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Sam Smiths Beer

Samuel Smith is one of the few remaining independent breweries in England, and further is the last to utilize the classic Yorkshire Square system of fermentation. The Old Brewery, one of England’s oldest (founded in 1758) is set in Tadcaster, a centuries-old market town midway between York and Wetherby. Ale is now the town’s principal export, Tadcaster being home to three nationally famous local companies Sam Smiths Brewerymaking ale in a manner dating back hundreds of years. Samuel Smith is much the smallest of these breweries and alone retains its copper vessels, wooden casks and stone Yorkshire squares. Grey Shire horses are stabled at the brewery for local beer deliveries.

The rich Samuel Smith strain of yeast at The Old Brewery dates from the early 1900s. Hops are hand-weighed by the master hop blender, and the brewing water is drawn from a well sunk over 200 years ago. First introduced to the U.S. market in 1978, Samuel Smith beers quickly became the benchmark ales for the emerging craft beer movement. To this day, they remain among the most awarded (and are also all vegan).

Here is a description of Clare and Ali’s visit to Sam Smiths, March 05

‘We boarded the bus from Leeds to Tadcaster, with the directions of ‘just get off on the high street’! Amazingly we managed to walk straight by the Brewery, too distracted by the lovely scenery and the wee delis and inns. We were rather surprisingly greeted by horses, with names such as Porter and Stout, still used by the family owned company to pull the drays and to act as their only real form of advertising at country shows.

Beginning a tour of the premises we saw where the barrels were made and were informed that the only full time coopers left in the country made them. Working from 6 until 2, the place was deserted when we arrived in the afternoon and felt like going back in time.

Based over a large underground lake, the brewery pumps the water up to the top of the building in order for gravity to take it’s course as it washes through the grain and is later used for cooling. The brewery still uses equipment that is over a hundred years old, and it was quite eerie to see the yeast bubbling away in the huge slate containers. Similarly the yeast is recycled, and used again.

The smell wafts through the floors, smelling more and more like beer as you reach the bottom floor of barrels waiting to be filled and a secret hideaway of a bar in which we got to pull a well-earned half after all those stairs!

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Recommended Products


Araku Valley Coffee - Smooth, delicious, organic and Fairtrade coffee, grown within a model which helps to secure livelihoods, restore degraded land and support local Adivasi communities.

Sonett - A wide range of truly effective and eco-friendly cleaning products. All ingredients are biodegradable and non-allergenic, and many plant sources are organically grown.

Glebelands City Growers - Based in Sale, our most local grower and a fellow workers’ co-operative provides us with beautiful organic fresh vegetables, salad leaves and seedlings. Their new site in Stockport will enable them to increase supply all year round.  

bottled organic beers

The Unicorn range of alcoholic drinks are both vegan and organic.

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