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Showing posts from October, 2016

The Works: Progress Halted

I heard the other day that The Works in Sowerby Bridge has closed, with the pub's Facebook page saying on Monday they were closing for the foreseeable future, and referring any enquiries to a Cleckheaton-based insolvency firm.

Only a few weeks ago we celebrated my brother's wedding there, were very well looked after, and there was no indication at all that there were any issues in the background. I had also visited with friends earlier in the year and it had seemed busy enough. When I heard the news I had a look at their Facebook page, they were taking Christmas bookings within the last few days, they had acts booked in the next few weeks for their popular Comedy Club, and even on Sunday they were catering for dog lovers and had posted a picture of Benson, their Pup of the Week.

So to many people, and, no doubt, Benson too, this will all come as a bit of a shock.

The Works has been a key player over the past 15 years or so in changing perceptions and helping Sowerby Bridge become…

From Spa Town to Steel City....

In the past week, I have visited two Yorkshire towns, firstly the up-market and attractive spa town of Harrogate, followed by gritty and bustling Sheffield, famous for its steel-making heritage. Two completely different places, but from a beer point of view, though, they are both well worth a visit.

A few of us visited Harrogate last week as Town were playing in the FA Cup against Harrogate Town. So after catching the train from Halifax, we alighted at Harrogate in search of our first pint of the day. And we didn't have far to go. Harrogate now has its own Tap at the station, so we headed in there. And what a friendly place it is! The staff were all very welcoming, and the beer was spot on. As you would expect, like other station Taps, it is an attractive place, plenty of wood panelling, an open fire, and two banks of gleaming hand pumps. Well worth a visit.

We moved to another new place for me, Major Tom's Social, not far from the Winter Gardens and Betty's. Situated in an …

News from the West Riding....

The West Riding Brewery started out in Huddersfield way back in 1979. Set against the background of the times, this was a significant landmark as it was the days when big brewers held sway, with the likes of Tetleys, Websters, and Bass dominating the front of the bar. A free house back then would give you the addition of beers from the Youngers stable, or Theakstons, but otherwise your choice was, certainly by today's standards, limited.

The brewery was set up by 5 friends - Ken Williamson, Dave Jessop, Ron Crabtree, Mike Field and Jim Turney - who, as is often the case with a good idea, were chatting over a pint or two, and came up with the idea of setting up their own brewery to offer more choice and variety to local beer drinkers. After a year or so planning and organising, the brewery was set up in an old mill behind Huddersfield Town's old Leeds Road Stadium, and in 1980 the first beer, West Riding Bitter, was brewed to much acclaim from local drinkers!

However, it was when…

FestivALE; Making its Mark in Bailiffe Bridge....

I first got to know Mark Feasey about 8 years ago when he took over The Olde Ship Inn on Bethel Street in Brighouse. This was the cleaned up and re-named Prince of Wales, a place whose fearsome reputation played no small part in helping the town acquire the nickname 'Dodge'.

Hand pumps had recently been installed in the Ship but it is fair to say that Mark's background as a manager for the Harvester chain hadn't given him the experience of real ale that he was looking for. So he was always willing to listen to advice on what beers to stock, and I remember going in regularly where a couple of the regulars, Tony and John, would be reeling off beer after beer which Mark would always try to get in.

The beers were consistently spot-on, the customer base grew to such an extent that it was hard to get in at weekends. It became the default place to meet in Brighouse, a unique spot in a town whose centre had lacked a clean, friendly place where people could go and enjoy great bee…