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Thursday, 29 March 2012


It had been far too long since Fuggles had paid a visit to the lovely folks at, so whilst it seemed a shame to pass by the bustling banks of the Thames on an unseasonably warm March evening, I was very much looking forward to an evening with the Ilkley brewery.


Previously familiar with the award winning Mary Jane and Lotus IPA, I was keen try some of their lesser seen beers, and meet one of the men behind it.  Only brewing since 2009, these two beers have really catapulted Ilkley into the limelight.

If you haven't tried them, keep an eagle eye open.  Mary Jane is a staggeringly tasty beer for 3.5%, owing to a good dose of Amarillo hops, which impart great citrus character, but in a well balanced way.

The Lotus notches up the stakes in strength, hop character and fruity esters.  The tropical aroma hits you in the nose straight away, rich and warming mango drawing you in.  The first taste is a hit of richness, which gaves way to a lighter finish before the bitter follow through.  A great example of an IPA.

Ilkley Gold was a fruity floral session beer of 3.9%, delicately hopped and very drinkable.  Ilkley Pale was very dry pale ale, so pale it was almost green in appearance.  The Nelson Sauvin hops impart a classic grassy character with hints of Elderflower, so reminiscent of a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

But the revelation of the night for me was the Ilkley Best.  The use of burnt malt makes for a very full bodied bitter, before the spice of the Brewers Gold hops kick in.  This was a really fiesty bitter that left your tongue positivley tingling.  The burnt malt was used again in Ilkley Black, just peppering slightly the smooth Mild with hints of liquorice.

Some really nice examples of what you can do with bold ingredients to reinvigorate classic beer styles, these brewers have good paletes and the beers are highly worth a dabble if come across them.