Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Brewers Pride, Ossett

How many times have we been asked the question “which is your favourite pub?” Guess it depends upon how often you are in one; but usually the answer tends to be the one you use most. You know the customers, the staff, the beers….what you can and cannot get away with etc. But I digress…


I was first introduced to The Brewers some 20+ years ago by the then head brewer at Clark’s in Wakefield; we occasionally had the odd half of light ale together in Henry Boons. One afternoon whilst chatting to David Garthwaite he suggested we had a wander up to what was then “Boons End” - and even to this day a lot of people still refer to it as such. I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon, and the memory of the pub at the bottom of the hill stuck in my mind. It took a couple of years before I ventured there again, this time in a taxi - and I thought I would find it easily. One wrong turn later and find it I did, and have since ventured down that hill and back more times than I care to mention.


The pub is situated one mile down Healey Road from Ossett in the middle of an old industrial area. The look I get from everyone I take there is one that reads “where the hell is he taking me now?” The area does not detract from it's appeal; but merely heightens it as you feel, once inside the doorway, that you are in a country inn. It is a “four square” simple style pub; originally the Millers Arms (from the mills surrounding it I guess) with “best room” and bar almost one large area plus rear tap room.


It was purchased from Clark’s by the well known Bob Hunter, around the same time as he sold his award winning “Beer Engine”, taking it from a good local’s pub to a super one. He joined forces with Bob Lawson to open the Ossett Brewery in an extension to the rear, and fulfilled a lifelong ambition to brew his own ale. Bob's commitment to the brewery and the option of having staff members Sally and Jo and their then partners to take on the lease, led Bob to relinquish control and simply let the four of them get on with the day to day running of the pub.



Once the brewery partnership had gone its way and Ossett Brewery had moved to much needed larger premises, a spell of bad health for Bob led him to be persuaded to sell the pub to Sally and partner Jon. And the investment made to the pub I know they both love has been immense over recent years; revamped drinking areas, vastly improved toilet facilities (some of the best you will encounter in a basic pub), large catering kitchen, green oak covered smoking shelter... the list goes on.

The bar has the usual keg selection without any smoothflow or it's ilk. The recent addition of Belle vue Kriek and Addlestones Cider augments the numerous distinctive continental brews that include the likes of de Koninck, Vedett Extra White, Kuppers Kolsch and Timmermans Straw.


But to get to the point; ALE?
Yes sir; 9 hand pumps….. and you can pretty much guarantee what a drinker will have….
From Right to left (line 1 to 9)
Line 1 - a medium range light hoppy ale; Phoenix, Durham, Roosters, Oakham and so many many more pass through this very popular pump.
Line 2 - is always Bob's White Lion; brewed in the old Ossett brewery extension to the rear of the establishment (more later).
Line 3 - tends to lend itself more to a variety of beers of a lower gravity and in the darker months is often a mild.
Lines 4 and 5 - are usually more traditional beer lines but also open up to new brewers and new brews.
Line 6 - tends to rotate around Hopback Summer Lightning, Bob's Chardonnayle, Kelham Island Pale Rider or Ossett Excelsior with the odd other light coloured beer appearing around the 5%+ mark.
Line 7 - is usually a dark beer varying in strength.
Line 8 - is Rudgate Ruby Mild; a very loyal following but if it ever got taken off I think Lord Felton would flay John alive!
Line 9 - tends to be the top of the shop; not always dark but usually in excess of 6% - so be warned.


On top of this a large range of bottles and some very good wines including fruit wines compliment one of the best standard ranges of beers in the country. Maybe not all things to all men but you would have a struggle not to find something you like. The addition of a small rear “Belgian style” bar to support the restaurant is worth a look when open. And they know what they are doing; if you think a beer is off you will get an alternative without question; but for those who are not sure (e.g. those not used to a wheat beer) can simply ask for a taster.



Food wise they have been unlucky, as the original chef they wanted to start off their gastro-enterprise died at a very young age; a more talented and warm hearted person you could not wish to meet. Since then they have invested hugely in the upstairs Millers restaurant and a wonderful catering kitchen that can turn out everything from mini fish and chips at under £3 to high end dining. Whatever you want to eat, whether it is a light bite with a pint at lunchtime or a five course meal to celebrate an anniversary; they can provide.



So get out a little; wander down the hill and immerse yourself in a traditional Yorkshire boozer with so much to offer all folk…just don’t suggest it belongs to Ossett brewery; they would love it too! Those of you who have visited almost any Ossett pub will see what they have almost all been modelled on. Plagiarism it is not; but it is still a most sincere form of flattery.



I have been very lucky in life to have visited some of the finer real ale establishments around the country; including the two pubs that have won the national pub of the year twice. I guess the only reason The Brewers has not made it is because of its location; off the beaten track with some pretty poor transport links. The Brewers Pride is open all day, every day and there is regular live music from acoustic inside to rock bands outside in the summer. Summer Bank Holiday weekend sees the pub's annual beer festival.

Whilst this may not be every persons “favourite pub”, it is mine. But if you are coming, please don’t bring a busload without letting the pub know in advance…otherwise you may end up having me work behind the bar! (map) (website)

Script: BJ, Photos: Will

The easiest way by public transport is from Dewsbury bus station on the 117 and shortly after leaving Ossett bus station, hop off and walk down the hill. The 102 does go down the hill but runs so damn infrequently it is somewhat frustrating and finishes too early in the day for a decent session.

From Wakefield the same bus can be caught; but I am advised that for the sake of the extra two minutes walk, take the 126 or 127 to the top of Southdale Road and then sharp right onto Healey Road. The walk back up the hill can be a killer; but try offering a driver a pint and he may give you a lift. The walk from Ossett bus station is less than half an hour should you choose.

3 comments:

Jibber said...

For those who like walking, it's a pleasant walk along the canal to/from Dewsbury, with the added advantage that you can pop into both the Leggers (beer festival in November by the way) and Mr Field's Magnificent Emporium on Dewsbury Station.

Likewise the walk to Wakefield is not bad apart from a few really long straight bits of canal and a very confusing entry to / exit from Wakefield itself.

Steveg said...

Nice pics Will, the borrowed wide angled zoom perhaps?

Will said...

Thanks. Don't think I've quite got the hang of it yet but am certainly saving up for one!