Masham is about an hour from us, and the esteemed home of two breweries: Theakston and Black Sheep. We parked in town centre, and this sign made me smile. We'd intended to tour both breweries, but a lazy morning and a leisurely lunch put our time short, and we only saw Black Sheep.
The view behind the brewery- how on earth do they get any work done when there's good beer and a great view like this to enjoy?!?
Our tour guide was excellent. I suck, and didn't get a picture of her and I don't remember her name- but she reminded me of a Yorkshire Angela Lansbury. And there is something quite delightful about Mrs. Potts telling you all about beer brewing.
The brewing copper. I'll be honest- we went there back in mid-July, and I don't remember the details. It's a lot of "water is important, hops are important, heat and stirring and fermenting are important, and we give the spent hops to the cows." Very similar to a whiskey distillery tour.
The mash tun.
Old wooden kegs (they now use aluminium) and examples of the various sizes of kegs: barrel, firkin, gallon, kilderkin, and hogshead. Wikipedia describes them here.
Then we went to the bar and sampled some beer.
Riggwelter: strong! I give it an "eh, not bad".
Best Bitter: rich and dark. I give it a "great with a fish pie".
Black Sheep Ale: standard beer. I'm not crazy about it (I tend towards dark ales and stouts).
Golden Sheep: very light. Very, very light. Paul liked it, I thought it tasted like Cheerios beer.
Holy Grail: delicious! I give it an "oh, you'd better get another one for you".
Then we went over to Brymoor Ice Cream Parlour for dessert, and had some great ice cream- but I only took pictures of the cows. Standard.