Beer and pub column

YORK is about to welcome another new brewery – but it needs little introduction.

Ainsty Ales has become a familiar name in the city’s pubs and bars over the past 18 months or so, but only now is it about to have a base of its own.

Since he launched the business in 2014 Andy Herrington has been cuckoo-brewing and contract brewing. He started off using Brass Castle Brewery's equipment during their quiet spells, but such lulls became non-existent. Since then, Andy’s beers – including his popular Wankled Waggoner and Flummoxed Farmer – have been brewed by Hambleton Ales on his behalf, to his recipes.

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Now though, Andy’s wandering days are almost over. A barn on Manor Farm in Acaster Malbis is being converted as we speak into a ten-barrel brewery and office, and Andy will be setting up a small hop plantation alongside it. He’ll be running brewery tours from the autumn and if he can secure the necessary permissions, he hopes also to open a small tap room.

He has also struck a deal with Tony Nicholson of The Ship Inn in the village, giving customers at either venue a ten per cent discount at the other.

“It has taken a little longer than I thought it would,” says Andy. “It has been hard work the past 18 months, but I am really pleased with the location. I always wanted somewhere in the old Ainsty area.”

Andy has recruited a head brewer, Steve Hullah, and is taking on an apprentice through City of York Council. Make It York helped him secure a grant for his equipment, and he says the farmer Roger Raimes has been hugely supportive.

If all goes to plan, he will begin brewing in August, just in time for the York Beer and Cider Festival on Knavesmire in September. He hopes to have five core beers in time for then: The Wankled Waggoner and Flummoxed Farmer will be joined by an IPA called Kolkata Karma, a pale ale called Ainsty Angel, and Chocolate Porter.

Andy is also producing a festival beer for the Knavesmire event, having been ruled out last year due to his beers being brewed under contract elsewhere, and his home-grown hops will be used for a special beer each autumn to be sold at Coptoberfest, the charity festival in Copmanthorpe that Andy has co-organised in recent years.

The brewery will have three fermenters, with scope to increase that to six if needed. And Andy is passing on some of the goodwill he received in his first few months. Just as he took his first steps at Brass Castle in Malton, he is now offering some of his spare capacity to another fledgling brewery, Eyes Brewing of Leeds. Dan Logan, Chris Bennigsen and Tom Cunliffe, pictured below, describe themselves as the UK’s first and only wheat brewery.

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They say: “We will be reviving forgotten English wheat beer styles as well as taking inspiration from German traditions and modern innovations. As another Yorkshire brewery, we’re really pleased to be working with Andy at Ainsty Ales.”