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Suitable for Vegans!

Tuesday, January 8th, 2019

Over the past year or so we’ve found ourselves being asked one particular question by customers and beer drinkers alike and that’s whether or not our beers are suitable for vegans? A question that we’ve never been able to give a straightforward answer to… up until now that is!


To help explain, as a brewery that’s now in its 26th year of existence, here’s a brief history of our approach to brewing and packaging beer.  We’ve used Isinglass (a kind of gelatin obtained from fish) as a processing aid to fine our beers since day one. Stretching back decades, our beers have always been designed to be served (style-dependent) without a haze and the use of Isinglass has been key to this – especially when it comes to our cask beers. It’s a process that’s been common practice in the UK for over a hundred years.


Up until 2015, aside from a small, relatively short-lived venture into the bottled beer market, everything we brewed went into cask. We then bought our first canning line, becoming one of the first small / independent breweries to do so and set about ensuring that the beers we launched in can (and keg) resembled the appearance (in terms of clarity) of those served through a hand pump. We invested in brand new conditioning vessels and bright beer tanks, along with a filtration system to help remove unwanted yeast and proteins that exist naturally as part of the brewing, fermentation and conditioning processes. We also, to begin with, used Isinglass at the end of the conditioning process to drop out as much of the spent yeast as possible prior to filtering. This was to help with making sure the filter didn’t become blocked, as well as ensuring the beer’s stability suitable to the package type.


Over the past four years we’ve further invested in a higher spec filtration system and refined our practices, which resulted in us no longer using Isinglass as part of our can and keg packaging process towards the end of 2017. We then turned our attention to our cask beers in 2018 and spent a large part of last year researching and trialling different methods to find the best option for us to be able to remove Isinglass from our cask beers and therefore all of our beers entirely.


The results are in and we’re delighted to advise that we’ve achieved this and, for the past couple of months, everything we have produced has not involved the use of Isinglass and has been suitable for vegans and vegetarians alike.


What have we done to achieve this? Essentially, we’ve switched to a vegan-friendly fining agent called Super F. This ensures that our cask beers (style and recipe depending) will continue to have the same appearance they have since the brewery was founded in 1993. That said, the only small difference that may become noticeable to landlords and publicans is our beers might need a little extra time on stillage before they drop completely bright. In some circumstances, certain beers may carry a slight haze as a result of the switch in finings, despite additional stillaging, but we see this as a small price to pay in opening up our beers to a wider audience.


We’ve delayed sharing this news until now in order to allow for a period of transition away from using Isinglass to take place, so drinkers can be 100% confident that what they are drinking is vegan friendly. With that in mind, we’re advising that any of our cask beers that carry a gyle number that begins with 18xxx be treated as being unsuitable for vegans. Any beer that carries a gyle that starts with 19xxx (19001 being the first) is 100% vegan friendly.


To assist those serving and drinking our beers, this information will be shown on all of our cask stickers going forwards, as well as being shared on the reverse side of the pump clips we supply with our beers.




The three beers that make up our core range in cans (24/7, Baby-Faced Assassin and Yankee) are all also 100% suitable for vegans and have been for some time. Unfortunately, with the cans having been printed prior to us being ready to make this announcement, there isn’t currently any information stating this within the current design. This will be addressed the next time we place an order for more to be printed.



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New Year, New Brewery!

Monday, December 10th, 2018

2018 has been an incredibly exciting year for Rooster’s. We’ve spent the past twelve months celebrating the brewery’s 25th Anniversary, which has been focussed around the Collaboration Project we launched this time last year, supported by the 72-page magazine we put together to share our story with those who might not be aware of the pioneering work Sean Franklin carried out all those years ago. If you’ve yet to read it, we’ve got a digital copy on our website you can access by clicking here.


It doesn’t seem like two minutes ago that we were joined by Stu from Magic Rock to kick the project off with the brew day for Northern Powerhouse – the first of 17 collabs we’ve brewed and released across 2018. The last in the series – a cryo-hopped, juicy IPA brewed with Fourpure called Over & Out – was recently released in both cask and keg, so should be available at some of the leading pubs and bars up and down the country over the next few weeks.


As well as being an incredibly fun project for us, we’ve also picked up some new skills and developed some new ideas along the way and we would like to thank every one of the breweries that got involved and supported our birthday celebrations – Cheers!


Whilst there isn’t a 26th Anniversary Collaboration Project in the pipeline, we’ll be bringing you more collaborative treats (albeit on a more sporadic basis) in 2019 and beyond.


2018 has also proven to be a great year for us on the awards front too. Somewhat fittingly, twenty-five years since it was first brewed, Yankee was named Product of the Year at the Yorkshire Life Food & Drink Awards. We were pleased to have found out we’d not only been nominated, but shortlisted for the award a couple of weeks before the awards ceremony took place. Imagine our delight when we only went and won it!


Baby-Faced Assassin (sliver) and 24/7 (bronze) came away with medals at the 2018 SIBA National Beer Competition, having both won gold in their category at regional level in 2017. The 2018 SIBA North East Competition took place in August this year with B-FA winning ‘best in show’ in its category, which means it will once again go forward to the National Competition in 2019. Highway 51 came away with gold at this year’s York CAMRA Beer Festival too.


Away from beer, we also won gold at the British Guild of Beer Writers annual awards event for the Anniversary magazine a couple of weeks ago, which was a great way to round off the Project as a whole.


Looking ahead, 2019 promises to be a special year.  Last week we got the keys to a new (to us) building in Harrogate. Based in the Hornbeam Park area of Harrogate, a short walk from the train station of the same name, we’re relocating the brewery back to the where it all began in 1993. It became apparent to us a couple of years ago that we’d outgrown our current premises. We’ve spent the time since exploring our options and we’re delighted to have secured a site that will give us the space we need to run the business in a more practical way than our current site allows. To say we’re excited by this move would be an understatement!


Away from the additional storage space the new building will give us, we’ll also be opening an onsite taproom, complete with a space for private functions and will, for the first time ever, be in a position to offer regular brewery tours. In addition to a brand new 30BBL brew plant, we’ll be installing a pilot plant that’ll allow us to brew a wider range of styles of beer. And, as if this isn’t exciting enough, the additional space we’ll have will give us the opportunity to develop a barrel-aging programme.


Harrogate isn’t exactly known for industry, but as a company with its roots in the area and with the majority of our employees based close by, we were determined to bide our time in order to find the right location, as close as possible to our current site in Knaresborough. The building we’ll be moving into next year has certainly been worth the wait and scratches multiple itches in one fell swoop.




The support that the numerous pubs and bars local to the brewery have given us over the years is incredibly important to us. When looking at the somewhat limited options that presented themselves to us over the past 18 months, we remained mindful not to set up shop in a location that could potentially see us become competition. Of the on-trade outlets in Harrogate where you can regularly find Rooster’s on the bar, the nearest is around a two-mile walk / drive from Hornbeam Park, so we’re confident we’ve achieved this.


The aim is to have the taproom open in the spring, with the brewing side of things being fully operational early in summer.


We’ll be sharing more info via our social media feeds as things progress in the New Year. In the meantime, we’d like to thank customers and drinkers alike for your support over the past twelve months.



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One Trick Pony – An Apology

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

It has come to our attention that the cans of One Trick Pony, our recently released Rose Lemonade sour, carry some information on the labels regarding the beer’s suitability for vegans, which is incorrect.


Since the beginning of August 2017, all of the beers we have produced in both can and keg, as well as our range of 300ml bottles, have been suitable for vegans, as a result of Isinglass no longer being used as a processing aid for these package types.


One Trick Pony has been processed in the same way, with the label proudly stating that the beer is ‘suitable for vegans’. Unfortunately, due to the beer having been soured using a technique that involves the use of natural yoghurt and this having been overlooked when the details of the label were put together, this statement is incorrect.


We apologise wholeheartedly for this oversight and any inconvenience or upset this may cause.


We pride ourselves on the quality of what we produce and always strive to provide as much information as possible on our packaged beers.  As such, we are incredibly frustrated that this error wasn’t picked up on at the proofing stage, prior to the labels being printed.


Please be assured that every other beer we produce that is listed as being suitable for vegans is exactly that.


If you would like any further information, please email

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Friday, February 9th, 2018


Fancy a few light ales direct from the source, served by the brewers? We’re opening our doors for the first time as a tap room on Saturday February 24th between 12pm and 6pm.


The brewery will be transformed into a bar, including bench seating and tables lining the main floor and a combination of home-made vegetarian pies and IPA-infused pork pies from Elite Meat in Starbeck. In addition to this, the tap room event has been scheduled to act as a launch party for a limited edition beer we’ve brewed with Beavertown (keep an eye on our Twitter and Facebook feeds for more info), as part of our 25th Anniversary Collaboration Project, which will see a host of some of the best breweries in the UK, USA and Norway head to Knaresborough at various stages of the year to create some truly special beers.


Our annual open day has proved to be a big hit over the past few summers, so opening the brewery as a tap room has been something we’ve wanted to do for a while. The day will have a different feel to the open day and will be a little more low key. Essentially we’re inviting you to come and soak up the atmosphere of the brewery in its natural state and enjoy a selection of beers in cask and keg, with bottles and cans also available. A campaign has been organised and promoted by various small and independent breweries to encourage people to support their local brewery and ‘tap into independent beer’, carrying the hashtag #Febrewery on social media, with this event having been arranged to form part of this campaign. Depending on the success of the event, it may become a more regular fixture during the spring and summer months.


The day will be very much geared towards those aged 18 and over, but children are welcome as long as they are supervised by an adult at all times whilst on the premises – both inside and out. Dogs are welcome, but are not permitted inside the brewery building for hygiene reasons. A covered outside seating area will be provided.


Due to a lack of space, tours won’t be on offer on the day, but our annual open day on July 21st will provide an opportunity to anyone interested in having a guided look around the brewery.


Parking spaces are limited, although a bus stop at the end of the road leading to the brewery is serviced by buses from Harrogate, Knaresborough town centre and Wetherby and trains from both Leeds and York stop at Knaresborough.


Photo by Mark Newton Photography

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25th Anniversary Collaboration Project

Thursday, December 28th, 2017


It’s not every day that a brewery turns twenty-five, so we’ve decided to celebrate by brewing a bunch of beers with some of our favourite brewers and breweries across 2018.


Having initially set out to brew one collaboration a month, we ended up getting a bit carried away in approaching people and have ended up with seventeen lined up. Starting with our friends from Magic Rock, the list includes seven brewers who’ll be heading across the Atlantic to join us from the USA (Bale Breaker, Freewheel, Green Cheek, Odell, Oskar Blues, Ska and Yorkshire Square), one crossing the North Sea from Norway (Amundsen), whilst the guys from Tiny Rebel will be heading up from South Wales at some stage too. Three of London’s finest (Beavertown, Camden and Fourpure) will also be making the trip to Yorkshire, as well a handful of other top notch brewers from some of England’s finest breweries (Dark Star, Hawkshead, North Brewing and Thornbridge).


Beer number one was brewed with Stu from Magic Rock just before Christmas. Called Northern Powerhouse it’s a 4.5% session IPA, brewed using a blend of Azacca, Mosaic and Simcoe – with the emphasis on Simcoe – and has been fermented using Magic Rock’s yeast strain. It’s currently being dry-hopped and conditioned ahead of packaging and will be launched as part of a joint tap takeover with Magic Rock at North Bar in Leeds on January 10th. The beer will then be released in keg to our trade customers, whilst cans will be launched via our online shop (we’ll be tweeting about this once they’re ready to roll) and will also be available at quality, independent stockists for a limited time.



The best way to keep up to date with all of the other collaboration beers as they get brewed and launched throughout the next twelve months is to keep an eye on our Twitter feed.


In addition to Northern Powerhouse being available in cans, we’ll also have a limited edition 25th Anniversary Pale Ale available in cask, keg and can in January, as well as Scrambler – a refreshing, watermelon pale ale. All three beers will likely be available online during the week commencing January 15th.


As if that wasn’t enough, to help kick off our silver jubilee celebrations, all orders placed via our online shop throughout January will receive a complimentary copy of a 72-page magazine we’ve put together that chronicles Rooster’s first twenty-five years, as well as providing more information on all the breweries we’ll be collaborating with and more!


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Wake-Up Call

Monday, June 19th, 2017

Five years ago we approached Taylors of Harrogate to see about buying some coffee from them to help enhance the flavour of our coffee porter – Londinium. We were pleasantly surprised when they invited us to their tasting room to try various different beans and roasts in order to ensure we got the right coffee to complement the beer. We’ve also developed High Tea, our jasmine green tea IPA that’s now brewed as annual special, having worked very closely with Taylors’ tea buying team. The relationship between the two companies has continued to develop and various conversations have taken place over the years, with different ideas bounced around.


Back in November 2016 we once again spent some time in Taylors tasting room to try various teas and coffees in order to see what else we can come up with. A couple of ideas using two particular teas were discussed and will be trialled later in the year and maybe into next, given how quickly time seems to be passing at the moment, but one particular idea involving a very interesting and unique coffee stood out.


The beer in question has been brewed with a Rainforest Alliance Arabica coffee from Kenya that displays notes of grapefruit, hints of lemon and orange and a honeyed sweetness. Over the past six months, having brewed three trials and tasted each one with members of the Taylors team in order to get the balance of what we’ve set out to achieve just right, we are now in a position to launch Wake-Up Call, which is a limited edition 6.5% black coffee IPA.


One of the people who we’ve worked closely with on Wake-Up Call is Jamie Bell, Taylors of Harrogate Coffee Innovation Manager. This is what Jamie had to say about the coffee used:


“This exceptional coffee grows on the slopes of Mount Kenya, north of Nairobi, where they have plentiful rainfall and rich red soils – the co-operatives we source from are named Mutira, Mwirua, Ndumberi. Bursting with delicious citrus fruit flavours and bright, crisp acidity, balanced with a pleasant honeyed sweetness. We use a medium roast to bring out the best of the complexity and intense flavours. The Kenyan highlands offer excellent conditions for growing coffee. Grown between 5000-6000 feet there are moderate year round temperatures, and deep, rich volcanic soils. Combined with well distributed rainfall the coffee cherries grow slowly and gently, resulting in the lively cup described. Kenyan coffee is now recognised by many as the best in the world.”


The resulting beer gives the illusion of having a dark roasted malt flavour, but what’s actually delivered is a smooth and slightly sweet caramel character, with a layered hop bitterness, leading to a coffee finish. The citrus notes of the coffee have been enhanced by the use of Cascade, Centennial, Chinook and Waimea hops, which in turn impart floral, citrus and piney characteristics to the beer.


Wake-Up Call will be available in cask, keg and can for a limited time only from July 17th, with pre-orders now being taken.

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Open Day ’17

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

Following the success of both our 2015 and 2016 open day’s we’re happy to confirm that this year’s event will take place on Saturday July 29th.
From 12-5pm our doors will be open and you’ll have the opportunity to come along and see how we do things, as well as being able to buy a beer or two and soak up the atmosphere with some funky tunes and a selection of street food. Free tours of the brewery will operate throughout the afternoon, for which you can sign up on arrival. There’ll also be an opportunity to buy some Rooster’s merchandise, whilst the bar will be serving a mixture of beers from cask, keg and can. (Please ensure you have a valid proof of age ID with you, as you may be asked to present it when buying alcohol).


The front of the brewery will be transformed into a beer garden for the day, which is where you’ll be able to find our friends from Mac Daddies, Andy Annat’s Crackerjack BBQ and Karkli, giving you three outrageously delicious options for food to pair with your beer as you relax in the sunshine* in the company of some silky beats from DJ Tony Safari.


This year, we’ll now be in a position to accept card payments, as well as cash.


Details for how to get to and from the brewery are listed below, but if you’re planning on driving, please be aware that there’ll be no access beyond the front gate of the road that we’re situated on (Grimbald Park). This is due to the road being in use by our neighbours at all times. If you’re planning on joining us and there will be children in your party, please keep this in mind, as there will likely be various large vehicles using the road throughout the afternoon. Please ensure children are supervised by an adult at all times whilst on the premises – both inside and out.


Car parking will be available at CLAD Safety, which is situated at the entrance to the road, immediately before the security gate.


Dogs are welcome, but are not permitted inside the brewery building for hygiene reasons.


By Train

There are regular train services to and from Knaresborough from both Leeds and York, running roughly every half an hour. The brewery is approximately a half an hour walk from the station. Alternatively, there is a bus service from the town centre (see below).


By Car

If arriving by car, sat nav to HG5 8LJ, but be aware that technology has a habit of directing visitors to either of the roads parallel to the one we’re on (Grimbald Park). Keep an eye out for CLAD Safety, which is positioned at the entrance to Grimbald Park, just before or after the traffic light-controlled bridge, depending from which direction you’re arriving. Clad have kindly let us use their car park for the event, so park up & walk down the road, past the M.O.T. garage & look for the over-sized Anderson shelter!


By Bus

The X1 bus runs to and from Harrogate, via Knaresborough town centre and stops on Wetherby Road, at the end of Grimbald Park, outside Clad Safety. The service operates every 15 minutes until around about 6pm. Bus services also operate between Wetherby & Knaresborough, using the same stop on Wetherby Road.


*Fingers crossed.

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International awards success

Monday, March 13th, 2017

The 2017 International Brewing Awards – a competition that takes place every two years and is dubbed ‘the Oscars of the brewing industry’ – recently took place, with the announcement of the winners having been declared on Friday March 10th at the National Brewery Centre in Burton-on-Trent.


Having scooped a bronze medal for Baby-Faced Assassin (B-FA) in cask at the 2015 awards, we are delighted to have won a gold, silver and bronze medal this time around.


B-FA (keg) bagged a bronze medal, whilst our flagship IPA also came away with gold in the small pack category, ahead of entries from breweries in Australia and Canada. With the awards won this year, B-FA has now won a medal in cask, keg and can across consecutive International Brewing Awards competitions, which is a feat we’re very proud of, especially given the competition faced.


The silver medal we picked up went to the keg version of Yankee. Again, this is something we’re incredibly proud of, as up until a little over two year ago, Yankee had only ever been a beer available in cask. As with our cans, all of our keg beers are brewed and packaged in-house, so these awards recognise not just the quality of the beer we brew, but also the practices we have in place to package them to a high standard as well.


The beers entered are judged by a panel made up exclusively of experienced brewers from around the world, with representatives from the likes of Sierra Nevada, Deschutes and Bell’s joining judges from as far afield as Japan, China, Australia and South Africa and closer to home from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Belgium and Germany (amongst others). Judging for the awards is by consensus, not by scoring, with the panel members being divided into teams which change for every session of judging. Within each panel, each judge is asked to argue the case for the beer they, as a team, should put forward to the next round. This continues until the winners in each category have been decided upon. More details on the judging process can be found here.


Our congratulations go to all the other winners, but in particular our friends at Camden Town, Thornbridge, Saltaire, Ilkley & Purity who also came away with medals, in and amongst breweries from Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Japan, the USA, Canada, Belgium, Austria, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.



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Thursday, January 19th, 2017

Howl Keg Badge

Late last year we brewed a beer called Howl, which was a 6.8% imperial stout that was conditioned on rum barrel oak and released a cask-only limited edition beer in the run up to Christmas. It sold really well and consumer feedback has been incredibly positive (so much so that we intend to re-visit the beer at some stage in the future, albeit with a different twist).

What we didn’t tell anyone was that we squirreled 5 BBLs of the original beer away, prior to the rum barrel oak being introduced and conditioned the beer on figs, prunes, blackcurrants and oak salvaged from a used Glen Garioch whisky barrel. Having sat, tucked away in a corner of the brewery for three months, we canned this version of the beer at the start of January and released it via some of our free trade customers and a small handful of independent wholesalers.

Prior to canning we also kegged a minute amount of the beer (six kegs in total), with just four bars receiving stock:

The Maltings, York

Harrogate Tap, Harrogate

Friends of Ham, Leeds

North Bar Social, Otley

The beer will be delivered to the above pubs at the end of January, with North Bar Social having the first pour as part of our tap takeover there, which starts on January 27th. Keep an eye on the Twitter feeds of the various pubs, as they’ll no doubt be letting everyone know when the beer hits the bar.

The final two kegs will be coming with us to Craft Beer Rising in London at the end of February, along with some other new beers on keg.

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Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

We’re pleased to have come away with five awards at this year’s SIBA North East Beer Competition, which is held in conjunction with the York CAMRA Beer festival. The gongs we picked up were for both cask and can.


Yankee, our flagship pale ale, scooped a silver award for both the cask and can versions of the beer, whilst Fort Smith, our 5% American pale ale received a bronze for cask and silver for cask. Baby-Faced Assassin, our core IPA, was awarded a bronze in its cask category, whilst it also bagged a gold medal in the York CAMRA competition (cask).


In total, within the SIBA competition, 177 cask beers were judged, as well as there being 98 small pack (can and bottle) entries.


SIBA Awards

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