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Celebrating 20 Years of Ossett Brewery with a ‘Happy Birthday’ Beer

When there is so much change happening and everything is looking to the future, it is easy to forget the past. There is no doubt that Ossett Brewery is undertaking radical change at the moment, with a new brewery and headquarters taking shape, a new brewery project at the Hop at Saltaire, regular ‘socials’ staged at our King’s Yard home and with constant expansion of the food and drink we are offering throughout our pub estate. 

But all that won’t stop us standing still for a moment and remembering where it all started, because that was 20 years ago next month.

August 1998 saw the first barrel of ‘Bobby Dazzler’ brewed out of the tiny brewhouse at the back of the Brewer’s Pride pub by Bob Lawson, and the rapid expansion from there – largely undertaken by his son and current owner Jamie - is something nobody could have imagined. Success on the scale that Ossett Brewery has achieved over the intervening 20 years is something worth celebrating, and we have decided to do it in the manner that we celebrate everything, by making beer and drinking it. 

So hitting the pubs at the end of July is a special ‘Happy Birthday’ beer; a brand new ale we cheerily named in a simple and perfectly succinct way, but which describes a beer that is breaking new boundaries for the boys at the brewery.

When we get chance to deviate from the regular production of our core beers, it is a fun exercise which allows our experienced brewers the rare luxury of experimentation. So when we were talking about a beer to celebrate our 20thanniversary therefore, it had to be something special. And the result is described by Paul Spencer our head brewer as “…a golden, 4.3% premium hoppy ale brewed from Styrian Wolf hops, which are described as having lemongrass, mango and passionfruit characteristics.”

The hops used for this are a new variety grown in Slovenia and have never been used in the brewery before, so any beer aficionados expecting something with familiar ‘Ossett’ characteristics might be in for something different and definitely new. But don’t panic, while we are using new hops, the brewing process is exactly the same as always and the resulting beer is sure to match all our others for consistency, flavour, colour and aroma.

As is usual for the special seasonal beers we produce a couple of times a month, the batch size for the ‘Happy Birthday’ beer is 40 brewers barrels, which equates to 6,500 litres and 11,500 pints. And while that sounds a lot, you might want to hurry to get a sniff of the celebratory brew, as our seasonal specials always sell out very quickly.

First up for the ‘Happy Birthday’ beer is our next Brewery Social at our refurbished King’s Yard headquarters on Saturday July 21stfrom 3pm. Phase 2 of the expansion is due to be completed next month and visitors will get a good look at how this is developing, as well as being able to sample some great barbecue food, lots of live music, our regular core beers and of course our brand new ‘Happy Birthday’ beer.

There is so much going on at the brewery right now it is hard to keep track. We will be expanding on our new project at the Hop Saltaire in a future blog post, and also explaining more details when the King’s Yard expansion is finally completed. But we also had another anniversary to celebrate recently when we raised a glass to 15 years since we purchased our first pub under the Ossett Brewery name. That was the Black Bull at Liversedge. Naturally, we celebrated that in style at the end of May, with all pints of Ossett cask beer priced at £2 for the evening, and plenty of complimentary food and live music to boot. 

For our 20thanniversary as a brewery we are letting the ‘Happy Birthday’ beer speak for itself and celebrating through our roster of beer festivals and brewery socials, which are really allowing us to make the most of this wonderful summer. We hope you get the chance to sample some of the special ‘Happy Birthday’ beer, because it really is about you and the success that your custom has helped to bring.

Ossett Brewery has always been about people and beer. It’s really that simple. It is the reason we wanted to open up the brewery and host the regular ‘socials’ and it’s the reason we host regular beer festivals across our pub estate, and why we maintain our pubs in the manner that we know our customers like; as authentic, homely and welcoming places to meet friends and family and have a beer. That’s the Ossett Brewery way, and our current list of pubs and our extensive list of core and special beers, is a decent legacy for 20 years and something we are very proud of and think is worth celebrating. And of course, here’s to the next 20 years.

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