Pub & beer column

The vision has evolved, the plans have been amended, but the determination is there. Give it time, but a new story of beery goodness is coming to York.

It won’t happen this month. Nor next. But by the end of 2017, York should again boast a fully-fledged brewpub.

For many of us, this represents the ultimate local: a homely, well-run, traditional pub, serving beer brewed just yards away, if that.

Once upon a time, they were commonplace, but today they're a cherished rarity. There are only a handful of such places dotted around the region.

The North Riding in Scarborough is a one, serving superb cask ales brewed in the pub’s basement. The Goodmanham Arms in East Yorkshire is an unremittingly-brilliant example, although technically their beers are brewed in a detached outbuilding.

In York Brewery and Brew York, the city has excellent breweries with bars on-site, but a brewpub is something different. Fundamentally, it is, above all, a pub.

York had one briefly, in the latter years of The Junction in Leeman Road, and around the same time The Deramore Arms in Heslington was home to the short-lived Four Thorns Brewery, but neither venture lasted and we’ve had nothing since, until now. Which takes us to The Slip Inn in Clementhorpe.

Jon Farrow and Paul Crossman have long intended to add a brewery here, ever since they took over seven years ago. But they say they are determined that 2017 will be the year it happens.

York Press:

The brewing equipment will go in what is currently an alleyway alongside the pub, meaning customers sitting in the expansion built last year will be able to see the brewery from their seats. A new ‘cellar’ will be created at floor level behind the current bar, and the current one (really a walk-in sideroom) will be turned into a new snug.

York Press:

Their brewing experience is scant at the moment, Jon having dabbled in home-brewing about 20 years ago and Paul a complete novice, but both are keen to learn and are in a good position to get started.

“We have lots of contacts in the brewing world and lots of offers to help, with people inviting us to brew with them,” says Paul.

“It will be a real brewpub. Every two weeks we will do a full brew, with a four-barrel kit. The initial concept is just to serve this pub, with a good house bitter that you can only get here, and we will possibly have one-offs on a test kit, although with our other pubs [The Swan up the road, The Volunteer Arms in Holgate, The Woolpack in Fawcett Street] we are in a position to move some.

“It has got to be really good though. It needs to be really good to sell these days, and we can tweak it slightly with each brew until we get something that works perfectly."

The brewery will precipitate other changes in The Slip, notably to amend the layout of the bar to increase capacity.

At the same time, Jon and Paul are also involved behind the scenes on another project that may eventually benefit customers here. But the beer is the focal point for now.

“We currently only have five cask and five keg lines and the cellar’s always been a nightmare,” says Jon. “We can add more lines and with the brewery we can serve straight from a holding tank. It would be nice to double our range.

“We have a few things we would like to do - and we are saying this will be the year.”

So will York it be called, simply, The Slip Brewery? No. The equipment will be coming from a quite well-established West Yorkshire brewery, and the name will acknowledge the source – but Jon and Paul are saying no more than that. For now.