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A Trip to The Pub....

Seven weeks in, and there was a steady crowd at Todmorden's first micro, called simply The Pub. Well, perhaps not a crowd, but enough to fill the small bar that is situated on Brook Street, just beside the market.

We had walked up the canal towpath from Hebden Bridge, a lovely walk through some great countryside, but on a pleasant and warm sunny day we were looking forward to a drink, and once we had arrived in Tod it didn't take long to find The Pub. Situated on the corner of a solid, stone building just off the main A646, a few steps up off the street take you into a small bar with a few tables. There are 6 hand pumps, dispensing on the day beers that were generally pretty local - Deeply Vale from Bury, Worsthorne from near Burnley, Eagles Crag from just up the road at Robinwood Mill, plus a few others such as Jaipur, from further afield. The beer was on good form, I had the 3.6% Sidewinder from Deeply Vale which was refreshing after the walk, followed by Alter Eagle from Eagles Crag, which was most enjoyable. The cider was well received by my companion, and when we were joined a little later by a couple of friends, there was further endorsement of the cider, plus a recommendation to try one of the several gins on offer from a real gin afficianado. We had a great time there, the atmosphere was spot on, people came and went around us. The Pub is the sort of place where you can just wander in, and leave the worries of the world outside. It is open every day, and if it is too full downstairs, there is additional seating upstairs. The staff were very welcoming and friendly, and it is definitely worth a visit. I wish them well.

Todmorden has recently become more interesting as a place as pubs have upped their game and new restaurants have opened in the town. It doesn't have the immediate appeal of Hebden Bridge, 4 miles down the road, but it is an interesting and somewhat quirky town that is well worth checking out. The town is overlooked by Stoodley Pike, a 1,300ft hill upon which there is a distinctive monument which dates back to 1856. We had some debate on the journey back to Hebden Bridge as to the correct pronouciation. 'Studley Pike' or as 'Stooodley Pike'? We asked in Calan's and the general view was 'Studley', but it wasn't conclusive. We enjoyed our time in Calan's and then moved on to Vocation and Co, where I had an excellent Session IPA from Almasty, one of the North East's rising stars, before going for the train.

The previous Saturday, a group of us from Brighouse headed up to Sowerby Bridge to celebrate a friend's birthday. We met at the Jubilee Refreshment Rooms beside the station, where around 25 people descended to join in, much to the delight of joint owner Chris Wright, who was manning the bar. We had a most enjoyable time at this friendly place adjacent to the station, crammed full of memorabilia as befits a former railway building.

We moved on towards the town, and called in at the Loose Goose, a new name for the former Long Chimney. I hadn't been in the building for 40 years or so, and from the outside it remains very much the same. Inside,though, the multi-roomed pub of years ago had been transformed into one large L-shaped space with a huge bar with a top featuring old coins beneath a laminated cover. There were 6 handpumps, although only 2 beers were on, but they were fine. Despite the limited choice, I quite liked the place, the staff and locals were friendly, the atmosphere was good, despite it still being work in progress. I wish the team there well.

From there we moved across the bridge over the Calder and visited an old favourite, The Firehouse. A good choice of well-kept beer,a couple of pints, then a few of our group decided to take advantage of the excellent good value pizzas before joining the rest of us at the Hollins Mill, the new name for what was The Works. It was the first time I had been since my brother held his wedding do just before it closed last year. Internally, little has changed, and the beer was very good.

Further along the road is the closed Puzzle Hall Inn, an iconic place that at one time had its own brewery, I was a regular back in the 1970's when it was a rare outlet around these parts for Ward's of Sheffield and it was run by Jack and Edith. After that it became a popular alternative destination, it became a free house, it became a great music venue, and it was a sad day when it closed early in 2015. It seems there is now a group that want to buy it and re-open it as a community pub, which, if it comes to fruition, would be great. The closure of the Puzzle was a big loss that was felt well beyond Sowerby Bridge. Hopefully something good will emerge.

Back to the tour. A quick visit to the Sowerby Taps was followed by a visit to the Turks Head, which is at the top of a cobbled street just off Wharf Street. This was a place I had not been in for years, but the beer was good, and despite the precarious walk down the fire escape to the beer garden, we had a pleasant hour or so overlooking the river.

So, on my first visit to Sowerby Bridge for a while to try out a few different pubs, I was quite impressed, and we'd not even had time to visit the Hogshead. The town has missed out a bit recently as new places in Halifax have opened, but I can certainly recommend all the pubs we visited on this trip!

I called in at the Cross Keys ln Siddal, Halifax the other evening with our Tom and Annie. As ever the beer was spot on and it was good to see a lot of familiar faces. Just a reminder, the annual beer festival takes place on the weekend of August 11th - 13th. There is an outside bar this time with 18 beers, plus another 8 or so on the main bar. Music is on every day with the legendary Paddy Maguire on on the Sunday, so, based on past experience, it is a must-visit if you are in the area!

Also coming up the following weekend is the Brighouse Music Festival. This has become a great showcase for some of the brilliant musicians we have in this area and beyond, and whilst I haven't seen a list of the artists, I am sure there will be something for everyone.

Meanwhile, if you can't wait for those events, why not take a trip to The Pub....

The Pub, Todmorden - it does what it says on the tin....


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