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07-08-2015, 15:10
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The previous weekend saw a few days away visiting the parents in Leicester and a night in Harrogate for my daughters birthday. *One of the best bits about going away is going back to pubs you haven’t visited in a few years and discovering new venues. *Starting with the latter trip to Harrogate, I visited the Harrogate Tap (http://harrogatetap.co.uk/) at the Railway Station. *This bar is operated by the same people who run the Leeds, Sheffield and Euston Tap venues. *The premise is the same as the Sheffield Tap, a good mix of cask, keg and craft beer in period surroundings. *The bar had good range of 20ish beers, equally split between cask and keg. *Prices range from £3 for a regular session ale up to £6.20 for the more expensive craft keg. *Trying a beer from each side of the fence, firstly on the keg side, Magic Rock Salty Kiss (5%), a sour, naturally slightly salty beer, brewed in the Gooseberry Gose style from Germany. *I’ve had this beer before and like it although I have to admit it is an acquired taste. *The barman warned me it was £5 per pint post ordering, but if you have been to the Sheffield Tap, you’ll know that is where a lot of the their keg beers start at. *On the cask side I had Bristol Brewery Milk Stout (4.5%), another repeat beer for me and one I really enjoy. *A smooth creamy affair, it is a cracking stout, good body and not feeling heavy in the mouth, with a nice lingering aftertaste.
Now back to the earlier trip, a couple of days in Leicester saw quite a few pubs visited, some old favourites, some new. *When I was in my student days, I used to drink a lot a pub called the Rutland and Derby (http://www.therutlandandderby.co.uk/), an Everards joint then (the major brewer in Leicester), now independent and selling a range of craft keg and draught beer including some from the aforementioned Everards. *A couple of beers partaken, it is a cracking place for a beer, well laid out and decorated, good beer garden, a decent menu if you want food and a good range of 10-15 beers split between cask and keg. *I tried one from each side, both well kept and served. *I also got to visit my third Brewdog (https://www.brewdog.com/bars/uk/leicester) pub, a big fan of the Leeds Corn Exchange bar, the Manchester one not being as good for choice for non Brewdog drinkers or cider choice on my visit. **The Leicester branch is the best so far, nice and open, with a good range of Brewdog and non Brewdog keg. *The customer service was good and I converted my dad to a couple of their beers, something I had doubts I would. *The decor is “industrial cinema inspired” and seating is spread over 2 floors. *A cask ale person normally, he liked the Vagabond Pale Ale, a 4.5% beer and Dead Pony Ale at 3.8%, coming in at about £4 per pint it is not cheap, but a good pint nevertheless. *I partook of the Five A.M Red Ale (5%), and a ? Schooner of Jack Hammer (7.2%), both very nice beers. *Brewdog might not be to everyones taste, however I am a fan of theirs and their expansion across the country is only good news for me. *Their bars are the craft equivalent of a Wetherspoons, you know exactly what you will get beer wise wherever you go, even if the food offerings may differ at Brewdog. *They are after all the big player in their sector, very much like the ubiquitous pub chain.
Lastly this week, closer to home. *I’m a big fan of the Grove pub (http://www.thegrove.pub/) in Huddersfield, great range of beers, both cask and keg and had the chance to pop over a few weeks ago. *The pub has had an external makeover with new branding with the new leisure centre opening next door. *The bar has 19 cask lines and 17 keg lines, impressive by any stretch, possibly beating the Sheffield Tap. **The range of whisky and whiskey is impressive as well, with dozens of aged examples behind the bar. **The day in question was a keg day for me, with Magic Rock Magic Eight Ball being my first pint, the 7% beer is not cheap at £5.50 a pint and initial appearances are of a heavy beer, my wife comparing it to a pint of mud, but the Black IPA is light, full of flavour, with tons of hops once in the mouth. **The second beer was Brewdog Dead Pony Ale, discussed previously, both beers both kept and served well.

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