Thursday, 27 January 2011

Huddersfield area pub crawl


     Most people know that Huddersfield has some cracking pubs, and its probably also been established already that there are some cracking pubs on the outskirts, so I can’t promise any bamboozling surprises on this crawl write up, but I can assure you that I would heartily recommend every pub.

Back in November me and Davefromtshop caught a sleeper train to Huddersfield – not one with beds in you understand, instead one which needed them, given that it took 1 hour 50 minutes to get there. It took so long in fact that we missed the hourly bus out to our intended first pub.

Being Sunday no pubs were open before 12.00 so we walked to the bus station and back to check the timetable and see how long it takes to walk there from the station, before returning to stand balefully outside the Head of Steam like alcos.

Once in, we had some White Bear Original. I can’t say I was won over by it, lacking any stand out flavour and with a strange Whitbread full mash like aftertaste hanging around. Given that the 3 bottles of their Bruin I bought have been off, I decided that they would have to produce something far better before I’d try them again, so sipped their biter and then headed ff to the bus station.

We headed out to Sowood, a large parish area than a village I would say, the effect being that we didn’t really know where to get off and neither could anyone on the bus suggest where. Despite this we soon found a local who directed us towards Forest Hill road and the Dog and partridge.

This is a tiny two roomed pub with small windows running along the front of each room and a timeworn bar, low beams and fireplaces. Its run by an enthusiastic landlord with an incredible 50 years in charge, who helped us to get back to the bus route, and thanked us warmly for making the effort to visit - its seldom you meet that kind of publican these days. There are 3 real ales, Black sheep plus two guests, on this occasion an astringent but enjoyable beer from Brass Monkey called Gold Monkey. Dave suggested this was following a recent trend of using what I may well have misremembered as Nelson Sauvin hops – intensely dry flavour that can, when used liberally, make a beer orangey and sharp and very dry.

We also had halves of a Great Newsome beer that neither of us could remember the name of, which is a sham,e because it was marginally better than the Gold Monkey.

A walk to Outlane followed for the bus, but we just had chance to nip for a half of Taylors at the Waggon and Horses, a large two roomed eateries that reminded me of an inter war hotel. The landlord was acceptably kept and enthusiastically priced.

Back in Huddersfield we contrived to get separated and missed the opportunity to cram a quick pint in somewhere in town, so headed off a little earlier than planned to Marsden, and the excellent Ossett brewery owned Riverhead tap.

We started with a pint of Town Terrier from Riverhead and a fantastic dark malty German style beer Marzendlen. This was so exquisite we had to have another 3 halves of it, before caving ion and trying the Sparth bitter and Ossett Galena. Although this refusal to leave cost us a trip to Greenfield, I can’t speak highly enough about the excellent Marzen beer and the comfortable relaxing pub that we sampled it in.

With darkness nearing we caught the bus to Slaithwaite (Slowitt) and walked form the main road up to the Commercial, opposite the Huddersield narrow Canal. This is owned by the landlord of the nearby Swan Inn and serves an excellent range of about 8 ales always with one or two from Empire brewery. We both had a pint of their Moonraker mild which was on sale at a sensible £1.90 a pint – had we not been mid crawl we could have stayed on it all night.

Alas we had to grab some food from the chippy and walk up to the delightfully named area of crimble to visit the Swan. This is a more traditional affair but with slightly less beer choice, never the less we enjoyed 2 pints of what according to my scribbled on sheet of paper was Empire Mallrs Lallrs. Yes, that’s right, I have no idea either. No doubt the long walk up the hill was to blame for our inability to read and write.

Off next to Linthwaite (Linfit), where we reached the Sair by climbing up the horrendously steep Hoyle Ing, which was only possible thanks to the knowledge of the bus driver, since you can’t see the Sair Inn sign heading towards Huddersfield.

We breathlessly stumbled into find faint orange lights and candle light, low beams, flagstone floors, an eclectic jukebox and a fire in every room. Alas there was no Linfit ale on the bar, I hadn’t heard that they’d stopped brewing but they do only sell the beer there nowadays, so it was a bit of a surprise. Instead we had a pint each of a bizarre Otley beer that I can’t read, and 2 fantastic halves of Phoenix mocha, which we would have preferred to have had as our pint.

We soon arrived back in Huddersfield, and just had time to get to the Kings Head on the station, a large pub split into 3 rooms, a noisy and cosy bar snug, a large concert room sized bar and an adjacent room that doesn’t appear to get used very much. From the amazing number of beers on offer, all were from Yorkshire, and we both had a half of Bobs Brewing super chief, which was very nice.

We now had to get home, which at that time of night involves a detour to Leeds. We had an hour here so tried the Scarborough Arms, which was a little disappointing, in which we had halves of Lees mild, and then took a long walk to a leeds brewery pub at the side of the river Aire. Until Dave rings me to confirm, I am afraid I can’t tell you what the pub was called, or what we drank, but I know it was a pint each of a Leeds brewery beer that may have been brewed for the pub, and it was a decent pint as well.

All in all then, a fantastic and varied day out, with country pubs, town pubs and city ones, notable for the Sair, Riverhead Tap and Dog and Partridge especially, and unforgettable on the basis of the excellent Marzen from Marsden.

And please be aware should this tempt you out West, travelling around West Yorkshire is inexpensive with a day saver , but unfortuntaely fares into the county from sunny Sheff are very high.

Next time I'll tell you about more January jaunts in lincolnshire and South Derbyshire.

Wee Beefy.

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