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Microbrew Adventure: Yorkshire Moors

Bottle of Yorkshire Moors Ale in moorland

Over the last few years, Alastair Humphreys has done a great job of promoting his microadventure concept, which encourages people to get outside and have local overnight adventures.

He reasons that whilst most folk don’t have the time, money or determination to embark on large scale expeditions, there is still lots to gain by simply going out and sleeping on a hill.

And he’s certainly on to something. We jumped on the bandwagon and have been doing lots of microadventures and really enjoy how little planning they require. We can leave work and an hour later we are hiking up a hill with our dinner and beds. Midweek evenings often fly by in a blur of cooking, chores and television, so why not reclaim them and try something a bit different once in a while?

But lately we’ve started to find ourselves revisiting the same old places, and whilst they are lovely spots, they lack the sense of adventure that they once held. So we started looking for ways to encourage ourselves to explore new areas, and then one evening over a couple of ales it struck us – rather than the beer coming to us, we’d go to the beer.

We liked the idea of exploring further afield so these wouldn’t be midweek jaunts, but would instead provide inspiration for weekends away. We resolved to visit microbreweries set in enviable locations and spend the night on a nearby hill conducting a comprehensive examination of their ales, and whilst it was suggested that we only drink craft beers with an ABV of 5-9% as a nod to the 5pm-9am microadventure, this was later dismissed as drunken bravado.

So with our sense of adventure reinvigorated, we embarked on our first ever microbrew adventure, with the goal of consuming delicious ale in the beautiful landscape that inspired it.

Grouse on moorland

Microbrew Adventure #1: Yorkshire Moors

For our first taste of microbrew adventure we headed to the stunning landscape of the North York Moors National Park, situated on the North Eastern coast of England. It’s just 15 miles from the popular seaside towns of Whitby and Scarborough, but couldn’t be more different, swapping streets crowded with tourists for miles of heather moorland and the grouse that inhabit it.

Much of the moorland is open access, which meant we could freely wander around and get off the beaten track, but first we had to pick up some provisions!

The Brewery:

Cropton Brewery, Pickering, Yorkshire

Our first port of call was the excellent New Inn located in the tiny village of Cropton, perched on the edge of the North York Moors National Park. Originally established in the pub’s cellars, Cropton Brewery has been crafting award-winning ales for over 25 years and now resides in a larger, purpose built facility behind the pub. Not content with churning out delightful beverages, the enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff also run daily tours offering an insight into the production process.

With such a variety of ales on offer we were forced to undertake a rigorous sampling session. Finally, after managing to agree on a favourite brew, we loaded up our backpacks and headed out to spend a night on the moors.

The Brew:

Yorkshire Moors– ABV 4.6%

So were we swayed by the name? Perhaps, but this delightful ruby beer, brewed to celebrate 50 years of the North York Moors National Park, was an utter delight. It’s a dark reddish-brown ale, with a lovely smooth blend of fruity hops upfront and a deeper caramel biscuity tone. Extremely drinkable, and what better place to enjoy it?

The Yorkshire moors are an amazing place to sleep out and as dusk gathered we felt like we had the mysterious landscape to ourselves. That is until an army of frogs decided to jump onto our roll mats and sleep next to our heads. At least the sheep were more considerate.

Yorkshire Moors with pond and tent

How to have your own microbrew adventure

    1. Find a friendly microbrewery online and use a map to locate a suitable bivy spot nearby (Alastair Humphreys has some good advice about this.)
    2. Visit your chosen brewery to obtain liquid provisions. Many microbreweries sell their finished product on site, but it’s definitely worth checking first because without a beer it’s simply another #microadventure.
    3. Head out into the local countryside to conduct a thorough examination of your microbrew. Eat, drink, and belch as the sun sets. Be sure to urinate as much as possible before settling into your cozy bivy bag for a night under the stars.
    4. Wake at dawn to see the sun rise and assess your hangover. Get the kettle on. Pack up your gear and enjoy a brisk walk back. The fresh morning air will be the perfect remedy for those who were a little too cavalier with the beer tasting the night before.

Have you enjoyed a microbrew adventure, or even just a delicious ale, that you’d like to share with the world in under 140 characters? Use the rather catchy hashtag #microbrewadventure.

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