Sunday, 22 November 2015

The Lord Raglan, Nangreaves, Bury

Set high up on the hills to the north of Manchester is one of the nicest pub-breweries you could ever wish to visit. The Lord Raglan in the hamlet of Nangreaves is also the home of the Leyden Brewery. A visit to the pub can be quite an adventure as it is "off the beaten track" and the last mile ascends a bone shaking cobbled lane. Once you get to the pub the view is spectacular. We arrived on a crisp clear Sunday lunchtime - 15 miles to the south the towers of Manchester glinted in the sun. Fiddlers Ferry power station can be seen to the southwest and to the north and west are the glorious Lancashire moors.

The pub is on the old pack horse route from Manchester to Burnley. It has been in the same family for 60 years and takes it's name from the commander of the British forces in the Crimean war.
We visit the pub every year - the beers brewed on site include: Raglan's Sleeve, a lovely, well balanced bitter and Crowning Glory, a strong smooth winter brew. On our visit they had had a cultural exchange and there were several local guest beers on offer. I started with a pint of Mistral, brewed on the premises - a light refreshing ale at 4% alcohol. My second pint was a sweet stout from the Deeply Vale brewery in Bury called DV8 which, despite the name, is an interesting and very drinkable ale.
Food at the Rag is traditional  pub food with locally sources ingredients. I had a black pudding tower with Bury black pudding ( where else!) - delicious. This was followed by brewers pie - long cooked beef in the pubs own beer.
 After that there was a decision to be made - pudding or more beer? I went for a pint of Gold from the Dunscar Bridge brewery in Bolton - another really nice pint. I had forgotten that Lancastrians are such good brewers.
There may well be dozens of brew pubs like the Lord Raglan dotted around the north of England. I am certainly looking forward to finding them and sampling their hospitality. If you are ever in Bury or passing through the area make a point of finding the Lord Raglan and trying what it has to offer. you will not be disappointed.


Sunday, 31 May 2015

The Crescent Inn, Ilkley

I always associate Ilkley with windswept moors, tearooms and blue-rinsed old ladies so when we were invited, by friends from Leeds, to meet up for a walk and a few beers I could envisage the former but not the afters.

My good lady selected a yomp around Romalds Moor which took in the Twelve Apostles and the highest point on the moor. On the way back down our thoughts turned to beer. Our friends had had the good fortune to miss a train back to Leeds once and had called in to a pub right in the middle of town, The Crescent Inn.
By the time I got to the pub, right by the lights where Leeds Road meets Brook Street there was a pint of Saltaire Blonde waiting for me on the table outside. Very nice! This whetted both my appetite and my curiosity so we ventured inside.
For six o'clock on a Saturday evening there was a good crowd in, some watching the cup final and others just drinking. Despite the loveliness of the Saltaire Blonde I thought that I had better check out what else was on offer. There were beers from Ilkley Brewery ( of course), North Riding Brewery, Leeds Brewery and Abbeydale Brewery to name just four plus a brew made especially for the pub.

The one that caught my eye (and made me think of FIFA) was Corruption Ale from Abbeydale so I tried a pint. From first sip to the dregs it was wonderful. I knew that something good must come from Sheffield occasionally. Now I was in a quandary. To order food or get more corruption? Problem solved - I did both. Once I have satisfied myself that a pub serves decent ale I am happy to try the food. I liked the menu at once - burgers, pies and an interesting veggie tart. Proper pub food for those that want it, yes please. I settled for pie du jour which was advertised as chicken but turned out to be a very nice beef and mushroom.
The pie was substantial and delicious. The accompanying veg were slightly garlicky which made them equally so. Did I mention the gravy? Fabulous!  My mate opted for a Crescent Burger which was vast whilst the girls went for the Moroccan Tart, the veggie option.

We all agreed that the food was as good as it looked. I then did a Sep Blatter and got as much Corruption down me as I could. When the third pint tastes as good as the first you know that you are onto a good thing.
Until our visit to the Crescent I had never really thought of Ilkley as a drinker's town. Well after my experience that Saturday I now have to re-adjust my opinion. The Crescent is a nice place to eat, drink and relax. The staff were great and all looked happy to be working there which is always a good sign. I recommend this pub and we will certainly be  going back for another session.



Monday, 4 May 2015

Fox and Hounds, Dalehouse nr Staithes

When you are out rambling in North Yorkshire then it is always possible that you will come across a great pub that you have never heard of in a hamlet that you have never heard of. One such occasion was on Saturday, 2nd May........

We were doing a circular walk from Staithes and had descended into a nature reserve to the west of Staithes. We came across a sign stating that there was good food to be had in 6 furlongs. Fortunately we are old enough to remember what a furlong is and 3/4 of a mile further on we came across the Fox and Hounds at Daleshouse.
Our first thought was that it would be rude to pass by and Maggie stated that it was OK 'cos we were on in we went.
We were straight into a very cosy bar with an open fire and a smattering of locals. There were two cask ales on the bar - Wells Bombardier at £1.50 a pint and Adnams Bitter at £2.50 a pint. Had we stepped back in time?
Both ales were on good form and landlady Christine took great care in pulling the beer to the glasses. She also disappeared down a trapdoor behind the bar into the cellar whilst tending to the lager - quite a pantomime moment!
The d├ęcor in the pub is dark wood plus several fox heads and lots of brass. The feeling of stepping back into the recent past was enhanced by the background music which was 100% Shadows music. The conversation, amongst the locals, was fairly unique - potash mining - not so surprising as there is a ruddy great potash mine less than a mile away!
We were too early to eat (3 p.m.) but the pub gets rave reviews on Trip Advisor for it's no nonsense pub food. This pub is a little gem and is worth seeking out. If you are in the vicinity then we recommend a visit. We will certainly be going back!