Monday, 4 December 2017

Riverhead Brewery Tap, Marsden

Marsden is well known in beer drinking circles as a stopping off point on the beer train. Our approach to the town was via an older form of transport. We entered along the Huddersfield Narrow Canal after a very pleasant walk from Huddersfield itself and descended through the town to the Riverhead Brewery Tap.

The first thing that I noticed was the prominent Ossett Brewery sign on the wall. Ossett have a record for buying up smaller breweries and then letting them continue to brew their own beers whilst providing an outlet for Silver Queen et al. We were not in town to drink the very fine Ossett brews so we homed in on the local delights which occupied half of the 10 wickets on the bar.

I started with a pint of Butterley bitter whilst my mate Bob started with a March Haigh. He helpfully informed me that the beers were named after local reservoirs. Butterley is a traditional amber coloured bitter and  @ 3.8% ABV would make an excellent session beer

My second was a very pale bitter called Happy Valley whilst Bob opted for a strong ruby coloured ale called Redbrook. The Happy Valley @4.0%ABV is a lovely blonde beer with hops that linger on the pallet.

Stepping up a gear we both went for a pint of stout. Black Moss stout looks like Guinness but has a lot more flavour and plenty of body despite having an ABV of only 4.3%

A second stout proved  irresistible

All the time we were in the pub there was a constant stream of regulars, hikers and dog walkers calling in for a mid afternoon beer.

Dogs are most welcome in the bar and whilst we were there they were all well behaved, especially our Meg who had walked up from Huddersfield with us.

We could have happily spent the rest of the day in the Riverhead Tap but we had a train to catch back to  Leeds. If you are in Kirklees then a trip to Marsden is a must. A lovely town with a lovely pub.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Sheffield Taps, Sheffield

I like beer. I like trains. I also like breweries. If you combine all three then I am a very happy man. For  my first drinking session in the steel city I chose the Sheffield Tap which combines all three. Station bars have enjoyed a revival in recent years and the north has many fine examples ( Stalybridge, York and Harrogate all spring to mind.) I am adding Sheffield to that list.

We arrived at Sheffield station after a day walking in the Derwent valley which is thirsty work! A short walk over to platform 1 led us to our destination.
The entrance to the Taps is directly off platform 1 which is convenient for people who are just in Sheffield to change trains (as we were). The inconspicuous entrance leads in to a gorgeous bar.
The high ceiling gives a great sense of space but the eye is drawn to the superb bar in dark wood with eleven handpumps in banks at either end of the bar with a set of continental taps in the middle. It took a while to check them all out. For my first pint I went for Headless, brewed in Macclesfield, which is a very palatable session ale. Al joined me getting Headless whilst Bob went straight for a pint of Jaipur from Thornbridge!

We tucked ourselves in a corner and watched the world go by (in trains) from our window looking out onto the platform.After my first pint I went exploring, There is an equally impressive lounge with a small bar further down the platform and, behind a glass screen, is a small brewery owned by the Tapped Brew Company..

I tried a pint of Mojo , brewed next door, which was lovely, before finishing with a pint of the ubiquitous Jaipur which, as Bob assured me, is wonderful.

Having watched two trains to Leeds (our next destination) pull out from Platform 1 while we were quaffing we reluctantly decide to head north. However we did so in the sure and certain knowledge that our next trip to the Peak District would include a refreshment stop on Sheffield station on our way back.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Hogshead Brew House, Sowerby Bridge

The beer scene in Sowerby Bridge is in a state of flux. Good pubs folding and new ones opening. However a brewery and pub has opened in an old industrial building now called the Hogshead Brewhouse.

The building is only ten yrads from the main drag through the town and there is a public car park opposite. Inside there is an immediate sense of space with the bar, festooned with handpumps, over to the left.
The space is so great that I failed to notice all the brewery equipment. The barmaid helpfully pointing out that it was behind me. There it was behind a glass screen, an 8 barrel brewery in all it's glory.
All this sightseeing was thirsty work so we decided to sample what was on offer. I started with a pint of White Hog which is a very palatable pale hoppy brew which slipped down very nicely. At 4% and containing Magnum, Amarillo and Simcoe hops it makes an ideal summer session ale.
 I decided on a pint of porter for my second drink. Old Schnozzler, at 5.3% is a rich dark ruby porter. It tasted of coffee and chocolate! Very interesting and also totally thirst quenching. They brew it all year round - I guess it would be perfect on a cold winter's evening.
Although it was early on a Sunday evening the pub was doing good business. They also do food but we did not try it.

I wish we had had more time to sample the other beers such as Six to Eight Weeks which is a traditional bitter or Hoppy Valley which is named after a television programme. It was not to be as we were booked into the curry house opposite. Still I am looking forward to a return visit in the near future as the Hogshead Brewhouse is worth it.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

The Fighting Cock, Bradford

The city of Bradford is home to some fine pubs and there has been a resurgence in opening new establishments in Sunbridge Wells and on North Parade. However on our trip to Bradford on Saturday afternoon we headed west out of the centre to The Fighting Cock on Park Street.

I am always re-assured when I see lots of empty barrels outside a pub as it usually indicates that the pub sells lots of beer and has a good range of ales. When we went inside we were not disappointed.

There were at least 10 handpumps on the bars with beer from all over the country. Local beers were from Salamander, Wishbone, Taylors and Stancill breweries. I started with a pint of Born Yesterday from Salamander, a pale refreshing, hoppy beer, ideal for a warm afternoon.

Following this theme we also sampled Volk from Wishbone in Keighley:

Bob's third choice was a pint of Dr Phobia from Oakham while I had another pale bitter called Orsino.

Phobia is a ruby coloured beer with a pale head. You get quite a surprise when you taste it with a big chocolate hit with spicy notes.

We only had time to sample a small portion of what the Fighting Cock had to offer. It is a basic , no nonsense pub where the main aim is to serve good beer in good condition. It does exactly that. If you  enjoy cask ale and you happen to be in Bradford then you could do a lot worse than head out of the centre up Thornton Road and go and sample the lovely beers available at the Fighting Cock.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

The Grove, Huddersfield

Huddersfield, rightly or wrongly, has developed a reputation as being one of the best towns in Yorkshire for pubs and real ale. On a cold wet January afternoon we decided to see for ourselves. The most talked about pub in the town is the Grove! As you approach the pub, overshadowed by the new leisure centre, the first impression is one of a corner shop - this being due to the illuminated sign on the front.

Once inside the door you have a choice - left into the lounge or right into the taproom. We turned right to be greeted by a vast array of wickets on the bar..

When faced with such a choice I played safe and went for an Abbeydale Brewery ale called Surreal Ale.
Despite the fact that it was only 5pm it was standing room only in the tap room. No problem really as everyone was friendly and polite - all there for the same reason as us - sampling good , well kept ale in convivial surroundings. My mate Bob had a pint of Squawk.

For my second pint I chose a "champion " stout from Binghams which certainly made a refreshing change. Brewers have made stout such a fun drink these days and Binghams have certainly made this one a real treat to drink.
Bob also chose a dark beer from the selection available although for the life of me I cannot remember what it was called. Heyho :
Whilst we were quaffing the dark stuff we noticed that there was a fine array of  shorts behind the bar.
The Kendal Mint Cake Liqueur caused Bob much merriment for some reason or perhaps it was just the excellent beer that made him smile. 
Unfortunately for us we had trains to catch which meant that we only had time for a brief sample of the delights that the Grove has to offer. Will we be back? I would have thought that that was a racing certainty. The Grove is a great pub offering a huge range of cask conditioned ales in pleasant surroundings. Wild horses could not keep us away.