Friday, July 31, 2015

Got that Old English Feeling again

One of my top 10 breweries is Adnams. I have been educated by the best, well Steve D., and years ago, when the Southwold was a regular in The Rat & Ratchet, he used to rave about it. I was a little underwhelmed to be truthful; then the Guru said ' try it without a sparkler'. I did, and from then on, I was a convert.
In the recent weeks I have come across a fair few Adnams beers in our area. Fat Sprat' 'has made another appearance - a bit spicy and grapefruity, with a nice background - their 3.8% summer beer. And yesterday I came across 'Lighthouse'. 3.4%. I have had it before, and it has always seemed a beer for the hot sunny days, (lets face it they have been few and far between lately), but it has always hit the spot. As it did yesterday, and hit the spot for a couple of extra pints ! I knew the brewery used traditional English hops in some of their beers, but I was surprised to find this was a mixture of Fuggles and Goldings hops, and pale ale and crystal malt. It tasted more European than that. And it is named after the famous Southwold Lighthouse.

But as always the jewel in the crown, the piece de resistance came when I found 'Southwold Bitter' on the bar. I was a little sceptical. I thought that the beer may have changed, as some of the beers from my past have, or my taste buds would have changed. But no. It is still the same brilliant beer it always was. Copper coloured, and hopped (and dry hopped) with Fuggles, with East Anglian barley malt, it is a beer that if had read the ingredients I may have shied away from. I would have missed a classic. 3.7% and just too drinkable, the beer has been brewed for nigh on 50 years - so it must be ticking some boxes.

So, if you have never tried it. Give it a go, but as my Guru said 'without sparkler', it gives far more depth to the beer. And it is available a bit stronger (4.1%) in bottles, which I must confess I never realised, should you fancy a tipple or two at home.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Bobtown Beer Bash today

The annual Bobtown Beer Bash takes place today, Saturday, July 25, at The Community Centre in Roberttown,

The provisional beer list is as follows:


4TsAPA (American Pale Ale)4.00%
AllgatesCalifornia3.80%
Black CountryEnglish Summer4.10%
BlakemereCosmic6.00%
Blue BeeReet Pale4.00%
BoggartRuby Tuesday3.90%
BoroughBitter4.00%
BriggsFolk3.70%
Chapel StreetBrewhouse Blonde3.80%
Dunscar BridgeTrue North4.10%
EmpireJonah4.30%
Fuzzy DuckGolden Cascade3.80%
GeevesSmokey Joe5.00%
Great HeckNavigator3.90%
Here Be MonstersRed Fury4.90%
HopstarSaaz Blonde4.00%
ImperialImperial Bitter3.90%
LancasterStrawberry Tipple4.30%
Little ValleyPython IPA6.00%
Little ValleyWithens Pale3.90%
LythamBerry Blonde4.10%
LythamBobtown Festival Special5.00%
LythamBumble4.20%
LythamSummer Ale4.00%
MagpieHoppily Ever After3.80%
MarlpoolOtters Pocket4.00%
Northern MonkChennai Porter5.40%
Northern MonkNew World IPA6.20%
NorthumberlandFirkin Hoppy3.90%
NottinghamExtra Pale4.20%
Old SchoolBlackboard3.70%
PartnersCitra4.60%
Slightly FoxedFox Glove3.80%
Small WorldTwin Falls5.20%
StampsSwedish Blonde4.30%
Stod FoldBlonde4.50%
SunbeamShepherds Delight4.50%
Yorkshire HeartLightheart Pale3.30%
Yorkshire HeartRhu Bar Beer3.70%

Friday, July 24, 2015

Huddersfield Real Ale and Cocktail Trail

I had managed to overlook the fact that last Saturday saw the start of the annual Huddersfield Real Ale Trail and Cocktail Trail. It continues until Sunday 9th August, and consists of 18 venues where you can get your card stamped for your limited edition glass.

The venues this year are The Grove,(Springwood) ,Herberts Bar and Revolution (Cross Church St), Northern Taps, Kings Bar, Zephyr Bar (King St), The Kings Head, and The Head of Steam (St Georges Sq), The Vulcan (St Peters St) , Rat and Ratchet (Chapel Hill), The Sportsman (St Johns Rd), Picture House (Zetland St), The County (Princess St ).
Additionally there are Five Bar, No10 Bar, and Discovery Bar but I am unsure where they are, and the Railway (which I assume is Berry Brow) and The Shoulder of Mutton (at Lockwood).

I must admit there are some of these places, where if you ordered a cocktail you may be greeted by a blank look from the bar tender. Get out there and get ticking.

Hall Bower Beer Festival this weekend

For those who like a decent walk and an decent beer after it, this weekend is the annual Hall Bower Beer Festival.

One of the better local festivals it is held at Hall Bower club, on the left hand side of the village, which is in the shadow of Castle Hill. Around 40 beers are promised over the weekend, mostly old favourites but with a special brewed by an unknown brewer especially for the festival.

Hopefully the weather will be kind to them. It is open all day Saturday and Sunday, and if previous festivals are anything to go by, it will be well worth the climb.

Changes to opening times at THE GROVE

For those of us who drink at The Grove, at Springwood during the week, the opening times on Monday through to Thursday are changing from Monday 17th August.

The revised opening time will be 2pm. It will remain 12 noon on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Collingham real ale festival


The Bloke from Hull writes...

Collingham is a village just south east of Wetherby and a chance meeting with festival organiser Alan Ashbee while out and about in late April led to an invite to attend this year’s (the 5th) Real Ale Festival on preview night. 
As well as being a great social occasion, the aim of the festival is to raise awareness of Prader-Willi Syndrome and much needed funds for the charity both in Yorkshire and nationally. Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a rare genetic condition that affects no more than one in every 15,000 children born in England and causes a wide range of problems including the constant desire to eat, restricted growth, and temper tantrums. The festival has already raised £15,000 for the charity from the first four events with nearly £1,000 for local Collingham good causes. 
Before I could think of attending I had a massive problem. To get home to Hull, I would have had to leave at the time the festival opened but my thanks go to June and Stephen Hudson for giving me a bed for the night. Just great.
And so to the festival. I thought that there would be no one I would know there, but that everyone would be friendly and cheery. The latter was the case but as it turned out there were quite a few people I knew. Several of the bar staff were known to me especially the beer festival Trojan, Lee Birch who, as ever, had been working tirelessly behind the scenes to prepare for the onslaught. 
The mantra of the organising team for the festival is to make the festival better each year but not bigger. With that in mind they seek to provide a quality Yorkshire event showcasing the best of real ales, lager, cider, wine and food along with great dance and music performances. 
Around twenty five cask beers, all from Yorkshire breweries, were available in tip top condition. Of particular interest were those from the Yorkshire Heart Brewery and Vineyard at Nun Monkton near York. We rarely see them in our part of God's Own County. I noticed that the special festival beer was from them and, as if by magic, head brewer Tim Spakouskas arrived for the evening – good to meet him and chew the cud about beer again. Tim introduced me to his festival beer brewing collaborators including sponsor and co-brewer James Garmston, the MD of EasyOdds.com . They had done a good job in producing a pleasant biscuity beer with hoppy notes. Nice one guys.
Friday was also the first outing for a new brewery in Garforth, Quirky Ales. Tim introduced me to head brewer Mike Quirk who told a few of us about his first professional brew – Quirky Gold – a 5% refreshing beer with a lovely fruity taste. Great reviews have since appeared on Untappd.
It was at about this time supper was ready. As Peter Sellers said more than once in 1961 “give us a bash at the bangers and mash me muvver used to make”. Well, I remember it! And though not prepared by my muvver, I did know the chefs – my beery chum Tony “chef” Coltman from Leeds ably assisted by another beer friend, sous chef Ian Weatherill. Between them they served up around eighty portions of a meal fit for a king with lashings of onion gravy. These were then distributed by a bevy of fine volunteer waitresses to the awaiting attendees. In turn the meals were consumed with relish (not Hendersons) and just as in Oliver (not Jamie) quite a few asked for more. They were not disappointed.
Then it was the turn of the multi-talented Tim from Yorkshire Heart to host a wine tasting session featuring his own viticultural prowess. What a mouthful and jolly good indeed.
Musical entertainment was provided by the talented vocalist and musician Steph Baker from Boston Spa. Just right for the occasion. Finally, well almost, it was raffle time with some fab donated prizes raising over £300 for the Orchard Garden Trust.
There was still time to sample more beers including the local Collingham Ales favourites Journeyman & Blonde and excellent ciders from Yorkshire cider makers Mark Stringer (Yorkshire Scrumpy) and Dave Kendal-Smith (Udders Orchard).
The following day the Flagcrackers of Craven border Morris dancing squad provided an entertaining and colourful spectacle with inside and outside performances. Other great entertainment was provided by local young talent Lucy and Jo, George, Andy Bowley and Juvenile Success, followed by local soloist legend Matt Gouland. The fun was rounded off by the fabulous Reggie and the Screamers.
And what of the final scores on the doors? Around 2,000 pints of beer were drunk over the weekend and around £6,000 raised for charities. A massive 10% up on the previous year.
Well done to all for raising funds and awareness.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Thurstyfest

This weekend it's Thurstyfest at The Rose & Crown.
Expect 50 beers, a cider bar and a barbecue, plus eight bands Friday to Sunday at Thurstonland.
The Bloke from Hull suggests taking the 341 from Huddersfield bus station.
But if you like walking, then catch the train to Brockholes and follow the steepish footpath up to Thurstonland Bank and into the village. The pub is just over the brow of the hill.