Wakefield CAMRA Homepage Lost Wakefield Breweries
Please note that brewing at WF6 is currently suspended indefinitely.
Please note that the above is not the actual brewery logo but the colours are right!.
In Summer 2006 the brewing vessels were rearranged for more ergonomic operation and where beneficial some of the vessels were raised up to make more use of gravity when transferring liquids.
Contact details for ordering beer : 07876 141336, and WF6 Brewing Company, registered office: 21 Rose Farm Approach, Altofts, Normanton, WF6 2RZ
This new brewery set up in 2004 on Carringtons Farm near Altofts WF6 in the lower Calder Valley. The brewery realised the dream of two local real ale enthusiasts, Rob Turton and his friend Bryan Guy. They began learning their skills at the brewery of Tarka Ales founded 2003 at Fremington, Barnstaple, North Devon, which they referred to as their sister brewery and mentor. link to website of Tarka Ales Incidentally naturalists tell us that otters are beginning to move back into the lower Calder Valley!
The brewhouse is located in a unique historic milking shed, quite spacious but with restricted doorways, which has meant that the equipment had to be specially made - sounds like a ship in a bottle job. Initial brewing capacity was 2 × 5 barrels with the intention of doubling this with 2 more fermenters on order for Decembe '04.
The boys were keen to produce flavoursome session beers, and soon had interest expressed by a number of licensees in the Wakefield and Five Towns areas who were able to take guest beers. They joined SIBA, too, which gave them the benefit of the Access to Market Agreement with Enterprise Inns' Unique Pub Company.
First beers, due to be brewed in July 2004 were to have been Birkwood Bitter, a traditional beer coloured ale, and Birkwood Gold, both at 3.7%. First deliveries, in distinctive royal blue plastic casks with a red centre band, to local outlets of the 4% Birkwood's Introduction were made to cellars of local outlets including the Red Shed at Wakefield at the end of July and the beer went on sale early-mid August. Views were gathered from an impromptu group of regulars, including two local brewers. Introduction has an initial hoppy bite, but is probably more malty in character than most local beers. A group of drinkers of the older generation, who grew up on Tetleys, made particularly favourable comments about the beer. The finish was felt to be quite short and dry for a full-mash brew.
Three other beers were on offer in the autumn of 2004, Brewers Storm 5.0% a smooth, really malty Scottish style, tawny coloured beer, reminiscent of Youngers Double Century for those old enough to remember, Birkwood Original 4.0% a golden premium beer with an elderflower aroma, and BST 3.2%. A new bitter in the Birkwood's series, Retreat coming in at an everyday drinking strength of 3.6% was produced, with the first dark beer, Reflection at 3.6% to follow. Beers were also supplied to CAMRA festivals as far away as the Midlands, and were distributed in the North West via Boggart Hole Clough.
Around Christmas 2004, Birkwoods Advent Ale a 3.6% session bitter, Birkwoods Festive Fuel a 4.4% mild and a 4.2% antidote to the January sales called Birkwoods January Ales appeared.
Two new 3.8ers using a blend of pale and crystal malts appeared at the Leeds Festival in March 2005, Birkwoods Walkabout a dry-hopped light bitter very well hopped with Progress and Fuggles, and Birkwoods Time, a light bitter using Challenger hops. One of the beers also had a small quantity of chocolate malt - awaiting confirmation as to which.
April 2005 saw Boulevard at 3.8% along with a Georges Day brew and Sex, Drugs & Rock n Roll. Brews in early summer included Lucky and Herd of Birkwoods (well you've heard of Herefords). July 2005 saw Birkwoods Ashes and Birkwoods Quaffing Ale. The boys soon decided on using malt solely from Fawcetts of Castleford and began widening their range of styles with some paler Summer ales including using aromatic continental hops such as Saaz.
In August 2005, beers included the lager style Patti's Pearla at 4.2 brewed with Pearl malt and hopped with Fuggles plus a tad of Liberty specially for Patti Brook, landlady of the nearby Horse & Jockey pub, and also the 4.5% Back in Black, which is a dark and sweet treat! Coming in September were Amber Ale at 4.2% and Liberty Ale also at 4.2% hopped mainly as you'd expect with Liberty hops. A Christmas beer received this acclaim on the "Beer in the Evening" website:
The brewery continued to produce a brace of new beers roughly each month, usually around 4.2% abv. Most of the product is distributed via Boggart Hole Clough and Tom Wood of North Lincolnshire. A new beer in May 2006 was Diamond Lite and then for the World Cup came Fever Pitch at 4.2%. As of Spring 2007 activity at the brewery was being maintained at a fairly small level but Ale to Spring at 4.2% appeared in March.
These WF6 beers were due at Merrie City 2006:
|WF6||Altofts||Summer Storm||4.2||a very dark malty bitter|
|WF6||Altofts||Indian Summer||4.2||a fruity amber coloured bitter with plenty of Bramling Cross hops|
|WF6||Altofts||Pride||6.0||a really pale strong beer, bewitchingly drinkable, combining Progress and Bramling Cross hops, the strongest yet brewed by WF6, specially for Merrie City.|
In late 2006, two decisions were made,
1) to brand beers as Birkwood, as a matter of course.
2) to bottle and sell at farmers' markets, and with the emphasis on provenance of products sold at farmers' markets, the brewery was pleased with first results.
Please note that the brewery site was not ideal for brewery visits - big roaming dogs with a sense of humour of their own. However the boys did contemplate offering brewery visits to CAMRA groups, probably spending about an hour in the brewhouse then repairing to the Horse & Jockey a few hundred yards down the road. There were also a lot of happy ducks, horses and cows who enjoy the spent malt and hops.
click on picture for link to Picasa Web Album for better definition and more details
Wakefield CAMRA's webmaster spent a day helping to brew brew one of the beers for Merrie City 2005: click for pictures of the actual brewing of Birkwoods Crystal Tips, one of the first beers to sell out at Merrie City 2005.
A number of difficulties in late 2007 brought about the suspension of brewing activity, but the brewery did undergo a successful inspection by Customs & Excise in Spring 2008. To the best of our knowledge brewing remains suspended indefinitely.
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