“Salt Beer Factory is a microbrewery with a difference, unifying heritage and modern brewing. The mission is to produce showstopping, hop-forward beers, and couple them with an interactive brewery experience” explains Nadir Zairi, one of six members of the Salt team in West Yorkshire that have got off to a storming start since launching in November 2018.
“We are based in the UNESCO World Heritage village of Saltaire. The village was built by Sir Titus Salt, a leading industrialist in the Yorkshire woollen industry and a super-progressive pioneer for worker's rights in the 1800's. We try to adopt the same progressive spirit through our modern beer styles. The history and heritage of our homeland have influenced our name and the textile terms we used to name our core beers such as Alpaca”, Nadir explains.
The brewery was brought to life by a £1.7m investment by Ossett Brewery, a successful local business that has previously focussed on a more traditional beer offering. “The vision for Salt has been three years in the making; a concept that began with an idea to brew some beer at the back of a pub has now evolved into something much greater than we could’ve ever imagined… we aim to showcase the best in craft beers and gins in a modern pub environment.” explains Jamie Lawson, owner of Ossett Brewery.
The new brewery really is something to behold. “The taproom sits in the heart of the brewery so visitors to SALT Beer Factory can follow the journey of their pint from raw ingredients to dispense at the bar. The space has a fascinating history. Originally a Victorian tramshed, it’s previous use was as a children's soft play centre. Ned, the brewery manager actually had his 5th birthday party here 20 or so years ago!” laughs Nadir.
A nice space is great, but if you want to build a leading brewery you have to fill it with talented people. Salt have a big tick in that box too. Colin Stronge is the head brewer, and brings 19 years experience from breweries such as Northern Monk, Buxton, Marble & Black Isle. He is joined by Chris Wigg, who previously brewed at Buxton and Chris Morse who splits his time between the brewery and booking acts for events.
The first beers to roll off the canning line are as good as you’d expect when that trio of brewing talent are behind them. You’ll have one of two in your BeerBods box. Again, Nadir introduces them for us;
“Citra NEIPA (New England IPA) Jnr was our first special beer. We wanted to bring a style to more people by brewing it at session strength. This 'baby NEIPA' or 'Junior' is heavily dry-hopped with Citra and is an accessible NEIPA as the style is usually associated with higher ABVs.
Alpaca is a 6.6% ABV Double Dry Hopped (DDH) IPA. Alpaca is a bit less accessible although we wanted to make it as easy-drinking as possible. We keep the dry-hopping rate high enough to pack in loads of flavour but not so high that it becomes a chore to drink it. We see it as a hybrid between the beer styles from the east and west coast of America. Hazy, juicy but with a dry bitter finish on the end.”
You don’t have to speak to the team at Salt for long to realise just how much fun they are all having building a brewery and events space from scratch. Just perhaps not as much fun as Ned had in the ball pool on this very same site for his 5th birthday 20-odd years ago.