THE hills around Huddersfield have been dubbed a ‘Hop Spot’ for beer aficionados.
A new website called Here For The Beer has been launched in honour of the South Pennine’s new found talent for brewing ale.
The online ‘alecyclopedia’ has been created by rural regeneration company Pennine Prospects, who say the passionate people behind the pumps have made the region a proverbial Mecca for beer lovers.
They say the area from Haworth to Holmfirth now boasts more small breweries per square mile than any other part of the UK.
Rebecca Yorke from Pennine Prospects said Slaithwaite’s Empire Brewing run by Russ Beverley was one of the businesses putting Huddersfield on the map.
She said: “Empire Brewing is one of the many fantastic local brewers that is putting Huddersfield and the wider South Pennines on the map as the UK’s leading hop spot. It’s a really inspiring success story.
“Our new website www.hereforthebeer.co.uk has been a labour of love to document these breweries and brewers, the pubs that support them, and the stories and folklore that go along with the beers.
“We’re hoping it will become a well-used resource for visitors and locals alike.”
According to the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) the number of breweries in the UK has risen to its highest level for more than 70 years – topping the 1,000 mark.
Jon Howard from CAMRA said: “West Yorkshire has 52 local breweries, which is a staggering number, and shows how important the area is to the British beer industry as a whole.
“The recent increase in micro-breweries is a very exciting trend for beer drinkers, ensuring greater variety and choice in the nation’s pubs.
“A knowledgeable customer base, combined with personable advertising and use of social media, is helping these brewers to thrive despite difficult trading conditions.”
Other local breweries to be profiled on the site include Lindley-based Mallinsons.
It is run by Tara Mallinson and Elaine Yendall, former teachers who gave up the blackboard for the beer.
Over a pint one night in 2003, the two real ale enthusiasts hatched a plan to earn a living doing something they loved and five years later, Mallinsons was born.
Tara set about the brewing and by 2010 the business was successful enough for Elaine to chuck away the chalk as well. The business continues to grow and is soon to move into larger premises in Lockwood.
Milltown Brewing Company in Milnsbridge was established in 2011 by owner Neil Moorhouse, who spent many years sampling beers from across the country – important research which has informed the beer recipes he now produces.
In Linthwaite, Ron Crabtree, of The Sair, has launched the Linfit Brewery.
The beer and pub are much-loved by locals and beer aficionados alike. A fire in 2011 threatened the brewery for a while, but the pub opened as usual the following day.
The Riverhead Brewery brews beers on the site of the pub, the Riverhead Brewery Tap, in the centre of Marsden.
The head brewer is Lisa Handforth, a brewer of three years, although there has been brewing on the premises for over 20 years.
When Lisa started working there, the then head brewer claimed she wouldn’t last long in an industry dominated by men.
But Lisa has proved them all wrong, developing her own recipes such as Brewster’s Blonde and winning first prize at Liverpool Beer Festival.
Her 10-year-old daughter occasionally helps out in the brewery, ensuring the skills will be passed on.
The website also profiles local pubs which support home-grown brews, including The Nook and The Farmers Arms, both in Holmfirth; and The Commercial in Slaithwaite.
HUDDERSFIELD’S cottage industry of micro breweries is going from strength to strength.
Real ale fans are travelling from far and wide to sample the delights now being brewed in the town.
The micro breweries include:
LINFIT BREWERY: based at the Sair Inn, Lane Top, Linthwaite and run by Ron Crabtree who this year celebrates 30 years in the business and his first-ever beer, Old Eli (5.3%) is still as popular as ever.
MALLINSONS: on Plover Road, Oakes, run by Tara Mallinson and Elaine Yendall.
MAGIC ROCK: at Quarmby Mills, Tanyard Road, Quarmby. Richard Burhouse set up the company in May 2011 and recruited brewer Stuart Ross, who had developed a following for his Sheffield ales.
EMPIRE BREWING: The Old Boiler House, Upper Mills, Slaithwaite run by Russ Beverley.
GOLCAR BREWERY: on Swallow Lane, run by John Broadbent.
MILLTOWN: Old Railway Goods Yard, Milnsbridge, run by Neil Moorhouse.
NOOK BREWHOUSE: Victoria Square, Holmfirth, run by Sheila Sutton and Ian Roberts.
RAT AND RATCHET BREWING: Chapel Hill, Huddersfield.
RIVERHEAD: Peel St, Marsden, run by Lisa Handforth.
SPORTSMAN: St John’s Road, Huddersfield, run by Sam Smith.
SUMMER WINE: at The Old Furnace, Crossley Mills, New Mill Road, Honley, run by James Farran and Andy Baker.