IN Yorkshire dialect it is called ‘tusky’ – better known as rhubarb, the vegetable that likes to think it’s a fruit.
Perfect for pie and crumble, not to mention for dipping in sugar and eating raw, rhubarb remains a famous Yorkshire’s crop and is now a firm favourite among brewers as well as bakers.
Now, in time for Yorkshire Day, one of the county’s smallest breweries has created its own version of rhubarb-infused beer.
The micro-brewery in the cellar beneath the New Inn at Roberttown, Wakefield, is so small it only has room to produce about 400 pints a week.
Despite the limited space, head brewer Joe Kenyon has already turned out several different beers in the year it has been up and running.
One of his creations, spiced beer Bombay Bob, won a beer festival award and his latest, Yorkshire Bob, an ale flavoured with local rhubarb, is winning fans with its distinctive sweet and bitter flavours.
Although the famous ‘forced’ rhubarb is grown in dark sheds in a triangle of land between Wakefield, Morley and Rothwell, Mr Kenyon decided to use outdoor rhubarb which is much more sour.
Mr Kenyon said: “Roberttown is a typical Yorkshire village through and through so we wanted to create a beer with a flavour of the county. What better ingredient to use than rhubarb?”
Yorkshire Bob (named after Robertown’s nickname of Bobtown) will be available for taste tests at the New Inn tonight.
Mr Kenyon said that his creation has the “essence of rhubarb – but it’s not like eating a rhubarb pie”.
Although he admits the finished product is “a little bit hazy” the taste is pretty good.
He used a kilo of rhubarb and produced a total of 18 gallons of the ale, which has an alcohol content of 4.2 – nothing compared with the much stronger 6 per cent Bombay Bob, which clinched top prize at this year’s Dewsbury Beer Festival.
One of two of the locals have already discovered that Bombay Bob is not to be messed around with. Landlady Susan Walker, whose partner Andy is Joe’s son, said: “Bombay Bob is quite strong. There is a new word around the village – if you have had a few of them you have been ‘Bombayed’.”
Mr Kenyon said he enjoyed producing the different beers in his “Dinky toy brewery” but he said the high rate of beer tax meant it was difficult to run it as a commercially viable business.
“The tax you pay is higher than the ingredients. We are on a low tax rate because we are a micro-brewery but tax is half the cost of a barrel. If it wasn’t for the tax burden small breweries would sell more and employ more people.”
As well as celebrating Yorkshire Day today the pub will be marking all that’s great about micro-breweries across Britain during its very first beer festival “Microfest” on August 10 and 11.
Events are taking place across the county today and throughout the weekend to celebrate the best of Yorkshire.
The Yorkshire Ridings Society is marking the big day with a Ring of Roses project to celebrate the traditional county boundaries.
The Society has sent out around 200 Yorkshire flags to far-flung outposts including Yarm, Redcar, Greenfield, Dent and Saltburn.
The flags will be raised at 11.38am to mark the 1,138 years since the Ridings were first mentioned in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle.
Ridings Society chairman Roger Sewell said villages within the historic Ridings were continuing to show their pride in being part of Yorkshire.
“We have sent out over 200 Yorkshire flags to around 150 settlements on or near the Yorkshire boundary and a lot of people will be flying their own flags.”
Mr Sewell, a retired primary schoolteacher, will be flying his own Yorkshire flag in Goole and, on the southern bank of the river Tees, there will be flags flown in Startforth, Cotherstone, Romaldkirk, Mickleton and Ovington – historically all within the North Riding.
“There has been a lot of interest and support; we are thrilled with the response and hope people keep the flags flying.”