2%) – Our special for the months of May and June. Brewed with Simcoe and Amarillo, this pale ale has a great hoppy bite for an easy drinking session beer.
Amarillo (4.5%) – Our single hop pale for the months of May and June. Amarillo has citrusy, floral flavours.
Hermit (4.5%) – A collab brew with Chevin Brew Co. We’ve used orange and grapefruit juice to bring out the citrus flavours of the Amarillo hops used in the brew. This is a one-off cask, available nowhere else except at Festival of Brewers.
Gates of Hel (6.1%) – Coffee stout brewed in collaboration with GRUB (Manchester). Dark rich and moreish, this brew reminds me of an iced coffee.
Mike’s (6.3%) – This will be found on the permanent New Craven Hall bar. A special brewed specifically for Festival of Brewers with Mike. Brewed and dry hopped with over 2.5kg of hops this is the hoppiest brew Nomadic have done. Think murk and juice.
What are you most looking forward to about Festival of Brewers?
Being part of something new and exciting! Having nine of the newest breweries in Leeds in one venue is awesome. Each brewery is bringing something different to the table and as a beer drinker I cannot wait to try what’s on offer!
What would you say to people who are still thinking about attending, who haven’t got a ticket yet?
How often do you get to meet 9 breweries at one time? Each brewery there is a small team of between 1 and 3 people. The people who make the beer will also be serving you the beer. These aren’t the sales reps or brand ambassadors you get at larger beer market events! So, hurry up, get your tickets and come and have a chat over some amazing beer.
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.If you enjoy reading our content, please consider sharing with your friends using the sharing buttons at the bottom of each post. Also, you can subscribe to receive notifications about new blog posts via email. Simply enter your email address into the 'Subscribe to Mike's Tap Room' box at the top left of this page.