Carry On Britain does the Yorkshire Dales – Part 02 – Black Sheep Brewery

Posted by Dunc on May 13, 2009 in Food Shopping, Places |


As part of Carry On Britain’s mini tour of the Yorkshire Dales, we descended on the little town of Masham. Home to two of Yorkshire’s finest breweries; Black Sheep and Theakston’s, it seemed rude not to at least have a little taste!

After our cheese eating session at Wensleydale Creamery, we needed something to quench our thirst so we pointed the Sat Nav at Masham, full steam ahead!.

First up was the Black Sheep Brewery. Unfortunately we’d just missed the guided toor and with nearly an hour till the next one, we decided to grab a pint of the black stuff and mull over our next move.

A little about Black Sheep Brewery…

Started back in October 1992 by maverick brewer Paul Theakston, Black Sheep was the result of Scottish and Newcastle gaining control of the Theakston’s family brewery T & R Theakston Ltd in 1987. Not wanting to be part of the changes afoot in the old family business, but not wanting to leave Masham either, Paul decided that the small brewery life was for him and set about building the Black Sheep Brewery that we know and love today.

Built on the site of the old Lightfoot brewery, Black Sheep’s premises house the brewing plant along with a vistor centre including a bistro and shop. The centre is a large open space which, while very nice, did have a slight feel of the corporate chain-pub to it (but maybe that’s just me – I love small, cosy, country pubs). The food did look and smell amazing though. I can’t comment on the tour as we didn’t take part, but I’ve heard good reports (from me mum, amongst others) so it’s probably worth a visit. If you have been, leave a comment below and let us know what you thought!

The beer…

Black Sheep brew 3 Cask Ales:

Best Bitter

Far and away their best selling cask beer, a well hopped, light golden best bitter with a distinctive, dry, refreshing taste, to be enjoyed in true Black Sheep style through a rich creamy head.

Brewed using traditional methods and finest ingredients.

  • ABV 3.8%

Black Sheep Ale

Full flavoured premium bitter, with a rich fruity aroma. It is brewed with many generous handfuls of choice Golding hops giving a bittersweet malty taste, followed by Black Sheep’ characteristic long, dry and bitter finish.

  • ABV 4.4%


The pick of the Black Sheep flock – a strong deep chestnut brown beer with a rich near-white head and the aroma of freshly roasted coffee.

A wonderfully complex palate with hints of coffee, bananas and liquorice leading to a classic Golding hop finish.

  • ABV 5.9%

The verdict…

Best Bitter is definitely my favourite of the 3. It’s a light golden session beer with a deliciously dry refreshing taste. Black Sheep Ale has a slightly more fuller flavour and bitter finish, whereas Riggwelter (when a sheep is on its back and can’t get up without help, it is said to be ‘riggwelted’) has a very distinctive taste and smell of roasted coffee which was a little strong for my pallete – nice for something different, but not a session beer. A few pints and it would indeed put you on your back!

All in all – good stuff! I would like to go back sometime and do the full brewery tour.

Next stop – Theakton’s Brewery…

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