Monday, December 08, 2014

The Junction at Castleford

Reasons for taking so long to visit the 'home of the wooden cask' have been mainly a combination of idleness on my part and the somewhat scant availability of my tour manager (who could never be accused of dragging his feet incidentally).





But getting to Cas has been greatly simplified since my job-switch to Wakefield in the summer, so when an opportunity arose recently to join the ubiquitous Bloke (or Blerke if you're coastal) From Hull at The Junction, it was time to board the badlands express.


Whilst not a complete stranger to the town, I had never done any drinking in it, or eating for that matter - a situation soon rectified, in no small degree on both fronts, by my inestimable colleague.

There's lining your stomach before a few beers and then there's getting totally pie-faced at the Pop-Inn cafe on Wilson Street. No short measures here. £3.50 for a mountain of pie, mash, veggies and Yorkshires was the best value anything I've ever had I reckon. And top quality too - just be sure to skip breakfast.





The Junction has had a remarkable transformation recently and though waiting to have it's exterior buffed up, the bar and snug are quite something. And the attraction here is far more than just the experience of having all the real ales drawn from wooden casks, this really is the sort of pub I would happily spend more time in than is good for me if it was at all local.




Hosts Neil Midgley & Maureen Shaw (above) are at the heart of things and quite justifiably proud of this extraordinary oasis in a town  predominantly doing keg and a handful of cask from the giants. The beer choice is their's, and right now allegiances are strongest with Ridgeside (with whom the pub struck up an instant bond when the brewery formed) and Elland. 

Our beers on this particular chilly afternoon couldn't have been better scripted. The award winning 1872 Porter from Elland for the man, and for me, the indescribably beautiful Coda (a 5.6% IPA) from Ridgeside - the late and much-missed Simon Bolderson's lasting legacy.





A tour of the cellar, an extra pint, a brief history from Neil, another unscripted beer, a chat with the locals by the open fire, more extra-curricular ale, all resulted in two missed trains - and it could easily have been three. And it's not often I lose track - which probably says more about this pub and it's regulars and it's relaxing atmosphere and it's great beer than anything else.





If you're thinking about going - just do it. David Litten is probably on some sort of commission at both pub and cafe - though won't admit it - so contact him through the usual channels if you need a guide - just make sure you put aside plenty of time. 

1 comment:

Timbo said...

Looks like a must visit place for 2015...will just need a sherpa to get me there !!