Thursday, January 01, 2015

2015 - a retrospective

2015 arrived much as 2014 left - but with no buses to get me anywhere, so when Mrs Timbo suggested that we went to visit her daughter in Bolsover it seemed a good idea. There is a bus service from there to Chesterfield, and some decent pubs  - but I had overlooked the Bank Holiday factor. No buses here either. Buggery. Anyway I sat there sulking until a kind soul suggested I took the car down to grab a couple of beers in the Town Centre.

Bolsover is not well blessed with good beer, even though there is a reasonable Wetherspoons. However there was nothing there to inspire me. But I had a plan B. Between Bolsover and Chesterfield on the main A632 is the Arkwright Arms - a pub owned by Raw Brewery and one that usually provides me with some 'ticks' from local breweries. And this visit was no exception.

Anyway, now I have set the scene, on with the post. One of the beers posed me a small problem regarding its provenance. I found a Good Beer Guide and resolved that issue, and  found several older beer guides on the shelf too. I picked up the 1985 version of the guide, and how enlightening it was.

I started with the pubs section for West Yorkshire, and Huddersfield in particular. Six were listed in the town, but only one of them is listed in the current guide - The Star at Lockwood. (Incidentally it was missing the following year - I checked). The other five were something of a surprise, and one is not even a pub now. Two in the town centre were the Boy and Barrel on Beastmarket and the College Arms on Queensgate, and out of town the Sands House at Crosland Hill, Highgate Oakes at Oakes and the Jolly Sailor at Dalton. Not exactly a list I could have guessed! And I cannot be sure that most of them actually sell real ale these days.

My interest whetted, I started checking the brewery list too. This also provided some surprises. Only six breweries listed in the county, and three of them are now extinct. Of course Timmy Taylors are there, and Clarks of Wakefield. Goose Eye are listed but I think this may have been the Turkey Inn version of the brewery. I got excited when I saw Five Towns, but then realised it was in Hanley, so that obviously did not count. The ex breweries included Tetleys, Trough and the West Riding brewery. Checking the brew pubs I found three - Linfit, Station (at Guiseley) and Fox and Newt at Leeds.

So what a difference - nowadays we have lots of decent pubs and lots of good breweries in West Yorkshire - we don't realise how lucky we are. So make a 2015 resolution and get out there and sample the local pubs and drink the local beers, we have a lot to be grateful for.

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