Brewers Collaborate With Festival to Brew A Festival Ale

LIVE in Barnsley, the town’s first metropolitan free music festival sponsored again by Fenton and Fenton Roofing Specialists, is set to take place again this summer on Saturday 20th June.  This year there are 14 venues and over 120 bands taking part.

This year the organisers have collaborated with three of Barnsley’s independent breweries, Acorn Brewery, Geeves Brewery and Two Roses Brewery, to brew a festival ale in celebration of making this their third year of the festival. One of the organisers, Dave Pearsall told us, “like most of our wild ideas, nobody thought we could do it, so we went ahead and contacted brewers anyway.  Luckily the guys at Two Roses brewery were up for it and then came up with the idea of involving other local brewers and collaborate on it.  It’s great that we all managed to work together to make this happen”

Last week the organisers and brewers got together for the first mash after agreeing that what they were looking for was a light refreshing bottled ale of 4% abv.  The plan is to launch the ale at the LIVE in Barnsley Festival Media Launch on Friday 1st May with local MP Michael Dugher, patron of the festival.  Many of this years venues have already agreed to sell it and it’s hoped that local off-licences will also sell the ale in the run up to the festival.  Fellow organiser, Steve Clifford, told us, “We have decided that all our share of any profits from the ale will go to this year’s chosen charities, Barnsley Hospice, Muscular Dystrophy and Creative Recovery.”

The Geeves Brewery team is very much a family affair comprised of father and son combo, Peter & Harry Geeves. Much needed additional help in the form of cask washing, sales and general aid is provided by mother and daughter Suzanne and Verity Geeves and Harry’s partner Lorna Middleton. Peter, having studied music at university, then took the most obvious career path presented to any musician, and became an actor. You may recognise him as the man from an advert shown in the early 90s advertising a certain fizzy orange drink beginning with the letter ‘T’, ending with ‘o’ and containing the other letters ‘a,n,g’.  But it is real ale that has always been his passion and to run his own microbrewery has always been his aim.  His son, Harry, following in his father’s footsteps, has spent two thirds of his life scraping away at a violin and has spent four years at Leeds University studying for a music degree. But, such is Pete’s love of real ale, that it was inevitable Harry would follow suit, having found an interest in brewing from an early age. It is with much enthusiasm that he now dedicates himself to the pursuit of brewing great beer.

Established in May 2003 by former chef Dave Hughes and his wife Judi, Acorn Brewery is located to the east of the Pennines in the village of Wombwell, Barnsley.  Having worked for Barnsley Brewery as Head Brewer for two years, Dave decided to go it alone, purchased a ten barrel brewplant from the Forester & Firkin brewpub in Stafford and moved it to premises in Wombwell.  Following a lot of hard work by Dave and his assistant brewer Steve Bunting, and despite some initial setbacks, the brewplant was commissioned and production of Acorn Brewery Barnsley Bitter began on 4th July 2003, using the same yeast strain as the original Barnsley Brewery, founded in the 1850′s. Since then, sales have grown steadily and the range of beers has increased.  Acorn Brewery has developed a popular Yorkshire brand and is currently supplying over 300 free trade outlets and 3 national wholesalers.

Two Roses Brewery started brewing in 2011 producing specialist beers in 9 gallon casks and bottles both for quaffing at home and in bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants throughout the area.  The brewery is a small family owned independent brewery and is dedicated to brewing high quality real ale using only the finest ingredients, Yorkshire water, malted barley and hops.  Two Roses Brew, Black Beauty Stout, won the top award in its category at the 21st CAMRA Beer Festival in Doncaster.

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