Craft beer has taken the UK by storm, and this is now starting to be reflected by a selection of pubs and shops in York. It’s definitely still possible to get a bad pint in York, but more and more places are expanding their range to include the best of what’s being produced in the UK.
There are also a huge variety of American beers making their way into UK shops and bars, many of very high quality. Belgian beers have been highly regarded by connoisseurs for years, but are so often badly represented by bars stocking nothing more than Palm or Duvel. While these beers are certainly a step up from what’s widely available in the UK, they don’t expose you to the very top end of Belgian brewing.
To drink good wine you have to spend a reasonable amount of money. Long gone are the days when something truly decent can be bought for less than a fiver. Around the £8 mark, wine begins to improve noticeably on quality, but you are still unlikely to find anything exceptional. Beers of the highest quality can be bought for less than £3 for a 300ml bottle, while outstanding wine size bottles rarely come to more than £20. Good beer is excellent value, and available at a few brilliant retailers in York.
House Of Trembling Madness has an extremely well-stocked shop and knowledgeable staff. The selection of Belgian beers is possibly the best in town. I recommend a Trappistes Rochefort 10: a dark brown beer with a beautiful sweetness. At 11.3%, its alcohol is surprisingly smooth, with brown sugar and malty flavours. Truly a world class beer.
An exceptional English brewery, Bristol Beer Factory has a wide range of modern beers. Independence is an American style, hoppy and light pale ale, often selling out within two hours when it comes on cask at my local pub. Many quality beers are now available in cans, particularly American craft brews. Founders’ All Day IPA is a beer with pronounced fruitiness. The hops lend a strong lychee character to the beer, which is very refreshing.
House Of Trembling Madness can be found at 48 Stonegate. They also have a very reasonable corkage charge for bottles bought on the premises.