Day five of my Beer Hawk advent calendar, and something new to me, a ‘dinner ale’ brewed by the Ilkley Brewery.
The Ilkley Brewery was first founded in 1873 as the Ilkley Brewery and Aerated Water Company was originally founded in 1873. It became well known for brewing beers that were universally commended for their outstanding quality, purity and splendid condition, brewed using Ilkley’s natural spring water.
The brewery was taken over by the Hammonds Bradford Brewery Co, who were in turn taken over by Bass, who closed it down in the early 1920s. The Head Brewer departed to take up residence at a certain Timothy Taylor’s Brewery, where he first brewed Landlord.
The first of Ilkley’s brews that I tasted was ‘The Mayan’ – a chocolate and chipotle brew that I only awarded two Brewclub Stars (here) back in the summer of 2014.
‘Dinner Beer’ is a low strength brew, based on an 1884 recipe found in the archives of the original Ilkley brewery. It’s a Victorian Pale Ale, brewed as a ‘table beer’, but this being the new millennium, Ilkley have added a slew of modern ‘new world’ hops to the mix, including Calypso, Stella and Nelson Sauvin hops.
It pours a pale gold colour with a rich white head that laces down the glass. The nose is crisp, citrus and floral, those modern hops showing through.
The flavour is initially hoppy, slightly bitter with more citrus and pine notes. There are honey and malt flavours underpinning the hoppiness, it’s well balanced and very quaffable.
The lack of alcohol can be discerned, but it’s not unpleasant, it punches above its weight, certainly worthy of three and a half Brewclub Stars.