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Thread: A West Riding Ramble

  1. #11
    Old & Bitter oldboots's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aleandhearty View Post
    Certainly interested, but seriously, seriously skint at present. Keep me in the loop though and I'll try and sort something out.
    It would be fun if you could join us, save those pennies between now and the end of Feb , drink more Sam Smith's as RobCamra said or follow Hoppy's lead into Mr Martin's emporiums.

    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

  2. #12
    Official PG MILD tester Soup Dragon's Avatar
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    Sam Smiths MILD and stout are really good considering the money - i shall be happy to drink it - Spoons alas is a no no
    MILD:

  3. #13
    Old & Bitter oldboots's Avatar
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    Got this month's work rota this morning and it looks like I 'm free Thursday 25th February or Friday 26th for the Liverpool crawl anyone up for it? Alternatively I fancy another go at Sheffield's Valley of Beer.

    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

  4. #14
    Roving RAT ROBCamra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldboots View Post
    Got this month's work rota this morning and it looks like I 'm free Thursday 25th February or Friday 26th for the Liverpool crawl anyone up for it? Alternatively I fancy another go at Sheffield's Valley of Beer.
    What and miss Harrogate Beer Festival !!

    I thought you might have gone along. I think we'll be there on the Saturday afternoon.
    A pub is for life not just for Christmas

  5. #15
    Old & Bitter oldboots's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ROBCamra View Post
    What and miss Harrogate Beer Festival !!

    I thought you might have gone along. I think we'll be there on the Saturday afternoon.
    OK so that's Liverpool, Thursday or Friday maybe Sheffield Thursday or Friday, and Harrogate BF on Saturday afternoon, I'll rest my liver on Sunday.

    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

  6. #16
    This Space For Hire aleandhearty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aleandhearty View Post
    'ob' Apologies! I know I said I'd write an account. You've proably gathered 'procrastination' is my middle name. Enjoyed your version, but i feel a riposte coming on!
    It's only been six weeks! For what it's worth here you are:

    Wednesday 30th December 2009: Having survived the siege of Christmas, (a.k.a. the crass commercialisation of the birth of the world’s first socialist), it was with a joyous heart that I set off to meet ‘oldboots’, intent on flushing out the previous week’s toxins with copious amounts of cleansing ale. Sitting on the train to Mirfield I was aware of a small frisson of excitement. What would our meeting be like: A Stanley and Livingston moment, Chamberlain and Hitler possibly, or even Godzilla versus King Kong?

    Alighting at Mirfield station, the wind immediately began tugging and nipping at my nether regions like a malevolent Yorkshire Terrier. Combined with the low cloud base and swirling snow, it all seemed rather portentous. God I needed a beer. I’d carefully memorised the map area around the station the night before, therefore it was no surprise when I set off in completely the wrong direction… A few minutes later than planned, I arrived at THE NAVIGATION. Slightly amused by the pub’s driveway being between residential housing and the local branch of Jewson’s, the builder’s merchant I entered a solid looking, traditional pub.

    I don’t know what it was that told me it was ‘oldboots’. Drinking his beer with lip-smacking relish? The feverish scribbling of notes in a well thumbed pocket book? Or possibly the fact that there was nobody else in the place and he was sitting by himself in the corner? Introductions over, he furnished me with a brace of halves of Saltaire ‘Blonde’ (very good) and we sat down for the inevitable mental jousting. Five minutes later, I decided we were in for a good day. To the casual observer we must have appeared if not like Tweedledum and Tweedledee then certainly Tweedledum (me) and his smaller brother.
    Our second pint saw ‘ob’ opt for Theakston’s ‘XB’ and myself for Okells ‘IPA’. He was happy enough, but I was rather disappointed after the Saltaire. A classic example of a beer not being how you remember it from the first time you drank it. Between sips we watched the landlady polish the hand pumps with sinewy gusto. Her vigorous action brought about a momentary twitch downstairs front end. Time to move on.

    Braving the elements once more, I resisted the temptation to get a quote on half a ton of pea gravel for the front garden and we drifted back to the station. A gang of local ‘yoof’ had taken over the shelter, so we stood in companionable silence on the platform. They obviously noticed our aristocratic bearing, as I heard one of the spindly hobbledehoys refer to the ‘ two old counts over there’.
    The short train ride to Huddersfield passed remarkably quickly, over a discussion on the thorny subject of dicky prostates and associated procedures.

    The KINGS HEAD is currently a no frills real ale paradise, with ten pumps on the go. With there being several months since my last visit, I was a little disappointed that the grand sounding renovation had progressed no further. However, my Goose Eye ‘Chinook’ hit the spot nicely as I’m a great fan of American hop varieties. As ‘oldboots’ sipped his Golcar Mild a certain character from T.V’s ‘The Clangers’ came to mind. Resisting the temptation to settle down for a session near the fire we pressed on to THE SPORTSMAN. Having been only once before, when very ‘tired and emotional’ at the end of another rail-ale trip, I was slightly hesitant about the directions, but fortunately the memory chip in my ‘beer legs’ kicked in. It’s another fine eight-pumped watering hole, although I do find the interior vaguely unsettling for some reason. ‘Ob’ on a wave of childhood nostalgia ordered a pint of Arran ‘Clyde Puffer’ whilst I plumped for Leatherbritches’ ‘Hairy Helmet’. (YES it is a beer and not some trichological affliction of the gonads). Both were perfectly fine. Having taken my personal maxim ‘you can’t eat on an empty stomach’ to the edge of its limits we both ordered the home-made pies and chunky chips which were excellent.

    Next stop was the HEAD OF STEAM back at the station. A much grander affair than The King’s Head. I seem to recall it had some of the eleven beers on offer in each of the four rooms. Despite a blackboard list, I still found this quite annoying as I do like to see the pump clip when choosing a beer. I went for Harviestoun’s ‘Weed Hop’, which must have been rather forgettable as the only thing I wrote in my notes was that it was rather cold. However, ‘ob’ was rather taken with a beer from the Nook brewery based in Holmfirth. Having a very quick nosey-round, ‘ob’ was salivating over the railway memorabilia that was everywhere. He likened it to ‘railway porn’.I decided that if he was buying it from a shop it would undoubtedly be the stuff you get in a brown paper bag, under the counter. We were forced to sit on a soft, squelchy leather sofa. When the time came to catch our train, I tried to stand up and gained some idea of what a sheep must feel like whilst it’s being eaten by a python! DFS ‘et al’ want soundly thrashing.

    On the train to Marsden it was time for me to pop a couple of ‘Remegel’. The Christmas excesses, topped up once more, were really taking their toll. I’m sure the captive audience was thrilled by our impromptu seminar on various antacids. ‘Ob’ decided that ‘Pepcid’ won by a country mile.
    We were soon chatting to a friendly local. Initially, I was quite wary of the jaunty angle he sported his woolly hat, which suggested ‘care in the community’ rather than mere cold. However, he was a thoroughly good sort, advising us to look out for Empire brewery beers on our jaunt.

    Getting off the train at Marsden was like stepping into a Pennine winter wonderland and I was certainly glad I’d got my walking gear on. Of course, this being Yorkshire, one or two of the local ‘knuckle draggers’ were out in shirtsleeves!
    Striding purposefully down the steep hill towards the RIVERHEAD BREWERY TAP, our main aim was avoiding going ‘base over apex’ as Emily Bronte would have it, or ‘arse over tit’ as Geoffrey Boycott would have it!
    It’s an Ossett owned pub and as usual with their pubs furnished to a high standard. Apparently, it was once a Co-op, but we were lucky enough not to see any ‘divvies’! (Oh, my sides.) Managed to squeeze in a ‘Sparth Mild’ and ‘Deer Hill Porter’, brewed on the premises. Both were pretty decent. I believe ‘ob’ had the ‘Butterley Bitter’ and the ‘Vanilla Mild’, which he also rated. This was my second visit and on each occasion it’s been rammed to the point of being uncomfortable. Maybe it’s just been that that I’ve struggled with, but at the moment I do think it’s one of those pubs that doesn’t quite work.

    After our second beer it was time to crack on to Stalybridge- or so we thought. Unfortunately, owing to a timetable error we stood freezing in the station shelter for twenty minutes before we realised. With scrotums like pickled walnuts we headed off to THE RAILWAY to thaw out and kill a little time. A Marston’s pub with only three pumps on the go saw us opt for a pint of ‘Ugly Sisters’. I don’t know whether we’d hit an early evening slump, or it was a poor pint, but it was one of those beers you ‘chew’ for thirty minutes to finish. I don’t think the atmosphere helped, we could have had a séance round a table and tried to contact the living!
    Finally, we were ‘en route’ to Stalybridge and the promise of better things. THE STATION BUFFET BAR has to be one of my favourite beer venues, despite the fact it’s totally disorientating just to arrive, go through the underpass and sit in a room that could be anywhere! I do struggle with the lack of context. Having said that the atmosphere has always been wonderful when I’ve visited and the beers have been excellent. This time was no exception. My Phoenix ‘West Coast IPA’ was just what was needed after The Railway and ‘ob’ opted for Greenfield ‘Black Five’, which did the job for him. By this stage we were ravenous again, but as the kitchen was just about to close I had to settle for pie again, this time with mushy peas. Unfortunately, after the Sportsman it was pretty poor by comparison, the indiscriminate grey filling definitely functional rather than aesthetic. I imagined it being sold at an Albanian football match. At this stage we both felt a little soporific. The combination of fresh air, lots of beer and a second heavy meal had taken their toll. Plus, I suspect our impending departure was on our minds. Minutes later we were gently rolling eastwards again, reflecting on what a great day it had been. As we parted at Huddersfield station, I definitely knew one thing: I wanted to do it again! Shortly afterwards I was slumped on the train heading for Wakefield basking in a warm glow….Damn those peas!
    'And where he supped the past lived still. And where he sipped the glass brimmed full' John Barleycorn, Carol Ann Duffy.

  7. #17
    This Space For Hire arwkrite's Avatar
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    Brilliant read A&H, you can keep those coming.

    You jogged my memory about the "Ugly Sisters" I seem to remember a pint of it lasted so long I lost interest in it and ordered a pint of something else.

  8. #18
    We're not really 'ere! trainman's Avatar
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    Yep, well done ob and a&h, both splendid renditions, 'you old counts', hahaha!!!

  9. #19
    Old & Bitter oldboots's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trainman View Post
    Yep, well done ob and a&h, both splendid renditions, 'you old counts', hahaha!!!
    better than being a cult I suppose, well worth the wait A&H and I was reminded of a few things I'd forgotten or perhaps tried to put behind me.

    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

  10. #20
    The Beerhunter. RogerB's Avatar
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    Another literary masterpiece. Now, where's my Last of the Summer Wine box set?

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