It’s been a wild ride since we began in 2011 – learn more here.
Brass Castle began life in a garage in Pocklington, East Yorkshire. Success, friends, family and the odd bank loan have got us where we are now.
The idea of Brass Castle was born in a Manhattan apartment and on the brewhouse floor of Triumph Brewing in Princeton, amidst the US craft beer revolution. Bad Kitty was the second batch ever brewed, in the garage of a Yorkshire house, outside Coastguard shifts – and went straight to York CAMRA beer festival, where it won champion Locale. We found out that the local Halifax Estate had an old copper brewkit that they functioned once a year – and permission was gained to use it. The Garrowby Brewhouse needed a full clean up and redecoration – but by now Brass Castle had two owners rather than just one. As a 4bbl brewkit, Garrowby was a step up from the garage brewery but still rudimentary. The Hot Liquor Tank was also the copper/kettle, and the mash tun was also the fermenter. That meant one brew a week around Coastguard shifts and a hard-worked brewday. To achieve 5bbl batches for bottling runs, Brass Castle went on to brew occasionally at the Goodmanham Arms plant. Finally, a space was found in Yorkshire’s Food Capital, and today’s brewhouse was built into place.
The Next Step
With money cobbled together from family and friends, Brass Castle set up in Malton in 2014 with a simple PBC brewkit – manual but functional. Beer awards continued to come thick and fast, and the team began to grow. Over time, new tanks arrived and a Taphouse was established next door. The brewery turned its attention to making lagers and brewed the UK’s champion lager in both 2016 and 2017. With Bad Seed Brewery also down the road in Malton, the BEERTOWN festival was established. Brass Castle began the work with NERAX in the USA and became a regular importer of American cask beers.
The brewery has always pushed itself to brew interesting beers, under the very deliberate constraint of doing so without the use of animal products. In turn, this caused Brass Castle to develop a house yeast strain and specialised processes that could guarantee the final product. From December 2017, every beer brewed at Brass Castle has been based on a gluten-free beer recipes – on the basis that beer should be made available to as many people as possible. Most recently, the brewery invested in canning line and carbonation tanks, to spread the beers further than they have gone before.
Where We Are Now
Brass Castle is firmly established in Malton, with customers around the UK and overseas. We love what we do, and we’re very grateful to be cheered on our way by our local community. Like any small brewery, we’re bursting at the seams and could always do with more space. We’re facing all the pressures of small UK breweries: undervalued cask beer, late payment from customers, diminishing value of the pound sterling, a saturated market, pub ties, fewer people drinking beer etc, etc. That just means that we have to work hard to ensure that our beer remains amongst the best out there. While continuing to remind people how fabulous beer is – its important community and nutritional role – and enjoying what we do. There are a lot of challenges out there and we’re often outnumbered – but rarely outgunned.
Who knows? But we’ll have some fun finding out, and there will always be goodwill with us if the recent past is anything to go by. We’re constantly looking for new opportunities and challenges – and we always have our eyes on new spaces to grow into. Brass Castle has recently begun developing kombucha recipes to join the beer line-up and we would very much like to enhance our Taphouse with food offerings and more space for community events. If you think that there’s an opportunity for a bit of fun that we’re not seeing – then please drop us a line.