For the love of Ale

To show how much we really do love our ale here The Holyhead we’re showcasing some of our favourite brewers over the coming months. Below you can find information on each of our quality brewers, the ales they have on offer and tasting tips.

First up it’s Sharp’s and Black Sheep, with Marston’s and Charles Wells to follow soon.

Sharp's Brewery

Discover Sharp’s, one of Cornwall’s finest brewers

Cornwall-based Sharp’s are one of the breweries we’re showcasing at your local Ember Inn this spring. Founded in Rock by Bill Sharp in 1994, with the ambition to brew 500 pints a week, they now produce some of the best known beers in the country, inspired by the unpredictable but beautiful Cornish coastline.

Brewing with heart

Bill Sharp’s philosophy that “you’re only as good as your last pint” is lived by the team of brewers in Rock. They combine modern brewing techniques with natural ingredients, to create eminently drinkable ales. While the team have had huge success, they don’t rest on their laurels, always striving to brew the next generation of exceptional beer.

Your tasting notes

You’ll find these beers on the pumps at The Holyhead over the coming months. Pair your Sharp’s ale with a delicious dish and you’ll have a match made in heaven.


Style: Amber Ale, ABV 4.0%

Tasting notes: Resinous hop, sweet malt and roasted notes, with a dry and refreshing finish.

Pair with: Fish & chips, cheddar, pork pie

Sea Fury

Style: Special Bitter, ABV 5.0%

Tasting notes: Roasted and dark berry notes give way to a malty flavour and a hop finish. Substance of flavour but very drinkable.

Pair with: Slow cooked meats, prime steak or cheeseboard


Style: Pale Ale, ABV 4.2%

Tasting notes: Citrus notes, tropical fruits and fresh hops on the nose. Fruity succulence and citrus spice on the palate, with a dry, hoppy finish.

Pair with: Shellfish, spicy food, grilled meat

Black Sheep Brewery

Meet Black Sheep Brewery

The Black Sheep brewery is based in Masham, North Yorkshire. Founded in 1992 by Paul Theakston, it was established to challenge the international big boys, making ales that really stood out using traditional brewing equipment.

Standing out from the crowd

Today, 25 years after first breaking away from the crowd, the Black Sheep Brewery proudly makes several ales using traditional methods and only the best raw materials; from their flagship Best Bitter to small batch craft ales.

Your tasting notes

We’ll be showcasing several ales from the brewery over the coming months, and of course we’re very proud of our Ember Inns Pale Ale, made in collaboration with Black Sheep, which you can find in all our pubs!

Ember Inns Pale Ale

Style: Blonde Ale, ABV 4.0%

Tasting notes: Well balanced, very drinkable, with a crisp bitter finish.

Pair with: Cod & chips


Style: Pale Ale, ABV 4.0%

Tasting notes: Single hop pale ale with a juicy hope and malty mouth feel. Its aroma is fresh and adventurous.

Pair with: Spicy food, burgers and steaks

My Generation

Style: Pale Ale, ABV 4.2%

Tasting notes: Flavoursome session Pale Ale. Citrus notes, a hoppy aroma and a bitter after notes.

Pair with: Street food, curry

Charles Wells Brewery

Meet Charles Wells Brewery

Charles Wells has been crafting well-known ales in the heart of Bedfordshire as a family brewery since 1876, using its own certified natural mineral water well for all the beers it produces since 1908. While brewing its own selection of popular cask ales under the Wells name, like Bombardier, the brewery also owns and produces beers under the Young’s, Courage and McEwan’s brands.

Home and abroad

Creating delicious beers is what Charles Wells does best. So much so their beers are loved around the world. They’ve exported their beers to over 40 countries, from the USA to Russia, France to Costa Rica. Wherever you might be you’re never far from a pint of delicious Charles Wells beer!

Your tasting notes

We’re very excited to be showcasing some fantastic ales from Charles Wells through our love of ale season. Here’s what to expect:

Bombardier Glorious English

Style: Traditional bitter, ABV 4.1%

Tasting notes: Citrus and biscuit notes on the nose. Malty richness, tangy hops and juicy sultana fruit on the palate.

Pair with: Grilled steak or chicken

Bombardier Pale Ale

Style: Golden Ale, ABV 3.6%

Tasting notes: Refreshing pale ale with a hoppy aroma, including notes of grapefruit and honey. Bitterness is rounded out with sweet malt and a dry finish.

Pair with: Curries or spicy BBQ dishes.

Bombardier Colonel’s Reserve

Style: Extra Special Bitter, ABV 5.2%

Tasting notes: Extra hoppy version of the original Bombardier ale. Full bodied, but refreshing with a caramel malt taste on the palate.

Pair with: Steak & chips, roast potatoes, chocolate gateaux

Marston’s Brewery

Meet Marston’s Brewery

Marston’s is the leading brewer of premium cask and bottle beers in the country. They operate five breweries, making the beers you love from Wychwood, Brakspear, Jennings, Ringwood, Banks’ and, of course, Marston’s. They have been brewing for over 180 years and show no sign of slowing down.

Meet the Expert

Jeremy Pettman is the Head Brewer at Jennings, situated in Cockermouth on the edge of the Lake District. He’s responsible for all aspects of production and quality control, and is well qualified – he’s been in the industry for over 38 years. As Head Brewer at Jennings, Jeremy is living his dream:

“I’ve been married to Julie for over 30 years I have two grown up daughters and two grandchildren. Living in this part of the world, producing top quality beers and roaming the Fells whenever possible with my dog, who could want for more?”

At Marston’s brewery in Burton, Patrick McGinty is the head honcho responsible for brewing their beautiful beer.

A local lad, he landed an apprenticeship at Marston’s at sixteen and decided to pass on A levels and go straight to work. Over the last twenty years, he’s worked his way around every brewing and production process there is whilst taking his brewing and management qualifications along the way, including that of Master Brewer.

He met and married a local girl, Suzanne, who works at the brewery and they have a young daughter. You could say he’s 100% Burton.

Your tasting notes

Here are two of the delicious beers you’ll be able to sample during our love of ale festival.

Jennings Snecklifter

Style: Strong Bitter, ABV 5.1%

Tasting notes: Delicious chocolate and toffee notes on the nose, following through to the palate. Deep flavours are matched by a dark mahogany colour.

Pair with: Spicy curries and other bold flavoured dishes

Marston’s Old Empire

Style: IPA, ABV 5.7%

Tasting notes: Crisp, citrus notes with a balanced bittersweet finish. Warming flavours balance out the sharper notes.

Pair with: Tandoori Chicken, mature cheddar