Monday, 12 April 2010

Rooster's Brewery Retain Gold at World Beer Cup

I don't really 'do' news. I'm not sure why - maybe others do it better and more consistently, or maybe just because I'm lazy and prefer to talk about myself. Whatever, sometimes you just have to get off the couch, put Jeremy Kyle* on live pause and pick up the phone to speak to a brewer.

I did just that earlier today, and gladly, because the brewer I was calling was Sean Franklin, MD of Rooster's Brewery, near Harrogate in North Yorkshire. They've had a run of luck at the World Beer Cup (WBC), and by luck I mean a deserved recognition for their years of hard graft and commitment to producing iconic pale beers with stunningly bright hop character. Not only did they take gold in their category (English Style Summer Ale, whatever that's supposed to mean) with Leghorn (4.3%abv), but they also took silver in the same category with Yorkshire Pale Ale (4.3%abv). As if this isn't remarkable enough, this is the third consecutive World Beer Cup at which they've taken gold in that category. If that's not cause enough for celebration, I don't know what is. I'm particularly pleased for them as not only are their beers great, but they're a lovely bunch of people. I chose Sean to help me with the judging at last year's awards for the British Guild of Beer Writers, and his thoughtful input was very valuable. Not only does he know his beer, he knows his writers too.

How will I celebrate their achievement? Well, Rooster's don't usually bottle their beers for commercial release, but had to do so to enter the WBC. Fortunately for me, they were also good enough to give me a few bottles of a couple of their private brews - two double IPAs, one hopped with Nelson Sauvin, the other with Chinook and Amarillo. They are bottle-conditioned and sealed with crown caps that contain a little plastic liner. This is the same closure that the latest crop of Italian imports from Birra del Borgo and Baladin are sporting. Clearly if a three-times World Beer Cup winner is using this unusual closure, as well as a couple of well-respected Italian breweries, then it must have something going for it.

Did I take my eye off the ball there and geek out, talking about closures rather than beer? Yes! Am I looking forward to opening one of those double IPAs tonight? You betcha! Are you going to join me in congratulating Sean and his team at Rooster's? You'd better!

Congratulations too to Thornbridge, Shepherd Neame, and BrewDog, who also brought home some silverware for the cabinet.

*for overseas readers: Jeremy Kyle is a cross between a TV shock jock and a relationship counsellor. He counsels the sort of people who think it's a good idea to go on TV to resolve their issues. It's the televisual equivalent of bear-baiting in a 19th century lunatic asylum.


  1. Beer world cup? that's better than a guild of beer writers. I love you Zak. Just as I think there is nothing more to make me giggle along comes a beer world cup.

  2. Wonderful stuff, ignore Cookie! We've spoken about Sean and his crew before, Zak - he's a trailblazer in my eyes. Brilliant. And i'm sure you'll let us know how those beers taste, you jammy sod, you...!!

  3. Cookie - I know, can you believe that teams of 22 hirelings kicking an inflated pigs bladder about have corrupted the noble idea of a beer championship into a tawdry worldwide sporting event. For shame.

    Leigh - I was leafing through a few old beer books, and surprised to see them mentioned in Jackson's Pocket Beer Book, 1997, albeit with one sentence: "In Harrogate, the Rooster micro is noted for its hoppy ales, sometimes varietal". And much as I hate to blog about beers that are unobtainable, I might have to make an exception for Roosters.

  4. Hirelings eh? To understand how football went professional is to understand how football was wrestled from the ruling class and became the game of common men. A true meritocracy, even today, and of greater nobility than any shamateur sport with pretentions of Corinthian spirit.

  5. Zak - I've just posted about this - I simply couldn't wait! I've got a 2008 copy of the Tyke Taverner, which has an article about Sean written by Barrie Pepper. In it, he says that the brewery was started in 1992 - but in 1996 won a gold medal in 'The Beauty of English Hops' competition with a beer called Bullseye. So that reference in 1997 does make sense. It's a good article acutally - if you fancy a read I'll post a photocopy over to you at the shop. Let me know.

  6. Football is truly the people and the world's game, albeit now being wrestled from under our feet by men in suits. They should implement a wage cap on the Beer World Cup now before it all gets out of hand.

  7. Its pretty easy to find out 'exactly what that means' here

  8. Kieran - of course, I was just trying to rake over the dying embers of the "do we need all those guidelines and classes" debate. In retrospect, it's childish, but I do find it all a bit baffling. ALthough maybe that detracts from Roosters' victory? Clearly, I haven't thought this through.


Sorry about the word verification - the blog was getting spammed to bits.