The small village of Cropton is very typical of the small communities that lie on the periphery of the vast expanse of heather and heath and that makes up the North York Moors. There’s an ancient church with an Anglo-Saxon font; a wide main street of neat houses with colourful gardens leading to a small village green; the remnants of a long-forgotten motte and bailey castle hidden in the trees – and a brewery, of course.
I say ‘of course’, but beer has been brewed in Cropton since 1613 – albeit in back kitchens – when it was often the local womenfolk who brewed and sold those early ales, at a time when drinking beer was often far safer than drinking the water. The modern brewery was established in 1984 in the cellars of the New Inn, one of three pubs that had once served the village and surrounding area.
The first beer was called ‘Two Pints’ and proved so popular that the brewery began to expand and, in 1994, the current plant was built behind the pub.
As production grew, the brewery extended its production and now brews a wide range of ales and beers including 'Monkman’s Slaughter', 'Endeavour Ale', 'Yorkshire Warrior', 'Yorkshire Moors, 'Honey Gold' and 'Tunnel Vision'.
The latest brew is called 'Two Chefs' – and therein lies a story. But I’ll leave our good friend Sue Nelson (co-founder of Yorkshire Food Finder) to explain:
“Cropton’s Great Yorkshire Brewery holds a very special place in our hearts as their new beer, Two Chefs, has been developed in conjunction with two very good friends of ours – chefs Andrew Pern and James Mackenzie. The pair go back a long way to when James used to be Andrew’s head chef at The Star in Harome, and girlfriend Kate (now his wife) worked front of house."
"James and Kate soon set up their own business – the hugely successful Michelin-starred Pipe & Glass Inn at South Dalton near Beverley, while Andrew continues to run the highly acclaimed Star Inn at Harome. They have remained close friends ever since and their 'Two Chefs' beer venture with the Great Yorkshire Brewery is testament of that, with the beer on draught at their respective hostelries.”
“As for the brewery itself,” continues Sue, “we love their quirky outlook on life, exemplified by the cloth cap tweed-style bottle tops they use on their beers, and their coat of arms which rather than the heraldic two unicorns and crossed swords, features two whippets and crossed cricket bats! "
"Of course, the beer itself, in its many styles, always lives up to expectations. We believe that the Great Yorkshire Brewery is a fine example of what Yorkshire has to offer in the brewing stakes.”