Most good breweries will tell you that great beer starts with the finest ingredients. Timothy Taylor is one such brewery and maintains a very Yorkshire sounding principle of “not accepting second best”.
Their Knowle Spring brewery sits on a natural artesian well, which provides them with a constant supply of pure Pennine spring water; water that has been filtered through layers of limestone and is naturally soft and very pure. If you chose to drink it in its pure form, it is said to taste like melted snow.
Their unique strain of yeast, called appropriately but not surprisingly Taylor’s Taste, is over 1800 generations old. It was chosen to combine perfectly with their water and barley.
Timothy Taylor is one of the last brewers in Britain to still use whole leaf hops. These hops may cost more, may be harder to store and take more looking after, but Timothy Taylor believes they’re vital to the flavour of their beer.
However, it is when it comes to the barley that the brand’s commitment really shows. Not only do they exclusively use Golden Promise barley, which is the most expensive barley you can use for brewing beer – it’s the barley used in many malt whiskies – but they are notoriously picky about the batches of the barley they choose.
So who is it that scrutinises the barley?
The Master Brewer?
No, someone even more picky than that.
The quality assurance experts are none other than the pigeons of Yorkshire.
In 1966, Allan Hey was appointed head brewer and he introduced a new quality test for the barley. He would count out exactly 100 grains of barley malt and set them out on a cask that he then left in the brewery yard. He would later return to see how many grains were left. Too many left meant the batch would be declined, only a few remaining and the barley would be used.
Allen retired and his pigeon test with him but the use of Golden Promise barley remains and it is now grown specially and specifically to a set of exacting Timothy Taylor standards, ensuring that every pint is clean and crisp and has the necessary fullness and roundness of flavour.
So the next time you have a pint, have the one the pigeon is having!