There's one weekend adventure I yearn for once the clocks have gone back and the sudden dark days have sparked a craving for Oatmeal Stout, Coffee Porter and Pudding Ale - and it's not in Kirklees or even West Yorkshire for that matter. For four days in mid-December Suddaby's Crown Hotel (below left), in the picturesque North Riding market town of Malton, puts it's rather large 'shed' to very good use indeed. With ample room for a hundred folk, some live music, plenty of food and no fewer than forty gantried real ales, this is without doubt my favourite winter beer festival. In fact if I had to chose just one festival a year to attend (God forbid!) this would probably be it!
Ideally an overnight stop in the Crown itself would make for the perfect weekend but with very few rooms, and availability at a premium during the festival, this isn't always an option. However a few hundred yards up Yorkersgate stands the mighty Talbot Hotel (right), a spacious (in fact enormous!), clean, comfortable (not to mention 18th century) home to a good night's kip and a monstrous breakfast - and all yours for the princely sum of £30 a night! Unbeatable value, and the very best way to start your build up to the festive season.
The links are all here so go ahead and treat yourselves to a relaxing couple of days in the beautiful heartland of Yorkshire a mere 10 minutes drive from stately Castle Howard (Brideshead) - oh and did I mention the beer shop where you can get all of Suddaby's ales to take home? - Christmas shopping made easy! (Now where's NYCC tourist board with that cheque!)
Suddaby's Winter Beer Festival runs from Thursday 13th - Sunday 16th December (map)