The BBC start filming this Thursday (September 11) for a programme highlighting York is as a leading UK destination for real ale.
Those of us who live, work and drink in York have long known just how special it is for the sheer breadth of beers on offer and a cornucopia of splendid drinking establishments.
The presence of BBC film crews in the streets and pubs of York and then at York Beer & Cider Festival on Knavesmire next week is therefore a resounding validation.
There’s been a tectonic shift over the last five years in the drinking experience in York, to the extent that you now have a selection of 281 different real ales available any day of the week in 164 pubs and bars in central York – and that’s up 17 per cent since 2012.
There’s been a whirlwind of new breweries opening in close proximity to York producing a bewildering range of beer styles. A microcosm in effect, of the rest of the UK – only York seems to be doing it better than most.
These brewery’s beers are served in such an eclectic mix of hostelries that there’s usually something to please even the most demanding consumer:
You have the resplendent abundance of the York Tap; the quirky allure of Trembling Madness; crossover hybrids such as Fossgate Social and The Attic; time capsules like The Blue Bell; the cooperative Golden Ball; ever popular real ale powerhouses The Maltings and Brigantes; thriving brewery pubs from York’s very own plus Leeds and Ossett breweries; freehouse pioneers The Slip Inn and Volunteer Arms and last but not least, timbered historic beauties such as Snickleway and Pivni.
And I’ve only just scratched the surface and probably offended the vast majority I haven’t mentioned.
Add to all of the above the presence of the North’s largest beer festival happening on Knavesmire next week and you get a heady mix – the alchemy of which is attracting the gaze of television execs.
The Inside Out programme will be broadcast in multiple BBC1 regions and will directly compare the jewel in the Northern crown with the jewel in the East Anglian crown – that other well regarded real ale hotspot Norwich.
We may then well end up with an unofficial UK champion real ale city.
It’s all meant to be a good natured contest but the underlying message is just that bit more profound. York is a great place to be in the business of beer, whether that be a licenced premise, a “Locale” brewery or the annual highlight of the Northern beer festival calendar.