IT'S go, go, go for the region's newest brewery - and car enthusiast Nigel Cay is the man in the driving seat.

The rallying enthusiast is turning from cars to his other great hobby, by opening his own brewing operation.

Bilbrough Top Brewery in Bilbrough, between York and Tadcaster, was set up last September, recipes were developed over October and November and now - after three or four test brews - the first batch of Top Beer has been sent out.

A cask went on at The Three Hares, in Bilbrough, on Thursday night and casks are in the cellars of The Slip, The Swan and The Volunteer Arms in Clementhorpe, Bishopgate Street and Watson Street respectively in York, likely to go on the bars in the coming days.

The name is a nod to both Bilbrough Top and Nigel's love of Top Gear, and Nigel is keen to receive feedback.

"There's apprehension when your baby goes out there, but you have to grasp the nettle, so we will see what the feedback is."

Top Beer is a pale blonde ale, with an ABV of 3.9 per cent. Nigel says it's not "incredibly hoppy" but says it is more bitter than some pale blondes, with a citrusy aftertaste, he says.

Nigel has come to brewing later than many of the industry's new starters. He worked for Network Rail for the best part of 15 years and was in telecommunications before that, but he says he had always wanted to open his own brewery.

He's been a member of the Campaign for Real Ale for years, went on a brewing course led by renowned expert David Smith, of Copmanthorpe, and then he took the leap last year, setting up a six-barrel brewing kit in what had been his vehicle workshop.

York Press:

"The course was really informative and turned the 'what you do' into 'why you do it' for me, looking at the chemistry behind it.

"That was really helpful.

"We did a couple of test runs and produced some reasonable beer, but it was not at the level it had to be. It was drinkable, but not quite what I wanted."

So, he tweaked it again, then again, and on the third recipe he has decided to seek public opinion.

Is this the final recipe? Not necessarily, says Nigel. He's keen to hear from drinkers at The Swan, The Slip and The Volly, all reputable real ale pubs with customers who know their stuff. Depending what they say, he may adjust the recipe again. Time will tell.

Nigel's keen to thank David Smith, and also Swan landlord Paul Crossman for his advice on branding and styles, and he has also secured a potentially fruitful partnership with another young business in Bilbrough, The Normans wedding venue, run by local couple Laura and Oliver Robinson, whose own drive helped inspire him to embark on his own new venture.

"They're in an amazing spot - and the idea is that I can supply beer for the weddings, and if people want to call it something special for their big day, they can."