The Copper Dragon Brewery resurrected the local brewing industry in Skipton in 2002, with the aim of re-establishing the long defunct Skipton Brewery.
Their aim, after much research which basically indicated that the more artisan end of the beer market was being squeezed to near death by the big multinational breweries, was to brew traditional, high quality beer.
They certainly achieve that.
Copper Dragon have five beers in production.
Golden Pippin is a light blonde with a citrus tang and a huge nod to the Continent that I’ve found goes extremely well with Indian food, whilst right at the other end of the spectrum, Black Gold is a rich, satisfying dark brew, full of body and roasted malts, the recipe rescued from old, long-forgotten brewery records. Both are quite superb.
Best Bitter is apparently brewed to ‘satisfy the Northern pallette’, which I can confirm it does.
Challenger IPA is a light, well-balanced and full-bodied and Scott’s 1816 is a heavyweight, serious bitter. Both are full of hops.
Of the five, my favourites are Golden Pippin and Black Gold.
The brewery have just announced a solid set of financial results, turning over more than £4million from the sale of over 500,000 pints and 25,000 bottles. Actually, ‘solid’ might be something of an understatement.
More importantly, they’ve increased their workforce by fifty percent – creating jobs in the middle of a recession is most definitely indicative of a thriving business.
I called in at the Copper Dragon Brewery with the sole aim of picking up some bottles to try, and didn’t have a chance to take the brewery tour – that’s for another visit – but the new Visitor’s Centre looks very smart, complete with a bistro that I’ll certainly try soon.
Unsurprisingly, the bistro has all five beers on tap and uses Golden Pippin in the batter for their fish. In a stroke of what I consider to be utter genius, they also serve breakfast.
Copper Dragon is a roaring success, and I think this is down to one thing and one thing only – their beer is just excellent. The range is carefully thought out, the beers are crafted with skill and precision, and have a freshness and vigour about them.