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Showing posts from May, 2017

Raising a Glass to The Grayston....

It doesn't seem it, but this weekend the Grayston Unity in Halifax has been celebrating its first anniversary. And over the past year, the little two-roomed bar beside the Town Hall has become a must-visit venue for both locals and visitors to the town.

I went in the Grayston for the first time last year on the Sunday following Town's win in the FA Trophy Final at Wembley. It had opened during the week but in all the euphoria following Town's victory, I hadn't realised it had opened until the weekend. It was around lunchtime when I visited, Neil Young was playing which was a good sign. Michael, the boss, and owner of Doghouse Promotions, poured me a pint of Goose Eye Chinook, and we had a good natter about music and such. I liked the place, I liked the vibe.

Over the past 12 months, I have been a regular visitor. Sometimes before football, sometimes after. Sometimes with friends, sometimes with family, sometimes on my own. The welcome has always been the same from Mich…

Manchester, 22nd May 2017

When I was growing up, my Grandad used to run the Sowerby Bridge Industrial Society in the West Riding of Yorkshire, as it was then. It was part of the Co-op, and every month in those pre-internet days, he would personally deliver the Society's figures over to head office in Manchester. Every now and again, in the school holidays, he would take me and my brother over with him for a day out, the excitement of the journey by train to a big city being, from the point of view of a young lad, ample compensation for waiting for what seemed like ages in a huge, wood-panelled reception area whilst Grandad handed over the figures to the bosses in the offices beyond.

Whether those youthful journeys sub-consciously influenced my decision years later to choose Manchester as the place to go to study for my degree in geography, I don't know, but it is certainly the point where I felt an affinity to the city. I lived there for 5 years, staying after my degree and working there, but even thou…

Full Steam Ahead at The Cock of the North....

For the past 11 years or so, the Halifax Steam Brewery has been brewing its own range of beers, mainly for consumption in its own on-site bar, the Cock of the North, named after the former Whitakers brewery in Halifax. Set back from the A644, between Hove Edge and Hipperholme, it is a place that has always done its own thing, and in doing so has attracted a loyal band of customers along the way.

But it wasn't always like this. When the plans were first put forward for the place on some open ground next to the Vulcan Engineering Works by local businessman and brewer David Earnshaw, he was met with stiff opposition from local residents, who dubbed the planned wooden building 'The Last Chance Saloon'. But persistence paid off, and eventually planning permission was granted by the council, and the Halifax Steam Brewery and Cock of the North were born.

Dave had originally been brewing in his garage, so the new found space gave him the chance to brew a bigger range, and then sel…

Bicycles, Faeries, and The Blue Pig....

"...the finest month in all the year is the merry merry month of May." Lyrics from 'Broomfield Hill' by Bellowhead.

The first weekend in May is rapidly becoming famous for the Tour de Yorkshire cycle race. This year the circus came through Brighouse, and I managed to get some spectacular views from the beer garden at the Red Rooster in Brookfoot on the Sunday in the sunshine, as first the out riders, and then the cyclists passed by at breakneck speed whilst a pint or two of some excellent Abbeydale Moonshine was consumed. It was busy, and even more so in Brighouse itself later on, where there had been a street market over the weekend prior to the arrival of the peloton. The festivities concluded with some excellent music in the Bethel Street car park from Better Than Six, followed by The Rainey Street Band and guests. It was a wonderful day, Brighouse once again showing how it loves to let its hair down and support an event.

The fine weather continued over the week, an…

Chorley: Britain's Micropub Capital?

I paid a visit to the Lancashire market town of Chorley yesterday, as this was where FC Halifax Town were playing their final league game of the season.

We had got the train from Halifax to Preston, which inexplicably consisted of only 2 carriages. This on a Bank Holiday weekend, with many people catching the train to its ultimate destination, Blackpool. There were also several football games taking place, so as you can imagine the train was absolutely rammed. Just over an hour later, having finally managed to get a seat at Burnley, we spilled out at Preston. Not the best journey I have ever had.

There are plenty of trains between there and Chorley, so we opted to visit a couple of pubs in Preston. First up was the magnificent Grade 2-listed Black Horse, a multi-roomed pub with dark wood, glazing, and mirrors set around a classic horseshoe bar. 8 hand pumps dispense a good selection of ales, I went for the Everards Sunchaser, which was on fine form. The Black Horse is situated on a co…