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New Kids On The Block....

Away from all the recent political upheaval, the English lion being vanquished, and the Welsh Dragon roaring, there has been plenty going on in the pub and beer world.

Here, in Calderdale, I have recently visited a couple of new places, both different, but both welcome additions to the scene. The first is in Halifax, right beside the Town Hall, and is called the Grayston Unity. This is a new venture for Michael Ainsworth, from Doghouse Promotions, who are well-known for numerous events around the town, most regularly at Arden Road Social Club, but also from time to time at the Minster, where, amongst others, the likes of John Grant and Low have appeared in recent years. On my first visit, I got chatting to Michael, with the sound of Neil Young in the background. He was telling me that he also organises the Halifax Musical Heritage trail, along with Trevor Simpson, the former football referee turned writer, which takes in some unexpected places in the town which have some musical connection or another. 

Although the Grayston Unity is small, it is not a micro pub. There are two rooms, plus a corridor-type space with seating. The bar has 3 hand pumps on it, always featuring Goose Eye Chinook, together with fairly local guests from the likes of Small World, Wishbone, and Ghost. I had a particularly good pint of Ghost Reaper on my most recent visit. There are also a selection of craft ales on tap, plus a range of bottles, and a cider. The second room is a 70's retro-style lounge with coffee tables, settee and armchairs. All in all, the quirky decor and chilled ambience has brought something new to the town, and I have enjoyed every visit I have made. And what about the name? Well, 'Grayston' comes from Michael's family who ran a number of pubs around Keighley, and 'Unity' is about bringing people together. Well worth checking out.

A few weeks ago, I went to the opening of the River Lounge in Sowerby Bridge. This has been opened by an old friend of mine, Ady Whitworth, who I got to know when he ran the Beck in Brighouse. This is situated down the cobbled street opposite the Firehouse, and has been a sports bar in the past. There are still plenty of TV screens around for the sports fans - England's ill-fated Euro trip was kicking off against Russia when I visited - but there were 2 handpumps on the bar with the promise of more to come. Nothing wrong with the beer, Roosters Yankee and Wainwrights were both very pleasant. The place was light, bright, and airy, and I wish Ady well.

Not a new kid, but a welcome old friend has now reopened, Calan's in Hebden Bridge is back after a near 6 month shutdown due to the Boxing Day floods. It was as good as it used to be, with a few minor changes to the layout and seating arrangements and a stone floor. I enjoyed a lovely pint of Bread and Butter from Vocation when I visited, and had a brief chat with Alan and Alyson who were naturally delighted to be open again after various delays and insurance company battles. Good news indeed.

Over the hill, in Mossley, I popped into the Rising Sun the other week as I had read that the pub was now selling its own beer. Now this is a pub I go past most days on my way to and from work, but I hadn't stopped for a pint for many months. I enjoyed a pint of Builders Craic, a 4.1% light, pale, slightly floral session ale, very refreshing and great value at £1.99! Also on the bar was Roughtown Reckless, weighing in at a whopping 12%! Needless to say I did not partake. The brewery is right beside the pub, which commands extensive views across the Tame Valley towards Dovestones and the peaks beyond. If you're passing by, it is well worth a visit, and has a number of other beers on from the likes of Millstone, which is also brewed in Mossley.

Elsewhere, the Market Tavern in Brighouse continues to go from strength to strength and now has a new look beer garden, The Dusty Miller at Hove Edge has got a fresh new look after closing for refurbishment, and I have also enjoyed the Buffet Bar at Stalybridge where there have been some good beers on recently.

So, if all the events of the last few weeks have got you down, why not try a visit to one of the places mentioned above?

The Grayston Unity, Halifax


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