Friday, March 25, 2016

Hoppy Easter everyone

Beer list for Ossett tap take over at Old No7
The Junction's fourth Woodfest beer festival begins in Carlton Street, Castleford today & continues tomorrow.
Ossett and its sister breweries have also begun their tap takeover at Old No 7 in Barnsley. There are 14 casks and four kegs on at Market Hill. The event runs until Monday. 
It's shaping up to be a hoppy Easter. 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Some new Calderdale Venues

Apologies - but this was a last minute idea and I forgot my camera

I have read in the Halifax Pub Paper of a couple of new additions to the local ale scene, and since Mrs Timbo had expected me to do a bit of shopping on Sunday it seemed like a decent excuse to check them out. So off I went, (bearing in mind I was driving so public transport would probably make it more complicated).

My first call was the Hogshead Brew House in Sowerby Bridge. I had heard they had started brewing and it was the furthest pub from home. I was impressed. The pub is on Stanley St (on the right hand side through the centre of the town, there is a car park signed to the left and the pub is across from the car park). There has obviously been a lot a money invested here. A massive seating area greets you as you walk from the door to the bar, and it just gets better. Looking to the left reveals the brewing equipment, but being Sunday I assume the brewers were having a day off..  On the bar when I visited were three of their own Hoghead beers. Two light and one dark. The ones I tried were 4% and excellent, '6 to 8 weeks' was a more trad beer, but my preference was the 'White Hog', a light, hoppy beer The dark beer was a 4.7% if my memory is correct. Additionally there were several other beers from around the country on the bar. Time constraints and the car meant I had to move on, but have no fear, I will be back.(I think the pub only opens all day on weekends, during the week it is 3pm I understand).

The next pub, after a bit of shopping, to prove I was not entirely sciving, was the Junction Inn at Ogden Lane in Rastrick. This is open daily, apart from Tuesdays at 1200 noon, and is a pub transformed. I used to live nearby many years ago, and after a couple of visits never returned, it was dire. This visit has changed my opinion. It has been refurbished, is clean and bright and has six beers on offer, and is a fairly rare outlet in the area for beers from the Marstons stable. The one I tried was one of their specials - in good condition but not my taste. Notwithstanding, another pub to visit on my 'shopping' trips.

My final call was a pub that I had passed for several months and watched work in progress there and has reopened in the last couple of weeks. The Four Sons (previously the Clough House) on Clough Lane at Fixby-Rastrick had suffered a few setbacks before they finally opened the doors, not the least being that someone nicked the pub roof before Christmas. The wait looks to have been been worth it. Six beers on the bar, O.K they are from the more well know breweries but the Oakham 'Citra' I had was very good . The place itself feels fresh and new. There is plenty of seating and plenty of tables - probably in anticipation of them serving food in May, and it has a handy bus stop (for 549) outside. Opening times are from 1200 noon daily.

So if you are like me, and have a desperate need for Sunday shopping, at least there are some places to deaden the pain. And yes, I did actually get what was on my list !

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Sportsman Irish Festival

This weekend there is a very plethora of beer festivals for us to enjoy. I have already covered the Star Festival, but there are also the CAMRA festival at Leeds and the Nook at Holmfirth festivals to tempt us, but one that really caught my eye was at the Sportsman on St Johns Rd. This festival was Irish themed and it started on  St Patricks day appropriately enough ! And not a pint of Guinness in sight.

To replace the ubiquitous black stuff John has sourced a selection of beers, both in bottles and in key keg from breweries rarely seen in England, covering a range of strengths and styles. I managed to sample a few a couple of days ago and was very impressed. To be more specific, there are 12 key kegs (covering five different breweries), 15 bottles (many bottle conditioned), and a couple of ciders and a few whiskeys - all from the Emerald Isle. There are also a small number of cask beers due to appear on the main bar over the weekend.

There is a beer list with comprehensive tasting notes so you can make an informed choice, and the keg beers are available in thirds as well to enable you to sample plenty of them.

So if you have not had your fill of beer festivals, why not give it a try ?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Star Spring Festival Review

It is spring again, and last night The Star at Folly Hall opened its doors to its Spring Beer Festival. This festival was slightly different to previous festivals - in fact that is wrong, it was very different to previous spring festivals, following the model used at the  last Winter Festival with all the beer being available in the pub rather than in the outside marquee.

So did the change of venue work ? I spoke to several customers and opinion was split, but on a personal note I enjoyed it. The pub was busy but not over busy and it seemed more intimate - if you can use that word for a beer festival. There are 28 beers on offer on a bar set up in the corner of the pub, as usual, all cellar cooled and hand pulled. In addition there were the 10 beers on the pub bar and others available from the cellar for the die hard enthusiasts. Beer was competitively priced at £2.90 a pint on the festival bar, in real cash, rather than tokens, but sadly, no festival glasses were available for this event.

What of the beers though? I class myself as a fairly well travelled beer ticker, and I had only encountered 4 before, and out of the 28 beers 7 came from breweries new to me, I set to work on those first. Trinity from Wakefield are a very recent brewery, but their 'Belle Vue Blonde' was a decent beer of its style, as was Littleover 'Gold', both around the 4% mark. Stronger at 5% was Neptune 'Abyss Oatmeal Stout'  I found this an excellent beer, and will certainly try another later in the week. Another coup was Howling Hops 'Pale Ale XX No1'  another 5% offering and the first cask beer I had encountered from them. It was very well balanced and very moreish.

Plenty of other rare breweries were there too, with beers from Quirky, Elephant School, and Slaughterhouse on the bar, On the local front there were specials from Mallinsons (Carry On Crusin' - I wonder how they thought of that name !) and Briggs with the quad hopped 'Symphony No5'. In the interests of research, of course, I had to sample other beers too, and some impressed me more than others I must admit but all were in good condition. I must admit though that the two stars of the festival were both on the main pub bar and both were at the stronger end of the spectrum. Mallinsons 'Maverick' was stronger than their usual beers and was a dry hopped version of Spruce Goose (6.3%) ,it was superb. (and thankfully in a 9 gallon cask). The second stronger beer last night was Five Towns 'Alcazar' weighing in at a not inconsiderable 7.8%. This is only in a 4 1/2 gallon barrel so its a case of get it while you can ! It tasted it strength and the orange infusion in the beer gave it a totally different flavour to anything else available.

The festival runs through until Sunday (or until the beer runs out) with full day opening Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I know there are plenty of other festivals this weekend, but it is worth setting some time aside to call down and sample the beer on offer. As usual thanks must go to Sam and the team, Adam in particular, for making the festival so special, and if last night is anything to go by, a deserved success.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Star Festival List

List for The Star Festival. Starts 1700 hrs Wednesday 16th March through till Sunday with all day opening Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Again the festival will be held in the pub rather than the marquee, with the beers on the list down to Littleover St Georges being on the festival pumps and the others on the pub bar. .

RED STAR Lakota 4.1
TORRSIDE No Frills 3.8
HILDENS Mollys Chocolate Stout 4.2
OFFBEAT Hinkey Herkulean Hopper 4.3
LYTHAM St Patricks Stout 4.6
BOX SOCIAL Convive Blonde 3.9
ELEPHANT SCHOOL White Elephant 4
FRONT ROW No 8 3.7
QUIRKY Bitter 4
SHINY Pail (Galaxy/Topaz) 4
NEPTUNE Abyss Oatmeal Stout 5
BRIGGS Symphony no 5 3.8
WILD WEATHER The Science of Selling Yourself Short 3
MALLINSONS Carry On Cruisin' 3.9
TRINITY Belle Vue Blonde 4.2
BOX SOCIAL Sticky Beak Pale 4.2
WAEN/HOPCRAFT Drawn To The Deep End 4
ELEPHANT SCHOOL Auusie Blonde  4
QUIRKY Blonde Ale 3.8
TRINITY Dark Daze 3.6
WARWICK Darling Buds 4
GOOSE EYE Summit Bitter 4.2
LITTLEOVER King Georges 4
ALECHEMY Starhopper 3.5
HEAVY INDUSTRY Electric Mountain 3.8
NORTH BLYTH Battleship Wharfe Stout 4
NORTH BLYTH Scrum-ptious 4
BLACKHILL Moreland 4
SHINY Pail (galaxy/Cascade) 4
MALLINSONS Maverick 6.3
FIVE TOWNS Alcazar 7.8
MANNING Man Cave 4.2
SCARBOROUGH Roman Holiday 4.3
FIVE TOWNS La Bier d'Hiver 7
WAEN Lemon Drizzle 3.7
WISHBONE Tantalus IPA 5.9
BOGGART Dandy Porter 4.6
QUIRKY Summit IPA 4.1
MALLINSONS Bridge Of The Gods 4.2

Friday, March 11, 2016

Wetherspoons Festival Starts Today

Today sees the start of the spring J.D Wetherspoon beer festival. It promises 50 beers available at their chain of pubs over two weeks, and promises beers of every style from every corner of the United Kingdom.

There have been several similar festivals in the past and this, broadly, follows the same system - with foreign brewers also coming across to Britain and brewing their beer on established British brewers plants . However, instead of the usual 10, this time we only have 5 to look forward to, with collaborations with brewers from Ireland, USA, Holland,  Australia and Italy.

To compensate there are 11 beers that were winners in various categories at the 2015 Great British Beer festival, so look out for such unusual beers as Timmy Taylors 'Boltmaker'  and Rudgate ' Ruby Mild' . I, for one, can hardly wait !

All is not lost though. There are some interesting beers on offer, A couple of single hopped varieties, an Irish Peated ale, a Vienna Lager and a clear wheat beer are part of the list. All I can suggest is getting out and trying them. I will be giving it a go, playing my usual game of 'Spoons bingo, and will let you know in day or so of my impressions.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

A three legged beer festival but not in the Isle of Man

The Three Legs Beer Festival in Doncaster
Press release:
The Doncaster Brewery & Tap have teamed up with The Corner Pin and The White Swan to hold their first ‘Three Legs Beer Festival’.
From Good Friday to Easter Monday the three Doncaster based venues are joining together to provide 40 different beers which come from a variety of breweries across the country.
The Doncaster Brewery & Tap will also have a changing range of traditional still ciders and a variety of European Bottled beers. There will be pork pies and a bespoke ‘Three Legs’ bratwurst which Wilkinson Butchers has created specifically for the event.
The Corner Pin will be providing their legendary ‘chip butties’ along with other hearty fayre and will be holding their quiz night on the evening of Sunday, March 27th March.
The White Swan will be having music from Frank Carline during the afternoon of Saturday, March 26 and will also have on their normal menu throughout the weekend.
Ian Blaylock of Doncaster Brewery said: “This is an exciting new venture for us and if it is successful we hope to hold this event annually.”
The Three Legs was a pub on St Sepulchre Gate in Doncaster before the Frenchgate was built opposite. It later became known as The Yorkist. 
The pub sign which used to hang outside The Three Legs has been used as the logo for the festival. 
For more about the festival please visit the Facebook page:3legsfestival.

Monday, March 07, 2016

IWCBD beer to launch this Saturday

Picture courtesy of @Gingerbeerking
This was the scene at The Riverhead in Marsden last Saturday when a team of brewsters came together for International Women's Collaboration Brew Day.
The brewsters, who were lead by Riverhead's Lisa Handforth, were part of an global effort who brewed under the banner of Unite Expression.
The beer, which contains a lot of grapefruit, will be launched at 2pm this Saturday (March 12) at The Riverhead.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

The Nook's Emerald Ale Festival March 17-19

The spring festival is at The Nook on Victoria Square, Holmfirth
The Nook Brewhouse in Holmfirth is hosting a St Patrick's 'weekend' beer festival later this month.
Sam from the Victoria Square ale house told us: "I am pleased to attach posters and details of this year’s spring beer festival at the Nook. 
"As it falls on St Patrick’s Day weekend this year's festival will have a very Irish theme and we have called it our Emerald Ale Festival.
"You won’t need the luck of the Irish to have yourself a good time this St Patrick’s Day weekend. From March 17 to 19 The Nook will be hosting our Emerald Ale Festival featuring over
40 cellar conditioned hand-pulled real ales including some Irish inspired beers and splendid stouts.
"There will be plenty of good Irish food, live music and a great craic throughout the weekend.
"We are planning to create some one off experimental beers for the event including an Irish Coffee Stout, for which we are aging our popular Grumpy Mule Coffee Stout over oak whisky barrel chips."