Monday, January 05, 2009

A Trip up the Colne Valley

For those unaware, the Colne Valley is the valley to the West of Huddersfield heading towards Marsden, served by the A62 Manchester Rd, and also easily accessible by rail and bus (181-185) from Huddersfield. My reason for the trip was to catch up on the 2 brew pubs and a 3rd beer guide listed pub up the valley. It can be easily done in either direction but best done at weekend due to the pub opening hours being restricted in the week.

My first port of call was the Riverhead Brewery Tap, in Marsden - easy enough to find at the bottom of the main street in the village. The pub was once independently owned but is now part of the ever expanding Ossett chain, but brewing still takes place on the premises, and to prove it on my visit there were 6 Riverhead beers on the bar in addition to 2 Ossett and a Fullers. A friendly pub, popular with locals and visitors alike, it also has an upstairs restaurant. I settled down with a Town Terrier at 4.6% and an American IPA at 6.3% - both excellent brews. The pub also serves coffee for those in need of warmth after a mornings walking.

From here it is easy enough to get to Slaithwaite, and The Swan at Crimble, (under the railway arches to the right of the village centre). A nice walk along the canal from Marsden if you feel energetic or near the Railway Station if you don't. The Swan is a comfortable pub, serving 2 rooms from a central bar. There were 3 beers on offer, one being a Mallinsons, but often Empire beers are on the menu here. There is Sky TV and a pool table but neither are intrusive. It is again a friendly place and spotless and worthy of its place in the Good Beer Guide, my Hambleton Festive Folly was on form. It also holds occasional beer festivals which are well worth a visit.

The final port of call was the Sair, at Linthwaite. Up the steep hill, Hoyle Ing, from the main road. By the time you have climbed the hill, a beer is a worthy reward. There have been problems there in the recent past and Ron, the brewer, was still struggling on a walking stick, on my visit. However, his new brewer, can still produce the goods as the 5 Linfit beers on the bar proved. I chose Swift at 4.2% and was amazed to find I was only charged £1.90. The beer was in good order and the pub had lost none of its quirkiness since my last call. It does however, seem to have become a locals local and I felt treated with some suspicion as an incomer. If you have never visited before it is well worth hunting out.

It is an easy bus ride then back into Huddersfield - there is no rail station at Linthwaite. All in all, a good way to spend an afternoon, and if one includes some of the other pubs in the area such as the Tunnel End at Marsden then it's a very acceptable crawl.


ArcticFox said...

For my part, I was out walking on the hills above Marsden on Sunday morning... Black Moss reservoir was frozen so solid I took to a little (cautious) ice skating - On the subject of which - Riverhead's Black Moss Stout is one of my favourite beers along with their Deer Hill Porter and Licorice Stout.

Anonymous said...

You should have settled down with a Town terrier years ago!