Pock brewery sets sights on pubs in the area

Brass castle brewery
Brass castle brewery

POCKLINGTON’S first brewery in over 70 years is now planning to sell its beers in local pubs after enjoying great success at Pocktoberfest.

Brass Castle Brewery, which is a nano-brewery based on Brass Castle Hill, Market Street, took the three beers it currently produces to last month’s beer-tasting bonanza and sold nearly 1,000 pints.

Owner Phil Saltonstall, who makes the beers in his garage and cellar, is now looking to take the business to the next level by encouraging pubs in the Pocklington area to sell his home-made ales.

Phil, who moved to the town with his wife Harriet last Christmas after living in New York for four years, is delighted with how well Brass Castle did at Pocktoberfest.

He said: “It was everything we had expected it was going to be. Really successful, really good fun. It was excellent for us to meet local people, local drinkers.

“As a brewer very often beer goes to a pub and you don’t often talk to the people who are drinking it. The beer festival is an opportunity to do that. So it was great to meet people.”

He added: “We now hope to go to local pubs.

“At the moment I’m brewing to get the stocks back up to be able to provide to pubs in the area because we were basically emptied by Pocktoberfest, which is good.”

Phil, who has had a passion for home-brewing since he was a teenager, says he is deliberately not putting Brass Castle beers into bottles so he has to work through pubs.

He said: “What we really want to be is a local brewery. We’ve deliberately chosen not to put our beer in bottles for the time being and to keep it in casks. We want to see our beers in pubs. Pubs are having a hard time at the moment. But the unique thing pubs can provide is cask ale. You can’t get it now. You can’t get cask ale in a shop. It’s just not possible.

“It’s sort of my romantic ideal that as well as restraining ourselves to cask ale, which is just a nicer product anyway, it also means we have to work through pubs and hopefully that’s useful to pubs because they need all the assistance they can get.”

Brass Castle’s three beers include Bad Kitty - a vanilla porter at 5.5 per cent ABV which won best stout/porter and best beer overall - decided by a panel of judges- at York Beer and Cider Festival in September. It also came runner-up in a public vote for beer of the festival.

The brewery also makes a 3.8 per cent golden ale, called Cliffhanger, and a 4.4 per cent Best Bitter, which made its first outing at Pocktoberfest.

Speaking about Best Bitter’s debut at Pocklington’s two-day festival, professional coastguard Phil said: “It’s the first time we’ve done that. We sold four casks of Cliffhanger, four casks of Bad Kitty and five casks of the Best Bitter. So people seemed to really respond to that as we had hoped.”

Over the coming months, Phil hopes to make a new ale, called Sunshine, which will be a US west coast style beer.

He also wants to produce a Marzen, which is a style of lager that originated in Germany. The original Marzen was brewed between September and April and kept in cellars until late summer. The remaining bottles were served at Munich’s legendary beer festival Oktoberfest, which inspired Pocktoberfest.

In addition, he also wants to set up a competition between local home-brewers.

Brass Castle will be presented with the awards it won at York Beer and Cider Festival on 14 December at Judson’s Bar on Market Place, Pocklington.