Sunday, 14 April 2013

The Stubbing Wharf, Hebden Bridge

Hebden Bridge is famous for all sorts of things. Until now I did not consider it to be a mecca for good beer. That changed one Tuesday lunchtime when I walked into the Stubbing Wharf. The place was full!

As usual I headed for the bar to see what ales were on. There was a good selection from local breweries: Tod's Blonde from Little Valley, Arizona from Phoenix and Sandstone from Bridestones were three that caught the eye.
Once I had tried the Sandstone I realised that it was a very nice session ale with a lovely flavour and never got any further. Others in our group latched onto the stronger Tod's Blonde which also went down well.
The food available looked delicious and there is a comprehensive specials board. As the pub was so busy we booked for the following evening when we could do it justice ( we were not disappointed) - game stew was very popular and there was a good selection of vegetarian items for those who wanted it.
Did I mention that the pub backs on to the towpath of the Rochdale Canal? We literally sailed up to the door, tied up our narrowboat and stepped into this excellent pub. This can only add to the attraction of  a pub which is already popular with locals and visitors alike.
If you are in the Calder Valley go to Hebden Bridge and sample the delights of the Stubbing Wharf. We will certainly be going back!

Friday, 12 April 2013

The Puzzle Hall, Sowerby Bridge

The Puzzle Hall  is tucked away down a lane 200 yards from the A58 which runs through the middle of Sowerby Bridge. The town, which nestles in the Calder valley has lots of good pubs but it is worth making the effort to find the Puzzle as it is a little gem.

 When I first visited, some 30 years ago it was a Wards tied house. Nowadays the pub sells a range of local beers. I started the evening on Stokers from Bridgehouse before things got a little hazy. Absolution from Abbeydale was popular with the younger members of our party but I ended up drinking Spotland Gold from Phoenix which was very morish.
I started with a pint of Stokers...........
The Puzzle is a two roomed pub. We were 14 in our party which half filled the "concert room"
The Puzzle advertises Thai food in the second half of the week. We were feeling peckish but the menu did not look very appetising. How misleading that was! Calamari, spicy fishcakes and corn fritters with hot dips whetted our appetites. I had a green curry for main  which was fabulous. When the chef came out to see if everything was OK our group broke out into spontaneous applause.
The Puzzle also has it's own website where you can find details of forthcoming events. We visited the Puzzle Hall at the end of a week on the Rochdale Canal. I recommend that you take time to seek out and enjoy the delights of this local institution.

Monday, 1 April 2013

The Scarborough Hotel, Leeds

Known to Loiners as the "Scarborough Taps" this pub was, for many years, the nearest pub to Leeds City Station and hence was popular with thirsty travellers. In recent years two pubs have appeared within the station itself and the Leeds Taps is on the approach road. I have been going into the Scarborough for many years under various management and have mixed memories. Lately it has been a civilised watering hole when the city centre is getting a bit lively. When I heard that it was now being managed by Nicholsons (of Victoria Hotel fame) I thought that I had better re-visit this famous old pub.

My first impression was: A good selection of ales on the bar, big drinking space, lots of seats and tables. After perusing the pumps I elected to try a pint of bitter from Dent brewery:
A good choice as you can see, a golden beer with a fine head. Mmm - second pint same as the first!
It was a Sunday lunchtime when I called in and although I was not partaking there was a steady stream of plates piled high with pub grub emanating from the kitchen. Prices start at around £7.50 which is good for a city centre pub and there were at least 2 veggie options. The Sunday drinking crowd were in good humour which made for a nice atmosphere, helped by the dark wood panelling and soft lighting. If I had had more time I could easily have been seduced into a long happy session.
Nicholsons seem to have got it right with the Taps, decent ale in a convivial atmosphere. A good pub to visit if you are travelling from/to Leeds and if you are a discerning quaffer.

Long may it continue to thrive!