Breweries toast US-UK 
tie-up with new ale

Craig Lee, managing director of Rudgate Brewery in Tockwith. (S)
Craig Lee, managing director of Rudgate Brewery in Tockwith. (S)

A local brewery has forged links with a US brewer to produce their first ever transatlantic tipple.

Tockwith-based Rudgate Brewery and Denver-based Hogshead Brewery have combined over a 100 years of brewing expertise to create their Atlantic Crossing Best Bitter, which will be launched later this month at the Craft Brewers’ Conference in Portland, Oregon.

The collaboration is a first for both breweries and has been a couple of years in the planning. Craig Lee, Rudgate’s managing director, first met Hogshead owner Steve Kirby – an expatriate from Fulham whose company makes traditional British beers – at the Craft Brewers’ Conference in Denver in 2013.

“We’re like-minded when it comes to producing quality beers – and felt that a collaboration ale would be a fantastic way to combine our talents and fuse our brewing styles,” said Mr Lee.

“We wanted to create a British-style beer with an American twist, so we took one of our traditional recipes and ‘americanised’ it.”

So far, Hogshead has produced a small, 10-barrel batch at its Colorado brewery, but Rudgate is hoping to start production sometime in the summer – hopefully in time for the Great British Beer Festival at Olympia in August.

Hogshead’s head brewer, Jake Gardener, said the new brew brought together the passion of two world-class breweries.

“It’s nutty, toffee, toasted malt character marries with a distinct earthiness from Hogshead’s house yeast,” he said.

“Starting with a soft mouth-feel but finishing resinous and dry from the use of both England’s finest Challenger hops and the American Northwest’s prized Cascade hops, this ale pays homage to great bitters made on both sides of the pond!”

Rudgate Brewery is looking to make more permanent inroads into the US market, and has discussed distribution deals in Washington, Boston and New York.

Mr Lee said: “Ultimately, I’d like us to get a presence in a couple of states in America, but it’s not easy breaking into the US market, so this is very much a long-term project.”