More than 15 years after it was first brewed, Black Sheep Ale is making its much-loved world champion Yorkshire Square Ale widely available as a cask ale for the first time.
The limited run will see Yorkshire Square Ale, normally a popular part of Black Sheep’s bottled collection, widely available to the on-trade during the month of January as a special seasonal ale.
At the 2009 World Beer Awards, Yorkshire Square Ale was named the World’s Best Premium Bitter. The alcohol content for the cask ale is 4.1%, reduced from the 5% beer available in bottles, making Yorkshire Square Ale a premium session ale, that will be popular in pubs.
Yorkshire Square Ale was originally brewed in 1999 to celebrate Black Sheep’s unique Yorkshire Square fermentation process.
The instantly-recognised branding is an amalgamation of two specially-commissioned paintings by internationally-renowned artist Mackenzie Thorpe and features a square sheep, named Paul in honour of the Brewery’s founder, Paul Theakston.
Yorkshire Square Ale is brewed with Maris Otter malt, Demerara sugar and a blend of hops, predominantly Golding.
The use of Demerara sugar not only adds to the flavour, it preserves a regional tradition dating back to the 19th Century, when a large proportion of the Demerara sugar produced in the Caribbean was used by Yorkshire breweries. At that time, beer was taxed upon malt content and the use of Demerara sugar increased the strength, flavour and body of the beer, with reduced tax liability.
Black Sheep Brewery’s Sales and Marketing Director, Jo Theakston, said: “Yorkshire Square Ale is a beer of which we are rightly proud, not only because of the accolades it has received globally, but because of the way in which it has tradition running through it.
“Releasing Yorkshire Square Ale as a cask beer throughout January is a special treat for pubs and for their customers and it is also very exciting for us. It’s a great reason for fans of great beer to enjoy this one-off, world champion, premium ale from the pump.
“This is the first time we have made Yorkshire Square Ale widely available to the on-trade and it is specially adapted to offer a premium session ale that will appeal to drinkers and landlords alike. The pub is a great British institution, and beer lovers should make a New Year’s resolution to support these fantastic places more in 2015. With special opportunities such as Yorkshire Square Ale on tap, what better incentive could there be?”
Mackenzie Thorpe said: “As a Yorkshireman, the region’s traditions are very close to my heart and Black Sheep’s Yorkshire Square Ale embodies those customs, which have made Yorkshire beer a huge favourite around the world. Just like the artwork I was commissioned to produce in the 1990s, and which features on this beer to this day, this is a timeless piece, crafted with skill and passion that has premium quality, but broad appeal. It is fantastic to see Yorkshire Square Ale being given a wide release as a cask ale at last, so even more drinkers can enjoy it up and down the country.”
The InnSpectre reviews…
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I risked life and limb by going for a wee at the Nell Gwynne, Covent Garden. The descent down the stairs to the toilets is akin to walking down a lift shaft. Bow your head and hold on tight to the handrails as you prepare for a journey to the centre of the pub. Resurfacing gives the drinker a real sense of achievement that I can only imagine was felt by Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing when they conquered Everest back in 1953.
I edged towards the bar at the Zetland Arms in South Kensington, bumping my cheap old man bag into posh people who I suspect have names such as Tarquin, Octavia, Marmaduke and Cressida, all of whom had the obligatory quiff and smug smile you’d expect from polo-loving members of the aristocracy.