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10 great craft breweries to visit in Yorkshire

Northern Monk. (c) Mark Newton Photography
Northern Monk. (c) Mark Newton Photography

Expanding your beer knowledge seems like a good thing to do in September and there are numerous artisan brewers in Yorkshire ready and willing to pull you a pint and share the love of the craft. We raise a glass.

Northern Monk

In 2014, a ‘proper northern brewery’ was born: Northern Monk. Started with Granny Bisset’s humble life-savings of £5,000, grandson Russ Bisset and partner Brian Dickson began experimenting in a small cellar in Bradford. After becoming a hit with friends, they found their first home, a Grade II listed abandoned mill in Leeds, The Old Flax Store. Today it’s home to The Refectory, a taproom where customers can sample any 1 of 20 fresh beers brewed on the floor below. This includes their flagship hazy pale ale, Faith. Situated 5 minutes south of Leeds train station, it has a stellar city beer garden and hosts festivals, gigs, craft fairs and more.

Great British Life: Saltaire Brewery. (c) Mark Newton PhotographySaltaire Brewery. (c) Mark Newton Photography


On the outskirts of Bradford, in the lesser known – but picturesque – village of Saltaire, lies Saltaire Brewery. Once home to textile mill workers and now a UNESCO World Heritage site, the victorian brewhouse and taproom sits along the Leeds-Liverpool canal and offers an eclectic mix of ales, lagers and craft beers. Punters love their Blonde and Cascade Pale Ale - even HRH The Princess Royal stopped by, with the brewery marking the occasion with the release of Celebration Ale. Their latest offering is the award-winning Rattlesnake Ridge, a classic West Coast IPA. On Sept 8-9th, their world-famous beer festival is back, where cask and keg beers from various breweries from around the UK will be on show.

Harrogate Brew Co

Committed to traditional brewing, the Harrogate Brewing Company has been in business since 2020 - a challenging time for all. But they weathered the storm and continue to put out fantastic beers, winning a slew of independent brewing awards. Their Harrogate Best Bitter and Kursaal Imperial Stout won gold the last 2 years at the National Society of Independent Brewers. They also stock a number of great Yorkshire attractions such as Harewood House and Castle Howard. Their branding and product design is impeccable, with the ‘H’ logo harking back to the classic architecture of the city; namely it’s Roman viaducts. Family owned and operated, their taproom is based in the Hookstone Centre, Harrogate.

Brew York

Much like the name suggests, Brew York has taken over the charming city. With two brewery sites, a main taproom and beer hall in the centre (and a further two sites in Leeds and Pocklington), it has truly captured the attention of Yorkshire beer lovers. The main Walmgate site sits among a number of bustling bars, restaurants, cafes, and features an open plan taproom – overlooked by the original brewing equipment – and also hosts tours. A spacious outdoor seating area is enjoyed by customers, and upstairs it has a bavarian-style beer hall, serving Asian street food. Fan favourites include Juice Forsyth IPA, Rhubarbara Streisand pale ale and a classic Czech pilsner, Golden Eagle.

Ainsty Ales

Just outside of York, is the award-winning, independent brewery, Ainsty Ales. Guided by it’s ethos of the circular-economy, they minimise all of their waste in the production process - their spent grains are used for local animal feed and their spent hops is turned into mulch for local allotments. Their core range includes the oatmeal-based stout, Ainsty Assassin, the American pale ale, Cool Citra, the blonde ale Flummoxed Farmer and the new IPA Killa Kiwi. They have a ‘drive-thru’ system at their taproom – where they hold weekly events – meaning you can place an order and pick up anytime. They sell mini-kegs, party packs and merch too (including four-pint growler jugs).

Turning Point

In the Knaresborough sits Turning Point Brewing Company. Launching ‘into orbit’ in 2017, the brands striking artwork and product design prepare customers for their beers truly ‘out of this world’ taste. Their original taproom is open once a month in Knaresborough, while two more locations in York are open year-round. The Outpost sits in the exciting, outdoor CIC space, Spark: York, and The Falcon is on Micklegate. Customers can’t get enough of their American pale ale, Disco King, nor their NEIPA, Astral Voyager.

Great British Life: The famed Black Sheep Brewery in Masham. (c) BSBThe famed Black Sheep Brewery in Masham. (c) BSB

Black Sheep Brewery

In May it was announced that Black Sheep Brewery had gone into administration, but luckily, it has been saved by new owners - and thank god! Black Sheep has the best lineage in the Yorkshire brewing industry. In 1992, Paul Theakston – of the famous Theakston Brewery family, which was founded in 1827 – decided to strike out on his own, choosing independent brewing right here in the heart of Yorkshire. As the ‘black sheep’ of the family, only one name would do. Ever since, the Black Sheep Visitor Centre in Masham has been the village’s biggest employer, nestled deep in the Yorkshire Dales. Many travel far to come and visit the bar and kitchen, the iconic brewery tour and shop. Favourites include their Best Bitter, their Blonde and the dark ale, Riggwelter. They even create the official range of Monty Python beer.

Whitby Brewery

Perched up on the iconic cliff top, in the shadow of Whitby Abbey, lies Whitby Brewery. Producing a range of bottles and cans, like the Abbey Blonde, Smugglers Gold and the Whitby Whaler, they have made it their mission to bring craft brewing back to the town. Starting in 2013, they host live music and weekly events, showcasing their ‘quaffable creations’. They even have their own ‘secret’ experimental brewery where they create wild new flavours and test different methods, producing small batches. Loyal customers can try these out at markets and special events.

Great British Life: Harrogate's Cold Bath Brewing Co (c) CBBHarrogate's Cold Bath Brewing Co (c) CBB

Cold Bath Brewing Co

Inspired by the spa waters that the town of Harrogate is built on, Cold Bath Brewing Company creates delicious, clean and easy-drinking beers. Situated at 44 Kings Road, The Clubhouse is their exclusive event space, where they have their own barrel aged project, experimenting with a range of flavours and methods, particularly lager. They work with the iconic Bettys by including their Yorkshire Cobble into their Pilsner, and their most recent creation is their alcohol-free beer, 1571, currently competing in the World Beer Awards.


Continuing the legacy of Cistercian monks brewing at Kirkstall Abbey, Kirkstall Brewery produces a variety of draught beers, kegs and bottles. Five minutes from Leeds city centre, their main taproom and brewery is a distinguished man’s dream; decked out in rich wooden and stone textures, in contrast with the polished stainless steel brewing equipment in view. It serves fresh beer and stone-baked pizza, including their newest take on a California IPA, Tasty Pebble, which 'bursts with zesty lemon, fragrant mandarin and resinous pine.' They’ve also recently acquired the Leeds Brewery portfolio, so expect their core range to be added to the menu.


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