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24th August 2020

Treboom Brewery, York collaborates with Tommy Banks

Credit Eve Wilson

Treboom Brewery’s Christmas Fair last year saw brewer John Lewis in enthusiastic conversation with a visitor over a pint of their bog myrtle infused beer – Myricale. It became clear that they had very similar interests and ethos; both revelling in the idea of using locally sourced, foraged ingredients to produce high-quality, flavoursome food and drink.

John’s fellow drinker turned out to be Tommy Banks, Chef Director at the Black Swan Oldstead. What followed were plans for an exclusive beer for his two restaurants, Roots in the centre of York and the Michelin-starred Black Swan, Oldstead.

It’s been a really exciting process’, said John. ‘Tommy and his brother and business partner James, visited the brewery, in Shipton-by-Beningbrough, with a crate of ingredients foraged locally or grown on their farm. We knew we wanted to make a Kolsch style lager and after tasting and smelling all the samples we narrowed it down to sweet woodruff.’

Woodruff is a native groundcover plant bearing small lacy white flowers in late spring. Growing abundantly in woodlands it has a vanilla, sweet, grassy aroma.

Over lockdown the team at the Black Swan foraged the woodruff from around their farm, dried the foliage and delivered it to the brewery. ‘The smell was fabulous’, said John, ‘like plunging your head into a pillow of sweet hay. We had to carefully choose hops to compliment it and selected a French hop called Triskel which has subtle floral and fruity notes.’

Named ‘Master of the Woods’ – the German name for woodruff – it is a 5% straw coloured, clean, fresh lager with hints of vanilla and subtle grassy herbal notes. The woodruff is clearly present but doesn’t dominate, resulting in a really distinctive but easy drinking and well balanced beer.

In response to having to temporarily shut their restaurant doors over the lockdown period, Tommy and the Banks family, as well their business partner Matthew Lockwood, developed an online delivery service which has since flourished. The huge success of this new venture means that the cans of lager will now be distributed through the business’ e-commerce site, as well as being on the menu at both restaurants.

Jane Blackman, co-owner of Treboom said, ‘This project is a real positive that has come out of the COVID-19 lockdown. We were unable to brew beer to go out to pubs but it has given us the time and opportunity to develop this lager with Tommy and James. For us, this is what brewing is all about, subtle balanced flavours from ingredients right on your doorstep, absolutely handcrafted.’

‘It has been great fun to collaborate with Treboom Brewery. As a business, we take great pride in working with local suppliers and producers, so it’s been wonderful to not only use sweet woodruff foraged in and around Oldstead, but to have the lager produced by a brewery just down the road from us,’ says Tommy Banks.

‘Getting to make alcohol with local brewers and distillers using our grown and foraged ingredients is such a great perk of the job, and Master of the Woods is one of my favourite collaborations yet. A really refreshing drink.’

Master of the Woods is brewed exclusively for The Black Swan Oldstead and is available on the menu at Black Swan Oldstead and Roots York, or online at

Treboom Brewery Enquiries:
Jane Blackman or John Lewis 01904 471569
Treboom Brewery, Millstone Yard, Main Street, Shipton-by-Beningbrough, York YO30 1AA

Notes for the editor:
Treboom Brewery are a 10-barrel craft brewery based in Shipton-by-Beningbrough just north of York. Founded by ex-research scientist, Dr John Lewis and Royal College of Art trained artist, Jane Blackman. Best known for their pale ale, Yorkshire Sparkle, they produce a range of traditional and contemporary beers in cask bottles and cans, supplying pubs, restaurants and independent shops throughout Yorkshire.

Their achievements include Champion Golden Ale of Yorkshire for Yorkshire Sparkle, industry awards for many of their cask and bottled beers, Great Taste Awards and winner of best locally produced beer in the Flavours of Herriot Country Awards 2017.