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For the first time since it became a community owned pub last year I visited the Fox and Goose in Hebden Bridge. **The pub is as honest as you will get, there is no hiding that work is still taking place on the interior with boards sitting against walls, building materials piled neatly in corners and paint splatter sheets covering tools. **On the Sunday afternoon I popped in, the pub was nicely busy with a mix of walkers, locals and couples, the noise from each of the three rooms drifting and merging to create a nice relaxed atmosphere. **I visited with my two children and they were more than accommodating with them, both from a staff and customer aspect, an attitude which endears me to an adult led pub immediately.
The pub is split into bar, lounge and games room hosting the darts board. *It still has the great range of local small brewery beers as well as a wide range of European bottled beers. *On the day I had one of the best pints I’ve had in a while. *Vocation Brewery are based in Cragg Vale, has only been operation for the last 6 months. *Hugh at the Cross Keys is a fan of the brewery, having tried all of the beers on offer so far. *I got to try their Chop and Change single hop pale ale, the batch being Amarillo based at the Fox and Goose, the result being a 4% beer which tastes more like a 6%+ beer. *Full of flavour and plenty of aftertaste, it is an absolute cracker of an ale and makes me want to try more of their range.
The second beer I tried was the collaboration between the Fox and Goose and First Chop Brewing Arm, a 3.7% hoppy pale ale. *Simply named “F&G”, it is again full of flavour, with Citra and Sorachi Ace hops filling out the taste. **The beer was not quite to my palette, but there is no denying that it is a well made beer. **The pub had a number of stronger beers on offer which driving excluded me trying, but I was told this is not the norm, with normal strength beers normally dominating the pumps. *But the choice on the pumps on the day would certainly make for a very good session with a good range of styles on offer.
The Fox and Goose certainly deserves a visit if you are anywhere near the area, and once the work is complete it should be even better. ***The beer prices are also very good with £2.50 for lower percentage beers during the day on weekdays, even at the weekend my round of a pint, a coke and an orange juice only came to £5.50 which is very reasonable in my eyes. *The pub is also the CAMRA Winter Pub of the Season for 2015. *Hebden Bridge is becoming a really nice beer town, the Stubbing Wharf for Cider, the Old Gate for Craft and Real Ale as well as a number of other very good traditional pubs.
You can add to that the recent opening of Calans micropub which offers 5 real ales and a selection of continental bottles. **Looking at their beer offerings so far, it certainly would be worth visiting if you have any interest in real ale, something I have yet to do, but intend to soon. *Their offerings at the time of writing includes Vocation Bread and Butter and Great Heck Shankar IPA, with a couple of boxed real ciders for those who live on the apple side. **With previous beers including those from Small World, Oakham and Purple Moose beer, it certainly ticks all the boxes for me.
But as one pub takes it’s place on my list to visit, another might be disappearing off the list. *A source has told me that the Ship Inn Brighouse is having all its real ale pumps removed and will revert to being a “Carling and Karaoke” joint that I have been told it was previously, before I first starting drinking there, prior to the Mark Feasey days. *If true, this is a real pity as the town was gaining momentum as a pub town. **The town already has the pubs to deal with that audience and the Ship Inn filled a gap in the real ale market in the centre of the town. **I don’t see the sense in this decision, but it does not surprise me in the scheme of things, with Marsha leaving to work for Oates Brewery, the change has taken the wind out of the sails which was building up with the pub having developed a good atmosphere and nice reputation locally for their ale range. *If you are after a real ale and traditional pub nearby I recommend a short walk up to the Commercial / Railway near the station where Trevor, Sue, Jason and the rest of the team offer a warm welcome and good beer.