Beer & pub column

WHAT a time to be a beer drinker in Malton.

In the past few years, this market town has put itself firmly on the Yorkshire beer map, in a way that would have seemed almost implausible just a decade ago.

First came the arrival of not one but two superb young breweries, Brass Castle and Bad Seed.

Then came the establishment of Beertown, the town’s own well-run and superbly well-stocked festival.

Now drinkers are about to get that most coveted of outlets: a genuine brew-pub and tap room, slap bang in the centre of town, with a new piece of kit that will put it at the forefront of the region's beer revolution.

Next Friday, all being well, The Taphouse will open in the old bag shop in Yorksergate. If you’re visiting Malton – and the appeal is increasingly strong – then it’s the building directly ahead of you as you walk up Railway Street from the railway and bus stations.

It is the creation of Brass Castle Brewery, based at the back of the building, and – as the name suggests - it will serve their beers fresh from the brewery. 

In six weeks' time, the pub will become a "growler and crowler station," allowing people to fill up their own containers with their chosen beer, or to have a take-away can filled and sealed for them before their eyes, from a 'crowler' machine.

Brass Castle believe their crowler will be the first in Yorkshire and only the second in the UK (BrewDog has one). It's currently being built in the US, ready to be shipped to Yorkshire.

Whereas beer put into a good growler should stay drinkable for a few days, crowlers can keep beer in good condition for weeks.

>>> Want to know more about crowlers? See the Oskar Blues story here.

What’s the bar like? it's still taking shape but it is clearly going to a modern, chic bar, a far cry from the stereotypical Yorkshire market town pub.

York Press:

Part of the bar has been made out of beer pallets; old wooden casks have been dismantled and recycled to form part of the décor; and much of the furnishing is created from wood reclaimed from an old hospital in Oldham, all led by joiner Sam Teal. A large key found embedded in one wall during the building work will also be displayed in the bar area.

The bar will be aiming itself at drinkers keen to try the best beer going. There will be coffee and snacks available, but beer is king here.

Michelle Palmer Wheeler will be the licensee, and can’t wait to get started.

“I’m project manager for the build and that has been really fun, and I will be licensee and manager as well.

“The frontage is completely glass so people have been looking in and stopping to see, and saying it looks amazing, which is quite nice.”

“We are the only pub in Malton now that has a brewery attached but it’s amazing how many people in Malton still have not tried our ales and lagers.” Hopefully they will now.

Michelle was born and bred in Malton, moved into the pub trade after a spell working in the York and Malton Job Centres, and has since worked in various local venues, including The Talbot. She also has family history in the industry, with her great aunt and uncle having once owned the Black Swan in Malton Market Place.

Phil Saltonstall, founder and owner of Brass Castle, says: "The full-time Taphouse is something we've always wanted to do, to properly engage the brewery in our local community.

"We've had a lot of fun with the monthly brewery Tap sessions that we've run to date, and the goodwill that we've encountered has given us the extra impetus to make those permanent."

The pub will be open for the first time this coming Friday (January 27), from noon to 8pm. It will then open from 10am to 8pm on the Saturday, and the long-term opening times will then be determined according to demand.

As Malton continues to cement its food and drink reputation, surely that demand will flow as freely as the beer.