The Golden Eagle

A small micro-brewery named after its the owners - the Beverley Brothers - opened for business on Harrison Street, Wakefield, in 1861. It continued to thrive up to 1967, when it was taken over by Watney Mann Ltd  in March 1967, with the promise of no redundancies. Beverley Brothers  closed on October 1968.

For a brief period in the early nineteen-fifties it is believed that some form of 'sponsorship' existed, whereby Harry Binns would race as an 'amateur' whilst receiving support from Beverley Brothers. He was often seen competing in a cycling jersey emblazoned with the brewers Golden Eagle insignia; Binns well known climbing abilities endorsing the nickname which would follow him for years to come - 'The Golden Eagle'. Along with race kit, Binns pre (and post) race insistence on a jug of BB ale, contradicting the ethos of his competitors for more beneficial forms of hydration, came gratis, as long as Binns kept winning.

This undocumented, and to some extent unsanctioned relationship would pay dividends for the brewer, with Binns declaring in a local gazette that his unorthodox pre-race preparation consisted of nothing more than "A foaming jug of Golden Eagle, half a Denby Dale pie and a slap from the Farrier's Arms landlady."

Sales blossomed; Harrogate's own 'Demon of the Dales' proving to be every bit as 'invigorating as the Mountain Air'.

In the summer of 2014, the Tour de France would grace the UK with its first three stages. Of greater significance, Le Grand Départ (Stage 1) would start from Leeds, and finish in Binns' home town of Harrogate.

To commemorate this once in a lifetime event, local specialist brewery Rooster’s Brewing Co.created THE GOLDEN EAGLE - 'a premium pale ale brewed to celebrate Le Grand Départ in Yorkshire, conditioned on oak staves from a Chardonnay barrel, from the Nuits-St-George domain in the Burgundy region of France and finished with Champagne yeast to create a crisp, aromatic and delicate beer, with a white wine fruitiness, that’s best enjoyed fresh.'

It was in 1960, aged 30, when Harrogate-born Harry Binns turned émigré, leaving his beloved Dales for the exotic pastures of the south of France. He left behind the shattered dream of one man's pursuit of cycling glory - to pull on the famous Maillot Jaune jersey - worn by the race leader of the Tour de France. Binns never returned. Or as he put it "I never disappeared. I just didn't come back." 

 But in the summer of 2014, Yorkshire hosted Stages 1 and 2 of the Tour. Binns came back. Join him with a champion local brew, and his nostalgic toast to "Poetry and push bikes."
© Sixteen Ninety-three 2014