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May the 4th Brew with you!

Its Homebrew Competition time again!

Our 2018 competition was a right good laugh so we thought we better do it again, its always good to see new and old homebrewers entering beers ūüôā Our competition is open to any homebrewer who can get here with their beer entries on the day of the competition.
This is a Private Homebrewers-Only event and it NOT a public bar, mates, wives, girlfriends, husbands, boyfriends and dogs all welcome so long as accompanied by a responsible-homebrewer ūüėČ

Again we are supported by the most excellent homebrew shop The Malt Miller, we can only thank Rob for his continued support and that means…. Prizes for 1st, 2nd & 3rd place!

Competition Rules:

  • Brew:¬†Stout or Porter.
  • ABV:¬†up to 6%
  • Bottles:¬†3x 500ml Unmarked brown glass bottles.
  • Entries:¬†1 entry per brewer,¬†email your contact details and tell us if you used any speciality ingredients so as to help the judges to¬†
  • Hops & Malts:¬†Entirely the brewers choice.
  • Yeast:¬†Entirely the brewers choice.
  • On the day:¬†Bottles to be brought to the brewery on the day of competition¬†(NO Postal entries, we want everyone to come and enjoy the social as much as the competition)
  • Date & Time:¬†Sat 4th May 2019 Doors open 11am,¬†Bar open from 12.00, Judging starts at 13.00, kickout time around 18.00
  • Prizes:¬†We will be presenting engraved tankards and certificates and there will be Malt Miller Gift Vouchers too.

Again we will be raising money for charity, have 6 handpulls + 2 Keg lines on our brewery bar so we would like 3-4 homebrewers who want to brew a beer for the bar to be served alongside our own beer, all proceeds from the sale of homebrewed and our own beers will be donated to local charity.

Again we will be doing what we can to bring you some beer & brewing related entertainment from people in the brewing industry. Our Crisp Malt rep will be with us again for all your malt and brewing questions.

You can find us here:

Wishbone Brewery Limited
2A Worth Bridge Industrial Estate
Chesham Street
West Yorkshire
BD21 4LG

We are a 6min walk from Keighley Railway station and there is a Travel-lodge a similar walk away too for those of you that will be traveling from around the country. Keighley has some great Curry Houses too. We are also on a main bus route with a stop practically at the top of our road.

I’ll update this blog with more details as we confirm things…

Definition of Micropub

There looks to be a definition of what a Micropub should be on Wikipedia whether you think this is a slightly truncated version of what a Micropub or MicroBar should be is a matter for your own judgement.

There’s a few of them about now and not a single one of them is the same, how’s that for diversity, we will all know some fantastic examples of what we (you) consider to be a good micropub, I thought I would write a few of my own thoughts on what I believe¬†makes a good Bijou drinking establishment.
It seems people start small bars for all sorts of reasons, time for a change, a love of beer, a delight in the pub atmosphere, a retirement plan (haha, not a hint of ironic laugh in there honest!), a business opportunity to make money, the list will go on….

My Definition of Micropub:

  • A small pub built in a retail unit that should be low-ish rent and more than likely Business Rates free.
  • Should be a welcoming ‘all-accepting’ environment to the whole human race, even dogs if you so wish, though anyone who would see fit to¬†spoil that environment is turned around and showed the door.
  • The Beer range; beers should be changing, beers could be local, beers should not be anything you can buy from a Tied Pub, beers shouldn’t be tied to a brewery, for the most part regional and family brewers shouldn’t be on the bar, and of utmost importance is that the beer range should be interesting and¬†satisfy as broad a range of tastes as possible. Beers should ideally be in Cask, Keg & Bottle/Can.
  • Avoid music other than a bit of background for ambiance, occasional live music is fine, no TV!
  • Other drinks; tea and coffee for starters, soft drinks preferably not from a multinational company, small but distinct Spirit range, maybe a wine or two and Prosecco, a good local Cider if available.
  • Use the range of drinks and the price of them to deter the aforementioned nob-heads.
  • Have nice toilets, they may have a space constraint, but do your damnedest to ensure they are fully functioning, clean and fit for all of the diverse lovely humans the world produces (Space constraints may scupper that last part but thats no reason not to try).
  • Don’t go getting tied into certain ‘brands’ as its blatantly off putting to some drinkers who will vote with their feet. The same goes for the brewers who continually produce wishy washy pish water, that beer may be cheap to buy but they really aren’t interesting to drinkers.
  • The Owners of the micropub should have an interest in good beer and it not just be a business to make money.

A couple of practicalities for new Micropub owners…

  • Empty Cask storage, when you sign that premises lease ensure you have ample cask storage as there will be a time when you have too many empties.
  • Opening hours, these obviously have to fit around your ‘other life’, brewers try hard to deliver and collect around your hours and within standard working hours so bear in mind that you may need to be flexible for deliveries and empty collections, if a brewers is passing they will check for empties, if you aren’t around they will go uncollected… so see the point above.

How that sound? Answers on a Postcard to the usual address…


The Downward Pressure of the brewing business?

The Downward Pressure of the brewing business – hows this sound for a vague ‘Pressure Tree’?

These are just a few thoughts that whiz around my head from time to time.

  • The International / Multinational Brewer puts price pressure on those smaller than it¬†because of their economies of scale and their massive marketing budgets for brand visibility.
  • The National Brewers do all they can to keep their market share, this also involves¬†economies of scale to make prices low.
  • Family Brewers and those with tied estates are obviously feeling the pressure from above and want to keep market share, some of these breweries will also be feeling the pressure from smaller more innovative brewers below them.
  • Medium Brewers, the ones that started out small or small-ish a few years ago, there is a lot of expansion going on, those that have expanded and are still expanding. This is kind of a weird group, they have got to their peak and still¬†have the drive to climb higher, they could be expanding further in to bottling or Canning, they could be acquiring new Pub venues to sell through and without a doubt they are aggressively getting tied-line contracts signed for beer supply. These brewers are still innovative, still current, mostly producing interesting beer.
  • The small Microbrewer, the lowest on the ‘Pressure Tree’. Microbrewers have the full weight of the others pressing down on them. No¬†economies of scale, no marketing budget, minimal exposure. The only way these small guys can put pressure on the other groups is through innovation.

Now when I think of the ‘Small Brewers Duty Reform Coalition’ and SIBA wanting to smooth the Beer Duty curve for brewers above 5000 Hectolitres the only people I see winning from this is everyone¬†above¬†the small Microbrewer, those that brew above 5000 HL who in some cases already put downward pressure on those smaller. Any change to the current Beer Duty system has to see the small brewers being driven out of the market.

So what can we do? (This is where things digress a little)

  • Definitely campaign for there to be NO CHANGE to the current Small Brewers Relief on Beer Duty.
  • Have a means of Direct sales to the public, Cans, Bottles open a bar or pub.
  • Campaign for a truly free market for beer in the UK, Pubcos should be strictly governed against.
  • Boycott places like Wetherspoons who only make themselves richer while only the bigger of brewers manage to make ¬£1 or ¬£2 per cask for what is usually bog standard beer, If Wetherspoons change to pay their supplier brewers a fair amount you may continue to drink in McSpoons.
  • Boycott tied pubs? For all it sounds good in the Spirit of the Freehouse I don’t think this is fair, if a Pub provides a service, a meeting place for those around it then what we really need is for them to get a fairer deal from their controlling Pubco.
  • Supermarket beer is way too discounted (loss-leaders) and there are regional brewers selling ‘faux-craft’ beer into supermarkets all branded up to look ‘crafty’ yet for the most part they totally missing the mark. Why are supermarkets allowed to sell beer so cheap that its killing pubs?
  • CAMRA, just burn your Spoons Vouchers… if you use them you are only being part of the problem, and CAMRA you are too close to big business these days.
  • And always remember, just like your electricity bill or how much a tank of petrol costs…. EVERYTHING ALWAYS GETS MORE EXPENSIVE.

For us here at Wishbone, August was our best month ever, then quickly usurped by October which was our best ever month… So thanks very much to all the drinkers and pubs for this, thanks to KWVR Beer & Music Fest for having us again too.
Our near-future path as a business is to get our beer into Cans, we have the canning date booked for 17th January 2019 so in a few weeks we will brew Dassler Lager so it has its proper lagering time in tank before canning and Zoikes and Cloudy with a chance of hops will be brewed in Jan just in time for the canning date.
All being well in February we will start a Crowdfunder with the aim of opening a bar somewhere in Keighley.

Cheers ūüôā


The newish stuff

Usurper 7.2% DDH Rye IPA with Blackberries is ready in both Cask and Keykeg, 15g/Litre Dry Hop done in two stages, the colour in the beer pretty much comes from the Blackberries with a sweetness from the Rye and the aforementioned pretty heavy dry hop from Enigma, Simcoe and Ekuanot. Collab with Torrside Brewery.

This is verion 2 of Wibble IPA, nice simple recipe, tastes flippin’ banging ūüėČ

Look out for Casks and kegs of this beauty, its just on its first dry hop, second will be during this week then Casks available the week after then Keykegs about 10 days later.

Also, see you at the brewery bar on Saturday, The Lemon Tree are back doing the food, Sat 10th November 12 til 7pm Cheers ūüôā

Christmas is coming!!!!

Saturday December 15th from 12.00 til 9pm-ish our Brewery Tap Bar is open, we will have food from local guys The Lemon Tree and entertainment from Haworth Ukulele Group for a load of raucous Christmas fun, then later in the day we will have the excellent Jamie Squire from Saltaire. Plenty of beer and of course Nigel of ‘Christmas-Not-Christmas-Beer’ will be on the bar.

Cheers & See you then, please check trains before you travel.

Press Fuss – Ganesh, and Mr Zed

Lets start this off with some facts….

Ganesh brewed around 12th August.
Made aware of possible ‘Cultural appropriation’ via twitter 26th August.
Did some reading up on what ‘Cultural appropriation’ actually is and also learned some things about the Hindu religion and Lord Ganesh.
Made statement on Twitter 26th of August saying we would rename the beer.


…or so you would think…

Roll on to yesterday, 26th October…

7.30am I get a Twitter message from the local paper saying they want to talk to me.
around 9.30am I get a call from a reporter in London.
London reporter emails me this.
Email arrives from local paper.
Local paper phoned for a chat.
Start seeing the online news media picking up the story.
Receive literal exact transcript of Rajan Zed’s¬†statement in email from¬† (I don’t reply because its hard to know if a Gmail account is real or fake)

At this point its starting to be a very weird morning!

On Balance…

This is old news, its no longer a story, it was 2 months ago and we already said we would change the name.
I’ve learned what Cultural Appropriation is and found out that Hinduism sounds like a pretty¬†good religion with a lot of sensible, moderate attitudes in its teachings.
It would have been polite if Mr Rajan Zed had simply emailed or phoned us first then we could have explained that the name had been chosen in all innocence and no offence was meant to anyone, this would have saved him sending the rather sensationalized press release to multiple agencies and it would have been explained that we knew about the name by 26th Aug and had already stated we would change it.

…if I may pick a few points from the Rajan Zed press release:

mercantile greed

We are a very small company, we don’t see ourselves nor ever want to, as a profiteering company.

Moreover, linking Lord Ganesh with an alcoholic beverage was very disrespectful where he seemed to be in the company of beers named ‚ÄúRascal‚ÄĚ, ‚ÄúBandit‚ÄĚ, etc.

Rascal – “Ooo, He’s a cheeky little rascal” Its like a Grandma talking to their cheeky little grandson.
Bandit – We used to have a Siamese cat, he was called Bandit, he had really big Maaaaws and was ace.

Here is a passage from a website I was reading –

Does one have to abstain from alcohol to be a Hindu?

Certainly not. But to be a good Hindu one should learn to use substances like alcohol with restraint and knowledge of their potential side effects.

What amazingly wise words and something we should all remind ourselves of from time to time.

Please don’t be shy about other people’s religious beliefs, talk, ask questions, learn, Google it, read.

Should we ever happen to brew this beer again I hope Mr Rajan Zed approves of our tribute to him and the teachings of Hinduism. And Mr Zed, if you are ever in Keighley, Yorkshire, England you are very welcome to call in and tour our little family-funded brewery.

Phone Interview with Miran –
Phone Interview with Rick Goodman +Emails –¬†
Phone Interview with The Press Trust of India –¬†

Leave SIBA or simply Don’t join!

One of our most popular tweets ever has been this one¬†which is us saying we are no longer members of SIBA. So I thought i would put the transcript here so it doesn’t just fall off the twitter timeline and can be Googled easier. I’ve added a few notes too.

We are officially no longer SIBA members #LeaveSIBA One reason is too much contradiction between them saying they support a fair price for beer then unreservedly supporting and promoting massively discounted beer in Wetherspoons. (Simply to promote their ‘Assured Independent Craft Brewer’ Logo (Waste of time))


SIBA beer festivals / competitions have too great of a caveat with the request for Free Beer and then penalties if you are a small brewer with limited staffing and cannot supply volunteers. (Sounds like a load of balls if you ask me)


SIBA’s DDS/Beerflex has never seemed appealing with the entry costs being too high, the prices paid for beer being too low and an ever decreasing base of tied pubs (being turned into Tesco and ASDA! or Landlords being priced out of business)


We also thought that their Discounted Beermat offer would have been cheaper than dealing direct wit the printer but its exactly the same so not really a discount offer at all.


The SIBA membership is obviously too busy making good beer to get involved and change SIBA for the better so that leaves the bigger brewers to take control and steer the organisation and its aims away from the benefit of the small brewer.


SIBA is too closely in bed with Tied Pubcos and the likes of *Heineken to be focused on small brewers or championing a Fully Freehouse Pub culture in the UK. *Starpubs were the main sponsor of SIBA’s BeerX!


SIBA is all about paying out your hard earned cash and selling cheap beer, its a Trade Body where the aim is to sell beer to the lowest bidder! Then be controlled by that bidder to pressure prices even further. (Sounds fair right?)


I read thought the FSQ check list and thought, “well, we do most of this anyway” without paying ¬£300 a year. And its ONLY useful (required) for selling via siba! (If you want a worthwhile accreditation it is better to do more and pay more with something like ‘SALSA for Beer’ which will allow you to be positioned better to access supermarkets, if that is your thing)

I knew we weren’t going to get along from our very first SIBA meeting in Leeds, its really not me, its you ūüėČ

Its high time there was a trade body that fully supported and represented the smaller brewers of the UK because its simply not SIBA anymore! If you are a member of SIBA and you see the things above, as I do, I would urge you to¬†cancel your membership when its renewal date comes around, ask yourself, “Have I gained anything from being a SIBA member?” If you are a new brewer or a brewer that is pondering joining SIBA then don’t¬†bother.
We need a trade body that will support all small brewers & Landlords and fight for a fully free of tie beer system in the UK.



I’ve probably blogged or hinted about this before and if you follow us on Instagram you will see a few videos, what I’m hoping to do is make our own promo video for our as yet unreleased Crowdfunder page. I’ll be trying hard not to talk directly to camera so expect a montage of video clips with a voice-over and maybe even a little background music to replace the brewery background noise.

As with most things in this brewery, if we can do them ourselves we will; Building work, fitting a chiller system, plumbing, graphic design, fitting the bar out, building a mobile bar etc. All this saved us needing to have extra money to start and run our brewery, that said, we spent up all we had on getting up and running and not the monthly ebb and flow of business doesn’t seem to gain us the elusive chunk of money to dedicate towards a Canning or Bottling run and there is always something that crops up¬†to draw money away from our goal.
If we could turn back the clock by 4 years we would buy less fermenting vessels, maybe cheaper ones and have used that money to get into Bottling way sooner, everything is good in hindsight.

This is where you come in and the geeky video, and the trying to avoid to talk to camera… Oh and Crowdfunder! We want to try and raise a fairly minimal *¬£3000, that is 60 people willing to pledge ¬£50 which will get us over the first step into small-packaged beer, that will get us into Bottle shops and bar fridges, let us do proper off-sales from the brewery and not to mention help us open doors to pubs and wholesalers who want to try before they buy.

*Approx £3000 will pay for a Mobile Canner to come to site, pay for all the printing and Labeling costs and also pay for the packaging of cans into boxes. Thats over 3000 Bottles of beer.

We like the idea of Crowdfunder pledgees getting back what they put in so if you pledge for a package thats worth £50 you will eventually get back £50-worth of beer, there will of course be other packages ranging in value and also with things like Brewday Experiences, T-Shirts etc,  maybe even a beer of your own, maybe a certain level of Pledge will get you our brewery tap for a big party for you and all your mates.

We don’t want to limit ourselves with an initial Crowdfunder amount of ¬£3000, if we double that it gives us the prospect of further investment…
£3000 reached we will pretty much get 1200 litres of a single beer Canned.
£6000 reached we should be able to Can multiple beers.
¬£12000+ if the unthinkable happens and we smash¬†our other targets I see it that we have to make a choice between brewery improvements like buying a Cold Liquor tank or maybe a Conditioning Tank or we will start a **Micropub to properly showcase our beers and those of other independent brewers. The Micropub idea¬†would give the Pledgers who want their ‘investment of goodwill’¬† back via beer a great¬†outlet to pop in and make a Good-will withdrawal ūüėČ I guess the other bonus of a Micropub will be that it will create jobs and potentially improve an empty retail shop giving it a new lease of life.

**To be honest, maybe if we smash £6k we should look at a Micropub! Give us your thoughts!And if we do get to do a Micropub, think lots of Keg taps a few Handpulls, Bottles, Cans, Great coffee, food? maybe!

We would love to hear from you if you would be interested in helping our small brewery grow in a sustainable fashion, you can talk to us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or email

We are 3!

We commenced brewing on 28th of August 2015 after nearly 9 months of hard graft turning our premises into a modern brewery, we hope you will come celebrate our 3rd Birthday with us on Saturday 15th September.
Our brewery bar will be open from 12noon til 7pm, maybe a little longer ūüėČ

We will have the lovely local folk from Horse Box Pizza doing the food and some mid afternoon entertainment from talented local singer Charlotte Harris.

Oh and we did say FREE BEER didn’t we!! For the first 5oish drinkers through our brewery doors there will be a free beer and you can choose anything from our Handpulled or kegged beers ūüôā

We wouldn’t be where we are without our loyal drinkers and a bunch of excellent Pub-trade customers, so, Thanks.

We are considering doing a bit of Crowdfunding to help us into the Canned-beer market which we hope will push us a step nearer to having the small stable business that we set out to be, we would love to hear your thoughts on whether you would help us achieve our goal so do come and talk to us at our Birthday Brewery Tap on 15th September or email us


Untappd as a (is a) Tool

I think¬†I’ve posted before about the comments and ratings that people give via Untappd.

Untappd never ceases to amaze, we can get glowing lovely comments and lots of Stars then the same beer in the same venue can get an anomalous review and rating, which makes you wonder why.
You worry that maybe the drinker has detected a fault in the beer, I’d be more than happy to phone the pub and get them to take a beer off sale if there is any issue as its better than anything being sold when its not right.

This was a ‘less than 1 Star’ rating.
You begin to question why people that don’t like certain styles of beer continue to¬†try them, you can see a common theme in the checkins that these drinkers make, if they don’t like IPAs then their checkin 5-stars will go to that malty best bitter, ‘cos thats the style they prefer.
Surely it is more sensible to NOT RATE something you already know you don’t like?

Then there is another group of Untappd drinkers that have this pre-set expectation of all beers, so rather than tasting a beer on its merits alone you set your bar up at ‘Cloudwater’ level and expect all other beers to match.
Here’s a recent couple from the same drinker.

I struggle with comments like this, and you read their other beer checkins and find similar comments that seem to expect something way before even taking a sip. Yet the Star ratings are actually pretty good.

I’ll admit that I do occasionally slate some supermarket-bought beer, then things that are Branded up to look like ‘Craft’ then when you taste it its way-way of the mark industrial, mass-produced, homogenised blandness. So I am no angel.

I think its good to drink beer with an open mind.
How will you ever be satisfied with a pint if you buy things you know you don’t like or set your bar so high that everything lesser is just pants?

…and Yes, I did respond in kind to the two reviews above.
I will happily show any of these drinkers around our little brewery and have a chat face to face to help me understand their thought process while Drinking / Reviewing. Maybe we all need educating a little.

Its only beer. Ha! (Its clearly a passion, and one that turned into a business)