Every now and then (not as much as i would like) i get to go round a local brewery, this time it was the turn of Nick Staffords Hambleton Ales in, i was really looking forward to this one as i have been drinking Nick’s Ales for some time and he seems to be quite highly regarded in the industry for brewing great cask beers.
Hambleton Ales have recently moved to a bigger brewery and invested in a new bottling plant, allowing them to bottle more of their own ales along with bottling for other companies. As a result they haven’t invested (and rightly so) in a fancy reception area or gift shop, it’s simply a room in the brewery with a small bar and some garden furniture to sit on.
Nick and his wife very kindly put on a great selection of crisps and nuts for us to nibble on while we sampled some of the ales and Nick gave us a very informative and enjoyable talk on how he got into brewing and how he got to where he is now.
The two ales on tap during the intro were Hambleton Stud (4.3%) and Hambleton Stallion (4.2%), Both were absolute crackers, both very very drinkable, with great body, great head, lovely colour and most important of all fantastic taste.
The Stud was light and fruity and very smooth, slightly malty with a nice bitter hop finish,
The Stallion was slightly darker but with the same great body, a lovely caramel hint to it with the malt and hop coming though again too.
Once we had supped a few pints, ate all the nibbles and learned some great stuff about Nick and the Brewery we headed off into where all the hard work takes place, Nick showed us around and told us all about the different malts and hops he uses and explained the bits of equipment and brewing process, he did this very well, with a good sense of humour (you need that when you have 30 odd, drunken engineers in your brewery)
After that it was back up to the bar for a few more beers and questions (including one about what he thought of all the fuss surrounding people trying to ban funny beer names and strong beers), I even got to pull my own pint, it wasn’t great so i let Nick’s wife do the next one.
Time came for us to leave, so i nipped downstairs and bought a case of Stallion, Black Lightning and Nightmare (reviews coming soon) before we headed off to the Black horse at Ainderby Quernhow for a pie and pea supper and a few more pints, it was a fantastic little pub with great food (and a huge menu), the steak and ale pie with home made chips really hit the spot.
It was teamed up with a pint of Hambleton Eh up lad, which was another golden ale with a hint of honey, malt and nice floral notes, again with a hoppy finish.
Next up was a Hambleton Bitter, This was the darkest beer so far, it was bitter and refreshing with some hops and possibly some berries coming though towards the end.
The final pint of the night was the Legendary Hambleton Nightmare, one of my all time favourite beers, It’s one of the best stouts i have ever had, It’s smooth ,chocolaty with strong roast malts and a lovely silky feel in your mouth.
Anwyay after that it was time for the long bus ride home, we spent most of the time chatting about the beers and how friendly and approachable nick was, oh and how we loved the tour for it’s no nonsense approach and lack of commercialism like a lot of the other breweries we visit.
Keep up the good work Nick!