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15-06-2014, 10:01
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On a Saturday afternoon our usual family routine is we take both my daughters to dancing lessons and then whilst the eldest does her lessons later, we go for a couple of drinks. *It is more a question of which pub do we want to go to rather than which pub can we go to, rotating around Cross Keys, Sportsman Ploughcroft, Travellers, Cock and Bottle, Jeremy’s and the local cricket club. *There are many more we could use as well if we wanted.
Moving 200 miles south, my work sometimes takes me to Beckenham, a suburb of London residing in Kent, about 10 miles south of Central London. *The hotel is a few miles away in Bromley. *When travelling I like to take a wander around the area to get a sense of it, there is no point in just seeing the inside of a hotel. ***The plan was to go for a pint before meeting up with colleagues for dinner, supposing that I would find a decent pub in the 2 mile walk to the nearby town of Downham.
Walking down the main road, the area moves from large detached houses to the slightly more run down town centre, which has a certain honesty about it. *What it did lack was pubs however, with several buildings showing recent conversion from licensed premises to supermarkets and fast food restaurants. *The one pub I did find had tinted windows so it was hard to see in, but the dark interior and dubious looking clientele marked this out as a pub which you’d “walk in with 4 limbs, a wallet and a phone and be thrown of the back with only 2 limbs left out of that list”.
With no ale on the bar at the hotel, the supply of Bombardier from the beer fridge was reduced quickly by a number of us who were down there on business. *All this made me appreciate a number of things. **How can you get away with nearly a fiver for a bottle of mainstream beer or pint of drinkable lager, even in a hotel. **I went to a wedding last year at Holdsworth House, an upmarket hotel and wedding venue, lovely place and a lot of money spent on it, but the beer was only £3.20 for a pint of Little Valley beer, brewed locally above the Calder Valley. *So there is no need to charge that much.
As a note, this is from a person who happily paid £4.20 for ? pint of italian craft beer a few weeks ago, so its not as if I don’t mind paying good money for good beer. *I know that a decent beer would require more than blue note if I went 10 miles north to central London, and you would not get much change out of £10 if you went to the right areas or hotels to drink in our capital. *Maybe I’m too used to good pubs selling good beer and getting change out of £3 and Halifax and the Calder Valley is full on them.
If you put me most places in Calderdale I’m pretty sure I could construct a pretty good real ale pub crawl within 3 to 4 miles of that point. **Even if they only did mainstream ales, there would be a good chance that good beer would be served. **I’ve said before there are areas of this borough that it would be harder not to stagger into a decent pub. *If someone came down for the weekend and wanted to experience the best in pubs in the area, I’d struggle to fit in a fair representation of the area in that time.
From the craft beer, real ale and cider in Hebden Bridge from The Old Gate, Stubbing Wharf and Fox and Goose, to the ale street that is Hollins Mill Lane in Sowerby Bridge with great music at the Puzzle Hall Inn and the surrounding of the Works. *The Big Six on the moors running down to the real ale triangle which is now comprised of Dirty Dicks, Three Pigeons and Ring of Bells, not forgetting the compulsory detour to the Cross Keys at Siddal. *This is before we even consider Hipperholme, Ploughcroft or Brighouse and many other outlying villages.
With our local breweries, great pubs and people running them who know and love their beer, we are lucky to have all this at our door step, those southerners can keep the big city, I’ll take the great beer.

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