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Tangled Up In Notts....

A return visit to Nottingham after a few years for football-related reasons, along with a tour of some of the city's pubs made for an enjoyable weekend in this fine city. Well, apart from the football, that is.... When the 2022-23 fixtures came out, one fixture that stood out as a potential stopover was Town's visit to Notts County on the last Saturday in January. Fast forward a few months and our group of 10 assembled in Huddersfield in dribs and drabs, some of us finding our original plan to visit the station buffet thwarted as it was closed. So necessity meant it was a trip to the nearby The Cherry Tree for the dreaded Spoons breakfast, which heralded the customary moans and mumbles about rubber eggs and cold beans but we all survived. Then it was the leisurely saunter down to Sheffield via the Holme Valley, Penistone, and Barnsley. Once in the Steel City we boarded an East Midlands train and landed in Nottingham around 12.30 and followed the same pre-match routine as last
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One Cleck Of A Town....

All over the country there are countless small towns which simply carry on at their own pace and in their own way as they go about their daily business. And with that in mind, I recently paid a visit to a neighbouring town to which I rarely go to check out the local pub and bar scene. Here's what I found.... Cleckheaton is a small town in West Yorkshire, situated just off Junction 26 of the M62, otherwise known as the Chain Bar roundabout. A town of around 17,000 souls, it lies about 4 miles to the east from where I live in Brighouse, and is south of Bradford, west of Batley, and south west of Leeds, and part of its name is sometimes used somewhat disparagingly by folks from other parts of Yorkshire to refer to this part of West Yorkshire as Cleckhuddersfax . Cleckheaton though can proudly claim to be the centre of the Spen Valley. It's growth came about through the textile trade and is historically part of the Heavy Woollen District. The town prospered through the latter part

The Latest Hotshot in Town....

I've been back to Manchester for the first time for a while and I had a really enjoyable afternoon visiting a couple of brewery taprooms as well a number of pubs and bars where I don't regularly call.... I do miss Manchester when I have prolonged periods of absence from the place. The grand old buildings, the vibrancy, and the sheer character of the city and its inhabitants. And so, when it was the first Saturday for a while not to be affected by train strikes, the Christmas markets, or the Christmas/New Year celebrations, it was a no-brainer to get myself over there. Particularly when there was a brand new brewery taproom to visit as well! I got the train to Victoria from Halifax, and just after 12 I was buying a ticket to get the tram over to Piccadilly. Not because I was too lazy to walk, but because I like riding the tram; it is a very civilised way to get about the city and elevates it to another level and gives the place a rather continental feel. I duly arrived at Piccad

Rainy Day In The Happy Valley....

As a new series of Happy Valley was about to hit our TV screens, I spent a somewhat wet and gloomy Saturday afternoon in the Calder Valley where it is set. At least the pubs were warm and friendly, and the beer was good.... I don't generally like this time of year. It is dark, dreary, with the addition, in the case of this last week or so, of being wet and gloomy. In days of limited light, and nights whose shadows linger longer, the mood can be miserable and hard to brighten. A couple of lighter days have lifted the gloom, but once again, as I look out over the garden this morning, the sky is grey and heavy, and rain is coming down. We are in that no-man's land time of year. The first few days of the month of January, the first of the year, short days, long nights, the post-Christmas and New Year comedown, the return to work, a month of greys in varying shades, with the added pressures of spiralling costs, disruption and unease, a general malaise abroad. Against that background

Beers from The Big Tree....

A football trip on Boxing Day re-acquainted me with the beers of an interesting small brewery whose beers reflect the locality in which they are brewed.... Last Monday, Boxing Day, Halifax Town were playing away from home against their National League rivals, Altrincham, providing an early opportunity to break out from the post-Christmas Day torpor. With the lack of public transport available and a general unwillingness to drive at this time of year, a friend had arranged a coach to take thirty-odd of us there and after passing through some grim, wet weather as we crossed over the Pennines, we duly arrived at our destination to welcome bright sunshine. I'd prepared a list of pubs and bars for us to visit before the game, with a mix of old and new venues. We alighted from the coach, skirting down a walkway along the side of a large Tesco on our way to the former historic hamlet of Goose Green, now swallowed up within Altrincham, and on one side of a cobbled square was our first plan

A Tale of Two Brewers....

I visited Bingley brewers Goose Eye last week and had a most interesting tour around one of Yorkshire's most popular traditional brewers. Meanwhile a few days earlier, by way of a contrast, I went to a Meet the Brewer event with one of the country's leading modern brewers, The Kernel. And so here's some thoughts on the brewing world.... The original Goose Eye Brewery originated in the small Pennine village of the same name a few miles from Keighley in the late 1970's, started by Brian Eastell in an old building close to the village pub, the Turkey Inn, which became the main outlet for the fledgling brewery. These days it would be classed as a micro brewery, but back then, its small scale meant it was something of a novelty. I remember making the trip a few times and braving the incredibly steep roads that converge on the village, but it was always worth the visit to enjoy the novelty of drinking a pint of Goose Eye in the Turkey Inn in Goose Eye! I also have vague memor