Dear Reader: I could murder a pint + Is Harrogate getting cooler?

New brewery and tap room - Harrogate's award-winning Roosters. Pictured are Roosters' Tom and Oliver Fozard with tap room manager Josh Molloy, left. (Picture by Gerard Binks)
New brewery and tap room - Harrogate's award-winning Roosters. Pictured are Roosters' Tom and Oliver Fozard with tap room manager Josh Molloy, left. (Picture by Gerard Binks)

A personal column by the Harrogate Advertiser's Graham Chalmers

Ten years ago it would have been unlikely in Harrogate. Twenty years ago unthinkable.

Yet there I was last Thursday night among a large gathering of family, friends and the town’s burgeoning independent beer fraternity to witness the relocation and rebirth of something that started as a one-man band and had now turned into something you would expect to see in a major city.

The occasion was the launch of Roosters’ new premises and tap room at Hornbeam Park in a building large enough to be a sports centre.

This major relocation represents a huge step forward for this local business owned by the hands-on Fozard family.

It’s also a fair sign of much Harrogate has changed, too.

Before anyone is tempted to imagine this is simply a tale of a beer I happen to like, it ought to be said the steady rise of Roosters from humble beginnings involves everything we’re supposed to admire since the Thatcherite 1980s.

Originality. Hard work. Vision. Passion. Professionalism.

In its previous home at Grimbald Park, the brewery looked like a labour of love.

The Heath Robinson days are long gone. This looked like something to build a dynasty from.

That’s what I meant to say to, at least, to Ian Fozard, the Harrogate man who also chappens to be national chairman of SIBA, the voice of independent British brewing.

Instead, dazzled by the stainless steel brewing tanks towering above me I offered the thought that the new brewery looked like the sort of place a dead body might turn up in at the start of Midsomer Murders.

Cycling event - Harrogate shop to close for nine days

Should Harrogate be branded as "cool"?

Sitting in the window chatting to Jim Mossman, one of the owners of Cold Bath Brewing Co, last week it was hard not to notice what lay directly across the way - Harrogate Convention Centre.

Though different in size and purpose, come September, both buildings will stand less than 100 yards from the greatest cyclists in the world.

As I’ve learned from some of the stories this newspaper has published recently, the subject of major cycling events coming to Harrogate and district can be a little controversial.

The crux of the matter is usually whether the person concerned thinks the end result for Harrogate and its economy is beneficial enough to justify all the disruption.

It was clear from what Jim was saying in the popular bar he and two friends had created from scratch less than a year ago that he was a cycling fan through and through.

But he also thought the arrival of the UCI Road World Championships in Harrogate for nine days this September was a fantastic chance to promote the town as a home to independents and creativity as well as elegance and tradition.

As I said cheerio I wondered whether the powers that be would embrace the idea or if the gulf between the bar and the convention centre was actually much further than the few, short metres of tarmac linking them?

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