Monday, March 30, 2015

Roll on Good Friday: beer in the wood and Rugby League

We've said quite a bit about beer in the wood recently, so I will be brief.
The Junction, Castleford is hosting its annual 'Woodfest' on Good Friday and Easter Saturday.
Expect 20 beers over the course of the holiday weekend.
The start at Carlton Street on April 3 ties in quite nicely with Castleford Tigers' home game with Leeds Rhinos (k.o. 12.45pm).
I understand the pub is opening at 11am on Good Friday to cater for the early Rugby League start.
For more information visit the pub's facebook page:

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Nook's spring beer festival (March 26-29)

The Nook, Victoria Holmfirth HD9 2DN 
The Nook in Holmfirth will be caught up in election fever this weekend.
The pub/brewhouse on Victoria Square is staging a 'General Alection' where beer lovers are being urged to 'cask their vote' for their favourite beer.
Its spring beer festival, as you can see from the poster, will feature more than 50 ales, live music and food between Thursday and Sunday (March 26-29).
The Bloke from Hull has kindly rustled up the beer and cider list for your perusal. 
Local cider producer, Pure North, of nearby Netherthong, has made 'Maggie in Bloom' for the festival in memory of the BFH's late partner. 
Beer list:
Allgates Wigan Old Boston Plum Porter 4.4%. Lancashire A dark rich porter which bursts with roasted malt flavours. Handsomely black with smoky aromas with cinnamon and sweet plum on the nose.
Allgates Wigan Blue Sky Tea 4.2%. Lancashire Pale Ale, lightly hopped with Summit & Mount Hood from the U.S.A and infused with award winning Blue Sky Blend Tea from J.Atkinson & Co of Lancaster. 
Allgates Wigan California 3.8%. Lancashire A well balanced golden coloured ale, easy drinking and refreshing.
Blackjack Manchester Double bluff 4.8%. Lancashire Hoppy amber ale.
Blackjack Manchester The Pokies 3.6%. Lancashire New Zealand Pale ale.
Blackjack Manchester The OC 5.2%. Lancashire American Cream Beer with orange peel.
Brightside Bury Odin 3.8%. Lancashire A very pale blonde ale. European Noble hops form the basis with three fruity American varieties added late.
Brightside Bury Amarillo 5%. Lancashire Pale ale, crystal, caramel malts, and wheat produce a light amber colour and complex malt profile to compliment just one American hop variety.
Brightside Bury Our Town 4%. Lancashire Pale ale with a pretty traditional malt profile giving a light brown colour, but nothing like traditional hops: Celeia; Summer; Cascade; Chinook and an experimental variety.
Dukeries Worksop Pale 4%. Nottinghamshire Pale Ale, brewed in the heart of the Dukeries.
Dukeries Worksop Baronette 3.9%. Nottinghamshire Hand crafted traditional chestnut Bitter with hops on the nose and bags of fruity flavours going on with a dry bitter finish.
Dukeries Worksop IPA 4.9%. Nottinghamshire An easy drinking hoppy IPA.
Dukeries Worksop Best 3.8%. Nottinghamshire Traditional style best bitter.
Exit 33 Sheffield Thirst Aid 4%. South Yorkshire A light session ale showcasing two great American hops which impart interesting citrus and tropical fruit characters with a beautiful sharp juicy flavour. 
Exit 33 Sheffield Stout 5%. South Yorkshire A dark roasted traditional stout. The initial flavour hints of cocoa followed by delicate coffee and molasses with a silky thick mouth feel.
Exit 33 Sheffield IPA 5.1%. South Yorkshire An exciting combination of hops produce this full of flavour India Pale Ale. A clean sharp pine like aroma is complimented by a hint of citrus and tropical fruit characters balanced with lush caramalt. 
Heritage Ales Chester Victorian Porter 4.6%. . Cheshiire Brewed using an authentic recipe from 1865.
Heritage Ales Chester Empire IPA 5.2%. Cheshiire The beer brewed to quench thirsts around the globe-spanning British Empire.
Liverpool Organic Liverpool Empire Ale 5.2%. Lancashire Biscuity with a slightly sweet finish.
Liverpool Organic Liverpool Josephine Butler Elderflower Ale 4.5%. Lancashire Initial citrus hops followed by elderflower fruit.
Liverpool Organic Liverpool Bier Head 4.1%. Lancashire Complex spice and crisp malt tones building to rich, mellow aftertaste.
Liverpool Organic Liverpool Best Bitter 4.2%. Lancashire Crisp refreshing and with a hint of citrus fruit.
Liverpool Organic Liverpool Joseph Williamson 4%. Lancashire Traditional malty bitter with floral elements .
Liverpool Organic Liverpool Last Man Standing 3.9%. Lancashire A one off beer brewed with Riwaka hops from New Zealand.
Lytham Brewery Lytham Amber 3.6%. Lancashire A traditional malty beer using the finest English hops.
Lytham Brewery Lytham Berry Blond 4.1%. Lancashire A fantastic blonde beer with hints of fine English berries.
Lytham Brewery Lytham Golden Beast 4.2%. Lancashire Golden Ale.
Lytham Brewery Lytham IPA 5.6%. Lancashire A pale bitter with good, fresh, sweet and hoppy flavour leading to a long, dry finish.
Raw Brewery Chesterfield Anubis Porter 5.2%. Derbyshire Smooth roast malt and mild coffee flavours with a lingering bitterness and gentle hop aroma.
Raw Brewery Chesterfield Brown Cow Bitter 3.8%. Derbyshire A traditional session beer.
Raw Brewery Chesterfield Edge Pale 4.5%. Derbyshire Pale ale brewed using pale and Munich malt, balanced bitterness and a citrus aroma.
Spitting Feathers Chester Session Beer 3.6%. Cheshire Easy drinking session beer.
Spitting Feathers Chester Thirstquencher 3.9%. Cheshire Pale, hoppy bitter.
Spitting Feathers Chester Special Ale 4.2%. Cheshire Chestnut coloured best bitter.
Spitting Feathers Chester Old Wavertonian 4.4%. Cheshire Robust, dark stout.
XT Aylesbury XPA 5.9%. Buckinghamshire An IPA brewed with crisp, clean extra pale malts and more hop additions than any of our other beers. Plus a cooler, slower fermentation for a really special hop forward flavour.
XT Aylesbury XT15 4.5%. Buckinghamshire Brewed to celebrate the new varieties of English Hops. This is an English IPA triple hopped, pale amber ale with caramel malt notes, lasting floral, hop character.
The Nook Brewhouse Holmfirth Baby Blond 3.8%. West Yorkshire A very pale and brilliantly refreshing ale with citrus notes. Much lighter than it’s award winning bigger brother Nook Blond this baby can still quench the biggest of thirsts.
The Nook Brewhouse Holmfirth Best 4.2%. West Yorkshire A smooth and easy drinking best bitter that offers floral aromas balanced with a biscuity palate.
The Nook Brewhouse Holmfirth Blond 4.5%. West Yorkshire This award-wining premium blond ale has a smooth malt base and shimmers with citrus and floral flavours for a wonderfully bright and balanced beer.
The Nook Brewhouse Holmfirth Bees's Knees 3.9%. West Yorkshire A hoppy bitter balanced with sweet Yorkshire honey.
The Nook Brewhouse Holmfirth Berry Blond 4.5%. West Yorkshire Sweet and tart raspberry flavours are balanced with a smooth biscuit malt base.
The Nook Brewhouse Holmfirth Cherry Stout 5.2%. West Yorkshire A rich full flavoured stout with sweet notes of black cherries. 
The Nook Brewhouse Holmfirth Elderflower 4.5%. West Yorkshire Fragrant sweet elderflower. 
The Nook Brewhouse Holmfirth Funky Banana 4.5%. West Yorkshire Distinctive banana flavours balanced with a biscuity malt base.
The Nook Brewhouse Holmfirth Grumpy Mule 5.2%. West Yorkshire A rich oatmeal stout infused with freshly roasted Grumpy Mule coffee.
The Nook Brewhouse Holmfirth NIPA 5.2%. West Yorkshire An IPA is bursting with tropical fruit flavours balanced with a pleasant bitter finish.
The Nook Brewhouse Holmfirth Oat Stout 5.2%. West Yorkshire A distinctive Stout the gains it's rich flavour and full body from the oats added to every brew.
The Nook Brewhouse Holmfirth Rescue Red 3.8%. West Yorkshire A deep amber caramel malt base off set by fruity and floral hop aromas.
The Nook Brewhouse Holmfirth RIPA 5.2%. West Yorkshire An IPA is bursting with tropical fruit flavours balanced with and added sharpness from Yorkshire Rhubarb and a pleasant bitter finish.
The Nook Brewhouse Holmfirth Yorks Bitter 3.7%. West Yorkshire A classic Yorkshire bitter. generously hopped and balanced with a subtle amount of crystal malt.
Cider list:
Little Badger Holmfirth Fiery Cat 5%. Medium A fiery ginger and apple cider
Little Badger Holmfirth Rhubarb and Raspberry 5%. Medium Sharp, sweet and tangy
Little Badger Holmfirth Elderflower 5%. Sweet With sweet fragrant elderflower
Little Badger Holmfirth The Hound of the Ciderhills 6.8%. Medium Dry A traditional cloudy apple cider
Pure North Holmfirth Sweet Union 5.5%. Medium Sweet. A delicious cloudy cider with a full apple flavour. Made using cider fruit from Yorkshire and Katy apples from Lancashire, a sweet union of two great counties!
Pure North Holmfirth Vintage Deanhouse 6%. Medium A bright refreshing cider made using a blend of rare heritage cider apple varieties.
Pure North Holmfirth Maggie In Bloom 6%. Medium Sweet A cider made for special events in memory of Maggie, the long term partner of the CAMRA representative Dave Litten (the Bloke From Hull!). A clean full flavoured cider infused with pressed elderflower.
Pure North Holmfirth Fusion 6.5%. Medium Dry A clean sharp cider made using a blend of 4 cider apple varieties. Voted the best cider of Yorkshire 2012 by CAMRA.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A few pictures from Sheffield Beer Week's grand finale

A band playing at Sheffield Beer Week's closing party
I finally made it to the Sheffield Beer Week - albeit on the last day.
Work commitments and a certain can't miss Huddersfield festival meant I missed a host of special events at places like Shakespeares and The Three Tuns and The New Barrack Tavern.
The March 16-22 Valley of Beer showcase piggybacked onto SIBA's Beer X tradeshow last weekend at iceSheffield. 
I tipped up at Sheffield Beer Week's closing party at Stancill Brewery, off Rutland Road (basically, uphill from The Gardeners Rest).
It was a very good do. I enjoyed a debut beer and a talk from brewer Alex Barlow, of Sentinel Brewing Co who is setting up near Sheffield Station. I particularly liked his 3.3% Sheffield Bitter (which had lots going on for a low gravity beer, while remaining balanced) and the debuting Anti IPA.

Next to that beer was a bottle display from North Union Brewing Co who are currently cuckoo brewing at Harthill Village Brewery. The man behind it, Iain Kenny, is formerly of Kelham Island Brewery. I bought three bottles: Amber (4.6%), Pale Ale (5.5%) and Dubbel (6.5%), all of which I am looking forward to trying.

Lastly. I enjoyed a couple of dark beers on the dedicated Stancill bar, live music and some good street food outside in the sun. Coincidentally, Stancill are celebrating their 1st birthday this Friday with a similar event down the brewery on the Parkwood Industrial Estate from 7pm. A handy shuttle bus will be running from 7pm to 10pm from The Red Deer, off West Street, Sheffield to Oakham Drive (S3 9QX). 
Finally and for the record, I thought Sheffield Beer Week was well organised and I hope it becomes an annual event.
You can read a much more detailed post about Sheffield Beer Week courtesy of resident blogger Wee Beefy

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Star Inn - Half Time Report

Well it's not quite the mid-point, especially if you've yet to make an appearance, but we've sampled enough to put our unreserved seal of approval on this year's Star Inn Spring Beer Festival.

Regulars will be glad to know there are no new gimmicks accompanying this weekends fest, with the only differences being a new face behind the bar and glass design for the collectors. Of course these festivals don't come together by magic and landlady Sam Watt and team deserve the highest praise for these triannual extravaganzas. 

Because  of  it's  dedication  to  bringing  us  the  very latest  output from the very newest breweries, a Star  festival  can  almost serve as a  glimpse into the future. For example those who sampled early BrewDogs here,  such as the 2007 classic 'Hype', might well have predicted that the Scots outfit was destined for great things.

Of course there are plenty of one-hit wonders too and, just like discovering new music, these one-offs are no less interesting. So once the excitement of tomorrow's eclipse has died down, why not make your way to Huddersfield's answer to beermageddon and see if you can unearth the next big name in brewing.  

The festival resumes at noon on Friday 20th March & continues all day Saturday 21st - Sunday 22nd.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Star Beer Festival List

Star Festival Starts 1700 hrs on Wednesday 18th March, 1700 hrs on Thursday and from noon Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Apologies for the blips in the list, computer and operator error!!

 Briggs Signature
Symphony No4

Moorish Mild
Hop Revolution
 Brown Cow
Scruffs Ale
 Exit 33
Nicaraguan Rum Cask 
Why Kick The Moo Cow
Marshmallow Stout
Nelson Sauvin Pale
 Great Heck
Old Red Dog
 Exit 33
Winter Pale
Anvil Ale
 Five Towns
Owt'll Do                            
 Vibrant Forest
Black Forest
 Mad Hatter
Penny Lane Pale                
 Vibrant Forest
Flying Saucer
Affinity Galaxy
 Briggs Signature
Experimental no1
 Jolly Sailor
Golden Boots
Bitter Lemon
Banstormers Best
 Eden Brewing
Eden Best
 Sunny Republic
Huna Red
 Late Knights
Crack Of Dawn
 Wilson Potter
Honey Badger
 Black Iris
Rose of my Heart
 Small World
Spring Bank
 Lincoln Green
Tuck Porter
 Big Shed
Four Star Gold
Viking Blonde
 Totally Brewed
Papa Bojangles Voodoo 
 Dancing Duck
Golden Mist
Baby Ghost IPA
Welcome Guest
 Wilson Potter
Bite The Bullet
 Green Duck
Drunken Duck
 Blue Bee
American 5 Hop Ver. 2
England Endeavour
 Green Duck
Dandelion and Burdock
 Blue Bee

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Star Inn Spring Beer Festival

An orderly queue of real ale diehards will snake along a Lockwood street this week to get first dibs at The Star Inn’s beer festival. The like clockwork procession of ‘beer tickers’ will form on Albert Street shortly before 5pm on Wednesday, March 18.

This is one of the premier local pub beer festivals – I may go even further and suggest it is one of the best in the country. The distance some people regularly travel to sample its wares seems to reinforce that.

So what makes it so good? Well, initially the beer range and the method of dispense. Despite the pub looking fairly small from the outside, there is a marquee at the rear which houses 46 hand pumps which all dispense cellar cooled beer in excellent condition. The beers are sourced from far and wide, and most are unusual in some way. There are one-off festival specials, others are rare to the area and some are from new breweries. All are interesting.

The Star has been owned by landlady Sam Watt since 2001. The pub has been producing beer festivals throughout that time, and there are three a year. They are in spring, summer and winter, each with around 60 beers available through the weekend. The beers not available in the marquee are available through the weekend on the 10 handpumps on the pub bar.

Entry to the pub is free, but there is a nominal £2 fee to enter the festival itself, which entitles you to a festival glass. These are collectors’ items, with some enthusiasts having a complete set from every festival. Some of the festivals have themed events too – a Thursday night bake off is not unusual, and there are often musical acts at the weekend.

The festival runs from 5pm on Wednesday and Thursday, and all day from noon on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

If you have never visited a beer festival before, why not call down and take a look at one of the best. We are sure you will not be disappointed.

The Star Inn's spring beer festival runs from Wednesday, March 18 to Sunday, March 22.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Draught cider lands at The Sportsman

Press release:
St Johns Road HD1 5AY
Landlord John Fletcher, of The Sportsman, Huddersfield is pleased to announce that we have installed two new handpumps dedicated to cider!
The first is a dedicated Pure North pump and will feature their range of ciders in rotation. The Sportsman has a longstanding relationship with this award-winning local cider producer and we are over the moon to continue to build on this relationship.
The second pump is a guest cider line featuring ciders from across the country; sourced and supplied by our friends at Craft Cider Ltd
This will feature a range of ciders and perries from producers large and small and will allow us to explore a range of different styles. Our current offering is Handmade Cider Company's Crazy Diamond, a medium sweet cider from Wiltshire clocking in at a hefty 6.8%.
Expect to see ciders from Thistly Cross, Gwynt y Ddraig, Celtic Marches, Dee Cider, Hecks and Malvern Magic in the coming weeks.
To celebrate the new cider pumps we will be running a number of events over the coming months including 'Meet the Cider Maker', cider tasting and cider and food events. More details to follow.

Monday, March 09, 2015

J D Wetherspoons Festival

Friday 13th March 2015 sees the beginning of the Country's largest beer festival (in fact their advertising calls it ‘The Worlds Biggest Real Ale Festival’). Not large as in the number of beers available, or the size of the venue, but rather in the amount of outlets where the beers can be obtained. It is the start of the J.D Wetherspoons Spring Beer Festival that runs through until the end of the month.

In Kirklees there are plenty of places to visit to try the beers, from The Cherry Tree  and The Lord Wilson in Huddersfield, to The Time Piece in Dewsbury, via The Union Rooms in Batley and the Obediah Brook in Cleckheaton.

All the beers on offer will be served through a hand pump on the pubs bars. All the festival  beers should be available at some time throughout the festival, at every pub. The knack is to try to be at the pub at the time the beer you want is on. There are no extra hand pulls fitted to the bars in addition to those generally in use unfortunately but there is always a quick turnover of the beers on offer.

This festival should be interesting for hop lovers, especially since the entire range of beers are brewed with English hops, which in recent years seem to have been overlooked with those from The Southern Hemisphere and North America being more prevalent. Some of these English hops are of the lesser known, and newer varieties, such as Jester, Minstrel and Archer along with plenty of the more established ones.

There will be 50 beers on offer throughout the festival, covering all styles from light & hoppy bitters to dark stouts and most things in between, varying between the fairly weak and the pretty strong. The beers will be brewed by many of the country's most established breweries, and a proportion of them (20%) will be brewed in Britain by guest foreign brewers, so we can see what sort of a twist a South African, Mexican (?) or Spanish brewer puts on a beer with British ingredients.

If this Spring's festival can replicate the success of the previous festivals  the group have held, it should be well worth a trip to your local outlet, giving you a chance to sample some of the interesting hop varieties that are now being grown in our sceptred isle.

Friday, March 06, 2015

A thousand words about the rise of beer in the wood in West Yorkshire

By the Bloke from Hull.
A recent tour round some beer hot spots in West Yorkshire revealed that “Beer in the Wood” is most definitely on the up. It all began with a full Friday afternoon and evening session in Castleford where the pioneering Maureen Shaw and Neil Midgley have been serving cask ales only from the wood at their fabulous Junction pub since early last year. I can only agree with the locals that the most consistent and beautiful beers regularly served are those from Ridgeside, Elland and Stancill breweries. On this occasion it was Ridgeside Cascade (4.1 % ABV) and Lost Horizon (3.5% ABV) for me. Such wonderful tasting beers originally created by the late Simon Bolderson who (along with Master Cooper Alastair Simms) backed Maureen and Neil’s vision to return to wood from the outset. Today his legacy is continued by brewing team Matt Lovatt and Juan Mendoza.
The Junction's landlord Neil Midgley
Later that weekend Elland 1872 Porter (6.5% ABV) appeared before disappearing rapidly. The reason being that jungle drums had been doing overtime to inform the eager top beer nuts that this cask was from the same gyle as that which was crowned ‘Champion Winter Beer of Britain’ at Derby. In the wood it was even better. Woo Hoo!
Two days later, on Sunday 22nd February, beer from the wood went under close scrutiny at the Duck and Drake pub in Leeds which staged a special event with over 50 members of the West Riding branch of the Society for the Preservation of Beers from the Wood gathering for their monthly meeting. Andy Yuill, who runs the pub, is keen on his cask beers served and offered four beers from wooden casks. Two were from Saltaire - Cascade (4.8% ABV) and Black Cascadian (4.8% ABV) and two were from Ridgeside – Black Night (5% ABV) and Phoenix (4.0% ABV). 
Beer in the wood at The Duck & Drake, Leeds
All of these beers were in tip top tasty condition and were gone within the day. That tells you something! Luckily for me, Andy gave me some of his valuable time and took me into the cellar to photograph and stroke the wooden objects of my desire. Next up for our delectation will be two from Ossett – Inception, a wonderful hoppy golden ale at 4.0% ABV, recently added to their core range and Excelsior, an award winning classic pale ale weighing in at 5.2% ABV. These will be in casks especially made for the pub by Jonathan Manby, the cooper at Theakston's.
The following Wednesday I headed off to Shipley on my way to warm up for the Bradford CAMRA beer festival at the Victoria Hall in Saltaire which was to commence on the following day. Stopping off at the Oddfellows I found a beer in the wood. 
Wooden casks in the cellar at Oddfellows
This time it was Yorkshire Dales Smokebox, a 5.6% ABV, a truly memorable smoked porter with a real complex depth of flavours, enhanced even further by being dispensed from a wooden cask. I had a good chat with licensees Tony and Teresa who a few months ago took the plunge and purchased their own wooden cask from Alastair Simms. This was the third beer in their wooden cask, the previous ones having been Saltaire New World Red (5.2% ABV) and Baildon Brunette (3.9% ABV). It is their intention to buy another cask from Alastair some time soon. Great news indeed. 
A brisk walk took me to Saltaire and the recently opened Cap and Collar micropub where licensee Phil Garvey was on hand to serve me a pint of Challenger Special (5.2% ABV) from Saltaire Brewery. Naturally this was in the wood and another great treat.
Saltaire's Celebration Ale, Bradford Beer Festival
At the Bradford Beer Festival the following day there were four beers in the wood – all on the first floor Bar 3 in the York Room. Two were in 18 gallon “Woodies” from Saltaire, namely Celebration Ale (a strong golden ale at 6.5% ABV) and Imperial Stout from their XS range weighing in at a mighty 8.9% ABV. Wowee – so tasty. Alongside (well , above really) in the wood were Oates Lenten Bock (6.4% ABV) brewed in Halifax by head brewer Anthony Barrett with a little aid from myself a few weeks earlier and Moorish Mild (4.0% ABV) brewed by Joe Cox from Norland Brewery (based at Oates). 
After several photographs and copious volumes of tasting I met up with Christina Wagstaff from the CAMRA and SPBW award winning Jacobs pub in Bradford. In no time, Christina has pushed the envelope in many directions, one of which is the intention to have a dedicated handpump for beers from the wood. Good on you gal!! Sadly, it was soon time to retreat to the comfort of a warm bed at a friend’s house to prepare for the homeward journey on Friday.
However, the journey to Hull could not be completed without a diversion to the “home of beers from the wood” at the Junction in Castleford to visit Maureen and Neil to see what was occurring. And it was quite a lot. 
A top drink in a top pub
It began with six beers on Friday with an afternoon on the Ridgeside Coda (a mighty 5.7 % ABV) for me. Over the weekend, there were ten cask ales from eight different breweries. Who said it was just a fad!!! 
So – a week to remember indeed for beers in the wood from all over Yorkshire. And there is more to come especially at the Junction where the annual “Woodfest” takes place over Easter weekend. We can be sure that there will be plenty of “oaky” delights on the bars, some aged, some rare and some newbies – all in tip top condition thanks to excellent cellarmanship and a vision!!
The revolution rolls on.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

IWCBD - Sunday 8th March

International Women's Collaboration Brew Day is an annual worldwide event organised by The Pink Boots Society to raise the awareness of women in the brewing industry.

Brewsters from around the world unite once a year on International Women's Day to brew a one-off beer in the same style and strength whilst raising money for charity.

Lisa Handforth of the Riverhead Brewery in Marsden will again be throwing open the doors to any ladies wishing to try their hand at a spot of brewing with participants able to taste the fruit of their labour in three weeks time at the beers' launch.

For every pint sold of the 4.6% Unite Red Ale, £1 will be donated to Huddersfield Women's Aid, an organisation set up to support women and children who are victims of domestic abuse.

Brewing will begin at the Riverhead Brewery (beneath the Riverhead Brewery Tap on Peel Street, Marsden) at 10am this Sunday 8th March.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Planning the East vs West Fest in May

East vs West fest, May 15-16, at The Read Shed, Wakefield
A few days ago I was summoned to appear at Five Towns Brewery in Wakefield to discuss the possibility of helping out at a charity beer festival that brewer Malcolm Bastow is planning to stage in May.
I descended the stairs to Malc's fabulous but alas not public cellar bar where I discovered a veritable brains' trust of the Wakey ale scene. Quite why I was invited is still being ascertained, but there were CAMRA representatives, a club boss, a poster designer, someone who knew about catering and a retired union convener to take the minutes of this informal meeting.
There was also a fantastic spread put on by Malc's family, and Five Towns' A Day at The Races was on handpull to help the little grey cells function.
Right, to business. Malc is planning to stage the East vs West festival at The Red Shed (aka Wakefield Labour Club) on Friday, May 15 to Saturday, May 16.
It will benefit children's cancer charity Candlelighters and community-spirited Newton Hill Cricket Club.
After discussing practical issues - ticketing, glasses, food and tokens - we moved on to the beers.
The 'West' beers are being sourced by leading ale blogger Beers Manchester, who ran a very successful beer festival in Salford, which I think inspired Malc to run one on the right side of the Pennines. 
The list isn't finalised yet, but I understand Beers Manchester will source 11 ales from his neck of the woods.
Then we turned to Yorkshire. We were in consensus not to do an all Wakey selection, probably as this has been done well elsewhere - by the local CAMRA branch and by the O to K Festival.
Then the conversation turned towards which 11 breweries should represent the White Rose county. Again, this was a very much an ideas-sharing exercise, so the list is far from complete. But there were some interesting names being banded about.
We are all due to meet again in a week or so, so hopefully I'll have more concrete news then.
I'm intending to do regular updates about the festival's progress both on the A Swift One blog and on twitter @EastWestFest.