September 27th, 2012Desert Island Beers
This weeks Desert Island Beers features Barrie Pepper who is one of Britain’s leading beer writers and for seven years was Chairman of the British Guild of Beer Writers. He has been Highly Commended three times in the Guild’s Beer Writer of the Year awards and was the first recipient of the Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award for services to beer writing. And in 2002 Barrie won the Guild’s Silver Tankard for his book ‘The Landlord’s Tale‘ for which he was also runner-up in the Glenfiddich Award for Drinks Books. Then in 2004 he won another Silver Tankard for ‘Fifty More Great Pub Crawls’.
He is a life member of CAMRA and a former member of its National Executive. He was recently chosen as one of its top 40 campaigners.
Barrie’s journalistic work includes writing for The Yorkshire Post, What’s Brewing, First Draught, Wine and Spirit International, Beers of the World, Inn Speak and several other newspapers and journals in Britain, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, the Czech Republic and the United States. He has now written eighteen books on pubs and beer and two on the Anglican church. In 2003 he was elected a Life Member of the National Union of Journalists.
When not writing about beer his other interests are the theatre, music, sport, travel – which he also writes about – and the convivial atmosphere and company of the traditional British pub. He is active in the Anglican Church being a member of the Ripon and Leeds Diocesan Synod and Editor of his parish church newsletter.Tags: barrie pepper, old peculiar, Orval, roosters, Theakstons, timothy taylor
June 7th, 2011Beer and travel
The curlews at Garsdale Station welcomed us with real razzmatazz, presumably well aware of the impending downpour that hit the station just as soon as the train had dropped us on the platform and disappeared around the bend towards Kirkby Stephen.
We hadn’t expected to use the built-in raincovers on our rucksacks quite so soon, at least not until the next morning when we were due to start walking. But Mother Nature was determined to give us a taste of things to come…
It’s year three of a five year plan to conquer the Pennine Way with my Dad, breaking the 20 day trek into five stages of four days each. And stood in the rain we reflected on how glad we were to not be able to take 20 days off work to walk The Way in one sitting.
We’re heading for Hawes, the small Yorkshire market town where we finished last years leg: Garsdale is the nearest stop by rail, 6 miles down the winding A664 that links Cumbria with Wensleydale.
It’s here we meet Raymond, a lifelong railwayman from the heart of the Dales. He turned out to be a lucky charm – we waited an hour for one of the two scheduled bus services before a clocking-off signalman took pity on Raymond and us and dropped us into town on his way home.
Hair dried and spirits warmed with hot tea, we head out into Hawes for the evening. We cross the Ure, hidden between thin stone houses and the narrow one way loop that bridges the fast moving water.
First stop is the the Crown. Dripping pints of Old Peculiar straight from a fresh cask brimming with rich plum tart and apple fudge are an olfactory flashback to the places we’ve visited along the way so far, of windswept trails, muddy boots and welcoming pubs.
We avoid Raymond’s local, partly from choice but mostly because the White Hart is shut down and for sale, and I felt a pang of guilt for not being too surprised.
Next stop is Chaste, a small ever-evolving bistro in the heart of the town. Since last year Belgian beers have made their way onto the inventive menu and Pilsner Urquell adorns the bar, and so it was that Chimay Red accompanied our grilled chicken dishes.
7% beers were unsustainable the night before attacking Great Shunner Fell, the highest part of The Way above sea level so far. So Pilsner Urquell – lacking some of its usual herbaceous aroma – helped fill the hole that abstinence from desserts left.
Two pints later and we’re talking to the only simultaneous winner of the J. Sleightholme Trophy For Largest Cod and the Dr King Cup For Other Fish, a feat not rivalled since 1984/5. The Fountain is a drinking pub compared to the pastel-coloured gentrification of the Crown, but fishing hasn’t been on the cards since the turn of the millennium.
It’s Black Sheep not Theakston’s now, a which-one-will-it-be lottery that you have to get used too pretty quickly in the Dales. But for our sins were drinking very cloudy and poorly poured Blue Moon followed by crisp pints of Copper Dragon Conqueror – freshly nosed and quenching.
The crowd gets younger and the bottles of Becks are starting to dominate the empties on the bar. Luckily the juke box hasn’t come to life yet, though by the looks of its age it’s more comfortable with rock and roll than the dub step that the youngsters are reciting in the corner. Seconds from announcing retirement to the B&B Dad throws the gauntlet down with a last gasp round. Two pints of something else hit the beer-drenched bar towel; was it Black Sheep bitter, or perhaps an Old Peculiar nightcap?
Bending down to tie our laces the next morning we both groan, perhaps a little in the way that my grandfather – dads dad – has perfected over the years.
“Shouldn’t have had that last beer last night, should we?”
And with that we head for the high road and start the long slog up Great Shunner Fell. 6 pints down, just 4 evenings, 60 odd miles and god knows how many gradient lines to go…Tags: black sheep, Copper Dragon, hawes, pennine way, Theakstons, wensleydale
I was out for a drink recently and dived into Calls Landing Stew & Oyster Kitchen for a bit of respite from the biting cold whilst walking between Brewery Wharf and the City Centre. I was looking for a bit of warmth and some beer but I found quite a bit more. The place is quite small but on a cold night this meant that it was offering a very cosy feeling however, with large windows and balconies over the River Aire I would imagine it is equally an un-claustraphobic spot in the summer.
The menu offers seasonal stews using locally sourced produce, a large bowl with crusty bread being £5.50, Bruschetta, Anti pastas (including a Cheese Board or cold Meat Selection). Obviously Oysters were available, £1.50 for a single portion. There were also sweets and hot drinks available but in the main the menu was short and fairly uncomplicated. I cannot imagine Gordon Ramsey coming in and levelling his favourite ‘pretentious’ allegations at this menu. In a rather innovative twist you can also get a pot of stew and some chunky bread to take away for four quid, which I think is rather a bargain, and 5.50 to sit in doesn’t seem too bad either. can’t vouch for the quality of the food but hope to be able to shortly, if anyone reading has eaten here please add comments and let me know how the food is.
Turning to the beers their are currently three cask ales available, Theakstons, Deuchars IPA and Mr Scrooge which I assume is a guest left over from the Christmas period. Amstell, Sagres, Guiness, Leifmans Fruit Beer and Bulmers were all also available by the pint. Turning to the fridge bottles of Broolyn EIPA, Vedette, Duval and Aspall’s Cider. Basically the selection is now what ‘beeries’ are increasingly able to expect from decent mainstream bars in Leeds. Very reminiscent of the selection available at Baby Jupiter Bar but in a very different setting. Personally I think that this shows an continuing trend towards different types of bar looking to stock a greater variety of beers that was once merely the preserve of North Bar.Tags: Amstell, Aspall's Cider, Brooklyn EIPA, Bulmers, Calls Landing, cheese, Cold Meat, Deuchars, Duval, Guiness, leeds, Leifmans, Sagres, Stew & Oyster, Theakstons, Vedette