Wednesday, 11 April 2018

The Anchor Inn, Guisborough, North Yorks.

The market town of Guisborough lies nestled under the northern escarpment of the North Yorkshire Moors. We found a very good reason to tarry a while when we happened upon a delightful pub in Belmangate just outside the town centre. Belmangate leads directly up onto the moors and the Cleveland Way so the Anchor is well placed to serve thirsty hikers like us. However it is easy to miss as it is in a terrace of cottages with just the pub sign hinting at the delights inside.
The Anchor is a Sam Smiths tied pub which means that the normal protocols of drinking do not apply. If you want draught ale then it is Old Brewery bitter. No guest beers are served. If you want lager then it is Sam Smiths lager that you get. The upside of Sam Smiths pubs is the price. Bitter is £2 a pint, lager is £2.30. The result is that the pub is always busy.

The landlord is also very friendly and welcoming which must contribute to the popularity of the Anchor. The rooms are tiny with traditional seating round the walls and shelves packed with books. As with any good local pub we were soon engaged in conversation by the regulars including a retired steeplejack who claimed to be 81 but who looked as fit as a fiddle.

Anyone who is visiting Guisborough should seek out the Anchor Inn where they will find a warm welcome and cheap, well kept beer. The perfect combination.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Jubilee Refreshment Rooms, Sowerby Bridge.

 Calderdale is home to some mighty fine pubs and drinking establishments. It also has some great walks so it comes as no surprise that we managed to combine the two on a fine Wednesday in March. We started at the railway station in Todmorden and sauntered 10 miles down the Rochdale Canal to Sowerby Bridge which abounds with delightful watering holes. On this occasion we decided to try The Jubilee Refreshment Rooms on Sowerby Bridge Station as we would be heading north on the train after a session.

From the centre of town we followed signs down a narrow cobbled path to the station, crossing the tracks via a dark subway and into the light to find the JRR opposite the westbound platform.

My first impression , of a cafe, was reinforced by the "Whistle stop window" board by the door. I was re-assured by the six handpumps on the bar when we got inside

First up was a pint of Pale Eagle from Todmorden Brewery. This was just what I needed ! A pale well balanced beer reminiscent of Lancashire bitters of yore. Bullseye with the first pint. That would take some beating!

My second was a pint of Ribble Head. A perplexing pint as it came from the Don Valley Brewery and was billed as a "Pilsner-type ale". Despite the label it was a pale bitter which slipped down a treat. Another winner with my second pint.

My third sample was billed as a dark mild called Dark Masquerade from the Half Moon Brewery in Ellerton, East Yorkshire. It was indeed dark and had plenty of flavour from the black malt which also gave it the colouring. One quirky aspect of the JRR is the toilets which have a keycode which you have to obtain from the barman. If you time it right you can nip through when someone  who remembers the code goes to the loo.

As well as having a nice selection of beers the JRR also has a good view of the platforms so that reminded me that we had a train to catch. I had enjoyed our visit to the Jubilee Refreshment Rooms and I am sure that we will return when we are exploring the Calder Valley

This establishment is well worth a visit. It is warm and friendly . It also sells good interesting local beers. If you are in Sowerby Bridge seek it out.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

The Tanners Arms, Alnwick

Alnwick is a lovely market town in the heart of Northumbria. It is steeped in history and has a couple of good pubs as well. We were staying next door to one of these, The Tanner's Arms, just 100 metres from the gate to the town.
The pub is on the corner of Hotspur Hill on the end of a short terrace of apartments. During the week it is not open until 5pm but, be assured, the wait is worth it.
Inside there is just one room , part divided by a stone fireplace with a woodburning stove in it.

There is a small bar with six wicket pumps on it. This is the area where the locals congregate.

The beers on offer were all from the region. My first pint was Foxy Blonde from the Born in the Borders Brewery in Jedburgh and very nice it was too. This was followed by a pint of Game Bird, a very tasty bitter from the same brewery.

There was also a porter available from the Tempest Brew Company in Galashiels but I was enjoying the bitter too much to be tempted.

Whilst supping my second pint I was able to observe the "tree" in the middle of the room although it was probably only a branch & did not appear to be growing. "Quirky" springs to mind.

Another feature of the pub was the amazing jukebox. Unusual these days. It featured songs from great bands going right back to the days of my youth.

Despite being only one room the pub had at least four well behaved dogs in whilst we were there. At 5pm on a Sunday evening the pub was filling up with people looking for good beer in a convivial atmosphere. Time for another pint! 
My third was a pint of Pennine Pale from the Allendale Brewery in Hexham. This turned out to be another beautifully balanced bitter which slipped down easily.

There are probably lots more lovely pubs like the Tanner's Arms in Northumbria but I am happy to have found this one and look forward to our next trip oop north where the scenery is matched by the quality of the local beers and pubs.