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Background

The Black Sheep Brewery is an iconic brewery in the North Yorkshire Dales that is well-recognised by it’s brand. It is also one of the many things that the Yorkshire Dales is famous for.

Bar restaurant at Black Sheep Brewery, North Yorkshire

Image of bar area taken by Aiden Dawson

This brewery is located in Masham, a small yet vibrant village not far from Harrogate. It is home to two of the most famous Yorkshire-based real ale breweries- Theakston’s and Black Sheep. But there’s no competition between the two- they are both successful businesses that are both frequently visited by tourists and locals all year round.

History

The Black Sheep Brewery can be seen as you drive into the village from Harrogate, with it’s massive old building and stone chimneys sat on the edge of the village. The Black Sheep logo is literally a black sheep that can be seen on the building. The brewery was started up by a member of the Theakston’s family, who made the daring move of setting up a new brewery in Masham. Using the old malthouse which is still in use today, he felt like the “Black Sheep” of the family by leaving Theakston’s and that is possibly how the brand came about. It was 1992 when the very first Black Sheep Best Bitter was made.

In 1996, the visitor centre opened for the public to be able to visit this amazing brewery, and that was how it now became a tourist attraction. The visitor centre is housed within the same building as the brewery itself and it includes a fully-stocked licensed bar where you can spoil yourself to a few pints of their own beer, and a kitchen where they make home-cooked Yorkshire food made by professional chefs. The Sheepy Shop is in the same space and sells all kinds of gifts and souvenirs, and of course their own beer in bottles.

Visiting Black Sheep Brewery in Masham in North Yorkshire is worth an unforgettable day out.

Why you should visit Black Sheep Brewery in Masham, North Yorkshire

We definitely recommend planning a visit to this brewery in North Yorkshire because it offers something for everyone to enjoy. It is not just for the stereotype retired-aged male real ale drinking crowd. People of all kinds can enjoy the atmosphere, the food and the choice of drinks at the visitor centre.

Bar

The bar is set within the brewhouse itself, adjoined to the main brewery with a large spacious indoor seating area offering tables next to the brewery, at the bar, and on the balcony overlooking the whole area. There is also plenty of outdoor seating areas including a terrace just downstairs and outside as well a grassy lawn with picnic benches all tucked away next to the building. It really is a hidden gem.

Bar and kitchen at Black Sheep Brewery, North Yorkshire

Image of bar area and balcony taken by Aiden Dawson

The balcony seating area has a pool table and a leather sofa making it a really cool chill out zone!

The main attraction of course is the beer, and they now have a massive wide selection of real ales and craft beers on tap. The bar is fully-armed with taps serving beers of all varieties including bitters, IPAs, stouts, brown ales, pale ales and even some sour ones too. It’s not just all beer, you can get a gin and tonic with different flavoured gins available to choose from, or why not treat yourself to a glass of rose or white wine? There is definitely an alcoholic drink for everyone of all preferences to enjoy during their visit. For those who don’t drink- they also serve hot drinks including coffee, tea and hot chocolate as well as soft drinks including water, soda, and lemonade. So there are drinks suitable for children too.

Kitchen

As for the food, anyone visiting will be spilt for choice with delicious meals all homemade from local food suppliers. The menu changes throughout the year.

Summer menu:

  • A variety of soups
  • Salads
  • Sandwiches including Wensleydale cheese and ham
  • Their signature steak pie made with their own Riggwelter beer.

Sunday lunch menu:

  • Sausages and mash
  • Roast of the day with Yorkshire pudding and veg
  • Their Sunday lunch menu also comes with desserts as part of a three-course meal.

Desserts menu:

  • Sticky toffee pudding,
  • Churros
  • Their signature Black Sheep hazelnut & caramel stout tart served with ice cream.

It is fair to say that a lot of their food is unique to Black Sheep Brewery and you wouldn’t get some of what they make in any other restaurant or café. They also have their Little Lambs menu for meals suitable for children.

Click here to view their full menus.

Brewery tours

One of the main experiences at the Black Sheep Brewery is of course, having a look at how they make their signature beers!

Brewery tours are an opportunity to embark on the journey of Black Sheep Brewery through it’s history when it started up and up until the present day. People attending these tours can actually walk around the brewery to see how they make their beers and learn all about the unique methods they use in the process.

The tour generally begins with a video that’s played on a large screen in a separate room with seats for the whole group to sit down and watch. The main highlight of the brewery tour is walking around the factory and seeing all the impressive brewing equipment from their stainless steel vats to the old oak wood vessels and the smells are an experience in itself- especially to the real ale drinkers among us!

At the end of the tour, the group will get to taste a selection of the beers at the bar to cap off the whole experience. Brewery tours can be booked online on their website by clicking here.

Gift shop

The Sheepy Shop at this brewery in North Yorkshire sells a wide variety of unique and special gifts worth taking home as souvenirs or as gifts for people’s birthdays/Christmas etc.

The shop is right at the main entrance as you walk in, with the bar being to the left hand side and the gift shop to the right. Everything at the shop is authentic to the Yorkshire Dales and you can pick up all kinds of merchandise of Black Sheep Brewery. You can buy pint glasses, beer mugs, T-shirts, coasters, and even little cuddly sheep!

And obviously, all of their beers are available to buy in bottles to take home. You can also buy some nibbly snacks to enjoy with your drink. A lot of the stuff they sell at the Sheepy Shop is also available on their online shop. Click here to have a look!

Location

Another reason to consider paying this brewery in North Yorkshire a visit, is because Masham is worth a visit anyway! It’s a beautiful quaint little village with a lot happening in it!

If you’re visiting Black Sheep Brewery, then why not make the whole day out dedicated to breweries by visiting Theakston’s Brewery too? it is literally just on the other side of the village within walking distance of Black Sheep Brewery.

As well as the breweries, the location itself is worth visiting for the walks around the surrounding countryside and the traditional Yorkshire pubs in the village too. They usually hold many events in Masham including the Masham Steam Engine & Fair Organ Rally, cycling events and regular craft markets on a Sunday once a month.

The nearest supermarket is the Co-Op store is just a 4 minute walk from the brewery. There is also plenty of other places to eat and drink, including the White Bear, the Bay Horse, the Bruce Arms and the Border House Teas café. Masham is also home to the tennis club and cricket club down on the riverside, so if you’re into sport there’s plenty going on all the time.

Accessibility

The Black Sheep Brewery in Masham, North Yorkshire is actually very accessible despite it being in an old building. They have made lots of adjustments to accommodate for visitors with learning disabilities and physical disabilities too.

Wheelchair access

For wheelchairs, there is a wheelchair lift at the main entrance next to the steps leading up to the doorway. From here, wheelchairs can then easily access the visitor centre including the gift shop, bar and restaurant. It might however, be difficult for wheelchair users to do the brewery tours as the brewery itself includes lots of metal walkways and steps that take you to the different parts of the brewery. Wheelchair users can access the room at the start of the tour where the group watches the introduction video, and obviously the bar at the end of the tour as well.

Wheelchair lift at Black Sheep Brewery, North Yorkshire

Image of wheelchair lift at main entrance taken by Aiden Dawson

There is also wheelchair access to the outdoor seating areas via a sloped concrete pathway at the side, just across from the wheelchair lift beside the disabled parking bays. The path leads to a grassy lawn with picnic benches.

Most of the floor surface inside the visitor centre is solid wood and perfectly smooth making it easy for wheelchairs. Tables and chairs are spaced apart for easy access around the seating area too. The bar area can be a little less spacious.

Toilet facilities

The disabled toilets include handlebars for disabled people to use. There is also baby changing facilities in the disabled toilets too. The toilets are located at the side of the bar area just at the foot of the stairs leading up to the balcony.

Dog-friendly

The visitor centre, gift shop and bar allow dogs. Dogs cannot be taken on the brewery tours but guide dogs can.

Child-friendly

Black Sheep Brewery is a family-friendly venue and we encourage families with children to come along. The visitor centre bar and kitchen caters to young children as they have separate menus for meals suitable for children. They even provide activities including word searches and colouring activities for little kids to keep entertained while you’re waiting for your food. They provide high chairs for babies as well. There are spaces throughout the centre to store pushchairs so they’re not in the way.

Inclusive menu

The food and drink served in the bar and kitchen at this brewery in North Yorkshire is very diverse. The means that it caters for people of all tastes and preferences and also people of different dietary requirements. There are vegan/vegetarian options as well as gluten-free ones too. For people who are counting calories, they offer healthier options too including salads and soups, you can swap chips for salad on some meals. Allergy information is available on the menu or by asking staff members.

Outdoor spaces

The visitor centre can be quite busy occasionally especially during weekends and school holidays when they get more tourists visiting. There is the option to sit outside if it’s too noisy or busy inside. This is convenient for people who may get anxious in crowded spaces or too much noise. The outdoor spaces are varied too, you have the option to sit in a sheltered terrace with a combination of high stools and lower benches to sit on. The other spaces outside or on grassy lawns with picnic benches.

Outdoor seating area at Black Sheep Brewery, North Yorkshire

Image of outdoor seating area on grassy lawn taken by Aiden Dawson

Outdoor seating area at Black Sheep Brewery, North Yorkshire

Image of sheltered terrace outdoor seating area taken by Aiden Dawson

Indoor spaces

The inside space offers tables for varied sized groups of people. With tables suitable for large families/groups to sit together and smaller high tables for up to four people. There is the option to sit at tables with low-height leather upholstered chairs that are easy to move. And there is also higher stools with backrests at higher tables which are nearest to the bar.

Atmosphere

The atmosphere inside the visitor centre can be quite busy especially on weekends and school holidays. The bar area gets the busiest, the rest of the indoor seating area is less busy. It never get’s overly busy or rowdy as it is a family friendly venue and there is often families with young children present.

The noise levels can get moderately loud but not uncomfortable. The room can be quite echoey. The lighting is soft and ambient and there is a lot of eye-catching features around the room. Not too vivid and overwhelming for people with dementia or sensory overload.

Parking

There is onsite parking right outside the main entrance which includes a couple of disabled parking bays next to the entrance steps and wheelchair lift. If the car park ever gets full, there is parking around the village including the Masham Square car park at the marketplace which is about a 7 minute walk to the brewery.

Public transport

If you’re planning on visiting the brewery and coming from another nearby town or city, there are several bus services running in Masham. The nearest bus stop to the brewery is the Little Market Place in the centre of Masham. You can catch a bus from Knaresborough and Harrogate and as far as Richmond or York.

Otherwise, the best way to get to Masham is planning on using your own transport.

Conclusion

We hope you found this listing helpful in finding accessible places to visit in the North Yorkshire area. For similar venues to this check out:

For other listings in the North Yorkshire area, check out:

Q Can you book a table at the bar and kitchen?


Bookings can also be done over the phone at 01765 680 101

Q Do brewery tours take place during all opening hours?


It is strongly recommended that you book especially for large groups. Bookings for tours are done over the phone on 01765 680101

Q How far is the outdoor seating area from the bar?


The nearest one is the sheltered terrace. The quickest way to get to it from the bar is down a flight of stairs to the floor below and through the door leading outside and it's just there.

Drinks can be carried from the bar outside.

Q Can food ordered at the bar be eaten in the outdoor seating area?

Q Is food served during all opening times?

12-2.30pm then 5-8pm on Thursday
12-2.30pm then 5-8.30pm on Friday
12-3pm then 5-8.30pm on Saturday
12-3pm on Sunday

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