Mark Stredwick is most definitely crazy about craft beer. Sixteen years abroad presented an opportunity to explore the industry on an international scale; including work as a guide with a brewery tour company in Australia. His return to the region happily coincided with a boom in local micro-breweries – and Brewtown Tours was born. As a female beer drinker I may be one of a growing number of people converting to the cause, but Marks’ enthusiasm would persuade even a determined beer cynic.
The Brewtown Tours Concept
To throw a spotlight on some of Yorkshire’s best kept beer secrets. Mark and his Brewtown bus take small groups to take a look behind the scenes of working local breweries, meet the producers and learn more about the magic of craft beer. Mark also hopes to build stronger links between brewers and drinkers – encouraging everyone to see their beer in terms of quality over quantity – helping small breweries take a share of the marketplace.
My Brewtown Experience
I have joined Mark and a band of merry beer lovers twice. It gets off to a good start with a pick up from The Tap at York train station. Early birds can grab a pint before the tour begins, but don’t forget there are plenty of samples to come. As Mark puts it – “we want you walking and talking – not slipping and sliding.”
All three sites are distinct from each other, with different stories to tell and drinks to try. I loved meeting the producers, seeing their infectious excitement and dedication to quality. The journey between breweries quickly fills with stories about our first taste of beer. When Mark passes out bottles of water and crisps on the second leg everyone is in great humour. We arrive back in York at about six o’clock, having sampled around 12 different beers and spent a fun afternoon in good company.
Good quality beer is one of my favourite tipples. I’m more of a stout or porter kind of girl, tending to shy away from anything overly hoppy in character. The range of styles available en route means that there is something for everyone, you might even discover a new favourite. Having sworn that I dislike sour beer and turned my nose up at ‘girly’ fruit beer – I was proven wrong on both counts.
What’s next for Brewtown Tours?
Fresh tours appear on the agenda all the time. My favourite has to be the fairly new Tuesday run to Malton and Pickering, if only for the chance to visit The Black Swan and see their micro set up in an old Victorian laundry room. There are also rumours circulating that there may be a gin tour on the horizon. Now there’s an idea I’m in favour of. After all, a girl can’t live on beer alone…