And when you have a great beer festival on your doorstep at around about the same time, why would you bother traipsing all the way down to London? The festival I am talking about was this year's Cross Keys Beer Festival, at Siddal, near Halifax, which was held last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and where scores of happy people drank some great beers and ciders, ate, chatted, laughed, and listened to some excellent music during a memorable weekend at the friendly and popular pub.
Some people had though travelled a good few miles to be there; one of the first people I saw when I arrived later than planned on Friday evening was my good friend in beer, Hugh Kelly, who had prised himself away from his beloved Wath Tap to be here....
And that is just what I did. Town had made it 3 wins out of 3 in a hard-fought win over Dagenham & Redbridge to retain top spot in this nascent National League season. I bumped into Kev Barker who had also been to the game, and we walked down the cobbled road past the mills to the bridge at Paris Gates and up Whitegates Lane, and were soon back at the Cross Keys again. Acoustic Dogz were just finishing on stage as I arrived. Some of my friends from Brighouse - Paul, Janette, Mary and Harry - had come over for the afternoon and were clearly enjoying themselves. It was even busier than it had been the previous evening, and already some of the pump clips on the long outside bar were turned around as their beers had run off. I tried several beers that I really liked - most of the beers seemed to be from small breweries in Yorkshire and the East Midlands, and I particularly enjoyed the Pacifica from Tollgate, who are based on the National Trust's Calke Abbey Estate on the Derbyshire/ Leicestershire border, although top beer for me, as mentioned last time, was from Greenfield's Donkeystones, Javanilla, a 5.3% coffee/vanilla stout, which was a deliciously wonderful, complex, and well-rounded beer.
|Enjoying the craic at the Cross Keys|
|Another Festival success: The Cross Keys|
|Now available for weddings....|
Back on the local festival front, this next weekend - Bank Holiday - the annual Indyfax Festival takes place across several venues in Halifax, including the Victorian Craft Beer Cafe, the Grayston Unity, and the Lantern. Expect some excellent beers on both cask and tap, with no doubt a few surprises and specials, whilst looking ahead to the last weekend in September, the Halifax and Calderdale CAMRA Beer Festival returns to the town after a few years in Hebden Bridge, this time at a new venue, the Viaduct Theatre in Dean Clough. And so, whilst the national Beer Festival may be in decline, there is still plenty of appetite for them at a local level.
Well, around these parts at any rate....
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