One of the local festivals I always try to get to is that at The Old Ship at Brighouse. It opened its doors at 12 noon yesterday for business, and is on all weekend. It is a festival held inside the pub itself, with over 20 beers on handpulls, 7 on the usual front bar and the remainder in the back room on a makeshift bar. There is no entrance fee and all beer is £1.35 a half. My only issue is paying £1 for a programme, but it is comprehensive and well produced.
This is the 4th festival the pub has held, and this year the beer range seemed even wider with plenty of festival specials brewed by local breweries on offer, augmented by old favourites from near and far. The system at the festival means that each pump has a beer allocated to it, and then a reserve for when the first beer runs off. This often means more than one visit to collect all the beers you need.
Like all festivals, the problem is where to start your drinking. I opted for a Wilson Potter 'Triple Gem', a fairly safe starter, whilst I worked out the plan of campaign. There was plenty of seating when I was visiting, even when it started to get fuller later in the day, so I was able to drink in comfort whilst working my way along the list.
The beer selection was broad both in style and in origin. In addition to the local breweries available, Brass Monkey, Salamander, Slightly Foxed and Summer Wine to name but a few, there were offerings from Pot Belly, Dark Star, Potton, Newby Wyke and Inveralmond. from further afield. Plenty to keep any one going for a while.
Always a feature of recent festivals here, have been a festival special brewed by Mark, the landlord, in conjunction with Brass Monkey. This time a light beer was the result, a light beer with vanilla, which was certainly an interesting combination! Other specials included an excellent German style wheat beer 'Weimar' from Empire, 'Fruity Fox' from Slightly Foxed, that had too much of a apricot flavour for my taste, and 'Panda Bear' from Old Bear, whose taste belied its tasting notes. Enough said.
If you fancied something stronger there was a collaboration between Marble and Emilys (which I know very little about) called 'Bubbers Man's Best', a stronger traditional best bitter style, another vanilla beer, this time a porter from Brown Cow, and a chocolatey flavoured stout from Imperial. Maybe the beer of the festival was a 7.5% offering from Summer Wine. 'Cohort' was a Double Black IPA, that has previously been available in bottles but never in cask. A real coup.
When this selection has gone there is another equally interesting selection to follow, with plenty of other specials too, so a second visit seems almost essential. Throughout the weekend there are events to contribute to the festival charities which are Overgate Hospice at Elland and the Forget Me Not Trust.
If you have never been to the Old Ship, now is the ideal time to visit.