Bad Co. Brewing
Not that long ago a pint of beer from Yorkshire would have meant something from John Smith's or Tetley’s. Or, if you were really lucky, something from one of just a few smaller, family-owned breweries such as Samuel Smith's. Even if the beer was in good nick, it wasn’t likely to be an exciting experience. It would almost certainly be a Best Bitter.
But that’s Yorkshire folk for you. They are proud and stubborn folk who know what they like and they like what they know (As a Donny lad I include myself in that description).
But my, how things have changed in recent years. Craft beer has made its way to God’s own country. Albeit in a fiercely independent Yorkshire sort of way.
The seeds of BAD Co stem back to 2004 when Paul Holden-Ridgway (an ex-marine turned publican - below) would test out his American-inspired home-brewing with his patrons at the Blind Jack’s public house in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire.
Paul clearly knows a thing or two about what to do with good old fashioned feedback from his regulars. But as his ‘beer curious’ home-brewing adventure continued and his customer’s palates changed, his reputation for producing a pint of something tasty and different started to spread further afield.
So much so that in 2014 Paul teamed up with a local businessman, David Brown, to turn BAD Co. from a microbrewery experiment into a fully fledged brewery. Establishing itself at the nearby Dishforth Airfield, a place more used to seeing Apache helicopters than fermenting vessels.
In less than three months they were collecting an award (for this week’s beer) and it wasn’t long before they began to outgrow the initial 12BBL setup with the clamour for their beers in local pubs and restaurants.
You get the feeling that there’s a real cultural renaissance going on in Yorkshire. The profusion of pubs and bars selling good food and great beer would suggest that the county has rediscovered it’s culinary heritage and is now reinventing itself. Breweries like BAD Co are playing their part in this transformation with progressive beers that also have a nod towards the long established traditions of brewing in the UK.
We got chance to speak to brewer Owain Schofield about this week’s beer. Like many of the beers by BAD Co. Comfortably Numb is a nod towards Paul’s penchant for classic rock music. Only this 3.8% abv pale ale won’t make you feel like you are recovering from a fever like the Pink Floyd lyrics would suggest.
“It’s a great session beer but with no lack of flavour. We use plenty of Mosaic [hops] at both the aroma and dry hopping stages to give it those tastes of mango, tangerine, grapefruit and pineapple.”
It’s certainly a crowd pleaser. You can get this beer in bottles, cans, keg and cask. Owain reckons that this shows how versatile and appealing a beer of this type can be.
“It’s a beer to open up minds. It has something in it for everyone”
So what does BAD stand for? Well, the name BAD was thought up by Paul’s wife and stands for Brewing and Distilling. So there are going to be spirits too? Yup, there’s a rumour of a Yorkshire whisky - you have to love a bit of nominative determinism. Stay tuned, it should be ready sometime in 2022.
We like to ask brewers where they would like to drink this beer and who with. When we asked Owain he said Ko Pha Ngan (Thailand) and with Keith Moon. Now that would be a full moon party that you probably wouldn’t be able to remember.