The Surtees Arms, Ferryhill, is home to the Yard of Ale Brewery. Wakefield CAMRA members make a bee-line from their minibus.
Landlord and brewer Alan Hogg was an electromechanical engineer by trade and had worked at Stephenson Gobin – part of British Engines – at High Etherley for 17 years, man and apprentice. When he and wife Susan took over the Surtees Arms in 2007 their local had been the Grand Hotel in Bishop Auckland and Simon Gillespie's Wear Valley Brewery was his inspiration.
Wakefield CAMRA members head straight for the new beer!
Alan shows off his new 2½ barrel kit from Moss Brew of Blackburn.
Five immersion heaters boil up the wort in the copper.
Paraflo ( behind) and some nice stainless steel machinery (think it's a caskwasher - no doubt somebody will add a helpful comment if it isn't).
two hefty fermentation vessels
another shot of the copper
The brewhouse and this adjacent general purpose space started out as stables behind the pub.
Wakefield CAMRA Chairman Mark Goodair presents a commemorative certificate to Alan. We've started using frames glazed with acrylic since a couple of ignomious mishaps on away trips by minibus!
Alan chuckles at the artwork based on a Bill Tidy "Keg Buster" cartoon which is part of what CAMRA supply to local branch publicity people.
On the pump is Yard of Ale's first brew, First Yard, a 3.8% session bitter, dark copper in colour with a smooth, roasted finish and delicate hop/malt aroma. Alan and his family are thinking of using wordplay based on Imperial Measures for future beer names.
This says it all, as for many of us the visit was topped off with a portion of Susan Hogg's freshly baked corned beef pie garnished with salad - note the price!