Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Hudds' old & new pubs of the year

The King's Head is Huddersfield CAMRA's pub of the year. Image Steve Goodwill
Sitting in The Sportsman scoffing a brisket sarnie, I learnt the pub had lost its three-year stranglehold on Huddersfield CAMRA's Pub of The Year title.
I was on Sunday's 'First' group trip of town pubs - more of this in a later post - when tour leader Steve Goodwill said we would soon be off to the newly crowned King's Head.
But before we take the short trip under the viaduct to Huddersfield Railway Station, first a quick word about the outgoing champ.

The outgoing champ: The Sportsman. 
There was a good selection on the bar when we walked through the door on Sunday. But the beer that caught my eye was the star of the show at Huddersfield Oktoberfest 2013, Mallinsons Nelson Sauvin, 3.8%.
I missed that beer at last year's festival so I wasn't going to make the same mistake twice. It was without doubt, and there were some strong contenders on Sunday, my beer of the day.
I followed it up with a slightly weaker strength pale beer, Moor Top from Buxton at 3.6%. In hindsight, I drunk these two beers the wrong way round. I failed to pick up the advertised citrus and grapefruit notes of the latter because my taste buds were still wrapped around the NZ hop of the former.
So after a pint and some lunch we headed of to the 'Jimi Hendrix' signed pub on the station.
Here I spotted beers, among others, from Pictish, Golcar, Abbeydale, Magic Rock and Wood Street Brewery.
The last two were side by side and had a connection. Magic Rock's Stuart Ross formerly brewed for Crown Brewery, which used to work out of the Hillsborough Hotel, while the newish Wood Street Brewery is named after the road that runs down the side of the pub.
I went for the Sheffield outfit's Ebony Stout, 5%, which was a perhaps was a pretty odd choice for my third beer out. But maybe it was conditioning as the King's Head is always my final stop for dark beer on the way home.
So, given that my beer radar was a bit wonky I shall leave you in the more expert hands of Ale Talk editor Bob Tomlinson.
Bob said: "I can confirm that the King's Head (formerly The Tavern) is Huddersfield CAMRA's Pub of the Year. 
"The Monkey Club is the Club of the Year and the Rat & Ratchet is the Cider Pub of the Year.
"There was a lot of competition from the main town centre pubs and the vote was fairly evenly spread out, but when it went to a second vote the King's Head won outright.
"A number of factors went in its favour. It is a regular entry in the Good Beer Guide and has won a number of pub of the season awards – a good pedigree to start with. 
"It serves a wide section of the community and is not secular like some pubs. The beer range encompasses a selection of national, regional and local ales providing a range for both beer novices and aficionados. 
"The beers are always served with good grace and in tip top condition by attentive and willing staff.
"There is handpumped real cider and occasionally a perry to supplement the beers. Food is basic and is typical travellers and workman’s fare – sandwiches and pies.
"The King's Head is a grade II listed building which restricts extensive conversion work to the interior of the pub. The décor is a strange mixture of late Victorian and late 70’s style, with the mosaic floor pattern the most prominent feature. 
"Bruce Travis, the licensee, has secured funding from the railway heritage fund to start restoration of the side room, toilets and the ceiling to reveal the ornate Victoria roof.
"So, these are just a few comments why it was awarded Pub of the Year 2014."
Postscript:
Many thanks to Bob for giving us the inside track on the judging process. 
And congratulations to Bruce & staff on taking the crown.
Long live The King!

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