Monday, July 29, 2013

A voice from the beery shadows

Picture courtesy of Wee Beefy
Time for a bit of cross promotion on
Let me introduce you to your Sheffield tour guide: Wee Beefy.
The shadowy Wee Beefy is a fellow blogger who has been keeping an on-line ale diary since at least 2009.
He covers the rather coveted patch of Sheffield but isn't limited by geography as he's very keen on chronicling Crete. 
I've met up with Wee Beefy a couple of times in the slightly cooler climes of The Steel City and Hudds.
We've been talking for a bit about writing about each other's patches and casting a new eye over the other's well worn tracks.
Wee Beefy has been rather quicker off the mark than me and wrote up his whistle-stop tour to Huddersfield trip a few weeks back.
We visited HDM, The Star's Folly Fest, Lockwood and Salford Liberal Club and The Shoulder of Mutton. It was a good night out and you can read about it it here on his blog:
Now, the return leg of the Intertoto beer blog challenge will be at Walkley, Commonside and pubs off West Street in the near future.
But Wee Beefy has today written about the beery delights of some of those pubs: The Closed Shop, which has just reopened after a refurbishment, and The Bath Hotel where he was drinking a pint or few of the "excellent Mallinsons Topaz".
So I'm poring over his scouting report ahead of the away tie. But if it's level after 90 minutes then it's penalties down Kelham Island

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hall Bower Beer Festival (July 27-28)

It doesn't seem two minutes since I was writing about the start of the summer beer festival season. But since then we've had Monkeyfest 7, Thurstyfest 5 and The Star's Summer Beer Festival. And now hot on the heels of those comes two more this weekend.
Bower Beer Fest kicks off on Saturday and runs until Sunday. While The Bobtown Beer Bash is a one day wonder on Saturday.
First to Hall Bower, in the shadow Castle Hill. It's a fine setting and a very friendly festival.
A scan of the beer list (please click on attachments to enlarge) reveals three from Morecambe based brewery Cross Bay, which is new to me.
Their website says they've been brewing since summer 2011 and have won several awards. The pump clips, as the brewery's name suggests, show views across Morecambe Bay towards the Lake District at various times of day.

Another brewery to catch my eye on the list was Gower (Wales), who had a few on at The Star's winter or spring festival. I remember guzzling my way up the peninsular! 
Also on is Loch Ness' Light Ness, which was among Will's favourite beers at last weekend's excellent 'Folly Fest'. 

The Hall Bower list also features Honely outfit Thirstin who emerged at the Kirburton Uniform Groups' beer festival a couple of months back. You may recall The Bloke from Hull waxing lyrical about them.
I've had a good look at the list and there seems to be a good mix of local, regional and national breweries. So let's hope the thunderstorms have rumbled through so they can enjoy the good weather, which has so far beamed down on the rest of the Huddersfield summer beer festival season.
Unfortunately, I haven't seen a list for Bobtown (at the Roberttown Community Centre from Noon on Saturday) but I bumped into someone today who has been telling me for a while how good it is.
There are 35 plus ales on offer and it's £2.50 entry/glass. Music also features heavily, with eight bands set to play throughout the day.
Music and beer hybrid events seem to be very popular at the moment if Sheffield's Tramlines festival last weekend is anything to go by.
I caught the tail end of it with an acoustic set in Shakespeares' beer garden on Sunday afternoon. Drinking Wilson Potter's In Shreds, while sitting under a tree, listening to one man and his guitar was a perfect blend of beer and music. Although, I'm not sure I should own up to enjoying a Kenny Rogers' cover! Perhaps I should have been drinking Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby Mild?

Thurstyfest 5

With the beer festival season now in full swing, the weekend saw another of the regular annual events take place at the Rose & Crown, Thurstonland hosting its fifth Thurstyfest. Licensee Richard Billington and his team were just adding the finishing touches to the bars on Friday morning and by opening time all was ready for action.
Around 35 beers were ready and waiting to be served by handpump with an equal number waiting in the wings to replace them. The well chosen list not only featured selections from great Yorkshire breweries such as Fernandes and Rat but also many from throughout the country. Beers had arrived from Cornwall to the North East, East Anglia to the North West and all points between plus some top choices from London, Scotland and Wales.
With the sun beating down, festival goers began to arrive to take cover in the shaded spots with their first selections in hand. Meals allayed hunger and fuelled the rumbling tummies including my own. All was set fair.
Due to other commitments I had to leave in mid-afternoon – if only I could have stayed longer. My favourite beer had to be Purple Moose Glaslyn – light and hoppy – just right for the baking hot weather.
Burton Bridge “Thomas Sykes Ale” was the bargain of the festival. A multi-award winning straw coloured dangerously drinkable fruity Old Ale weighing in at 10% ABV for only £3 a pint!!!

The festival continued until Sunday with something for everyone including a wide range of live music, a barbeque, a hog roast and a raffle in aid of the purchase of a special new bike for the disabled for the “Streetbikes” charity.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

London Craft Beer Festival 16-18 August

Europe’s most exciting craft breweries descend on East London for a weekend focused on flavour, diversity, food, music and all things beer.…

For one weekend only, Oval Space, East London’s premier multi-use arts venue will transform into the epicentre of European craft brewing.
With craft titans such as Mikkeller (hosts of the Copenhagen beer celebration and brewers to NOMA) as well as a selection of English breweries such as Brew Dog, Camden Town, Thornbridge and The Kernel, with their head brewers – this weekend is unmissable for any beer enthusiast or person keen to try.
Alongside the myriad of special breweries, there will be festival exclusive brews, unavailable anywhere else and never to be seen again.
Running concurrently will be spectacular food and music offerings. With  street food  vendors, supper clubs and barbecues all with their own homes for the weekend; attendees will be able to eat a simple barbecue, some steak and chips or dine out in the mezzanine supper club, complete with it's own beer matched menu.

Music wise, there will be live gigs from We Were Evergreen, DJ sets from Craig Charles and a sun soaked roof terrace with some of the most spectacular views London has to offer.
A ticket gives you entry, a festival branded tasting glass, programme (with tasting notes) and a beer from every brewery. Tickets £35 from            
Press enquiries: Tom Ranger- //020 7033 9932
General enquiries:
Website -

BREWERIES - Camden | BrewDog | Thornbridge | Magic Rock | Partizan | Brodies | Mikkeller| De Molen | Buxton | Darkstar | Beavertown | Siren | Crate | Harviestoun | Howling Hops | TO-OL| Redemption | Weird beard | 5 Points |The Kernel | + MORE TO COME !

MUSIC LINE UP - Craig Charles | We Were Evergreen | Amber States | Fiction | Ursa Minor (Little Bear) | DJs Lexicon & Goldbars (Time Out) | SpeactraSoul + many more.

FRIDAY 12:00 – 17:00 – FRIENDS & PRESS
FRIDAY 19:00 – 00:00 – END OF THE WEEK
SATURDAY 19:00 – 00:00 – BIG NIGHT OUT
SUNDAY 13:00 – 20:00 – SUNDAY FUNDAY

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Star List

Star at Folly Hall, Huddersfield. The 'Folly Festival' runs from 5pm Wednesday
17th,5pm Thursday and all day Friday, aturday and Sunday.

Beers 1-46 are served in the outside marquee, 47 onwards on the pub bar coming
on as and when other beers run off.

1. Mallinsons Folly Girl (4.3)
2. Hand Drawn Monkey Hello,My Name is Jephers (Star edition)(3.8)
3. Offbeat Unhinged Ginger (4.5)
4. Shiny Bank Vault (4.3)
5. Harthill Hartstopper (4.0)
6. Bosuns Golden Rivet (3.7)
7. Bridestones XP366
8. Black Edge Platinum Blonde (4.4)
9. Fool Hardy Risky Blond (4.4)
10. Grafters Old Calibration (3.7)
11. Brew Co Hop On (3.8)
12. Great Heck Mosaic (4.0)
13. Brew Co Gold Digger (4.3)
14. Glentworth Snow In Summer (4.3)
15. Oates Summit IPA (4.5)
16. North Riding Aussie Punch (4.5)
17. Pictish Minstrel (4.2)
18. Star Comet (3.8)
19. Goosnargh Bit O Blonde (4.0)
20. Goose Eye Folly (4.0)
21. Front Row Pause (4.5)
22. OMB Arrestor (4.0)
23. Goosnargh Truckle (3.7)
24. XT XT pi (3.1)
25. Elland Woof ! (3.8)
26. Wensleydale Number Tain (3.9)
27. Wellington Super First Duke (4.0)
28. Yorkshire Dales Feizor (6.0)
29. Wilson Potter Texas Star (3.7)
30. Geeves Clear Cut (4.4)
31. Fell Patriot Wheat (4.5)
32. Lymm Slitten Brook (4.0)
33. Out There Laika (4.8)
34. Mouselow Golden Goose (4.2)
35. Pope Hop Market (3.8)
36. Loch Ness Light Ness (3.9)
37. Goose Eye Yorkshire Pride (4.3)
38. Windsor and Eton Park Life (3.2)
39. Bank Top Firemans Lift (4.0)
40. Pictish Follys Finest (4.3)
41. Animal/XT Oink ! (4.6)
42. Redscar Pier (4.5)
43. Mouselow Golden Gosling (3.5)
44. Star Meteor (4.0)
45. Salamander Swathe Cutter (3.8)
46. Mallinsons Shooting Star (4.2)
and inside beers
47. Brew Co Vanilla Stout (4.3)
48. Tryst Broch (5.0)
49. Harthill Harts Desire (4.4)
50. Piddle Slasher (5.1)
51. Garage Brewery MMM (4.3)
52. Great Heck Black Jesus IPA (6.5)
53. Alchemy Cairnapple IPA (4.8)
54. Glentworth Beacon Light (4.0)
55. Fool Hardy Rash Dash (3.8)
56. Black Edge Summer Pale (4.7)
57. East London Orchid (3.6)
58. Tring Moongazer (4.0)
59. Arkwrights Smart Arse (4.5)
60. Just A Minute Tyne Tunnel (4.1)
61. Pope Worcester Gold (4.0)
62. Greenmill Tawny Ale (3.6)

If there are any errors they are of my doing, not Sam's..sorry for the late
inclusion of list due to prior (non beer related) commitment. Timbo

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Junction: a fine place to meet

On Saturday afternoon I went to wish The Junction in Castleford a very happy third birthday.
It's been nearly four months since I last walked through the doors of Wakefield CAMRA's pub of the year.
That was back in March for the Carlton Street pub's beers in the wood festival. Since then more renovations have been carried out. And, in my opinion, the pub now boasts one of the finest snugs for miles around.
But a delegation from Manchester had beaten me to the front room so I settled for a cool breeze by the door.
I checked my beer list notes from last time and The Junction seems to have some favourites breweries.
Wall's, Kirkstall, Old Bear, Ridgeside and Five Towns were all on the bar again. The beers ranged from sensible 3.8 ABVs to a mammoth 10% imperial stout.
I kicked off with Wall's Gun Dog Bitter (3.8%) and then went for Five Towns Summer Ale at 4%. Both were nice starting drinks on a hot day and ones that led me up the percentage scale. 
Next up were Kirkstall's Stars and Stripes (5%) and Ridgeside's Coda (5.7%), both a nice hike up the beer gradient.
Coda was the best Ridgeside beer I've had yet. My eyes lit up when I saw the variety of hops in it. (See picture above).
The pump clips from this Meanwood based brewery are to be applauded too. There is plenty of information on them about what's in the beer or what's it's about. And you don't need your specs or a magnifying glass for the small print!
But my favourite beer of the day was Five Towns' Monster Mash. I've had this dark strong mild (5.1%) before at Wakefield beer festival and liked it. But this version had been laid down for longer in the wooden cask and the flavour grabbed you from the first sip. I wish I hadn't left it until last as I would have returned for more. 
Now, myself and Timbo are big Five Towns fans, and have written in glowing terms about brewer Malcolm Bastow and his incredible consistency.
As I was drinking with him and his wife yesterday, I could be accused of a bit of favouritism.
So I'll leave the verdict to an impartial 85-year-old real ale fan who I bumped into. He had no connection to the brewer and had just called in for a couple of pints on his way home. My recollection of what he said is not verbatim - after all I'd tried a bit of Kirkstall's mighty Drop Hammer imperial stout (10%) - but the gist was along the lines of 'top drink' or 'right pint'.
Sometimes a brief description is all you need.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Black Bull at Rothwell

It seems Ossett Brewery have so many pubs they've run out of names.  So it's back to the beginning for this Punch Taverns partnership venture, with another Black Bull - the first of a couple of Leeds postcode outlets that the company will restore and reopen this summer. 
Today (12th) is the official launch of 'BB#2' in the market town of Rothwell, a place I've not had cause to visit since the M1 link was built back in 1999 - before which a road trip to the Yorkshire resorts from my neck of the woods necessitated a drive through it.
Situated on Commercial Street in the centre of town, this detached multi-levelled open-plan community inn has been refurbished in typical OB livery with, as ever, a few quirky features thrown in. The pumpclip wallpaper for example, which has become a talking point in the recent Flowerpot refit at Mirfield, gets another outing here - albeit a more rustic version. 
Traditional green tiling is revisited and works well around the beautiful bar which boasts nine pumps serving at least four beers from the stables, Tetley's bitter and guests. Andrew Jones pies are becoming the standard sustenance in Ossett pubs these days and can be found here too in their own special fridge behind the bar. 

Outdoors, and a very spacious decked beer garden captures the summer sun till nearly 8pm  - and that's not all. A decent sized car park is a rare thing at Ossett pubs so whilst not advocating drink-driving, this may well tempt me into rediscovering my old route to the north riding. 
In three weeks it's The Old Peacocks turn to show off the brewery's wares. The Beeston pub has had a stormy relationship with neighbours Leeds United over the years but Ossett are hoping to get onside with the club and its fans right from the kick-off.  

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Star Fest Approaches

Just in case it has slipped your mind, next week sees the start of the Star Summer Festival at Folly Hall. The doors will be open from 5pm next Wednesday, 17th July 2012 and likewise on Thursday but if you want to go the whole day experience then it is open all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The usual system will apply, 46 cellar cooled beers in the outside marquee, and those on the bar changing for other festival beers as and when.

If you have never been, what are you waiting for ? It has been described by those who know as 'The Best Pub Festival in the Country' and who am I to argue ? See you there.  

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Beer list for Monkeyfest 7 (July 6 & 7)

Here is the beer list for Monkeyfest 7 which starts on Saturday in Armitage Bridge and continues on Sunday.
Saturday's session runs from noon until 11pm. While Sunday's is from noon until 9pm.
There will be more than 60 beers and many ciders over the course of two days. Music and food are on the bill too.
Entry is just £2 and includes a souvenir glass and programme. The festival is supporting Yorkshire Air Ambulance's  Keep It Up campaign.
Please view next post down for details of bus and train services to the venue. If you are viewing this via a twitter link please click on the A swift one masthead above to be directed to the homepage and then please scroll down to the preview post.

Saturday, July 6 beers (first up from noon)
1 Magic Rock Curious 3.9%
2 Marble Ginger 4.5%
3 Thornbridge Lumford 3.9%
4 Anarchy Crime Scene 5.5%
5 Darkstar Hop Head 3.8%
6 Phoenix Wobbly Bob 6%
7 Bingley Beer Priesthorpe 3.8%
8 Bridestones Pennine Gold 4.3%
9 Raw solstice 3.8%
10 Mallinsons Stayin up 3.8%
11 Mallinsons Topaz 4.3%
12 Steel City Angel of Death 4.9%
13 Bradfield Wimbledon 4.5%
14 Conwy Shipwrecked 5%
15 Leeds Pale 3.8%
16 OMB Saltroad 3.9%
17 Saltaire Rasberry Blonde 4%
18 Saltaire Triple Choc 4.8%
19 Partners Triple Hop 4.2% (inside)
20 Acorn 1887 Red 4.4% (inside)
21 Old bear Goldilocks 4.5% (inside)

Saturday, July 6 beers (second up from about 3pm as they run off)
22 Magic Rock High Wire 5.5%
23 Thornbridge Ashford 4.2%
24 Mallinsons Lockwood 3.8%
25 Phoenix Mid Summer Mad 4.5%
26 Darkstar American Pale 4.7%
27 Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby 6%
28 Bingley Beer Goit Stock 4.4%
29 Bridestones Dark Mild. 4.5%
30 Raw Marvellous 3.9%
31 Mallinsons Stayin up 3.8%
32 Mallinsons BG366 4.2%
33 Little Ale Cart Sir Erskine-Hill 4.3%
34 Bradfield Steel Cow 4.5%
35 Conwy Rampart 4.5%
36 Leeds Funfair 3.6&
37 OMB Teak 4%
38 Empire Jonah 4.3%
39 Saltaire Blackthroat 6%
40 Partners Blonde 3.9%
41 Leeds Yorkshire Gold 4%
42 Old bear Estivator 3.8%

Sunday, July 7 (beers from noon)
1 Magic Rock Rapture 4.6%
2 Marble Draft 3.9%
3 Bridestones Sandstone 3.9%
4 Raw JR Best 4.2%
5 Mallinsons Stayin up 3.8%
6 Mallinsons Simcoe 3.9%
7 Little Ale Cart Sir Edward Fraser 4.3%
8 Bradfield Farmers Blonde 4%
9 Conwy Minera Mountain 4%
10 Phoenix Sticky Wicket 4.5%
11 OMB Better than Best 3.9%
12 Saltaire Elderflower Blonde 4%
13 Empire Strikes Back 4%
14 Empire Hitch 4.2%
15 Partners Ghost 4.5%
16 Acorn Blonde 4%
17 Old bear Honeypot 4.4%
18 Taylors Landlord 4.3%
19 Old bear Great Bear 3.9

Monday, July 01, 2013

Monkeyfest 7: Licence to Swill (July 6-7)

"When you were young and your heart was an open book. You used to say, 'live and let live. You know you did...'"
Paul & Linda McCartney (1973)
It would be very tempting to litter this piece with secret agent references - given the marketing - but I'll limit myself to the lyric and excruciating headline before concentrating on the beer.
When July commences we will be in the heart of the outdoor beer festival season in  Huddersfield.
I know this because Monkeyfest heralds the start with The Star's summer festival, Hall Bower's and Huddersfield Food & Drink to follow.
Monkeyfest provides me with opportunity to indulge three of my favourite things: beer, cricket and walking. 
It's a fine time to be in the shadow of Castle Hill, snatching glimpses of the cricket at Armitage Bridge CC between runs to the nearby bar.
I think I've been to two or three Monkeyfests down the years. But while trawling through the archives I found Will's report on the very first Monkeyfest in 2007.
The inaugural event featured 28 beers and cost £2 for your festival glass & programme. 
In 2013 the entry fee hasn't gone up at all but the beer choice has risen to 60.
Mallinsons have brewed a special Huddersfield Town beer, Stayin' Up, which I'm sure Will and Timbo will approve of. 
The beer ties into HTFC's chosen charity, Yorkshire Air Ambulance's Keep it Up campaign. 
The Monkey Club donated more than £1,000 to that worthy cause last year. And this year's festival will again raise funds for them.
The organisers will be holding raffles and donating proceeds from this year's festival. So please give generously to help keep a vital service airborne.
I was looking for a good way to sum up Monkeyfest but Will beat me to it by six years.   
He said in July 2007: "Plenty of hard work and good use of local sponsorship would seem to be key to this successful and highly enjoyable festival and it's difficult to see how it could be improved upon (apart from the weather of course) - in fact as first attempts go this is nothing short of a brilliant effort!"
The terrible British summer weather? No change there then.
Here's a link to Will's original 2007 post:
Monkeyfest7 in Armitage Bridge is well served by train (Berry Brow on The Penistone Line) and by buses towards Honley/Holmfirth (310, 314/316) and Meltham (324).