Beer Background

You'd be baamy to miss Black Sheep's ale

Added: Wednesday, July 1st 2015

Black Sheep

Black Sheep Brewery is promising a hoppy taste explosion when its newest seasonal ale, Hoptacular, hits pumps in July and August.  Hoptacular is a refreshing pale ale which follows in Black Sheep’s recent drive towards light, golden beers for Summer. With an ABV of 3.6%, the new brew is highly quaffable and was developed in the brewery’s five barrel microbrewery in Masham, North Yorkshire. The beer aims to tune into the growing popularity of hoppy flavours among ale drinkers.

Four varieties of hops -- Polaris, Magnum, Ella and Galena -- have been used in the creation of Hoptacular, making it one of Black Sheep’s most aromatic and hoppy beers to date. This follows the success of the brewery’s new Golden Sheep cask ale, which was re-launched earlier this year with added hop character.

Jo Theakston, sales and marketing director at Black Sheep, says: “Summer is a great time for pale ales, with great refreshing flavours that are a joy to the palate on a warm day. Hoptacular has an ABV of 3.6% but the beer has a big flavour that really comes to life because of the blend of hops we’ve used.

“Hoptacular follows the success of Velo, which we first brewed in 2014, as Black Sheep’s most successful seasonal ale ever. With the new, hoppier Golden Sheep proving very popular and a real growth in the popularity of hoppy flavours being enjoyed across pubs, we hope drinkers are going to love Hoptacular.”

 Picture caption: managing director Rob Theakston (left) with Jo Theakston

Black Sheep Brewery in Masham made its first beer in 1992 after being built by Paul Theakston, whose family had brewed in the area for six generations.  In a world of ever increasing bland, mass-produced beer, Paul saw an opportunity to return to what his family had done best since 1827, making real beer in the time-honoured fashion.


An old maltings building, once part of Lightfoot's Brewery, became the new brewery’s home. This landmark building, which stands high over the banks of the River Ure, had fallen in to disrepair as years of neglect as a semi-redundant grainstore had taken its toll. Paul assembled a small team around him to fight the rats and build a traditional country brewery.

The Black Sheep Brewery name derived from Masham’s association with sheep, but Sheep Brewery didn’t quite sound right, so with a little creativity from Paul’s wife the Black Sheep Brewery was born, a name that sat well with the area, spoke volumes about the maverick attitude to the multi-nationals seeking to dominate the brewing industry and captured the essence of the family struggle that led to its birth.

Black Sheep Ale at 4.4% ABV, now in an eco-friendly lightweight bottle, continues to maintain its presence among the top 10 premium bottled ale brands, and is available nationwide from virtually all the major supermarket retailers. It is a classic premium bitter and as with all Black Sheep beers, full of character derived from the best possible brewing materials, plenty of time and patience in the brewing and Yorkshire Square fermenters.