Awards success reveals Harrogate's new status as craft beer capital as Harrogate Beer Week nears
Harrogate may not be a centre for ‘bearded hipsters’ but when it comes to independent breweries and craft beer bars, it is right on trend. As the town gears up for the first-ever Harrogate Beer Week, Graham Chalmers reports on the wider impact of its new success in producing award-winning beer.
Preparations for the first ever Harrogate Beer Week in less than a forthnight's time have been bouyed by a string of awards for the town’s independent brewery scene this past week.
A tiny microbrewery, a family-run craft beer business and the town’s longest established brewers have all featured strongly in the Society of Independent Brewers North East Independent Beer Awards.
The incredible list of success enhances Harrogate’s growing status as a craft beer capital and acts as the perfect appetizer for the forthcoming Harrogate Beer Week which promises a week-long, town-wide celebration of local beer, local brewing heritage, and beer in the community.
Harrogate’s list of winners in the SIBA awards include:
Harrogate Brewing Company: A gold medal in the Cask Premium Bitters (4.5 to 6.4%) category for its Harrogate Best beer
Daleside Brewery: A silver medal in the Cask British Dark Beers (4.5 to 6.4%) category for its Monkey Wrench beer
Rooster’s Brewing Co: A gold medal in the Cask Speciality Light Beers category for its Roots. Rock. Reggae beer
Running from September 20-26, Harrogate Beer Festival’s founder Rachel Auty says the awards for some of the town’s best independent breweries show it’s no longer possible to scoff at Harrogate’s reputation in the trendy world of craft beer.
Rachel Auty said: “It’s an amazing success story. More breweries have been opening in Yorkshire than anywhere else in the UK and Harrogate has been playing its part with at least five great breweries located in the HG postcode.”
Harrogate’s transformation into a bastion of quality beer in a world once the preserve of the famous ‘bearded hipster’ has taken off in the last ten years.
But its roots go back to the 1990s and pioneering local bar chain Market Town Taverns which opened the Old Bell Tavern in Harrogate in 1999, not to forget early local breweries such as Daleside, which moved to Starbeck in 1992, and Rooster’s, which was founded in Knaresborough in 1993.
To the people themselves who’ve worked so hard inrecent years to create Harrogate’s reputation in brewing, Harrogate Beer Week sounds like a great way of showcasing the town’s bars and breweries .
Daleside’s business development manager Vincent Staunton said: “We were delighted Daleside received a silver award for Monkey Wrench in the strong dark cask beer category at the recent SIBA north east ndependent beer awards and a bronze for Morocco Ale in the specialty bottled beer category.
"We are fortunate in the Harrogate area to have so many great independent brewers as a whole.
“The Harrogate Beer Week is a exciting new initiative which should prove to be a great success for local brewers, pub and restaurants and customers who will get the opportunity to sample some of our fantastic beers.”
Rooster’s Brewing Co's commercial manager Rooster’s Brewing Co, Tom Fozard said: “We’re delighted to learn about the two gold and two bronze awards we won at the 2021 SIBA North East Beer Competition, especially as we scooped medals in cask, bottle and can across a range of different styles.
"The gold award win for Wild Wild Life, our first ever barrelled aged release and the award Strength In Numbers a West Coast IPA we launched in January this year are particularly pleasing to have come away with, however, as they are two beers that represent some of the progress we’ve made in terms of evolving the range of beers we offer since the brewery was relocated from Knaresborough to Hornbeam Park in Harrogate in 2019.”
Mr Fozard added he was very excited by the prospect of Harrogate Beer Week.
He said: “Harrogate Beer Week looks set to be a fantastic addition to the calendar of events the town has become known for over the years, giving local breweries, pubs and bars a focussed opportunity to promote who we are and what we offer across a series of different venues.
"The team behind the festival have pulled together a week mouth-watering events that celebrate what is a very exciting part of Harrogate’s flourishing indie scene.”
Prior to the Covid pandemic, it’s estimated the UK beer industry contributed £23 billion to the economy and employed more than 900,000 people.
Backed with financial support from Harrogate Business Improvement District (BID), hopes are Harrogate Beer Week can play its part in attracting visitors to the town and support the hospitality sector in challenging times.
Rachel Auty added: “There’s huge potential to capitalise on what Harrogate has to offer by boosting beer tourism here.”