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Thread: Two Harrogate mini crawls and a beer festival.

  1. #1
    Roving RAT ROBCamra's Avatar
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    Default Two Harrogate mini crawls and a beer festival.

    Last weekend myself, Ms CAMRA and Ms CAMRA in law had a weekend in Harrogate with the main aim/excuse being to visit the beer festival. We arrived at the hotel at about 4 and by 4:45 we were having a first taster in the local JDW the rather magnificent Winter Gardens. After a couple of OK pints here we moved across the road to the Blues Bar. This is a tiny place and as the name suggests majors in live music, it has a fantastic sepia mural on the wall of some of the blues greats. It also has 3 handpumps, so all 3 of us tried the Roosters Apres Ski which was excellent.

    We then moved on another 20 yards or so to the Montpellier. This place also has three handpumps and whilst I happily supped a couple of pints of Daleside Old Legover the ladies had returned to the usual tipple and were on red wine. It’s a bit pricey in here but it is rather pleasant.

    We then set off on the major excursion to Hales Bar (200 yards or so). This is a fantastic pub, still gas lit in parts and has the best Halloween decorations I’ve ever seen (not now obviously). They don’t really go in for the micro brewery beers here so I had another pint of Daleside, but this time it was the Blonde.

    We had booked a table in the upstairs brasserie of the top class Old Bell so that was our next and final port of call. They have a great range of beers on here and will deliver any of them to the brasserie via a dumb waiter. Over the next 3 hours or so I managed to devour Black pudding on leek mash, A Barnsley chop with all the trimmings and the contents of a cheese board. The ladies had both chosen venison which was also excellent. All this was washed down with some red wine, 4 pints of various beers and a nightcap of a Talisker. A good start.

    Saturday dawned and after a hearty breakfast and a walk around the park and the Stray to walk it off, beer o’clock arrived. We headed to the beer festival at about 12:25, paid our entrance fee and headed towards the door only to be told by the security guy that we couldn’t go in yet as it didn’t open until 12:30. Dead on time the doors opened and we were in. I’ve been to loads of beer festivals in the past but I’ve never been first in before !! Strangely we had been given plastic glasses when we entered. When I queried this, the guy said that we couldn’t have glass ones for safety reasons. OK, fair enough I thought. When we got inside the first stall on the right was selling Stella in bottles!! Now maybe it’s just me, but who is more likely to chuck glasses etc around. A middle aged drinker with his other half and mother in law in tow or a Stella drinking numpty?

    Anyway we settle in with a beer and about 15 minutes later oldboots arrived and joined the party. A wormhole opened and many beers were tried and tested over the next 3 hours or so along with lots of convivial conversations. Only occasionally interrupted by some prat dressed as a town crier who only seemed to shout Oye, Oye without any further information and the Harrogate band also joined in for a while. The beer of the week for both oldboots and I was drunk here, so the beer was really well kept.

    Once the beer tokens had been used we decided that it was about time we went out for a beer! A short walk up to the Alexander for the first pint, another Daleside one Pride of England. The pub was very full of assorted rugby and footballs fans so we only had a quick one here before moving to more peaceful surroundings. We arrived at the Coach & Horses after another long walk (300 yards) and with female intuition the ladies spotted the only spare table in the pub and nabbed it.

    It’s a very pleasant pub is this with a good bunch of regulars and whilst the beer range is always Tim Taylor, Copper Dragon, Daleside & Roosters they do change the beers from each of these breweries around. Another wormhole seems to have opened at around this time because two pints and lots of chat later we seemed to have got rid of about 1.5 hours. Time to move on.

    Just round the corner is the Tap & Spile, so that’s where we went. Another good pub that always seems to be fairly quiet whenever we go in. After buying some beer, Captain Cook Sunset in my case we sat down and were promptly greeted by Molly the pub dog. However when a packet of crisps were opened on a nearby table they gained a friend for life and we became outcasts. I love pub dogs, or cats for that matter, they add something to a pub.

    After a while we decided that it was about time we had something to eat as breakfast had been the last thing we’d had so we set off back into town. We left oldboots to make his way to the bus station (Cheers mate, it was a good day, Leeds beer festival anyone? ). We headed for Wagamama where a Chicken Chilli Men and some Duck Goyosa filled the serious gap that had developed.

    The town was getting really busy by now, so we had a vote where to go next. I lost of course so we went back to the Montpellier. Another couple of pints of Daleside Legover and the end of a long day drew to a close.

    So, all in all, another excellent weekend in Harrogate. Great pubs and beer, good company and it’s only about an hour from home. What more could you ask for.
    Last edited by ROBCamra; 05-03-2010 at 13:33.
    A pub is for life not just for Christmas

  2. #2
    We're not really 'ere! trainman's Avatar
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    Nice one ROB, sounds a good'un. I remain in genuflection to you guys (Eddie was the last) who COMBINE beer festivals with pub crawls - as if one isn't enough!
    Well done, but a couple of questions; what on earth is a stall near the entrance doing with bottles of stella??? and why didn't you mention what those botws were? I'm sure I could look it up, but I feel the mention belongs in your piece.

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    Official JDW Tester hopwas's Avatar
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    Harrogate becoming really good for pub crawls especially wonderful JDW Winter Gardens. I may book a seat for National Express coach to Harrogate this summer...
    J.D Wetherspoon = Home of Hoppy: The Silk Kite, Tamworth.. http://www.tamworthblog.co.uk/2009/0...-blogs-review/

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    This Space For Hire aleandhearty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ROBCamra View Post
    Over the next 3 hours or so I managed to devour Black pudding on leek mash, A Barnsley chop with all the trimmings and the contents of a cheese board.
    Bloody hell ROB, it's nice to see a man in his early fifties looking after himself! (Mind you it all sounds delicious).
    'And where he supped the past lived still. And where he sipped the glass brimmed full' John Barleycorn, Carol Ann Duffy.

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    Roving RAT ROBCamra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trainman View Post
    Nice one ROB, sounds a good'un. I remain in genuflection to you guys (Eddie was the last) who COMBINE beer festivals with pub crawls - as if one isn't enough!
    Well done, but a couple of questions; what on earth is a stall near the entrance doing with bottles of stella??? and why didn't you mention what those botws were? I'm sure I could look it up, but I feel the mention belongs in your piece.
    It's a charity beer festival rather than a CAMRA one so I assume they have to sell Stella to appease the masses who went to see the live bands later at night.

    My BOTW was Blue Monkey 99 Red Baboons, I can't remember what oldboots chose, you'll have to look it up.
    A pub is for life not just for Christmas

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    Old & Bitter oldboots's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ROBCamra View Post
    It's a charity beer festival rather than a CAMRA one so I assume they have to sell Stella to appease the masses who went to see the live bands later at night.

    My BOTW was Blue Monkey 99 Red Baboons, I can't remember what oldboots chose, you'll have to look it up.
    A Round Table affair (the 20th in Harrogate). My BOTW was Elland 1872 Porter. I didn't manage any more beer that night, in fact I only got off the bus because someone woke me up . Drinking out of wet glasses again

    Unfortunately work means no Leeds festival for me.

    Tell us, now, how and when
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    A sure test, an easy test:
    Those that drink beer are the best

  7. #7
    Old & Bitter oldboots's Avatar
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    As a bit of a postscript to the festival, the local paper gave the festival a page and a half photo spread, sadly no sign of the four of us, and about 15 column inches. They also did a beer review in their Food & Drink section the results were:

    5/5 Theakstons Hogshead
    4/5 Daleside Spring Frenzy
    4/5 Yorkshire Dales Nappa Scar
    4/5 Black Sheep Riggwelter
    3/5 Roosters Apres Ski

    By a spooky coincidence four out of those five are are brewed within the Harrogate Borough Council area and the fifth in a neighbouring district

    Tell us, now, how and when
    We may find the bravest men?
    A sure test, an easy test:
    Those that drink beer are the best

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