Acorn Brewery, Barnsley Bitter
This week’s beer is the latest incarnation of Barnsley Bitter. A beer that dates back over 150 years and to the formation of the original Barnsley Brewing Company in 1854.
From the Oakwell Brewery site, Barnsley’s eponymous beer continued to enjoy acclaim for over a hundred years until the behemoth that is John Smith’s acquired the brewery in 1961 following a short ‘partnership’. By 1970 this all became part of the Courage empire and in 1976 all beer production stopped at the Oakwell site. Much to the dismay of some famous Barnsley folk including Michael Parkinson.
Whilst the production of Barnsley Bitter might have ceased, the memories of this beer could not be so easily stifled. In 1997 it was reborn in nearby Elsecar under the South Yorkshire Brewing Co. Unfortunately this resurrection was all too brief and the brewery soon closed down. Albeit not before adding insult to injury during a brief spell where Barnsley Bitter found itself being brewed in Lancashire!
Thankfully this has been rectified by husband and wife team Dave and Judi Hughes who, in 2003, bought a second hand brew plant and founded the Acorn Brewery in the Barnsley suburb of Wombwell. Reclaiming both Barnsley Bitter and a fair bit of local Yorkshire brewing pride at the same time.
Using the original 19th century strain of yeast, classic Maris Otter malts and Challenger hops from our neck of the woods in Worcestershire, this beer is a reminder just how good a ‘boring brown beer’ can be. A slightly dark hue but very drinkable at 3.5% we could wax lyrical about this beer but it wouldn’t be a very Yorkshire thing to do. It’s a beer for drinking not thinking.
It’s clearly been the making of the Acorn Brewery. This is their best selling beer and it’s going down well having garnered both awards and a strong fan base. Like all beers of this type, we really recommend you seek this out on cask. If you are in the area then you would do well to check out the brewery’s own pub,the Old No. 7. You know, when in Rome... or in this case Barnsley.
Serve this beer ever so slightly chilled. 20 minutes in the fridge should do it.