Saltaire Brewery

Brewery Profile

Previously an old tram power plant, now a brewery. Photo by Mick Baines

Saltaire Brewery is situated at the end of Dockfield Road just off the Leeds-Liverpool Canal in Shipley. Its just a 15 minute walk from my home in the historical Saltaire village. I cannot remember the first time I ever drank Saltaire beer but I’ve been enjoying there output for as long as I can remember from when they first appeared on sale in the Bradford area.

Saltaire Brewery was established in 2005 and is dedicated to the production of high quality, traditional English Ales. Situated in an old generating hall that once provided the electricity for the Saltaire trams and is the home for their specially commissioned 20 barrel brewhouse and Visitor Centre.

On the last Friday of the month the brewery opens its doors for the Monthly Beer Club. You can drink all their current range of beers at the source! Where better to drink a brewery’s beer than standing outside the fermenting room or a few steps away from the mash tun. And take it from me their beer has never tasted better!

The Brewer

Here is short interview with Head Brewer and founder of Saltaire Brewery, Tony Gartland

Rob Derbyshire HopZine Co-EditorFirstly could you give some on background on how and why you became a brewer?

Tony Gartland Head Brewer of Saltaire Brewery -I used to be a corporate lawyer and got fed up with the hours and the stress. I decided I wanted to stop shuffling papers and make something, and learn some new skills. Having always been a keen home brewer so I decided to look into becoming a microbrewer.

I signed up for a 6 month course at Brewlab at the University of Sunderland and worked in their brewery, Darwin Brewery. We tracked second year micro-biology students; I really loved the academic science side of the training. Anybody thinking of getting into brewing as a business could do far worse than signing up for a Brewlab course.

The University got me placements in a variety of breweries, including York, Ossett, Darwin and Wylam. I love the creativity of brewing and the fraternity that exists within the brewing world. I also respect the rich heritage that micro brewers tap into that shows itself through their dedication to their craft and sheer hard work! I suppose what I am saying is that I am more at home with the ethics and values of microbrewers and beer lovers than I was in the corporate world!!

RDWhy do you brew the type of beers you brew? Dose Saltaire Brewery have a “House Style” and what do you see as the common link between each beer?

TG – Having never really worked for any other brewer we started with no preconceptions about what we could or could not brew. We ditched recipe consultants and from the start went with our own instincts. I have always drawn inspiration from the American craft brewers and remain in awe of some of the commercial beers that are produced by American micros. They show us how much more there is to be enjoyed in beers available in this country. We don’t really cost our brews – so we use an awful lot of hops and malts!

We aim to make our beers extremely flavorsome, but are not confined by any particular style or set of rules – if we were we would never have produced Hazelnut Coffee Porter or Triple Chocoholic. Both prolific festival winners!

We are never too scared to try a new recipe nor are we too proud to draw on the experience of others, when a good beer seems to be the likely outcome!

The award winning Head Brewer/Owner Tony Gartland (right) and his custom-built brewhouse

RDWhat are your personal goals as a brewer and what are your aspirations for the brewery.

TG – Breweries are huge investments and a lot of sweat and toil goes into making them tick over. There is a balance between keeping true to your roots and becoming a machine producing one or two brands. We want to develop our sales of Blonde so it becomes a staple beer in the area, but retain capacity to produce innovative and interesting beers for true beer lovers. I also want to get more into bottles as more and more people drink craft beers at home.

RD What is your permanent range? How do you plan and decide which seasonal beers to brew?

TG – Our permanent range is now Blonde and Cascade. Our four times a year specials are Triple Chocoholic and Hazelnut Coffee Porter. We brew four seasonal ales – Winter Ale, Summer Ale, Oktoberfest beer (Steingold or Bavarian Gold)and Dark Mild in May. This leaves us more capacity to have one off specials. We will often brew a beer across a couple of months or brew a special event beer. Recently Dublin Stout for Paddy’s Day was a big hit.

RDWho or What has influenced you most as a brewer?

TG – American home brewer Charlie Papazian. Get his books from Amazon – they work on so many levels, they are great novels, instruction manuals, treatise on a wonderful personal philosophy, travelogues. I would love to sit down with him and in his words ‘feel the beer’.

RDA lot of brewers say they brew the kind of beer they want to drink. What is your favourite style of beer and which other brewery’s beer do you enjoy.

TG – Locally, I am a big fan of Dave Sanders at Elland. All is beers are great. In the South, Dark Star get my vote – Hophead and their Espresso Stout are excellent. In Northern Europe I love the bitter Jever Pilsner from Friesland. In Southern Europe Schneider Weisse and Salavator from Bavaria always fill the fridge. From Belgium a musty, tart Orval Abbey usually hits the spot. From America, anything from Stone Brewery in Arizona or Rogue Brewery. I will drink all types of beer – it is easier to say that I am not a fan of smoked beers and I have a limited appetite for sour lambics.

The Beers

Cascade Pale Ale 4.8% ABV

A pale gold ale that edges towards amber topped with a dense pillowy white head. The aromas are all about the hops, Cascade, Centennial and Fuggles. A little lemon and lime bring the “zing” along with a faint hint of pine. In the mouth it’s bulging with flavour, wet and refreshing. Centennial is the first thunderous punch of this 1-2 hop combo. Fragrant and bitter. The Fuggles keeps it balanced with a good amount of pale malt before an assertive citrus kick of Cascade hops. The aftertaste is clean and precise with more bitter yet balanced hops.
I love this beer, it probably my favourite Saltaire beer. Its consistently great and even better if you get to drink it at the brewery. That is when the hops really sing out! Last time I drank it at “Monthly Beer Club” I remember a bit more pine coming through. It’s definitely worthy of all the accolades it receives.

Dark Mild 3.8% ABV

In the glass it has a semi-opaque body that is rich mahogany in colour with a creamy beige head. On the nose you get lots of roasted malt with a pleasing level of roasted coffee. There is a certain fruity quality similar to a chutney or sweet pickle. Its initially wet and refreshing along with a well judged level of hops. Bitter and fruity with more robust deep malt flavour that is a little earthy and smoked. A step ahead of most traditional milds but without upsetting the average CAMRA member.

Blonde 4.0% ABV

A super clean pale gold ale with a healthy dollop of pure white head courtesy of a sparkler. On the nose you get lots of tart citrus and sweetness reminiscent of Sherbet Lemons with a sturdy backbone of pale malt. The mouthfeel is very smooth with bitter and crisp Saaz hops ,once again I’m reminded of a small white paper bag full of Sherbet Lemons. The hop profile is really enjoyable, defined and floral but the bitterness never becomes harsh. I defy any lager drinker to place this next to their favourite pint of “Lout” and to tell me they don’t like this!

For more information visit:

Saltaire Brewery Limited, The Brewery, County Works, Dockfield Road, Shipley, West Yorkshire, BD17 7AR

You can now buy Saltaire Beers at

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