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To corrupt a literary phrase: “Down these mean streets a man must go to two beer festivals in one night.” A gap in the train timetable allowed brief trips to the Old No7, Barnsley and a longer visit to The Junction’s beers in the wood festival in Castleford.

Both town centre pubs are reigning local CAMRA pubs of the year and share the same train line. First stop was the Old No7 for a half of Acorn’s Smaragd IPA. It’s one of the brewery’s European hops series, described as a “rich golden coloured ale with a floral, fruity aroma and hints of orange/lemon marmalade”.This was a fine beer and should have led to more but the train to Cas was looming.

The Junction on Carlton Street promises five beers from multiple award-winning brewery Five Towns, seven from Ridgeside, four from Kirkstall, two a piece from Concertina and Gun Dog and one from Old Bear (Hibernator). Five Town’s Mango Junction (6%) caught my eye as did Ridgeside’s Stargazer, made from Citra hops. But dark beer fans should check out Five Town’s Ponte Carlo Stout.

Unfortunately, it was soon time to clamber back on the train. Yet this presented a chance for another all too brief visit to the Old No7 in Barnsley. I went for the other Acorn special Tarnlife, a 4.5% light straw coloured bitter “packed full of American Cascade and Centennial hops”. I just had enough time to scan their 30-beer list, which featured six beers from the Acorn range and many more guests. There were, to name a few, Jarrow’s Red Ellen, The Rat’s Ratatouille and beers from Redemption, Elland, Lymestone and Black Iris’s West Coast IPA, which also had mango in the tasting notes and brought things full circle.

The Old No7 festival on Market Hill runs until Easter Monday.

Staff Copy