Roosters: Free Range Beers from Yorkshire
Words by William FrancePortrait Photography by Tom Bishop
A few years back British beer took a real step forward with the first production brew of Roosters Yankee. The beer, named after the origin of the hops used, was pale, balanced and unusually hoppy. Little did the founder of the brewery Sean Franklin know that this beer would help kick start a brewing revolution. Sean originally studied wine making in France and returned to England to set up a brewery. Applying the same air of finesse used in wine making, emphasis was placed on how flavours and aroma married together and presented themselves in overall taste. Sean also forged relationships with hop growers on the Pacific Northwest of America who were pioneering new hop varieties that were very different to the native European ones available in England at the time. Cascade, a new hop developed in Oregon, was used in the Pale Ale – one of the first times it was used in the UK. The beer produced is still coveted by many and is multi award winning globally.
20 years down the line the brewery is now run by the two young Fozard brothers who still brew it. Tom, once in the publishing industry and a keen home brewer, and Ol, a seasoned professional with over a decade of experience in brewing including a six year stint at Copper Dragon, leapt at the chance to take over the brewery in 2011. They were already aware of the heritage & wanted to maintain this as well as being on the leading edge of British beer.
“A lot has happened in the brewing world in the last ten years & even more has happened in the last three years. Our aim is to stay true to the values and tradition of the brewery, by brewing clean, well-balanced beers, whilst also experimenting along the way. This is the Roosters way.”
“Roosters is 20 years old this year and, thanks to Sean Franklin, is one of a very small number of breweries that can proudly claim to be true originators of modern-style pale ales, whilst also blazing a trail when it comes to the use of New World hops.”
The brewery is now still very much at the pinnacle and is making beer with some of the worlds best breweries including Odell from Colorado, USA and Birrificio Italiano from Milan, Italy. It has also extended the core range of beers with a Coffee porter & a big American influenced IPA. The brothers also re-launched the Outlaw Brewing Co. arm of the brewery to brew more experimental beers on an irregular basis. It launched with a Jasmine Tea IPA called Mad Hatter that was a triumph.
Roosters beers are fantastic, from the original Yankee to the latest experimental brews, the brothers are making beers that every beer lover loves to drink, from the uber-hip to the Camra traditionalist. This is the right way, after all, beer is all things to all men.