HAPPY New Year!

I hope you enjoyed all the festivities and had some nice beers along the way.

2015 was a fantastic year for York and Yorkshire's beer and pub scene, but rest assured - 2016 is already shaping up to be another cracker.

And what better time than a new year to enjoy new beer?

Brewers around the region are starting the year with a bang, with a wave of exciting new ales to tempt the tastebuds.

Sure, we've all got a little less money to spend this month, after the cost of Christmas. But pubs could do with custom during an historically quiet month. And take it from me, there are a few new arrivals you won't want to miss out on.

York Press:

Dave Shaw of Hop Studio, with the pump-clips for his new beers

Hop Studio in Elvington, just east of York, are leading the way with the new year's revolutions.

They are abandoning almost their entire range, and replacing it with four new beers.

They are:

  • Buzz, a golden honey beer with caramel and peachy flavours and an ABV of 3.8 per cent
  • Enkel, a golden Belgian beer, with slightly sweet plum and fig flavours and an ABV of 4.5 per cent
  • Fire and Ice, a very pale ale with dark fruit flavours and a hint of vanilla, and an ABV of 5 per cent
  • Mokaya, a potent chocolate concoction with hints of ginger and chilli, and a weighty ABV of 5.9 per cent

Brewer Dave Shaw says his existing porter and pale ales may stay, but Blonde, Red, Gold and Obsidian are all being consigned to the history books.

Instead, in the spirit of Tryanuary, he is starting anew.

"We've been going three to four years and some of the beers have been in since the start," he says. "So we are virtually wiping the slate clean. We are going to do a new suite of beers each season, and this is the winter 2015/16 one.

"In all, we will have 30 new beers next year - we are really going for it. People always want to try something new in January, to start the new year with something fresh."

Hop Studio is far from the only one starting 2016 in style though.

Elsewhere, here are a few more of the brand new beers to look out for....


York Press: Jackie and Tony Rogers of the Half Moon Brewery in Ellerton

2016 by Half Moon in Ellerton in East Yorkshire - This will be a session pale ale, with an ABV of 3.8 per cent, brewed with English admiral and galena hops. It's a new recipe and brewer Tony Rogers says he has high hopes for it.


York Press:

Oreo Cookie Stout by Bad Co in Dishforth - Beers don't come much more intriguing than this. Brewer Paul Holden-Ridgway says he will be using "tons" of Oreo biscuits and toasted oats but no hops at all. He says: "I was looking to do a biscuit-flavoured stout and we looked at a couple of ideas - then one of the lads said he loved Oreos."


York Press:

Polish Champagne by Brass Castle in Malton - The guys at Brass Castle are trying their hand at grodziskie, a unique Police style of beer. It's an oak-smoked wheat beer that usually has a low ABV. Brass Castle's version (in keg rather than cask) will be a little stronger, around 4.3 per cent to 5 per cent.

Brewer Phil Saltonstall says it will be fizzy and smoky and should ideally be served in a glass closer to a Champagne flute than a standard pint pot. It has been inspired by the brewer's Polish employee, Anya, and Phil hopes it might appeal to the region's large Polish population as well as the brewery's established fans.


York Press:

Weakender by Rooster's Brewery - This is part of the brewery's experimental Outlaw range of beers. It is a triple-hopped pale ale, with an ABV of only 3 per cent - hence the name. It uses crystal, cascade and simcoe hops and will be available in cask and keg, hopefully by the end of this week.

York Press:

Chieftain by Rudgate Brewery - This is the new addition to Rudgate's Viking series of beers. Craig Lee, MD of Rudgate, says it will be a golden, fruity ale with an ABV of four per cent and a citric flavour.


York Press:

484 by North Riding Brewery - Brewer Stu Neilson is very excited about the latest experimental hop. It's currently called "American Dwarf Hop Association 484" as hop varieties are not 'properly' named unless and until they are well received by the market.

Stu has picked up some of this one, in the wistful hope it will be the next big thing. He'll be using it in a single-hopped pale ale, that should be on sale in The Woolpack and/or Brigantes in York.