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Candlelight and The Parting Glass....

"Oh, all the comrades that e'er I had
They're sorry for my going away...."  
The Parting Glass. Trad

It was my birthday last weekend, and so on Saturday, I headed over to Huddersfield with some friends for a few drinks and a curry. We met at the Kings Head on the station as we were meeting a few of the group who had gone to watch Town play at Stalybridge. The Kings Head has been undergoing a slow renovation over a year or two and it was the first time I had been in the newly-opened side room, which now offers a more intimate alternative to the cavernous main room, which would benefit from curtains and other soft furnishings to soften the echoes. The beer was spot on and good value as ever, with Magic Rock Ringmaster or Bradfield Farmers Blonde the choice of most of us.

The rest of the group arrived, moaning and fed up as Town had lost 1-0. We moved on to The Corner, the Mallinsons Tap House that has fitted seamlessly into the Huddersfield town centre scene. I always enjoy my visits here, there is a great atmosphere, the food has an excellent reputation, and the beers are a mix of Mallinsons and guests, with a number more on keg. There were a few familiar faces in, although we missed the effervescent Sam Smith, who had been working earlier, and who has done a fantastic job since she returned to Huddersfield to look after the Corner.

From there we visited that local institution, The Grove, home to an amazing 19 handpumps and numerous more craft beers. Some of the party had not visited before, so it was an eye-opener for them and a welcome return for the rest of us. I enjoyed a pint of Marble Pint, served in one of the pub's own over-sized glasses, superb as ever. As usual, there were a few familiar faces in, not surprisingly the Grove has a loyal local following, as well as being a beacon for those from much further afield. 

Considering we didn't visit any of the town's other real ale pubs such as The Sportsman and the Rat and Ratchet before we headed off to the Chilli Lounge for that curry, we sampled some superb beers, and I would recommend a trip to Huddersfield as it has some great pubs with excellent beers and friendly customers.

Sunday was my actual birthday, which I spent closer to home in Brighouse. It was great to see so many friends in the Market Tavern and Commercial, and at the Beck, where we were treated to some fine music from Nick Hall, with more good beer and the odd dance, emphasis on the word 'odd'! I had a lovely day.

On Wednesday, I visited the Alexandra in Halifax. I had managed to get a ticket for an intimate candlelit gig by O'Hooley and Tidow. The fact that I love their individual brand of folk music and I love the Alexandra meant I had to try to get there, not least out of curiosity as to how they would be able to perform in such a small space! A micro gig in a microbar, no less. I ordered a pint of the eponymous O'Hooley and Tidow, a pleasant 3.9% fruity bitter brewed by Vocation, and very nice too.There were a few people there, we got the OK to go to the upstairs room where the gig was taking place. There were 4 rows of 4 chairs, there was a Roland keyboard and a small speaker. The room was candlelit, and after we'd all filed in, Belinda and Heidi appeared from the loo, not your usual green room. We were treated to a fantastic evening's entertainment, it was great to be part of such a special event, it was a privilege to see such good musicians so close up. They didn't scale back from their usual show and performed all the favourites such as  'The Hum', 'Summat's Brewin', 'Like Horses', and they even split the audience as they always do to sing the chorus of 'Gentleman Jack', by this time reduced to 5 on Team O'Hooley, and 7 on Team Tidow! A splendid evening, and thanks to Belinda and Heidi for a great performance, and to Ben and Martin for organising it. There are plans for more such events, and next Wednesday(18th) local folk band The Bromleys are on. Entry is free for this one, but space is limited.

Finally, some sad news to report. Local beer writer and blogger Sean Liquorish has lost his battle with cancer at far too young an age. I always enjoyed his articles and whilst I had only known him a relatively short time, he was always very supportive of my blogs. He wrote about beer and pubs for 'The Pub Paper' and organised the Ramfest at Southowram, near to where he lived. He was always very pleasant company whenever I met him. He was particularly delighted when his beloved  hometown team, Leicester City, defied the odds to lift the Premier League title last season. He leaves a wife and young family, and my deepest condolences to them. RIP, mate, you will be missed....

The Alexandra, Halifax

Here's a brilliant review from Mike Ainscoe of the evening at The Alexandra from Louder Than War magazine:


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