Friday, December 31, 2010

Hoppy New Year

As we are on the cusp of a New Year, let all at 'A Swift One' wish you and yours all the best for 2011. Lets hope there are plenty new beers to sample, plenty of new breweries to try, and that our time honoured favourites go from strength to strength.

Thank you to all our readers throughout 2010, to all the brewers who have produced the goods for us to review, to all the pubs who have tolerated us and our questions. Hope 2011 brings everything you deserve in this difficult economic climate, and that we continue to be able to bring you the best that Huddersfield has to offer.

It would also be nice if the blue & white Brazil managed to achieve promotion and at least one trip to Wembley. I can dream at least !!!

Happy 2011 to you all.

Beer of the day,30th December

A visit to the The Grove produced one of the best beers of the month yesterday, from one of the best breweries around.

Moor have become fairly regular at the Grove in recent weeks and some of their beers have been excellent but yesterday I encountered one of the best. It is one of those strange hybrids that call themselves 'black IPA', which I think is a contradiction in terms, but that aside, their 'Illusion' is a superb version of the style.

Even though it is black, obviously, there is plenty of hop flavour in the glass, and none of the overpowering dark malts that sometimes appear in beers of this type. It is 4.3% which is a sensible drinking strength and very moreish. (or should I say 'Moorish'!).

Moor are a southern brewery who seem to be going down the route of hoppy rather than malty beers and their beers are well worth seeking out. In fact, I didn't have to look far for another, their 3.8% 'Revival' was at the other end of the bar. Not as distinctive as the 'Illusion' but a good session bitter.

The black IPA seems to be a feature at the Grove recently, with Thornbridge 'Raven' and 'Thornstar '(a collaboration between Thornbridge and Dark Star) all appearing. If you have never tried one, give it a go, I am sure you will not be disappointed.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

House Beer Reaches the New Inn

I have been advised by one of our roving reporters, (thanks Margot !), that the long awaited Mallinsons house beer for the New Inn at Roberttown has arrived, and very good it is too, apparently. It is called 'Bobbytown Pale' or something similar. Must be worth another trip out to investigate.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Date for Your Diary

Soon the New Year will be upon us, and with it a new range of beer festivals. It is unusual for 'A Swift One' to promote Camra beer festivals but the New Year opens with the 'National Winter Ales' festival, over the hills in Manchester.

It starts on the evening of Wednesday 19th January 2011 and runs through till Saturday 22nd with full day sessions from Thursday onwards. The venue is a short distance out of Manchester itself, at the Sheridan Suite up Oldham Rd, a few minutes out of the Northern Quarter.

That's enough of a plug for the main event, but often, running in parellel with the larger festival, the pubs in the area host their own smaller festivals, and, in my opinion, are far more worthy of a visit. I am usually well clued up by this time to know what is happening where but due to the the recent inclement weather I have been unable to visit for my research visit, (if you know what I mean !) so at present I am in the dark as to who is holding what and when but hopefully some of the more adventurous pubs should be holding their own festivals during this time. If not, the bigger festival promises a range of 200 + beers and ciders to sample.

Make a date and see what is available, and start the 2011 festival season early.

Note : have just been advised by one of the drinkers from over the hill, 'Nora Ticker', that there is a beer festival being held at the New Oxford in Salford,as I type, and running until 6th January 2011. It seems there are 50 beers on offer coming through the 15 or so handpumps at the pub. So should you be at a loose end over the New Year weekend may be a trip into Salford may ward off the winter blues. Pub opens at 12 noon daily and is easy enough to get to on the no3 free bus from Man Piccadilly station.

Friday, December 24, 2010

What a lucky lot we are !

In the world of beer, Huddersfield may have been looked down on by its bigger brothers Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield, but this applies no longer. We have got one of the best drinking towns in the north, possibly even the country; we possess some of the best breweries about; and some of the best beer festivals.

The town has cemented its place on the 'Trans Pennine Ale Trail', with plenty of groups discovering for themselves the pubs that we can offer. The eight or so committed real ale pubs on the 'town centre trail' all offer different types of experience for the drinker, whether it be beer from local micros or further afield, beers from foreign brewers, or something more familiar.

The town is home to well known breweries such as Empire, Mallinsons, Nook, and Summer Wine, which often travel far and wide and spreading beer from Huddersfield to many parts of the country. And what's more they are all going from strength to strength in this difficult economic climate.

As for beer festivals, well what can compare with the thrice yearly Star fest at Folly Hall? Now into its 9th year it attracts drinkers from as far afield as Scotland, London and the south coast, with some even booking their holidays to coincide with the events. We also have our CAMRA festival, which again is one of the better ones about; the twice yearly Swan festival at Crimble is well worth a call; and where else could you visit village festivals of the quality of the Thurstonland 'Thurstyfest', the Armitage Bridge 'MonkeyFest' and the Hall Bower festival? Throw the 'Moonrakers' and 'Slaithwaite festivals' into the mix and there is something to keep the itinerant drinker happy most of the year.

We already celebrate the fact that Huddersfield is one of the best towns around in so many ways, so let's get out there and show our support for the pubs, brewers and festivals too and make 2011 an even better drinking year.

Merry Christmas to all our readers

A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our readers and everyone who has contributed to 'A Swift One' during the last 12 months.

We are aiming to be the most comprehensive account of beer available and pubs around Huddersfield, and think we have gone from strength to strength in the last year, with even more readers and contributers. Long may it continue.

All we can say is get out there, check out the pubs we have and sample the beers available. You know it makes sense.

Will, Tim, Alison, Iain, BJ, Brian and 'The Bloke from Hull'.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mallinsons Now Regular at The Rat

Since Rob Allen returned to manage the Rat & Ratchet in Huddersfield he has being gradually doing things his way, and yesterday he unveiled the most recent of his changes, a permanent Mallinsons pump alongside the now permanent Pictish.

He states that the choice of Mallinsons will complement those beers already on the bar and give those who hold the brewery in high regard (i.e. most of the drinking world), another outlet where they can find their favourite brewery. At present there is 'Garnock' available but several other new brews are waiting patiently in the wings.

This gives the brewery an outlet either side of town with The Sportsman serving the north end. And should you want to travel further afield, Mallinsons are also featured at The Shoulder of Mutton in Lockwood, and more recently, The Kings Arms at South Crosland in addition to the house beer provided for The New Inn at Roberttown.

It just shows how far the brewery have moved on in a short space of time and is a credit to them that so many local pubs feel confident enough to keep their beer available at all times. Long may it continue.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Beer of the Day - 18th December

To continue a theme that has been running through the last couple of posts, and to save Jibber the problem of risking drinking a Xmas beer that is not light and hoppy, I have found one with a Christmas name that should satisfy any light beer drinker - and after a customer satisfaction survey yesterday, seems to suit dark beer drinkers too.

Pictish have come up with something different this year. Instead of their usual 'Rocket Fuel' they have brewed 'Wheat Christmas'. It is a crystal clear beer, the wheat just obvious in the background, and unusually for Pictish it is not massively hoppy. Everything is just subtle and blends together to make a very quaffable 4.4% beer. Just the antidote for these freezing times.

It came on the bar at The Star yesterday afternoon, all I can hope is that it may be still be there today so I can sample it again, purely for quality control and research purposes of course.

On the subject of Pictish, I am advised that their ' Winter Solstice' - the monthly special for December - is available at the Rat & Ratchet, and in excellent form too apparently. Another one to try should you be lucky enough to get time off from Christmas shopping today.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Xmas - A Time For Silly Names!

Will has just pre-empted my post, which was going to be about Xmas beers in general, and those with silly names in particular. He has already identified one of the beers I was going to highlight, another of the Doctor Morton's range from Abbeydale, which are always good for a laugh, I mean the pump clip, not the beer, which is usually excellent. But what else is about for us to enjoy ?

Locally, Mallinsons have brought out 'Comet', named after the reindeer, not the thing in the sky. Acorn have provided '8th Noel', their 8th Xmas beer, and Ossett have resurrected their 'Nervous Turkey' for the season. None of these having a particularly silly name though. I have seen a pump clip, although not yet tasted the beer, for a new offering from Blue Monkey, called 'King Kong Merrily on High'...that's more like it.

Time for a bit of research. A look through the new beers on Beermad only revealed Caledonian 'Escape Claus' which I could class as vaguely silly, but as an aside Warwickshire 'Moustache Ale' sounds a bit daft. So time to revisit my beer lists and see what we have been subject to in the past.

Blackwater 'Jingle Dingles' seems to fit the bill; so does Bull Box 'Turkey's Revenge'; and Hull 'Rudolph P*ss', but most breweries have been playing safe with stuff called 'Xmas Pudding' and 'Christmas Beer'. Who else has the wit to be a bit original ? Andy at the erstwhile Rat brewery came up with 'Cratchit's Xmas Cracker' ; Bobs had 'Anything But Turkey' a couple of years ago; and Pictish treated us to 'Rudolph's Rocket Fuel'.

What were the best though ? Will has found one of my favourites already, but in amongst all the breweries who have a beer called 'Red Nosed Reinbeer' I came across my favourite, an offering from Storm brewery called 'It Looks Like Rein Dear'. Just goes to show how easily pleased I am !!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Fun from Abbeydale

Currently selling well at The Huntsman in Chidswell is a Christmas brew from Abbeydale's Beer Works range.

The comically titled Dr. Morton's Famous Reindeer Repellent is another in an excellent line of beers from the company's testbed brewery, but at a pale and hoppy 4.2% is probably not the ale you would have expected (perhaps the clue's in the title!).

A subtle hint of spice somewhere in the finish is the only real nod to winter in an otherwise light and citrussy drink. With it's fruity moreishness and typically fun pumpclip, this is easily my favourite yuletide beer thus far. (map)

Ossett Landmark Beer

Ossett Brewery's 2000th beer will be a specially produced single-hopped 7.5% IPA and should be in pubs in time for Christmas.

The as yet unnamed landmark ale uses the current favourite Citra hop, so will hopefully be well received by the many fans of this relatively new American hybrid variety.

We will attempt to keep track of when and where this limited edition beer is available but if you're going to be out looking, then obviously the brewery's pubs are a good place to start!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Cheer

It has been a tradition for a while for some of us more aged gentlemen to gather together on a Monday in a local hostelry to compare notes whilst sampling the wares on offer. This week we gathered in The Grove for our usual brainstorming session, and were treated to some excellent beers, both English and foreign.

My only regret was that the Dark Star 'Green Hop IPA' ran off before I could sample it, (thanks Gary!) but I managed to find several other beers to make the disappointment more bearable.

Moor 'Revival' seemed a good place to start; a 3.8% session beer, pale and hoppy and well up to their usual standards. A brewery rarely seen about these parts but one that is consistently good and has the knack of succeeding, whatever style it produces. I followed this with another Moor, 'Ported Peat Porter', which was dark but equally good. Those in the know told me it was their 'Peat Porter' with added port. At 4.7% it was robust but very drinkable, with just a hint of the port.

Another of my favourite beers was on the bar, so next on the list came Bathams 'Best Bitter'. I was a little disappointed with this as it displayed a little more sweetness than usual and seemed a tad unbalanced, but there were still plenty others to go for. I followed this with Nethergate 'Sweeney Todd', which was not to my taste, unlike the Adnams 'Old Ale'. This is another favourite from years back and this time it did not disappoint, bringing back memories of times gone by when it was often on at the 'Rat & Ratchet'.

By this time I had decided to go a bit experimental. I often overlook the foreign beer in The Grove but this time did venture around the other side of the bar and took the plunge. It is not cheap but does give the chance to see what other countries have to offer us at this time of year. I started with the American 'Stone Pale Ale', and at 5.4% I expected much from it but it did not have a lot of the flavour I want from a beer of this strength, especially from one of the classic breweries of The States.

That was soon put right by a 1/3 pint of the 'Delirium Noel' though, a dark, fruity 10% offering. I could not complain about the lack of flavour here, a robust little number, packed with taste and far too drinkable for it's strength - a real Belgian classic and a fine way to round off an interesting afternoon. Should you be in the area and need an antidote to the Christmas shopping then look no further, I am sure you will enjoy it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Creche

Thanks to David Litten for this. It does indeed sound a bargain - one which I'll be suggesting regularly during the next twelve days!

Friday, December 10, 2010

The 'Swift One' Awards - 2010

As another year draws to a close its time to reflect on the highs and lows of the previous 12 months, and as a bit of fun I thought I would share my feelings with you. I hasten to add, before I get lynched by the rest of the team, these are purely personal and have not been shared. So if your favourites are not mine, add them to the comments at the bottom and we may have a comprehensive, and objective list come the new year.

Best Beer Festival - goes without saying - The Star Inn. People travel from all over the country thrice a year to sample the beer that Sam sources. It is always in good nick, and a selection to satisfy any palette. It stands head and shoulders above all others.

Best Brewery of the Year - again I may be a bit biased but Mallinsons beer always seems to hit the spot for me,and many others too by the look of it. Great to see a local success in these difficult times and good to watch a brewery go from strength to strength in the few years it has been running. Must not overlook Golcar either for their achievement in winning the Bronze at the GBBF for their mild.

Best Beer of the Year - sorry Tara, but this has to go to your competition from over the border, Pictish 'Citra' was stunning. A true classic.

Best Hop of the Year - again Citra, never had a bad beer brewed with it. Full of intense citrus flavour and well worth hunting out.

Best Beer Town/City of the Year - in my opinion Manchester and Salford, which used to be the holy grail for drinkers seem to have lost it a bit this year; Sheffield is still good but my favourite drinking city must be Derby for its selection of beers and variety of different pubs to drink them in. The best town must be Huddersfield with some many good pubs in such a small area and each with their own take on beer.

Best Pub in Huddersfield - again this is a very personal opinion, but for the amount of beers that are turned over and their quality, The Star Inn gets my vote. I like the pub too as you may have guessed. Others run very close though, and many people will prefer the Rat, (who incidentally, have the best quiz night in Town) ,the Grove or the Sportsman for their own reasons.

There you are....my totally subjective choices...may be you think differently, I am sure you will. Just let us know.

pic: Tara & Elaine of Mallinsons Brewery receive non-Timbo related awards from the kind lady at The Star Inn, Huddersfield.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

New Inn - Roberttown

Ironically, in view of my previous post, I had cause to visit Leeds yesterday. I did go by car but as the M62 had ground to a halt I had to return via the old A62. It seemed the ideal opportunity to call in at a pub I had not visited for years and see what had happened to it. This is what I found.

The New Inn, at Roberttown lies just off the main A62 in the village centre itself. An imposing stone building, it is not hard to find, standing on a corner by a mini roundabout. For the driver it does have a large car park at the rear.

It is a pleasant environment to call for a beer, with the main lounge an airy and welcoming room, large and bright with plenty of tables and seating and should you feel the need to relax even more,a red leather suite in one corner. It is open from 12 noon every day, and on my visit, I doubled the clientele in the bar. There is food served with a mixture of old favourites and more modern fayre on the menu at a reasonable price, shame no one was eating when I called in.

My reason for calling was actually to chase a Mallinsons beer that had previously eluded me, and rumour told me was available on the bar. It was, so I settled down with a pint and watched the world go by. I believe, although am not 100% sure, that there will be a permanent Mallys house beer on the bar in the near future, the pub is having a competition to name it at the moment, so that makes another good reason to call in. Notwithstanding this though, there are 5 other draught beers on the bar, with offerings from Leeds, Adnams, Riverhead, and Nottingham also available when I called, and covering all styles of ale to satisfy any drinker. The staff obviously care about their beer, the efforts the bar man put into pulling a decent pint of Leeds for a customer was very impressive. There is also a good range of soft drinks and the usual range of lagers on the bar should that be your thing.

In view of my previous post I did a bit of research on my return and discovered that the pub is well served from Huddersfield by the 229 Arriva bus route with buses every 30 minutes and a journey time of around half and hour. Not too long for us oldies to hang on on the return journey then !!

All in all, another pub to add to the list on the fringes of the town that are worth a call. Maybe a short crawl covering here, the Black Bull at Liversedge, the New Charnwood at Heckmondwike and the White Horse at Bradley would be a possibility. But that is one for the future. Hopefully, the pub will do well, it is another village local, and needs the locals to support it. From what I saw, I hope they do.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Real Ale Accessibility

Thanks to Jibber for his comments on Will's previous post about the Cricketers. It set me thinking a bit about some of the pubs I never seem to get to, but probably should.

I know this is not the weather to start tripping off into the wilds in search of beer but do we, as drinkers, become complacent if we have good pubs on our doorstep? Is going the extra mile to get somewhere worthy of a visit, too much for some of us? Are we missing out on some gems? Unfortunately the answer to all these questions in my case is certainly yes.

We live in an area where we are spoiled for choice, both in good beer and good pubs. I regularly visit several pubs in the town centre, as readers will no doubt be aware, but rarely do I venture into the outlying villages around Huddersfield. This is due to various reasons, the most telling for me being the opening times and their accessibility by public transport.

I am a day time drinker and my Saturday commitment leaves only Sunday when all day opening is virtually guaranteed. Transport is usually at a premium then, so what seems like a good idea to visit out of the way pubs becomes a chore rather than a pleasure.

I have not been to The Sair at Linthwaite for some time for this very reason and likewise my visits to the Yeaton Cask at Kirkheaton have been few and far between. They are both excellent pubs, well worth a call, but a bit out of the way and especially tricky during weather like this.
I am lucky to have occasional access to a car and driver, so sometimes can venture out into the unknown, but if I do, I prefer to get to places outside my usual drinking area, and the scope of a 'Swift One' - only rarely do we stay local. I know others of the editorial team are keen walkers and use this as a means to get to some of the more distant pubs, killing two birds with one stone as it were, it is not my thing however, so locally I have to rely on the fragmented transport system.

Is there an answer? Well it will depend on how important you feel supporting real ale pubs in awkward locations is. Jibber's comment is spot on - most of us will visit a new venue once or twice out of curiosity but the onus is, and always should be, on the local community. If, for what ever reason, they aren't interested, then the pub won't survive. However much we may like a place and wish we could visit more often, we can't be expected to become regular, nor should we feel guilty about it. In the case of Horbury's Cricketers Arms, the decision to take on this pub will surely have been made with location in mind, there are precious few more important considerations after all.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Cricketers Arms, Horbury

I was convinced I knew this pub – right up until the moment I arrived at the wrong one. Although not over-familiar with Horbury, I had spent my early years at school in the town but for some reason, when I finally did find it, The Cricketers Arms on Cluntergate just didn’t ring any bells.


In contrast to the formulaic makeover at the latest Ossett pub in Knaresborough the other week, this Field & Barnes production would be much less contrived - and remembering back to the opening of The Sportsman in Huddersfield, I got there thinking 'try to keep an open mind'. But whilst the duo's last project was a somewhat acquired taste (though well worth acquiring!), this pub is instantly lovable.


Should anyone need to see just what a transformation there’s been here (and you really do) then there’s a photo album available for perusal on the bar detailing every stage of the metamorphosis. The pub looked to have rather lost it’s way under the stewardship of Tetleys so it’s great to see it’s dignity and character restored once more.


The bar is a real piece of work with panelling from an old German dresser making it an eye-catching feature. The décor, whilst understated, makes the best of the natural lighting through the etched glass and the (obligatory?) historical prints of the locality in the front room are perfect.


Beer

The eight handpulls were heavily biased in favour of the most local producers during my visit, with Fernandes, Five Towns, Ossett and Tiger Tops making the Mallinsons look positively foreign! As with both The West Riding and The Sportsman, Taylors Landlord and Black Sheep Bitter will be permanent here.


Alongside the cask, the pub also serves Amstel, Guinness, Aspall, Pilsner Urquell, Heineken, Blue Moon (an American take on Belgian wit), La Chouffe and de Koninck on draught. A selection of continental bottled beer is also available.


Manager Lisa Wood is confident that beer festivals, quiz nights and acoustic sessions will feature at the pub once the dust has settled, and we would like to wish her, Mike and Sarah all the best with their latest adventure! (map)

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Tickers - A Hardy Breed!

After a couple of quietish nights at the Star festival, Friday saw it get into full swing with a plethora of beer lovers from all over the country braving the extremes of the weather to sample the beers on offer.

Visitors came from as far afield as Croydon, Carlisle and Newcastle in search of 'ticks' to prove that a little matter of snow, ice and transport disruption will not stand in the way of the enthusiast and his beer. There was no great queue at opening time but throughout the afternoon a constant stream of people came through the door in search of the 'holy grail' and it was good to see them. Some of the regular faces were missing admittedly, and it was a shame that neither 'The Vicar' nor Brian were well enough to get up from South Yorkshire, and those that did come up had to detour around Leeds, but they made it.

We had plenty of visitors from the other side of the Pennines too, with the 'usual suspects' from Liverpool, Blackpool, and Manchester appearing. The Wirral was also represented, along with Humberside (even the 'Bloke from Hull' managed to get across).

It was great to see everyone who made the effort during this exceptionally difficult time and good to see some old faces and catch up. Its not just a festival, its a great social occasion too so thanks to everyone who made it, and hopefully we will see many more today.

And by way of a reminder, if you have some time to while away in town before the pub opens then why not take a look on New Street where the Star Inn bar is set up for the Festival of Light celebrations. The bar has two Mallinsons and two Goose Eye beers on, three of which were new to me, so definitely a good place to start the days ticking (it opens at 10 am I believe.)

Thursday, December 02, 2010

What Did We Find At The Star?

The Star Inn opened the doors on it's 9th Winter Beer festival last night, and never has a festival been so aptly named. Those who were in Huddersfield yesterday were treated to a proper winter day, freezing cold, heavy snow and in true English style, a complete absence of public transport. Therefore, if you were not prepared to put the hard yards in and walk, there was no way you could make it there. (I did come across a couple who had made it all the way from Southampton for the festival though, but I assume they didn't walk all the way!!)

Although this may have scuppered the plans of those living out of town, a fair selection of the town's beer enthusiasts made the trip to see what was on offer, and as usual Sam has done us proud (the actual list is on our Facebook & Twitter pages if you want to check it). Due to the inclement weather, and the prospect of a long walk home, I did not manage to sample as many of the beers as I wanted, but here is what I found.

The obvious place to start was the Mallinsons special 'MCC', and I was not disappointed, it was bursting with hop flavours from the mixture of the three hops used, and a great starter. I followed this with a couple of offerings from 'Steel City' and again, there were plenty of hops to the fore as would be expected with beer from Gazza and Dave.

By now the urge to experiment was taking over, and a desire to sample some of the breweries new to me. I had a go at the Magnet 'Tornado', which I have later found to be a cuckoo brewery brewing on the Hornbeam plant. It was a decent beer but a bit lacking in my opinion. Next came the Tatton 'Gold' which was a well balanced stronger beer. I found the Mr Grundy's 'Trenchfoot' to be not to my taste at all and lets face it, the name doesn't exactly sell it either!

Time to trip down the dark side - Kissinggate ' Black Cherry Mild' was good, with plenty of flavour in a 4.2% beer and I followed this with Blue Ball, 'Black Hawk', a 5.2% blackberry porter and a really tasty beer from a new brewery (even Caddy may like this!!). I finished off with the Goose Eye 'Ever so Gingerly', that's the name of the beer, not the way I was drinking it!! At 4.7% I expected more from it, but maybe the ginger will become more apparent later down the barrel.


Nevertheless, I could not complain about the beers I tried, all in good form and despite the freezing cold outside, all managed to keep their flavours, a tribute to Sam's efforts and the hard work put in by her team to actually get the beer on the bar. I will have to revisit again tonight, to catch up on some of the beer I missed, I heard good things about the Pictish 'Star Turn', which looked great, and I still have the Mallinsons 'Chocolate Cherry Stout' to sample.

So, should you have a bit of time to spare this weekend, and you want to get out of the snow, where better to while away a few hours. And for those seeking the unusual Xmas present, there are plenty of bottled beers on offer, and the usual selection of interesting cheeses. And why not go home with a Star fleece, just the thing to keep you warm in this weather. Hope to see you there, I am sure the trip will be worth your while.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

9th Winter Star Inn Beer Festival

Just a reminder that this afternoon sees the start of the Star Inn Winter Beer Festival at Folly Hall, Huddersfield, opening 5pm today and Thursday then 12 noon, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The set up is as always, 46 beers in the outside marquee and ever changing beer on the bar in the pub. There will be plenty to choose from with lots of new beers, some festival specials and breweries rare to these parts. The full list can now be found on our Facebook and Twitter pages (see sidebar).

Just to whet your appetite even more, there will be a Star Bar at the 'Festival of Light' that runs over the weekend in the town centre, where even more specials will be available from local breweries. (map)