Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Huddersfield Oktoberfest beckons

Huddersfield CAMRA's Oktoberfest is nearly upon us.
The event at The Apna Venue Leisure Centre on Spring Grove Street runs from Thursday, October 1 until the following Saturday night.
Expect at least 75 ales, some ciders, memorabilia and hopefully curry in the corner like last year.
I'm looking forward to trying and finding out more about new Meltham brewery, The Three Fiends. 
Huddersfield CAMRA and the BFH have kindly been in touch with the beer list in two different formats. Click on the pictures to enlarge the tasting notes or view the easy to read basic list below. 

Abbey Dale Gazmalti 6.0
Blue Bee Attack of the Geek 6.0
Blue Bee Ginger Beer 4.5
Bradford Brewery Lost in New York 5.3
Bradford Brewery Pi 5.0
Brass Castle Burnout 5.8
Brass Castle Life’s A Beach 3.6
Bridge Brewery American Pale 4.0
Bridge Brewery Vanilla Stout 5.2
Briggs Signature Ales Rhapsody #2 4.2
Briggs Signature Ales Techno 4.2
Briscoe Chevin Best 3.9
Briscoe Otley Gold 3.9
Empire Brewing Hansome Jack 4.1
Empire Brewing Moonraker Mild 3.8
Empire Brewing Veteran’s Ale 4.2
Empire Brewing White Wolf 4.4
Fernandes Black Voodoo 5.1
Fernandes Kaiser 4.3
Five Towns Mi Usual 3.7
Five Towns Middle Un 4.6
Golcar Brewery Dark Mild 3.4
Golcar Brewery Town End Bitter 3.9
Goose Eye Brewery Blackmoor 4.0
Goose Eye Brewery Chinook 4.2
Goose Eye Brewery Over & Stout 5.2
Half Moon Brewery F’Hops Sake 3.9
Half Moon Brewery Iceni 4.3
Hand Drawn Monkey BT Extra Special Pale Ale 4.2
Hand Drawn Monkey Dark Wit 6.0
Hand Drawn Monkey Simiango Chilli 4.8
Here Be Monsters Berzerker #63 4.0
Here Be Monsters Blonde Fury 4.9
Magic Rock High Wire 5.5
Magic Rock Simpleton 3.0
Magic Rock Villainous 6.5
Mallinsons Amazons Attack! 5.2
Mallinsons Baton Rouge 4.3
Mallinsons Chinook 4.0
Milltown Brewery Black Jack 4.5
Milltown Brewery High Tackle 4.0
Milltown Brewery Platinum Blonde 4.0
Nook Brewhouse Cherry Stout 5.2
Nook Brewhouse Funky Banana 4.5
Nook Brewhouse SIPA 3.8
Nook Brewhouse Tiger Moth Porter 4.2
North Riding Citra 4.5
North Riding Golden Years 5.6
Old Mill Brewery Traditional Mild 3.4
Old Mill Brewery Yorkshire Porter 4.4
Ossett Brewery Best of British 4.5
Ossett Brewery Victoria 4.0
Phoenix Heywood Wobbly Bob 6.0
Quirky Ales Long Hop 5.2
Quirky Ales Quirky Blonde 4.2
Rat Brewery Number of the Rat 6.66
Rat Brewery Nurse Rached 3.8
Rat Brewery Rat Haus 4.8
Rat Brewery Sepp Ratter 4.4
Reedley Hallows Griffin IPA 4.7
Reedley Hallows Nook of Pendle 5.0
Riverhead Damson Mild 3.7
Riverhead Dunkel 5.4
Small World Beers Autumn Bank 3.7
Small World Beers Long Moor Pale 3.9
Small World Beers Thunderbridge Stout 5.2
Snaggletooth American Pale Ale 3.8
Snaggletooth Rolling Maul 4.1
Summerwine Oregon 5.5
Summerwine Teleporter 5.0
Summerwine Wingman 4.6
Three Fiends Little Devil 5.3
Three Fiends Two Faces 4.0
Three Kings Devils Advocate 4.1
Three Kings Low Lights 3.9
Vocation Brewery Chop & Change 4.8
Vocation Brewery Pride & Joy 5.3
Everything else you need to know is on the Huddersfield CAMRA site: http://goo.gl/39fAi4
I'll post a review after opening night (6pm) on Thursday. 
If you've not been before the venue is close to The Grove, the new sports centre and Huddersfield bus station.

Ship Ahoy once more in Sheffield

The new look Ship Inn, Shalesmoor, Sheffield
After reading Wee Beefy's blog that The Ship Inn had reopened I decided to hot foot it down to take a look for myself.
Regular readers will know that I like this Sheffield pub a lot. I thought it was lost having walked past several times earlier this year. So I'm absolutely delighted to see it back in action.
The main changes seem to be an introduction of craft keg, bottled beer and a major refurb inside.
I'll keep this post brief as all you need to know is on Wee Beefy's site: http://goo.gl/ArPhVK
and I'll also let the pictures do the talking.
Opening times seem have changed. I believe they are now 10am until 11pm on weekdays and slightly later at weekends. The pub now offers coffee, hot dogs, Tapas, salads, sandwiches and puddings. Alas no sign of the legendary jukebox or the pool table, where a row of bottle fridges now stand.
On the bar when I visited (September 30) were Bradfield Farmers Brown Cow and Stout, Old Golden Hen and Chantry Diamond Black. I only had time for a pint pit stop so will do a full review at a later date after a full session.
The bar has four cask ales on and a range of craft beers & lagers 
Front entrance and a door for a bar
Side view and entrance

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Sportsman HD Festival

Another day, another festival ! Its a hard job but someone has to do it !

Yesterday saw the start of The Sportsman's HD Festival. A mixture of cask, keg and bottled beers all from breweries within the HD postcode area, (bar one - Linfit). The main bar has been augmented with an outside bar with 8 beers on, so in all there are 16 cask beers available, 5 keg beers, and 16 bottled beers - enough to keep the average Huddersfield-a-phile happy for a session. I took a look yesterday and sampled the first wave of beers.

An interesting selection of varied styles were on offer from the Mallinsons 'Dick and Gravy's 0070' - brewed by a couple of the staff at the pub (ask them about the name), through the Here Be Monsters' Beserker no63' which is an American \Pale Ale using 8 different American hops, to the Rat Brewery 'Ratwurst' which is a German Rauchbier style, using beech smoked barley and English hops.

The outside bar had beers from Golcar, Nook, and an interesting Riverhead offering ' Sour Cherry Red' which is as it says. And if this is not enough, there is the first sight of a new keg brewery Lotus with their 'Lotus Ale'.

Admittedly, a lot of the beers were regular beers from the respective breweries, but many only brew occasional specials, and John and the team deserve great credit for managing to source the beers, and it is certainly interesting to taste all the area has to offer side by side. And with thirds available, there is little excuse not to try plenty of them.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Navigation Beer Festival Review

My appetite whetted by a sight of the beer list, yesterday seemed a good time to visit one of my favourite pub festivals at the Navigation in Mirfield. I was not disappointed.

The festival is the second held this year at the pub and it reprised the tried and tested system that has been honed over many previous efforts. Around 30 beers were available, all on handpull, all cellar cooled, all at £2.80 a pint and all sourced from the Midlands.

This was a slight misnoma when I scanned the beer list, as there were offerings from such disparate counties as Wiltshire, Lincolnshire and Essex, none of which I would actually call Midlands...but never mind, it was a fine list.

Word must have got out, as there were a few tickers scattered about when I arrived at the festival, and it was great to catch up with some old friends. As always, it was a case of where to start - so I decided that a sensible course would be to work from left to right across the bar. Towcester Mill therefore provided my first two beers; 'Northdown' was single hopped and pleasant enough and 'Crooked Hooker', a Rugby themed beer that had more of a malty background. The left to right plan failed miserably early on, as there were a couple of beers I wanted to save till later, so I flitted up and down the bar sampling offerings from Gun Dog, Merriemen, and Tydd Steam. All were good, but all seemed a little 'samey' and safe - possibly I had stumbled across the formula that these Northamptonshire breweries all use. Fear not - I had saved the best till last.

Before I get there I overheard one of those brilliant comments that you sometimes get at beer festivals when a middle aged lady who accompanied her husband said to a slightly confused Derek behind the bar, 'I like beer, but I would like your least beery beer'. That was a serious challenge, but eventually she went away satisfield.

As I said, I saved some of the more interesting beers till later in the afternoon, and was not disappointed. Colchester 'AK Pale' was 3.7% and a recreation of a 1900's recipe. It was not hoppy, but a beautiful balance of sweet malts. I could have gladly sampled several of them, but in the interests of research I tried Grain '3.1.6'. This was 3.9% and brewed with lager malt. Another triumph. Maybe a cask lager, maybe a bitter, but whichever it was an excellent beer. My final choice would have to go some to top these two, but it did. Golden Triangle 'Mosaic City' was all that the tasting notes promised and more - one of the best Mosaic hopped beers I have ever tasted. It was so good that I stopped for another and another. And missed my train!!

Thanks are due as always to Kevin, Karen and Derek for sourcing some excellent beers, and serving them in their usual friendly manner. The only slight downside was the lack of darker beers for those who prefer that style, but the quality of the lighter beers far outweighed that. And should you have the desire to sample the whole range then 3 1/3 pints are available at the price of a pint. A festival not to be missed.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Beer list for Navigation Festival, Mirfield (Sep 24-27)

Navigation, Mirfield Beer Festival September 24-27
The Navigation's autumn beer festival begins tomorrow (Thursday) and runs until Sunday.

Expect beer from Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Essex, Cambridegshire and Hertfordshire. The Bloke from Hull has sent us the beer list for your perusal.

I'm sure various members of the A Swift One team will be disembarking at Mirfield Station over the course of the next few days for what is one of our favourite pub festivals.

Good luck to Kevin, Derek and the rest of the team at The Navi.

Beer list:




3.1.6 3.9%

AK PALE 3.7%


HOT DOG 3.9%





Yeaton Cask stages beer festival

The Yeaton Cask in Huddersfield will host its first beer festival next month.
The pub, on Town Road, Kirkheaton, is staging the event between October 9 to 11 to celebrate five years of serving real ales.
Expect 30 ales from UK and Isle of Man breweries.
All the relevant information is on the poster above, just click to enlarge.
The beer list comes come courtesy of the all-seeing BFH.

Beer Listing:
Scarborough Brewery - Sealord 4.3% 
Great Heck - Blonde 4.3% 
Slightly Foxed - Flying Fox 4.5% 
Slightly Foxed 3.8% 
Purple Moose - Madogs Ale 3.7%

Yasgawan Pale Ale 4%
Lytham Brewery - Lytham Blonde 3.8%
Lytham Gold 4.2%
Deeply Vale - Citra Storm 4%
Golden Vale 4.2%
DV8 4.8% - Breakfast Stout
Revisionist - Green Hop Beer 4.5%
Wychwood - Dirty Tackle 4%
Single hop - New British Flyer 4%
Banks - Botanical Beer 4.2%
Burscough - Mere Blonde 4%
Ringtail 4.2%
Prospect - Ore-some 3.8%
Blinding Light 4.2%
Brass Castle - Bad Kitty 5.5% Chocolate-vanilla porter
Malton Amber 4%
Cheshire Brewhouse - Cheshire Gap 3.8%
Cheshire Set 4%
Great Yorkshire - Yorkshire Golden 4.2%
Conwy Brewery - West Coast Pale Ale 3.9%
Three Kings - Devils Advocate 4.3%
Low Lights 3.9%
Bath Brewery - Special pale Ale 3.7%

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Inn-festation - the 4th Rat and Ratchet Beer Festival

With all the recent upheavals and management changes at the Rat and Ratchet, I was a little sceptical as to whether this festival would actually take place. But it did, and a damned fine festival it is too.

Every pump in the pub was dedicated to beers from the in house brewery - some old favourites and some new beers. Some on cask, some on keg, and even some in bottles. And should you need a Rat Bag or a Rat Pack, they were available too.

When I arrived the pub was fairly busy and the amount of glasses on the tables was a testament to how the punters had entered in to the swing of the festival, and were apparently intent on trying each and every beer on offer. Thankfully for the hardened 'ticker' thirds of a pint were available so it was not too challenging to sample all 15 beers.

I stuck to the cask beers - I have saved a couple of the interesting keg beers for today - and was not disappointed. With strengths from 3.8% to 5.5% and every style imaginable (within reason!) choice was going to be easy, or so I thought. But where to start - that was a problem !

I selected a safe half of White Rat and armed with the excellent tasting notes, written by Will Forrest, with hints as to style and other quirky observations, sat down to make a plan of action. He had kindly marked the new beers on the programme so this seemed to be the way to go. 'Nurse Ratched' was a decent 3.8% session golden ale, 'Bearded Rat' a 4% red ale, and 'Rat and Roll' a traditional style 3.8% bitter. Out of my first selection however, the outstanding beer was 'Uncle Rat' - the 5% American style IPA. That became moreish.

However, to be fair to to festival, I thought I ought to revisit some of my old favourites - I did not not need to try the 'Black Rat' - my friend Julie confirmed that it was on form, and she is the expert!! So, 'Sepp Ratter' came next - I just love the name! Then 'Ratweiller' - another pale and hoppy beer, then another 'Ratweiller' and another. I think I got stuck in a bit of a rat rut, only to be relieved by another Uncle Rat.

If you have a spare afternoon this weekend, the festival runs through until Sunday and all the beers will rotate through the bar so hopefully all the choices should have been on by the close. An excellent festival and a credit to all concerned; long may it continue.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Archies Bar & Kitchen

Ossett Brewery's latest venture sees the unlikely amalgamation of restaurant, bar and disco in the dark arches beneath Leeds station. This is the company's third project at the developing Granary Wharf in the Holbeck district of the city and offers very different fayre to that currently available in the nearby Hop and Candlebar. 

The very stylish conversion of a former teppanyaki restaurant is on two levels and quite different from anything Ossett followers will be familiar with. Although size-wise Archies is similar to next door's Hop (occupying arches V & W to The Hop's X & Y), that's where the similarity ends. There's no traditional pub styling, no dimly lit nooks or cosy corners. 

No, the emphasis is very much on eating, and that's eating with a twist of healthy and a sprig of contempo - none of your regular fast-food in here. A juice bar greets you by the door, uniquely sited inside a VW camper van (see what they did?) - the same vehicle that some may remember in The Jam Inn at Wakefield. And in an attempt not to spoil the clean modernist approach to the bar design, the obligatory hand pumps (this is a cask ale brewery let's not forget) have been cleverly hidden in the tailgate of the van so as not to be obvious - it's kind of like cigarettes behind shutters.

Ossett does of course have a very good range of it's own beers and guest ales right next door, so there is no sense in repeating itself at Archies -  in fact having a selection of up to four beers on handpull here is very generous. With Candlebar (a two minute walk away) concentrating on craft beers from around the world, it would be very churlish indeed to criticise the choice of beer on offer. 

However, if you are popping in for a nosey and just fancy a swift one, expect to see the ubiquitous and immensely popular White Rat from Huddersfield on cask with usually an Ossett and a Sharps alongside. Keg-wise there was BrewDog and Rat Brewery during my last visit. If it's more substantial sustenance you're after, perhaps while waiting for The Hop to open, then I can whole-heartedly recommend the breakfasts (served from 8am).  

While waiting for the access lift from the station to be completed, this totally re-imaginged quarter of Leeds has been missing out on a tremendous amount of custom, but all that's about to change. Completion is due in November we hear and from then on a good day out in Leeds can include the three aforementioned bars, plus the Grove, Midnight Bell, Cross Keys and Northern Monk - all without a shopper in sight. Bliss!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Beer Festivals Coming Thick and Fast

I realise we have not been 'blogging' for a little while, this is due to many factors but unfortunately the editorial teams personal circumstances have taken priority to beer matters for the last month or two, and personally speaking, may continue for a couple more months as well.

This is unfortunate, because this is the time when beer festivals start to come thick and fast, in fact there are so many that it would be almost impossible to get to every one and do it justice.

This week sees York Camra festival. Loads of new beers, loads of new breweries, and one I have never visited - nor am I likely to this year either.

I am more likely to make it to this weekends Rat Fest at the Rat and Ratchet. It starts on Friday and runs all weekend with  a 'meet the brewer' opportunity on Saturday. Again plenty of new beers and old favourites are promised over the weekend.

Next weekend I had pencilled in the New Oxford Festival at Salford as a possible- that was until a chance meeting with BFH reminded me of the Navigation Festival at Mifield that starts next Thursday 24th Sept and runs through till Sunday. This time the rumour is that the beers are from the
Midlands. This weekend also sees a festival of local breweries at the Sportsman in Huddersfield, with beers promised from every local brewery in the HD area - with many unusual beers promised.

October brings a plethora of Camra Festivals. Huddersfield festival is on the 1st October, Wakefield starts on the 15th of the month and in case we haven't had enough beer, Sheffield follows on the 22nd October.

I will personally try to support as many of these as I can, I hope you will too - I may even see you there.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Wood Street Beerhouse opens

The title is not strictly accurate as the Wood Street Beerhouse has actually been open for about a fortnight, but now seems a suitable time to champion its work.

It is housed in the premises that used to be the Hand Drawn Monkey bar on Wood St, Huddersfield (about a five minute walk from the railway station) . The place has been repainted and is in the process of being spruced up to make it a pleasant bar to while away an hour or so.

It has 4 draught beers on the bar, on my visit this included two from Mallinsons, and all were in good condition, along with around 8 key keg lines providing beer from far and wide, and all are reasonably priced.

There now no connection between the bar and the Hand Drawn Monkey brewery, so although their beers may occasionally appear as guests they will not feature permanently on the bar.