My personal real ale trail began in Dewsbury back in the '70s when a pint of Tetley Bitter at the Market House was as good as it got - and believe me it was good - though I doubt it was ever just a 'pint'! Sadly the Market House is no more, betrayed by a generation of drinkers who attached more importance to gloss than substance - and as for Tetley's...well, we all know what happened there!
These days the town boasts four entries in CAMRA's Good Beer Guide offering local ale fans some serious choice. Included in that list is the Shepherd's Boy which reopened under the Ossett Brewery banner in the spring of 2006. Situated a little out of the town centre on the Huddersfield Road, the pub underwent a comprehensive refurbishment under it's new owners resulting in one of the most attractive hostelries for miles around.
Eight handpumps feature four beers from the hosts leaving plenty of room for an ever changing barrage of quality guests which always include a mild or stout. The latest landlady Katie Green, formerly of the Rat & Ratchet in Huddersfield, organises an annual beer festival around October/November time, often with a theme, always with cider & perry available.
This is indeed a far cry from the old spit 'n' sawdust, one beer (a mild if you're lucky) Market House but thanks to pubs like the Shepherd's Boy, drinking the real thing has never been as much fun as it is today - let's just hope that future generations treat this fine gem with a little more courtesy!