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Great Heck Brewery, Yakima IPA

We’re back in Yorkshire this week. Situated amidst the once centre of Yorkshire’s mining industry and originally located in a workshop that used to repair motorcycles, the Great Heck Brewing Company is a home brew side project that got out of hand.

Founded in 2008, what started as a means to make the motorcycle tinkering between bike racing a bit more sociable soon became a bona fide brewery with an interest in racing motorbikes.

In the early days of Great Heck Denzil Valance was working as a truck driver over the weekends and brewing during the week. When faced with redundancy, something he credits to when the Airbus A380 started flying from Heathrow, he decided to step things up a notch and make the brewery his own.

With his "Supreme Overlord" job title he set about making beers that he wanted to drink. Strong, flavoursome and most importantly balanced beers. Dropping all but two of the beers in their range (Dave and a Yorkshire Pale renamed Blonde) Denzil began brewing more progressively.

The new beers reflect a move towards fuller, stronger, US style craft beers whilst maintaining their drinkability. Denzil really likes beer and maintains that; “You don’t know if you actually like a beer until you’ve had a few pints of it.”

But this isn’t a quantity over quality thing. Great Heck have been gathering awards since they started and aren’t showing any signs of slowing down. Even their artwork by the oh so talented Richard Norgate won World’s Best Label at the 2014 World Beer Awards.

This week’s beer is modelled on Colorado based Odell Brewing’s India Pale Ale, a firm favourite of Denzil’s. Unsurprisingly the Yakima IPA is also his favourite beer in the Great Heck range. Strong and hoppy but balanced towards a sweetness and not at all astringent. This focus on keeping the beer “dangerously drinkable” requires all the hops to be added at the very end of the boil so as not to make the beer overly bitter. The backbone of traditional malts lend sweetness. If we whispered “toffee apples” while you drink it you will see what we mean.

Serve this beer chilled (about a half hour in the fridge should do) and enjoy it as it warms up and gives off those fruity flavours.

If you like this beer and want to try others in the range (which we are pretty confident that you will) we’ve a limited number of mixed cases available here. But if you see Apocalypse Brau (a Yakima IPA / Patrick Stout blend) on cask anywhere we strongly recommend you try it. Black and Tan is the new IPA. You heard it here first.



Style: IPA

Ingredients: Malt list includes Crystal, Munich, Roast Barley, Maris Otter and Lager Malt. The hops are Citra, Simcoe, Cascade, Chinook and Amarillo.

ABV: 7.4%


Food pairings

When I asked Denzil what he would like to eat with this beer he instantly responded with chicken jalfrezi (here’s a great veggie version by Maunika Gowardhan). He followed this up with “or crisps and Malboro, depending on what time of night it is.” You can get those at your local corner shop.


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