Mine’s a pint of rhubarb

Award winning brewer and full time nurse Malcolm Bastow, 51, is brewing a rhubarb flavoured beer for next Friday's rhubarb festival.
Award winning brewer and full time nurse Malcolm Bastow, 51, is brewing a rhubarb flavoured beer for next Friday's rhubarb festival.

FORGET rhubarb and custard because a new brew is the stalk of the town.

Meet Roo-Barb Beer. Take 12 kilos of Janet Oldroyd-Hulme’s prize veg from the heart of the rhubarb triangle in Carlton, put it in the hands of an award-winning brewer, boil it down in every available saucepan in the house, add some passion fruit hops, a bit of ginger and serve it up to ale aficionados at Wakefield Council’s Festival of Food, Drink and Rhubarb next weekend.

Nurse-turned-brewer Malcolm Bastow, 52, decided to produce the zany beer after seeing the ‘High Priestess of Rhubarb’ on a TV food programme.

Mr Bastow, who runs a brewery from his back garden in Leeds Road, Outwood, said: “I saw Janet on the telly when comedian Ade Edmondson was doing his round Britain food tour.”

The mental health nurse got his inspiration for the key ingredient for his 5% pale ale after cutting through the rhubarb triangle of Wakefield, Rothwell and Morley on his way to work in Leeds.

The dad-of four said: “The beer contains rhubarb, ginger and Galaxy hops from Australia.

The kitchen is going to be full of pans as I boil down possibly 12 kilos of rhubarb.

“I think rhubarb will be a good ingredient for beer. If I get positive feedback and get cries for more rhubarb in it then I will brew it again.

“My wife, Beverley, is my official taster, but she is a big fan of dark beers. If she drinks some pale, hoppy beer and she pulls a face then I’ll know it’s fine.

“My experience of having rhubarb is the combinations you get with it, like rhubarb and custard. Then you have rhubarb crumble and it has a bit of cinnamon on top, and with the custard you have the vanilla.

“And I think with this beer, it isn’t just going to be a rhubarb beer. It’s going to be a combination. I never thought of rhubarb and ginger until the recipe but I think it will work, I hope! It’s a learning experience.”

Roo-Barb Beer will be available at the Cricketers Arms’ beer tent at the three-day rhubarb festival, which starts on Friday, February 24.

See next week’s Express for more on the festival.