The Bloke from Hull writes
Just over a year ago in June 2014 beers from the new Small World brewery began to appear in the Huddersfield area and it was not long before some SPBW (Society for The Preservation of Beers from the Wood) West Riding branch members had tasted them. The feedback was great. On their recommendation the brewery was approached and a visit arranged.
Around 30 branch members filled the coach on a bright Saturday morning in July and it was not long before we had left the motorway for the outer reaches of Huddersfield district. Located between Shelley and Shepley, the brewery is in one of the units on the Barncliffe Mills trading estate, formerly used for textile production.
We were greeted by owner Dave Hill and operations manager Pete Forder and there was no preamble just a huge surprise. They had borrowed a few wooden casks from Neil and Maureen at The Junction in Castleford. Especially for us, two beers, Long Moor Pale (3.9% ABV) and Thunderbridge Stout (5.2% ABV) were available from the wood. These were via handpump in the lovely upstairs wood logged brewery bar / hospitality area, nicely constructed into the rafters of the building.
For the enthusiasts Long Moor Pale was also available from a steel cask on the downstairs bar. Some of us took up the challenge and, yes, we did taste the difference which not only pleased us but also Dave. Alongside on the downstairs bar were Barncliffe Bitter (3.7% ABV) and Summer Bank (3.7% ABV).
Once everyone had a drink and made themselves comfortable around various parts of the brewery, Dave and Peter circulated amongst small groups and even individuals to answer questions. We were also allowed to wander off on our own to inspect the various parts of the brewery – even to take photographs of the wooden casks in the cellar!
Of particular interest, amusement and hilarity were the unusual half pint polycarbonate glasses that appeared. These had the appearance of a standard pint glass that had been sliced into two vertically from base to rim. And of course this was a photo opportunity that was certainly not missed.
As the hospitality continued, the food arrived. Firstly, courtesy of Dave’s wife Penny, light snacks of cheese, meat and crackers appeared and rapidly disappeared. Then it was time for the now famous Barncliffe Chilli, expertly prepared by Peter’s wife Joanne. Great scran indeed! And then – more lovely beer.
After around four hours of wonderful hospitality it was sadly time to set off to our next destination. Our thanks go to Penny and Dave and Peter and Joanne. Just great.
Following some snoozing and sobering up we arrived in Bury near the market and as time was on our side several of us ventured into the market to buy some of the world famous Black Pudding. While some chose to eat it hot there and then others bought some for later. A treat indeed.
Undoubtedly, the highlight for beer was the Trackside, part of the East Lancs Railway. They were having their “Summer Diesel Gala Weekend”. Alas, as a result, there were no steam trains but nevertheless it was very interesting for many to recall their notebook youth days. And not forgetting the extremely rare red telephone box with postbox and stamp vending machine on the platform. As a consequence there was a constant but fast moving queue at the bar for a fine selection of lovely beers.
A very interesting new pub was The Clarence which is a smart place with Silver Street Microbrewery in the cellar which could be viewed on the way to the loos. At the bar there were several guest beers alongside the three house beers (which could be purchased as 3 x 1/3s by CAMRA members at a discount). There were plenty of other good pubs too.
As always time to depart came around all too soon and after more snoozing and sobering up on the bus we arrived in Leeds on time. Several of us chose to visit the great new Leeds Brewery pub, The Lamb and Flag which was conveniently located at our dropping off point. And to round off an exceptional day a few of us crossed the road for some more great beers in The Duck and Drake while watching great blues band Crosscut Saw.
Postscript: Apologies to BFH, Small World and SPBW for the lateness of this post, which was an oversight on my part, Ale Ambler.