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April and The Beer

April has been an interesting month on the beer and pub front, as I have visited some great places old and new, although it has been a bit quieter in terms of music.

It started off with a visit to the Fox at Shipley. Now this is a great little pub, with some superb beers, including from their own Beespoke Brewery, brewed on the premises. It occupies a single room on the main A657, with a cracking atmosphere. If you think it's gone dark, it probably means a passing bus is waiting at the nearby traffic lights! It is extremely close to the station, but whether it was a case of disorientation with Shipley Station being a bit confusing due to its layout, I don't know, but we wandered around for a bit before finding it!

A few days later I was just up the road in Saltaire, trying out the Cap and Collar micropub for the first time. And very nice it was too, there was a chilled Sunday afternoon vibe with a number of folk musicians playing away. As with the Fox, great beer, and well worth a visit.

I had a trip over to Manchester the other week to catch up with some former work colleagues. And rather than visit the regular Northern Quarter favourites, we took a different route across the city. We met as usual at the Lower Turks Head on Shudehill, then headed to the Micro Bar in the Arndale Centre. From there we moved on to Cafe Beermoth, next to the Post Office on Brown Street. This is a relatively recent opening, but has quickly become a favourite of both traditional ale drinkers and the hipster crowd with its mix of cask and keg beers at pretty good prices for a city centre venue. From there we moved on to Kennedy Street, visited one of my favourites, the City Arms, before popping next door to the Vine. Both did not disappoint in terms of both beer and atmosphere. From there we moved on to the Town Hall Tavern, which was quite boisterous with lots of blokes watching the United-Villa game, before visiting Corbieres, a cellar bar on Half Moon Street fondly remembered for a great jukebox by one of our party, but a first visit for me. Apparently the legendary jukebox was no more, but it was still a pleasant place to while away an hour. We went our separate ways, but after rice and three at This and That, I headed to Victoria to get the train. I had time for a quick visit to the station bar which has been slightly refurbished. I ordered half of Jaipur. £2.50! £5.00 a pint for below standard beer? I will not be paying another visit.

Locally, one of the highlights was on Saturday when we visited the Calan's pop up bar at Macpelah Mill, Hebden Bridge, on the junction of the main road and station approach. Following the Boxing Day floods and after months of delays, wrangling with insurance companies, and frustration, it was great to see Alan and Alyson back at the helm again, and as it looks likely to be a good few weeks yet before the original place is ready to open again, this weekend bar should help to fill the gap. The bar is accessed down some steep steps into an outdoor garden area beside the canal, and the actual space is bigger than the original place! Beer is served straight from the barrel and there was a good range on, with Vocation, Abbeydale, and Phoenix, amongst others, on offer. The Vocation Chop and Change and Abbeydale Endeavour were both excellent. One of my companions was Drighlington's very own JP Totham, who had brought along his ukelele, and he proceeded to strum the odd tune, which seemed to go down well with the punters. Calan's Too is a very pleasant place to pass away an hour or two.

Meanwhile in Brighouse, the Market Tavern continues to go from strength to strength. In terms of beer choice, quality, and value, you really can't go wrong, and everyone has really taken to Snap and Debs, plus Charlie of course! A real local in the heart of town, this is just what Brighouse needed.

Elsewhere in the town, I had a great afternoon at the Beck yesterday, where Chris Martin and Scott Wainwright entertained us with blues from the Calder delta. Chris has just recovered from a heart attack - although he hardly mentioned it(!) - and it was great to see him back. A great atmosphere, and a good time was had by all! The Commercial and the Dusty Miller both deserve a mention for good beer with a friendly welcome.

Over in Halifax, I have enjoyed visits particularly to the Cross Keys at Siddal and the Victorian Craft Beer Cafe in the heart of the town, both serving up some great beers. The Cross Keys is just up the road from where our Tom lives, and the Victorian is just near where our Tom works, so both are handy for a catch-up. The Cross Keys is always an enjoyable place to have a pint, as you never know who you might meet in there, and Hugh and Ruth always make you very welcome.

Now some sad news to report. Sean Liquorish, who writes for the local 'Pub Paper', has announced that the cancer that he had been having treatment for has been diagnosed as incurable. He doesn't intend to let it beat him and get him down, though, and no doubt his beloved Leicester City winning the Premiership title will give him a boost. Sean has always been very supportive of my blog, for which I am very grateful, and I hope that he can make the most of his time.

Tonight, I am off to see Bellowhead at the Victoria Theatre on one the dates on their farewell tour. This is just down the road from the Victorian Craft Beer Cafe. Guess where I'll be going for a pre-gig pint....  

Calan's Too


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