Ale Information

Best Bitter - 3.8% ABV

Best Bitter


Theakston Best Bitter is the leading session ale within the Theakston portfolio and has been for time immemorial. It is quite possible that when Robert Theakston founded the brewery in 1827 the range of ales would have been limited to just two or three of which almost certainly, one would have been a bitter beer. Consequently it would be reasonable to argue that Theakston Best Bitter is one of the longest established session ales in Yorkshire.

When we refer to a ‘bitter’ beer, the term does not mean sour as in lemons, but dry as in ‘dry white wine’. So Best Bitter is a full bodied, dry beer.

We use five different hop varieties to make our Best Bitter forming a complex but subtle taste profile. The combination of dryness as generated through the use of Target and Challenger hops, is balanced by sweetness created by the generous use of prime malting Barley providing the perfect accompaniment to a wide variety of food flavours as found in a Ploughman’s lunch for instance.



Official Tasting Notes

Short description: The quintessential English mid strength ale – a perfect balance of malt and subtle hops.

Full tasting notes: The definitive English Bitter. This fine golden-coloured beer has a full flavour that lingers pleasantly on the palate. With good bitter sweet balance, this beer has a subtle hop character described as citrus and spicy. It’s a refreshing and very satisfying pint – noted for the aroma of its Fuggle hops and the dry hopping of Bramling Cross to add to its characteristic Theakston aroma.


Unofficial Tasting Notes

A sweet zesty aroma with subtle fruits and gentle baked apples flavour leading to a warming finish that leaves you wanting more!

Colour: Warm Evening Sun

Black Bull Bitter - 3.9% ABV

Black Bull Bitter


Black Bull Bitter was launched in 1992 to commemorate the name of the first pub and brew house bought by Robert Theakston in 1827. For many years the black bull was the Theakston company logo until it was replaced in the late 1960s by the seal of the Peculier of Masham. The building that was once the Black Bull pub is just a stone throw away from the 'new' and current brewery that Robert built in 1875 and from where all our cask beers are brewed today. In the brewery yard is our ‘Black Bull in Paradise’ visitor centre complete with its own bar serving foaming pints of Black Bull Bitter, the perfect place to end a tour of the brewery.

In brewing Black Bull Bitter we ferment nearly all the sugar out leaving a dry, spicy flavoured ale with a hint of sweetness provided by the abundant use of lovely Bramling Cross hops. As a dry beer Black Bull Bitter is a superb accompaniment to all food but in particular gammon, light curies and fish.


Official Tasting Notes

Short description: Crisp, dry and fruity.

Full tasting note: A bright, amber Bitter, well attenuated to give a crisp, refreshingly dry taste. The late and dry hopping with Golding hops ensures a pronounced citrus fruit flavour and aroma.

Unofficial Tasting Notes

A delicate citrus aroma, gentle lemon and grapefruit flavours and a hint of nutmeg. A dry crisp satisfying finish!

Colour : Amber Gold

Lightfoot - 4.1% ABV



Lightfoot is named after a brewery in Masham which Theakstons took over in 1919. The Lightfoot and Theakston families were very close and indeed linked through marriage and therefore it was a natural amalgamation of two well-established businesses. For many years it was rumoured that Theakstons took over Lightfoot because they had a better cricket team something that was deemed unacceptable to the brewers in Red Lane! Lightfoot has always been a popular seasonal ale in fact so much so that in 2010 it became a permanent addition to our range and is now available all year round. Lightfoot is a refreshing golden pale ale, brewed using prime English Barley and wheat, continental hops, our famous Masham yeast and water from the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. Its light, fruity flavour makes it an ideal accompaniment to light curries, fish and salads and for a hot summer’s day perfect just on its own.



Official Tasting Notes

Short Description: Light, continental blonde beer style.

Full tasting note: This is a very pale, straw coloured ale that uses a blend of finest English ale malt, wheat and German and Slovakian hops to achieve a ‘continental blonde’ style, flavour and aroma.

Unofficial Tasting Notes

A subtle, honey aroma with thirst quenching, zesty lemon fruit overtone in taste followed by a lingering, satisfying, medium dry finish.

Colour: Golden Honey

XB - 4.5% ABV



XB is a rare delight, a real ale connoisseur’s masterpiece. A strong full-bodied ale with a subtle but superb blend of two types of bitter and three fruit hop varieties giving a most thirst quenching and satisfying ale. XB was first brewed in 1982 to celebrate the purchase of the Carlisle Brewery by Theakstons a few years before. Brewed always and ever in Masham, XB was designed as a tribute to the classic ‘border’ style of beer, strong in gravity, low but complex hop. It was an instant sucess and has remained so, winning over real ale devotees all over the UK. Always in the shadow of its more famous stable–mate, Old Peculier, XB has quietly established itself as favourite among serious cask ale enthusiasts. Its name came not from some clever marketing expert but rather based on the more prosaic features of the Masham brewery. In the days when the only way to distinguish the contents from one cask to the next was by use of one of only two wooden stamps dipped in white wash and applied to each cask, the only letters available were either an X or a B. We could have called in BX but we preferred XB!

The full-bodied nature of XB makes it the perfect accompaniment to big, full, flavoured dishes such as sausages, meat or game pies, stews etc.


Official Tasting Notes

Short Description: A classic full- bodied ale brewed in Masham.

Full Tasting Notes: A premium strength ale, ruby coloured with a rich flavour and full body. The balance between bitterness and fruitiness from the Bramling Cross and Fuggle hops used give XB the distinctively complex aroma, making it the beer to savour.

Unofficial Tasting Notes

A delicate Calvados aroma, with a subtle rhubarb and apple fruit leading to a lingering, rich finish.

Colour: Rich Copper

Old Peculier - 5.6% ABV

Old Peculier


Old Peculier is possibly one of the country’s most well-known and loved ales. This unique, beautiful brew is often imitated but never matched and is sold literally all over the world. With countless awards to its credit, it is something of which every Briton can be very proud and is the epitome of the greatest of British brewing tradition. In the early years of the modern brewing era, about two hundred years ago, many brewers produced a dark, strong ‘stock’ beer in the winter months, to provide a base amount of fermented beer to add to beers brewed in the rather more volatile months of the summer. Old Peculier probably owes its origins to this. The name pays tribute to the unique ecclesiastical status of Masham as a ‘Court of the Peculier’ and is also reference to the strong characteristic of the beer! For many years it was affectionately referred to as Yorkshire’s ‘Lunatic’s Broth’.

Old Peculier is a beautiful, yet very simple beer, brewed using a very generous blend of finest pale, crystal and roasted barley with two bitter hops combined with the majestic and noble ‘Fuggle’ hop to produce a beer of awesome full-bodied flavour with subtle cherry and rich fruit overtones. It tastes superb when accompanied by rich stews, strong cheeses and sweet puddings.


Official Tasting Notes

Short description: One of the world’s great beers – smooth, strong and mellow.

Full tasting notes: The beer that made Masham famous – rich, dark and smooth tasting, with a character all of its own. Brewed using the traditional Fuggle hop, Old Peculier is our best known beer and has a large and enthusiastic following all over Britain and around the world.

Unofficial Tasting Notes

Distinctive banana and blackcherry aroma leading to a magnificent Christmas pudding kaleidoscope of flavour. Rich, smooth and sweet.

Colour: Dark, Rich Ruby Red

Cooper's Butt - 4.3% ABV

Cooper's Butt


Like its Theakston stable-mate Hogshead Bitter, Theakston Coopers’ Butt was brewed to commemorate the ‘Trussing In’ ceremony of our current Cooper in 1999. We have employed Coopers to make our oak casks continuously since 1827 when our company was first established. It is a tradition of which we are immensely proud, in fact we believe that we are now the only brewery in the country to employ a full-time craft cooper. Jonathan Manby our Cooper went though a four-year apprenticeship to become fully qualified and has been with us for over 17 years. Our wooden casks are used for Old Peculier and remain very popular with a dedicated group of licensees and customers in the north of England. Our Coopers shop is located at the heart of the brewery site in Masham and can be viewed by visitors as part of a brewery tour. Always brewed in the early part of the year, the full bodied IPA style beer with its pronounced hop character is the perfect ale to get through the chilly months of the year. A butt is a wooden cask containing 108 gallons and was traditionally used to hold ‘stock’ beer in the brewery through the winter months. Too big to be used as a means of delivering beer to outlets, that task was normally for hogsheads or barrels and other smaller casks.

The big, warming flavours of Coopers’ Butt makes it an ideal accompaniment to delicious game pies, sausages, scotch eggs and other cold meats.


Official Tasting Notes

Short Description: A full bodied premium ale in the traditional IPA style.

Full tasting note: An amber red, full bodied bitter in the classic IPA style. Robust in flavour, late and dry hopped with Golding and Fuggle hops to give a pronounced citrus taste and aroma.

Unofficial Tasting Notes

A zesty and well balanced combination of sweet digestive biscuit and apple - like aroma notes, leading to a delicious refreshing and lingering after taste.

Colour : Deep Bronze

Hogshead Bitter - 4.1% ABV

Hogshead Bitter


Hogshead Bitter was first brewed in 1994 to commemorate the ‘Trussing In’ ceremony of one of our apprenticed craft Coopers. A hogshead is a 54 gallon cask that is used in the ceremony, an ancient ritual commemorating the completion of a Cooper apprenticeship and the commencement of life as a fully qualified Cooper.

Hogshead Bitter is a very traditional style of beer using the finest Maris Otter  malt, combined with luscious cane sugars complimented by delicious, fruity Bramling cross hops to give a malty, crisp and hoppy flavoured ale. It is one of our more popular seasonal ales and goes superbly with ham and light cheeses.


Official Tasting Notes

Short description: Malty, Crisp and hoppy.

Full tasting note: This robust ale exhibits a maltiness with underlying tones of luscious cane sugars whilst the use of Bramling Cross dry hops contribute to the striking aroma and palate.

Unofficial Tasting Notes

A rich concentrated Chelsea bun - like sweetness combined with a crisp apply characteristic, giving a surprisingly subtle and refreshing finish.

Colour : Rich Copper

Crime of Passion - 4.2% ABV

Crime of Passion


We have sponsored the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival since its inception in 2004. It is now the biggest of its kind in the world attracting the attendance of the world’s leading crime writers. At the 2011 Festival there were over eighty authors present along with publishers, editors, critics and thousands of crime novel enthusiasts. The sponsorship allows us to promote Old Peculier in a very unusual and eye-catching way. Crime is now the biggest genre of all books published today and has growing popularity throughout the world, a bit like Old Peculier which has a world-wide reputation. Indeed on the back labels of our bottled Old Peculier you will find a series of six ten-word crime novels penned by the some of the biggest names in the business.

Our Crime of Passion Ale is brewed using bags of crystal malt and roasted barley to give a rich, red coloured, full bodied ale with hints of almonds, an ingredient which is reputed to have the same taste as arsenic!


Official Tasting Notes

Short Description Full bodied, fruity.

Full tasting note: - A delicious, fruity beer benefiting from the use of cascade hops, disguised behind a deep ruby red exterior!

Unofficial Tasting Notes

The initial sweet flavours of the barley are soon encompassed by the unmistakable characteristic of almond, a taste very similar to cyanide - apparently!

Colour : Blood Red

Double Cross IPA - 4.2% ABV

Double Cross IPA


Double Cross is a reference to the crossing of the equator twice on the voyage plied by great trading clippers between Britain and India in the nineteenth century, first from north to south in the Atlantic Ocean and then from south to north in the Indian Ocean and in reverse on the return journey. It is from this act the more regularly used reference to ‘double cross’ comes from – ‘going back’ on what was agreed. IPA is a commonly used term in English ale brands and actually means India Pale Ale. It was brewed especially for the British troops serving in India during this time and was typically brewed to a higher level of alcohol and with higher than normal levels of hops. As the journey between the two points took several weeks it was important to apply additional safe guards to ensure the beer arrived in good condition. The extra alcohol acted as an antiseptic and the extra hops as an anti-oxident. Between the two it ensured the beer arrived in India in perfect condition!

Double Cross IPA is a classic example of this style with a beautifully balanced malt and hop character combined with the special Theakston brewing magic and would be perfect to accompany light curries!


Official Tasting Notes

Short Description: - A classic IPA with a beautifully balanced malt and hop character.

Full tasting note: - In the style of the original export ale using Old English hops, married to traditional malt, Double Cross IPA is a full bodied and satisfying pale golden ale with a clean and fresh tasting flavour.

Unofficial Tasting Notes

A rich tea biscuit flavour, balanced with dry, subtle lemon and grapefruit overtones.

Colour : Golden Yellow

Grouse Beater - 4.2% ABV

Grouse Beater


Our home town of Masham lies on the eastern edge of the famous Yorkshire Dales in the lower end of Wensleydale, one of the most beautiful areas of the country. Just to the east, lies the Vale of York and beyond the wonderful North York Moors. As such, Masham is in the middle of two of the best moorland areas in the world and home of the uniquely British game bird, the Grouse.

Theakston Grouse Beater is our tribute to the many who keep and protect the moors environment ensuring the future for the famous bird and also for the pleasure of many thousands of visitors that come from all over to enjoy the unique beauty of the countryside. Grouse Beater is brewed using Moorland berries to give a deliciously fruity flavour on a subtle but well balanced bitter hop and is ideal either on its own accompanying game or light curry dishes.


Official Tasting Notes

Short Description: Refreshingly fruity.

Full tasting note: - A golden mid-gravity bitter with initial sweetness balanced with a moderate hop bitterness. Dry hopped with Fuggles to give a delicate aroma complimented by a subtle hint of Moor land berry, a favourite with Grouse.

Unofficial Tasting Notes

An aroma of sweet summer fruit, leading to a pronounced and long blueberry muffin flavoured finish!

Colour : Deep Bronze

Traditional Mild - 3.5% ABV

Traditional Mild


Mild as a beer style is one of the oldest in the British brewing tradition. As its name suggests, Mild is mild in terms of alcohol and hop bitterness, the superb flavours of this style of beer are driven by the use of top quality crystal and roasted barleys. Theakstons Mild is almost certainly one of the original two or three beers brewed by Robert Theakston when he first started brewing in Masham in 1827. As a beer style Mild was very popular in Britain before the last war but since then has been over-shadowed by the growth in popularity of lighter ales and lagers. Theakstons now brew their cask Mild in May as part of the celebrated ‘mild month of May’. The malty flavour of Mild makes the ale an ideal accompaniment to sandwiches and ploughman lunches.


Official Tasting Notes

Short Description: One of the few truly national Mild brands, classically dark, dry and flavoursome.

Full tasting notes: A dark, delicious beer with a dry palate and a full, rounded, Fuggle hop flavour. It is brewed using three malts; pale malt for body, crystal malt for rich flavour and black malt for texture and taste and is one of the only truly national, Mild brands.

Unofficial Tasting Notes

A combination of barbeque, roasted coffee and subtle liquorice flavours with a sweet, soft gentle finish.

Colour: Mahogany

Infallible - 4.2% ABV



Masham is situated on a bluff, just above a curling loop of the ancient River Ure. The river flows from the heart of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales down through Wensleydale until it meets up with the River Swale to form the Ouse which in turn flows into the River Humber. For many years the River Ure was the finest wild salmon river in England but because of the industrial revolution and the consequential silting up of the river Humber, thus preventing the wild salmon access to the River Ure, the numbers dwindled dramatically. However, following the clean-up of the river Humber, for the first time in a hundred years the environment is right for the Salmon to return once again to the Ure. Together with local riparian owners, Theakston has committed to a long-term sponsorship programme aimed at recovering the wild salmon stocks to their former glory. As part of the plan, we launched a special commemorative ale, Infallible to raise the profile of this important ecological and environmental work.

Infallible is the name of a famous Salmon fly and as the salmon season begins in early autumn we have designed the beer to be deep amber in colour, using generous amounts of luxurious molasses to give a warm, malty ale scented with very light hop characteristic ideal accompaniment to home-made soups, pork pies and sausages.


Official Tasting Notes

Short Description: - Full bodied and malty.

Full tasting note: - A full bodied- warming malty ale with luxurious molasses and roasted malt flavour scented with very light hop characteristic.

Unofficial Tasting Notes

A ‘treacle on rye toast’ aroma and flavour with a warming, smooth, sweet fulfilling finish.

Colour: Chocolate Truffle

Masham Ale - 6.5% ABV

Masham Ale


Masham Ale is the strongest beer we brew and was first brewed to commemorate our historic connections with our home town. Masham is a very ancient settlement which for many years was the wealthiest prebend in the whole of England, the living of which passed through many hands initially from one of William the Conquerors lieutenants and  eventually to King Henry VIII who with it endowed Trinity College Cambridge. So a very significant town deserved a very significant ale!

Masham Ale is a beautifully full, rounded, great tasting ale and a fine example of the best of English cask ales. The use of fresh Fuggle hops gives a delightful subtle fruitiness. Masham Ale is brewed in late November in order to be available for those of our customers who love a Christmas treat! Such is the strength of the ale we advise consumption in half pint measures. Masham Ale is an ideal accompaniment to strong flavoured foods such as Blue Wensleydale.


Official Tasting Notes

Short Description Smooth, strong and rounded.

Full tasting note: - This deceptively smooth, full bodied, strong ale is tawny in colour and exhibits a beautifully rich balanced character of malt, fruit and Fuggle hops.

Unofficial Tasting Notes

Strong, almost forteified wine like mouth feel, delivered in a beautifully balanced combination of pear drops and digestive biscuit. A very big flavour from a very full bodied beer!

Colour : Toffee

Paradise Ale - 4.2% ABV

Paradise Ale


In 1850, Robert Theakston bought a field on the outskirts of Masham with a view, one day, to build in it a bigger brewery to take over from his brew-house at the back of his Inn, the Black Bull which was already bursting at the seams. When Robert first took on the lease of the Black Bull in 1827, as was the case with most rural licensees, he had to brew his own beer on the premises. So popular were his ales that he realised early on that he would one day have to expand. The field he bought was called 'Paradise' and the new brewery he built is the one we still use to this day. Paradise Ale was named after the field.

The name Paradise ale also refers to the delicious tropical fruit flavour of the beer made possible by the liberal use of the Cascade hop, a descendent of the noble Fuggle hop. A great thirst quencher and perfect to temper the steamiest of curries and other hot dishes.


Official Tasting Notes

Short Description: - Luscious, fruity and full bodied.

Full tasting note: A full bodied ale using pale ale malt and an exotic blend of old and new world full hop flowers including Cascade to give a light, lusciously flavoured taste of Paradise.

Unofficial Tasting Notes

Fresh summer fruit aroma, with a delicate peach and elderflower flavour leading to a crisp gentle finish.

Colour: Golden Syrup

Smooth Dark - 3.5% ABV

Smooth Dark


Served in the first ever, all black condensation fount, Theakston Smooth Dark is a brewery conditioned ale which we launched in 2008. Brewed using all the usual finest ingredients, this innovative style of beer has been designed by our brewing team to meet a growing demand by an increasing number of younger male and female consumers, as well as the more traditional ones, for lower ABV and cooler dispensed ale brands. In a market where consumers are increasingly aware of alcohol units and calories, where cooler dispensed products are preferred, Theakston Smooth Dark has been the perfect solution. Theakston Smooth Dark looks great and tastes even better! It is the perfect accompaniment to strong flavoured foods of all kinds.



Official Tasting Notes

Short Description: Malty, cool and deeply satisfying.

Full tasting note: Brewed using three different malts for body, flavour and texture to give a cool, smooth, refreshing and deeply satisfying flavour.


Unofficial Tasting Notes

Always served cool, a slight cinder toffee like flavour tempered by a refreshing, subtle citrus fruit, to give a very satisfying flavour from a relatively low strength beer.

Colour: Deep Mahogany

Royal Salute - 5.0% ABV

Royal Salute


In pub cellars and shelves all over the country there will be ancient bottles relating to important royal landmarks through time whether they be for Coronations, Jubilees, Royal weddings or births. In our country we have a great brewing tradition of marking these events with special celebratory ales. Raising glasses in national celebration is where public houses come into their own providing the perfect place for friends and neighbours to celebrate.  In recent years we brewed ‘Celebration Ale’ to mark the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977 and ‘Prince of Ales’ in 1981 to mark the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana. Now, 2012 promises to be another great year for that purpose with Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, a remarkable achievement. But 2012 is also a special year for Theakstons as this is 185th anniversary of the founding of the company by Robert Theakston. To mark these events we have brewed a 'right royal brew', Theakston Royal Salute. The beer, only available in cask, is a 5% ABV pale ale brew using the finest pale and crystal barley, Target, Challenger and Progress bitter hops and generous amounts of Sovereign hops for fruit flavour! A wondeful accompaniment for such aptly named dishes such as Coronation Chicken and Julbilee Chicken! Also delicious with light curries and rich desserts.


Official Tasting Notes

Short Description: Deep, rich and fruity

Full tasting note: A strong pale ale brew using the finest pale and crystal barley, Target, Challenger and Progress bitter hops and generous amounts of Sovereign hops for fruit flavour. A perfectly balanced ale combining malt with bitter and fruit hops.

Unofficial Tasting Notes

A beer of great depth of flavour, combining luscious elderflower - like fruit balanced against a crisp dry backdrop for an aftertaste journey that seems to last forever!

Colour: Golden Evening Sun

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Christmas Ale - 4.7% ABV

Christmas Ale


Our Theakston Christmas Ale owes its origins to a rather curious event that took place in December 2011. Out of the blue, we had an inquiry from one of the many Theakston enthusiasts in the USA who wrote asking for details of a beer called Theakston Christmas Ale. We were puzzled as, at the time, there was no such thing. Further inquiries revealed that a reference to this beer had been made in the Christmas episode of a nationally broadcast US TV series called NCIS. In the closing sequence, the manager of the NCIS team was seen hammering a wooden tap into a wooden firkin and stating, “This is Theakstons Christmas Ale; it has been flown in all the way from Yorkshire in England where they have been brewing beer like this since Charles Dickens time.” And with that the programme ends with scenes of members of the team happily clinking glasses of the ale to a back drop of the famous Christmas song ‘Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!’

It aroused the attention of the media in this country and before we knew it camera teams were at our door in Masham. Our Director, Simon Theakston was asked whether  Theakston Christmas Ale was an existing member of our wide range of cask ales to which he replied, “Well it wasn’t; but it is now!” and so another Theakston legendary cask ale was born. Being Christmas it is important to encapsulate as much of the special spirit as possible. The beer therefore if full of the most generous amounts of raw materials, including pale, crystal and dark malt, a subtle but complex blend of hops together with raisins and cinnamon to give the most beautifully satisfying ale best taken in front of roaring fire in the company of great friends. Christmas Ale will bring out the best flavours of almost any food but in particular strong cheeses, desserts including Christmas Pudding, and roast haunches of venison and prime British Beef.


Official Tasting Notes

Short Description: - A masterpiece of brewing – rich, full-flavoured ale with Cinnamon and raisins, together with a hint of walnut.

Full tasting note: - A blend of finest brewers’ malt and oats to give outstanding body set off with cinnamon and raisins sweetness balanced off by a hint of walnut and hard brewing liquor to give a beer of outstanding stature, balance and quality. One for the connoisseur.

Unofficial Tasting Notes

Liquid Christmas pudding in a glass. Fruity, wine-like with lovely hints of cinnamon and walnuts with a finish that seems to go on for ever.

Colour: Holly Berry Red

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Masham Four & Twenty - 4.2% ABV

Masham Four & Twenty


The Peculier Court of Masham celebrated with our world-famous beer, Old Peculier, was formed in medieval times as an independent body authorised by the church in York to administer the legal affairs of Masham. Membership of the Court originally comprised of four and twenty men of Masham birth and living and this remains the case even to this day. The Court is chaired by the Vicar of St. Mary’s Church in Masham and although the Court no longer sits in judgement over people of the town it still has an important charitable role to play.  Over the years bequests have been made to the Court which distributes its modest funds to support young people from Masham  in tertiary education providing for instance support for transport costs. The Four and Twenty frequently meet at the Theakston brewery Visitor Centre to discuss their business normally over a pint or two of Theakston’s ale! The Theakston Brewery Cooper, Jonathan Manby donates all his cask raising challenge fund proceeds to local charities including the Four and Twenty. To celebrate our association with the Court we have brewed a special brew, Theakston Masham Four and Twenty. The beer, only available in cask, is a 4.2% ABV amber coloured pale ale brew using the finest pale and crystal barley, Target, Challenger and Progress bitter hops and generous amounts of Sovereign hops for fruit flavour.


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River's Answer - 3.7%% ABV

River's Answer


As the consumer interest in traditional craft brewing continues to spread throughout the world we are able to challenge our own brewing team here in Masham to develop recipes for new Theakston beers that combine the great and time honoured traditions of nearly two centuries of brewing with unusual and even experimental ingredients designed to both surprise and delight our loyal following of Theakston cask ale enthusiasts.

River’s Answer is one such ale. Inspired by our sponsorship involvement with the ecological project of returning wild salmon to the River Ure which flows through Masham, we drew on a musical connection to help in the selection of brewing ingredients. We take the sweetness of our finest malted barley, combined with subtle amounts of bitter hop and blend with the unmistakeable character of smoked Lapsang Suchong china tea to give a contrasting dry flavour, off-set by the gentle sweet fruitiness of Mandarin oranges. The result is a complex, all encompassing flavour sensation guaranteed to encourage comment!

Generous quantities of the smoked china tea were added at the end of the boil in the copper and in the hop back before being fermented in one of our Yorkshire ‘Squares’ where the Mandarin oranges are added.

An ideal food accompaniment to white fish.


Official Tasting Notes

Short Description: Sweet malted ale, smoked tea and fruity oranges

Full tasting note: A pleasantly smoked China tea initial sensation is complimented by a full malty flavour with delightful mandarin orange in the finish, one for the craft ale connoisseur.

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Shot in the Dark - 4.2% ABV

Shot in the Dark


It might appear counter-intuitive to produce a dark beer in the middle of the British summer but Theakston Shot in the Dark, because of the lagering process to which it is subjected, is designed to quench the thirst on even the hottest of days. The inspiration of Shot in the Dark is taken from our ten year involvement with the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, a four-day long celebration, the biggest of its type in the world, the biggest genre in English literature which takes place each July down the road from us in the famous spa town of Harrogate. Within the world of crime writing a very popular sub genre has been recently created; that of dark Scandinavian settings. This got the creative juices of our brewing team flowing and the result; a very refreshing, dark lagered ale, with a subtle but distinctive flavour and style and one which we know will be very popular with our growing number of seasonal beer fans looking for a motive to try one!


Unoffical Tasting Notes

The nearest thing to a continental dark lager in a cask ale glass –  an intense, lingering,  dark chocolate flavour, intriguing and satisfying.

Colour : Dark Ruby

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Cresset Ale - 4.0% ABV

Cresset Ale


After the dreadful weather of 2012 our local farmers have at last been rewarded for their patience and forbearance with a great 2013 harvest, with crops and autumn fruits home in abundance. In celebration of this, we decided to brew a new seasonal beer for the autumn, a time of mellow, misty, shortening days with the first fingers of the colder and darker nights reaching out from the winter months ahead. The cresset, a fire basket, used by our cooper to set the bent oak casks into the traditional barrel shape, has always been a focal point for our coopers and brewery workforce on these colder days around which they would stand for rather longer than perhaps they ought to keep warm. Cresset Ale is brewed using local Barley, Wheat, Oats and Rye blended with a subtle Fuggle dry hop to give a beautifully subtle, fruity and mellow ale.


Official Tasting Notes

Short Description: A traditional sweet mellow ale

Full Tasting Notes: A rich malty sweetness blended with soft bitterness hop to give a delightfully mellow ale!

Unoffical Tasting Notes

Subtle overtones of orange and lemon zest with a hint of mango gives a refreshing fruity flavour complemented by apple crispness!

Colour : Honeycomb

Tour de Wot? - 4.0% ABV

Tour de Wot?


Strange though it may seem but the world famous Tour de France cycle race of 2014 has it's ‘Grand Depart’ first stage routed through the winding roads of the Yorkshire Dales. Quite by chance the route took the three hundred race participants right through the middle of Masham, our home town in which we have been brewing our famous beers since 1827. It seemed totally appropriate then to mark this extraordinary and auspicious event by brewing an especial brew to quench the thirst of these riders and the many supporters of the Tour throughout the country. As a salute to the Yorkshire Dalesman, a breed not always troubled by the events of contemporary sporting activity and uttered by a local when first abridged of the forthcoming event, we have decided to call the beer ‘Tour de Wot?’


Offical Tasting Notes

Short Description: A delightful, tropical fruit flavoured ale with a clean, zesty, thirst-quenching finish

Full Tasting Notes: Theakston ‘Tour de Wot?’ is a delicious combination of British and continental barleys brewed with the rare Amarillo hop from the USA and traditional English hops to give a brew of exceptional flavour and taste. A subtle, zesty aroma leads to a pronounced tropical fruit flavour, tempered by a crisp, fresh finish, on a biscuit like-malt foundation. Ideal Food Accompaniment: - Tapas, cheeses, fruit

Unoffical Tasting Notes

A subtle fruit and zesty aroma draws the drinker into a fruitbowl of luscious tropical mangos and lychees, finished by the crispness of fresh apple on a cheesecake-like biscuit base. Heaven in a glass!

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