'Allo 'Allo. GAVIN AITCHISON lines up some new ales from a York brewer and former cop

A LUCKY few have tried them already. Carnival-goers, cricketers, and a handful of villagers have been the privileged guinea pigs. The rest of us, alas, must wait. York’s newest brewery has dipped its toe into the city gently but don’t be surprised if a much bigger splash follows in a few months’ time.

Ainsty Ales is the brainchild of former policeman Andy Herrington and promises to be a welcome addition to York’s burgeoning beer scene.

Trial versions of the beers have been on sale since May, but only at very limited outlets: Heworth Cricket Club, The Woodman in Bishopthorpe and Copmanthorpe Recreation Centre, as well as Copmanthorpe Carnival, St Wilfrid’s School Fête and Askham Bryan Village Fête. Any hardened real ale enthusiasts who have come across the beers already are likely to have done so through fortune rather than tenacity therefore, but the response so far bodes well, says Andy.

“It is going really well; better than I hoped,” he says. “Trial One was a 4.7 per cent pale ale and a lot of the 40-year-old-plus crowd liked that at the end of May. Last weekend we tried another four per cent session pale, Trial Two, and the feedback at Copmanthorpe Carnival was nice and positive.”

For now, Andy is “cuckoo brewing” at Brass Castle in Malton, using Phil Saltonstall and Ian Goodall’s spare capacity and picking up some tips along the way. But he hopes to secure his own site over the next year or so.

The brewery is named not after the Ainsty pub (lest there be any confusion) but after the historic Ainsty area to the west of York, bounded by the Ouse, Nidd and Wharfe rivers. Andy himself lives in Copmanthorpe, well within those boundaries, and he hopes eventually to brew in or near the village.

He is joined in the venture by retired teacher, Mayor of Tadcaster and York Camra stalwart Steve Cobb, who will be going on a book-keeping and brewing course later this year and investing in the business in due course as well.

Matt Grant, another familiar figure from York Camra, has also lent support through his work with Garbutt and Elliott, while Owen Turner from United by Design has been helping develop the image and marketing side of things.

If Ainsty Ales remains a new name for now, is is likely to become more commonplace by autumn. Andy plans an official launch event in York city centre in October, after which he hopes his beers will become regular fixtures on York’s bars. And, to help build local business, he and the local vicar, Geoff Munford, are organising Coptoberfest on October 25, a beer festival split between The Royal Oak pub and St Giles’s Church in Copmanthorpe in aid local St Leonard’s Hospice and village groups.


The New Inn in Easingwold has re-opened under the management of West Park Inns.

There was a formal launch night last week following a six-month refurbishment. Rob Haughey, who is managing the pub with his wife Sharon, said: “We were especially pleased to hear how enthusiastic all the locals are about the launch – it seems as though Easingwold has been waiting for a great new place to eat and drink for ages.”

THERE’S a beer and bike festival at The Golden Ball in Bishophill today, to coincide with the Grand Depart. Just down the road from there, The Swan and The Slip are also holding a Tour de France-themed festival today and tomorrow.

Away from the Tour, there are festivals at The Gait in Millington this weekend; Selby Cricket Club next Friday and Saturday; The Jolly Farmers in Leavening from Wednesday to next Sunday and The Boot and Shoe in Barkston Ash from next Friday to Sunday.

Twitter: @Pintsofview