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Courtesy of Empire Brewery (c)
One of the local breweries that often seems to slip under our radar is Empire of Slaithwaite, may be because they were one of the breweries that we have been so used to seeing around our local pubs that we had just become complacent about them. They were always good and competent brews but rarely hit the heights that other local breweries did. They are never afraid to experiment, as the vast number of different beers that they have produced goes to show.

Brewing started in premises behind the Fieldhead Pub at Quarmby around 7 years ago, where the brewer, Russ Beverley, was also the landlord and they moved to larger premises in Slaithwaite in April 2006 after he gave up the pub to concentrate on the brewery. The plant, a 5 barrel affair, with lots of personal input from Russ is sited next to the Huddersfield Narrow canal in the village.

Empire still brew some regular beers, 'Strikes Back' (as in the 'Empire Strikes Back') comes around fairly regularly, as does 'Golden Warrior' but most of their beers we find locally are one offs, often named after military themes at present. They are also responsible for the house beers at the Commercial at Slaithwaite, and Dirty Dicks in Halifax to name but two.

I have always enjoyed their beers but often found them a little astringent for my taste, but the more recent ones I have sampled have been excellent, whether that be due to a change in the brewing process, new equipment, or different ingredients I cannot say but they are becoming a brewery I will actively search out. They are not difficult to find, I must admit, often on the bar in the 'Sportsman' in town, or a trip out to the aforementioned 'Commercial' will often provide a special or two as well as the 'Commerciale' and the dark 'Moonraker Mild' which are always on the bar, (and reasonably priced as well).

So if for whatever reason you have overlooked Empire beer, then this may be the time to give it a go, I don't think you will be disappointed.