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Fernandes BreweryThe Old Malthouse, 5 Avison Yard, Kirkgate, Wakefield, W. Yorkshire WF1 1UA
Tel: 01924 291709, Fax: 01924 369547 (These numbers are now of historic significance only)

FERNANDES BREWERY AS A SUBSIDIARY OF OSSETT BREWERY. Yes the lease of the Brewery and its Brewery Tap were put on the market with Christie & Co in Autumn 2004. Both David and Maureen James intended to continue until they found the right individuals to carry on the traditions they have created. In Spring 2005 they were looking forward to spending a good deal of their time as customers at the other side of the bar, with new proprietors taking charge. However, as we all know, that deal fell through. Everyone made sympathetic noises, whist secretly shouting "Yipee!!!" On 29 June 2007 it was announced that the Ossett Brewery would be taking over Fernandes as of Monday 30 July 2007. Independent brewing Brewing would continue with back-up services such as cask-washing undertaken by the new parent company. M & D Homebrew moved to a new location, in Vicarage Street and the vacant middle floor of the building would become the dreamt-of continental café bar. Forty existing Fernandes recipes would remain with the new owners. Around 90 different beers are brewed each year. Black Voodoo has become a regular beer after winning several local and national awards. The Tap sells Fernandes and Ossett beers as well as guest ales; the former are more widely available through Ossetts supply chain. Seasonal and special beers are produced including a Rhubarb beer for the Wakefield Rhubarb Festival in February. Steve the brewer has a certain amount of flexibility and is allowed to experiment with different hops and malts. Once a year  Fernandes Brewery Tap has a Beer Festival where all the beers are from the Fernandes Brewery often on a local theme!! Malt Shovel Mild reached the finals of the CBOB competition in 2015 at GBBF in London.


Regular Beers 2016

 Malt Shovel Mild (OG 1038, ABV 3.8%)

A dark, full-bodied, malty mild with roast malt and chocolate flavours, leading to a lingering, dry, malty finish.

Ale to the Tsar (OG 1042, ABV 4.1%)

A pale, smooth, well-balanced beer with some sweetness leading to a nutty, malty and satisfying aftertaste.

Centaur (OG 1045, ABV 4.5%)

A dry, pale ale with balanced notes of orange zest, coriander and pine

Black Voodoo (OG 1050, ABV 5.1%)

Smooth, full-bodied black more-ish stout with a chocolate, orangey, vanilla flavour coming through

Double Six (OG 1062, ABV 6%)

A powerful, dark and rich strong beer with an array of malt, roast malt and chocolate flavours and a strong, lasting malty finish, with some hoppiness.


A point of interest is that pilot brews of East Coast IPA at 4.3% and East Coast Bitter 3.8% for a new brewery, East Coast, on the East Coast, at Filey, were made at Wakefield in early June 2007. Two of Dave James' all-time favourite brews, Moodies Mild and Empress of India were to go with him to his new East Coast Brewery at 3, Clay House Yard, rear of Mitford St, Filey, North Yorkshire YO14 9DX  (not Five Leys as the name was already used by a local hotel) . Wakefield CAMRA met with Dave and Maureen James for a final brewery tour and social on 17th July 2007. Join their final brewery tour, here!

 or lurch through the Brewery Tap's farewell party here


cellarman, at the time, Kevin Gameson squeezes through.

Historical Note:

M & D Homebrew, the original business of Maureen and Dave James was situated on the shopping street of Kirkgate. Silly rents and lack of space led them to look for alternative premises, hence the move to Avison Yard, where a basement in an old malt store gave Dave the opportunity to build a brewing plant. The middle floor was the homebrew shop and off-licence, and the cavernous loft space above was a place where Dave could store the rest of the old breweriana and equipment that he was addicted to collecting. The 2˝ barrel plant was designed and built by Dave with a little help with the welding from Sean Tomlinson. Gas is used to heat the copperThe unique Fernandes Brewery and the wort is cooled using a unique concentric copper tubing heat exchanger. It is probably one of the neatest and most compact breweries you might visit.Fernandes Brewery fermenting vessels Brewing took place 3 times a week to supply the Brewery Tap, wholesalers who distributed all over Britain, and some 10-12 pubs which collected direct.

The original three storey building was constructed as a maltings by Luis Fernandes, a Portuguese immigrant, who founded the original Fernandes Brewery, across the bridge in the early 1800's. That brewery and forty-two of its public houses were to be auctioned off in October 1919 and acquired by John Smiths of Tadcaster. The actual building was sold to  Beverleys Brewery, Wakefield, who used it as a malt store and finally a bottle store before being acquired by the James family. A certain George Denton was one of the last Beverleys Brewery apprentices to be involved in the initiation ceremonies inflicted upon new employees. This amounted to the youngest male and female employee at the brewery being locked in the cellars overnight in nothing but their underwear! Bob Lawson of the Ossett Brewery was also an apprentice brewer at Beverleys.

Many brews were and still are named after old Wakefield pubs.

Beer to look out for in Winter-Spring 2005 included the 3.6% Butlers Bitter and a 6% rhubarb beer, and a lot of the floral hoppy 3.9% Triple O which is still a regular was around back then!

Please note that the beer lists below are by no means exhaustive - that would be a full-time job in itself!


Malt Shovel Mild 3.8% dark malty mild with chocolate & malt aftertaste
Best Bitter 3.8% a light spritzy & hoppy session beer
Ale to the Tsar 4.1% pale smooth easy-drinking beer with some nuttiness
To Be Joyful 4.3% refreshing fruity & hoppy beer with a lingering fruity aftertaste
Wakefield Pride 4.5% a light coloured clean-tasting beer with a bitter dry finish
Jacobs Well Premium  4.5% dry hoppy premium bitter with a good lingering malty finish
Double Six 6.0% dark powerful strong beer with an array of roast, chocolate & malt flavours leading to a lingering malty finish
Empress of India 6.0% light coloured & easily drinkable fruity & hoppy beer with a complex bitter palate

This table shows beers which were brewed in 2001 as one-offs, monthly specials plus regular beers which are not currently brewed, often just taking a rest for a while!

Shakespeare 3.5% surprisingly flavoury refreshing session bitter, light, hoppy & dry
Lord Rodney 4.1% dark, smooth & malty porter
Old Spice 6.0% Christmas beer, dark & very spicy with real rum flavours
Oddfellows 4.3% malty, very heavily hopped
January Bitter 3.9% light, clean & hoppy
Sam Weller's Extra Porter 4.7% dark, well-bodied & fruity
Chancery Bitter 3.9% pale, fruity & hoppy
Moody's Mild 6.0% strong dark Sarah Hughes style mild
Golden Cup 5.0% light, clean-tasting hoppy beer
February Bitter 3.9% pale & hoppy, refreshing palate
Triple Stout 8.3% "rocket fuel"
Black Cherry Stout 4.1% fruity (from real cherries) & dark
Stout 4.1% black cherry stout without black cherries in the cask!
Brown Stout 6.4% biscuity brown ale with a lot of amber malt
Orange Blossom Ale 5.0% orange-y clean tasting beer, also brewed at 4.9%
March Bitter 3.9% a malty light brown beer
Lager Beer 4.2% real cask-conditioned lager, light & hoppy
Olde England Country Bitter 3.9% wonderful dark brown ale with rosehips & elderflower in the brew
Double Stout 7.0% dangerous dry bitter stout
Millstone Best Bitter 3.9% wedding beer, pale, fruity
April Bitter 3.9% bitter, dry & hoppy
May Bitter 3.9% malty, clean-tasting beer
The Return of the Full Moon 4.3% bitter-tasting wheat beer
Cracker Jack 3.4% dry, hoppy birthday special
June Bitter 3.9% hoppy, fruity, well-bodied beer
Khedive Dark 4.3% deceptive, malty strong mild
July Bitter 3.9% fruity, pale, easy-drinking beer
August Bitter 3.6% aromatic, pale, hoppy session beer
September Bitter 3.7% malty, light & hoppy, dry beer
Dalby's Dark 4.6% smoked beer
October Bitter 3.9% a fruity & bitter beer
Partners in Crime 3.6% a light & hoppy beer
Positively Public 4.2% light & fruity, brewed for the local branch of Unison
White Bear Premium 4.2% brewed with lemon balm
November Bitter 3.6% light & spritzy session beer
Victorian Stout 5.9% Christmas beer, smooth
December Premium Ale 4.9% hoppy & dry
Blackberry Way 4.6% fruity (locally gathered blackberries) & dark

Maureen Waller, for many years Staffing Officer for Wakefield Beer Festival, then became Fernandes' BLO. She used also to be found working behind the bar of the Brewery Tap on Thursday evenings.

Some of the new brews for Summer 2003

Comfortably Numb    
Summer Wheat 4.3% naturally cloudy unfined wheatbeer with ⅓ wheat malt
Abitteralright =A Bit of All Right 4.5% mid to dark brown & very malty, later brewed at 4.1%
TBB (Traditional Best Bitter) 3.8%  
Stout Leader 5.0%  
Crystal Bitter 4.0%  
Damn Good Beer 4.5%  
Barleypop1 3.3% a pale dry malty beer with a bitter finish
Barleypop2 3.3% a pale fruity & hoppy beer
Favourite Pastime 4.2% malty with a bitter hop finish
Rolling Stock Bitter 3.9% malty start and a dry hop finish
Wish You Were Here   dark smooth & malty, a Mars bar of a beer
Dark Side 4.7 mid-brown & malty

Just a few of the new brews for 2004

Triple O

3.9% the blondest of blonde beers , intensely floral hopped
Coffee Porter 5-6% brewed with real coffee in early February, this experimental porter was an instant sell-out at the Brewery Tap and is likely to be re-brewed
Dawn Chorus 3.8% new Summer beer, June 2004
Harvest Gold 3.9% another Summer beer
Three Sieges 6% re-brewed for Pontefract Liquorice Fair to Sean Tomlinson's original recipe.
Traditional Bitter 3.5% what the label says

As for the complete catalogue of beers brewed, we just can't keep up!

special thanks to our colleagues at Huddersfield & District Camra for use of material from their site. They can be found by going to CAMRA Near You .

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