FOLLOWERS of this column may well have visited and enjoyed a wide range of beers and beer styles at Skipton Beer Festival.

This was successfully organised and staffed by Keighley and Craven CAMRA branch volunteers and held two weekends ago at Erymsted’s School in Skipton.

Customers were able to choose from milds, both dark and light, bitters and best bitters; golden and blonde ales, and at the other end of the colour spectrum jet black stouts and porters.

This year there was also a departure from the more normally expected biscuity malt and citrus hop characteristics, with brewers being more experimental, describing their offerings as Blood Orange Saison, German-style Wheat with Coriander, Spicy Tobacco and Molasses, or Cinnamon and Toffee with Tonka Beans!

The more unusual flavours obviously appealed to our drinking public because the branch is delighted to announce the award for the Beer of the Festival, as voted by them, stayed local this year and went to Bridgehouse Brewery for its excellent Baltic Rum Porter, which is a warming dark beer of 6.0% ABV.

The brewery describes it as having “a mix of malts producing a smooth, sweet base, with Baltic hops and rum giving depth and character”.

Bridgehouse must be doing something right as it also gained second place with its Cherry Choc Stout, another dark offering described as “smooth and dark with a sweetness from oatmeal and Morello cherries, with a delicate bitterness from English hops”.

Bridgehouse began brewing in Oxenhope in 2010 using a ten-barrel plant, purchased the recipes and branding of Old Bear Brewery from Cross Hills in 2014 and moved to Keighley.

A bespoke 15-barrel brewery along with a new visitor centre is now operational behind the Airedale Heifer in Sandbeds, where you can sample the full range of beers. Visitors can view the brewing process every day from 9am to 9pm, and monthly brewery tours are now available.

The brewery also showcases its beers in the Willow Tree in Riddlesden, and the recently refurbished King’s Arms in Haworth, where the ales are given a local flavour with names such as Top Withens, Anne and Charlotte.

See @BBrewery Facebook or @bridgehousebrewery on Twitter for more details.