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Beverley Ales Hop....

I was in Beverley in East Yorkshire last week, and discovered that there were several really good pubs to visit in the busy little market town with its stunning Minster which lies a few miles north of Hull....

The last time I had been anywhere near to Beverley was when I was passing through on my way from Hull to York probably about 20 years ago, whilst the only time I had ever stopped was for a pint many years before that, though as to why I was there I have absolutely no idea! So a visit was well overdue, and with a couple of days holiday and the discovery that there was a decent offer on accommodation at the Premier Inn it seemed like a good opportunity to make up for lost time and maintain what has become something of a ''rediscover Yorkshire''  theme to my trips this year.

And what about Beverley, you may ask? Well, it was founded by an English bishop, Saint John of Beverley, around 700 AD when the area was part of the kingdom of Northumbria, and developed as a place of religious importance. Trading was first established under the Normans, and the town continued to grow as an important wool-trading town and a place of pilgrimage during the Middle Ages on the back of Saint John's reputation of performing miracles, and at one point it became the 10th largest town in England. The huge Minster, which goes back to 1220, is a reminder of its religious origins, and today dominates the town. There are many historic buildings in the town, including the North Bar gateway. There is a racecourse a couple of miles out of town, which attracts many visitors during the flat-racing season, and the town also in normal years hosts a number of food, drink, and other festivals, including the world-famous Beverley Folk Festival. And there are plenty of pubs, too.

Saturday Market, Beverley

It is easy to get to Beverley, straight on the M62 as far east as you can, keep on the A63, and then pick up the A164 and then you are there. It only took about an hour 25 from Brighouse, and that would have been less if it hadn't been for the odd temporary traffic light, a succession of roundabouts, and that regular rural hazard, the slow-moving tractor. The Premier Inn is located on Flemingate, around the corner from the Minster, in a development which includes a relatively small shopping centre and a multi-storey car park. I got checked in, and a few minutes later, bag dropped off, I was off on a walk into town to get my bearings.

The closest Good Beer Guide pub to the hotel is the Sun Inn, which lies in the shadow of the huge bulk of the Minster. It was closed on this Monday afternoon, so I headed into town passing several shops before I came to a small square. This is the Wednesday Market, and a few minutes walk further on is the much larger Saturday Market, where the larger of the town's two weekly markets is held on a, well, Saturday. It is also home to the Green Dragon, which was not only open but also selling beer at a £1 less than normal because it was a Monday! The pub is accessed down a side passageway which leads to 'Beverley's Secret Garden'. It is narrow pub with in the Tudor style, which goes back a long way from the front. I checked in and was shown to a table in the room overlooking the square. It was quite busy, with several tables occupied and the Indian Premier League showing on a large TV screen. I ordered a pint of Leeds Pale, which was the most appealing of a small list, and whilst it was only an average 2.5 on the National Beer Scoring System scale, at £2.30 including discount I couldn't really grumble!

The Green Dragon: Monday discount in Saturday Market

The GBG app said the nearest pub was the Dog and Duck, but like the Sun, it was closed, so I headed on to the next, which was the Chequers, a micro pub in nearby Swaby's Yard. This was an unexpected bonus as even in the days pre-Covid - anyone remember those? - there was a general rule of thumb that micro pubs don't open on a Monday. So the fact that this delivered the best beer of the day and  was a smashing, friendly little place as well made it all the better. To get in I had to have my temperature taken, use the Covid app, and answer a few questions, but after successfully negotiating these, I was shown by the friendly girl who was serving to a small table opposite the bar. Chequers is in a former bakers and was the first micro to be opened in Yorkshire, way back in 2013. It is on two levels with additional seating outside, and the conversation was flowing between the tables, each separated by a clear screen, as I ordered a pint of Neepsend Lerna, a wonderful 4.0% pale beer, well-balanced, and easy to drink. I rated it a 3.5, and enjoyed it so much that I had another. I followed this with a half of the 5.7% Wensleydale High Fives, a pale and hoppy IPA made with five different hops, which I rated a very enjoyable 3. Enjoying the ambience of this friendly bar, I decided to go for one off the taps, and what else but the Main Event, an 8.5% DIPA from Fierce, made with Motueka and Nelson Sauvin hops to give oodles of flavour! I had to go, but I could have happily stayed there for the rest of the day

The wonderful Chequers micro pub

Next up was the pub I had visited all those years ago in uncertain circumstances, the White Horse, a rambling Sam Smiths pub better known as 'Nellies'. I found it easily enough, and as I arrived, given the company's owner Humphrey's notorious eccentricities, I wondered how they would deal with track and trace. But they did, the friendly lady who came to greet me showing me the barcode to scan, just like so many other pubs. I was taken down a corridor past the bar and shown to a dark room with open wooden floorboards and painted walls. A large mirror sat above a mantlepiece, below which there was an open fire. Old photos were displayed on the wall. There was a special warm glow from the wall lamps, which are still lit by gas. A couple sat at the table in the opposite corner. The sound of conversation and laughter carried from a distant room. My half of Old Brewery Bitter duly arrived, and I could have been sat looking out at a scene that wouldn't have looked much different a hundred years ago. I sipped my beer, which I thought was about a 2.5, and convinced myself that since I had had to use my phone to scan my visit, it would be ok to take a picture too....
Timeless: Nellie's

I retraced my steps and a few minutes later, I was back at The Dog and Duck, which had sprung into life since I had last walked past and had a warm and inviting look about it. I was checked in and shown to a table opposite the bar in a deserted but spotlessly tidy room by a friendly guy, who was certainly the most chatty person I spoke to all day! Trade was down massively, he said, but he was determined to battle on, tonight was normally the darts night but since the Covid all he normally got on what used to be a busy night when the league was in action was two blokes who came in to practice over a few pints. There were two beers on from the relatively-local Great Newsome brewery, Pricky Back Otchan, a 4.2% flavoursome golden ale named after a hedgehog, and Sleck Dust, a 3.8% refreshing light pale session ale. Both were good, and I rated both as a 3. A friendly farewell, but as I left to find some food, it looked as if the landlord would have to wait for the dart-playing duo with whom to have his next conversation....
A friendly welcome awaits at the Dog and Duck....

I was undecided as to what to eat, but as I was keen to have something pretty quickly. I walked back into Saturday Market, but despite being busy earlier, it was now pretty quiet as the dusk settled. On a street over the other side of the square, I spotted a welcoming-looking traditional pubs. It was called The Cross Keys, and turned out to be a Wetherspoons. They do quick food. Another voice said "but it's a Spoons, you know how they can often disappoint". The first voice won, but as scanning the app didn't work as my signal had dropped, I had to resort to pen and paper. I was shown to a table. I looked over the menu. Steak and Kidney Pudding, Chips, and Peas stood out. I'll use my Spoons app, I thought, having downloaded it at Whitby a few weeks before. It wouldn't work. No signal. I had to flag down a passing member of staff, who led me to the bar to order, pay, and then select a beer from a pretty average selection. I went back to my seat and waited. And waited. Eventually, my beer arrived. Adnams Broadside. It was thin and lacking in flavour - no malt, no dried fruit, nothing. A 2 at best. Finally my food arrived. The pudding was dried out, the peas cold, the chips beyond their best. A disappointing experience, once again though the staff were friendly, and the pub was quite attractive with several small rooms, but maintaining the hit and miss standard with which I have come to expect from Spoons.

Next on the list was the Tiger, further down the same road as Spoons. It was shrouded in darkness. So I went to find the Monks Walk, near to the Minster. It was most definitely shut. So that just left the Sun, which had been closed earlier in the day, and if that was shut too it would bring a pretty good tour of some of the town's pubs to an abrupt and premature end. The Minster was looking spectacular, decked out in light as I walked past, a sight to raise the spirits.

Spectacular: Beverley Minster

My sense of impending gloom had been misplaced, as I spotted the lights were on as I approached the Sun. It is situated on a corner directly opposite to the Minster, and it is an old pub, with a medieval timber frame, and bare brick walls. Normally this is one of the top music pubs in the town, with folk, blues, and rock regularly on, but Covid has put a stop to that. The guy behind the bar's long hair and band tee shirt suggested he was very much a rock fan, which made it all the more incongruous that the music coming out of the speakers was a succession of country and western classics! There was a decent crowd in for a Monday night, and from a selection of 4 or 5 hand pumps I selected Taylors Landlord. There was a time when I could take or leave Landlord, preferring to go for the lower strength Bitter or Boltmaker, as it today, but I have to say that when I have had it recently it has been pretty good. And this was on fine form, and I rated it an NBSS 3. I liked the Sun, it was a friendly, relaxing place for a drink. The witching hour was fast approaching, and so I finished my pint, and headed into the night, hotel-bound, as another country classic was starting up.
Sun Inn, Beverley

The following morning, I decided to see if the two pubs I had missed the previous evening were open. The Monks Walk was still shut, and a board outside said it was closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, but a few minutes' walk away, there was better news at the Tiger. It seemed as if they were operating a one-way system, and I had to go round the back to get in. I was asked if I was eating, and said I wasn't so I was led through another rabbit warren of a pub to a small bar overlooking the road I had just come from. The pub was another attractive place, with booths with high wooden seats opposite the bar. The pub had all the trappings of a pubco in terms of the branded bottles and spirits and the usual suspects on the fonts that detracted from what would have been an attractive bar, but there were two handpumps peeping out from behind a screen. Unusually for me, I went for the house beer, which turned out to be brewed by the Laine Brewery of Brighton, whose beers I had never tried before. My half had plenty of flavour and was a pleasant surprise (NBSS 3).  The Tiger was another decent pub, and with its attractive interior, other than the bar area, the pubco presence isn't too obtrusive.
Easy, Tiger: another of Beverley's fine pubs

I enjoyed my visit to Beverley, a good selection of pubs and beers in an attractive town that is well worth a visit. And with the Monk's Walk still to visit, I have a good excuse to visit again and call back at Chequers and some of the other places I enjoyed....

Follow me on twitter: @realalemusic





Comments

  1. Great read as always, Chris.

    Doing (nearly) all the best known pubs in one go takes some stamina!

    Your honest NBSS assessment is much appreciated.

    I wonder what you'd have made of the Monks Walk. Upmarket, atmospheric, good Brass Castle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the kind comments, Martin. Ironically, someone I know was hosting a folk night at the Monks Walk last week but I couldn't go!

      Delete

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