I have a confession to make. I was born in the county but I don’t really like Yorkshire puddings (nor can I play cricket). Crispy and fluffy with drooling chicken inside they can be a joy, but I’d never go out of my way to include them in my Sunday menu. Burnt on top but soggy on bottom Aunt Bessie’s must haunt me from a youth spent mostly down south.
In fact, I’m not all that enthusiastic about roast dinner. Dry beef, sloshy gravy, none of that’s for me. Chicken I could eat to the bone, but cabbage, carrots and cauliflower combined with lukewarm meat, I’m ok thanks.
But at the Kings Arms wild horses couldn’t have torn me from my plate of chicken, parsnips, roast spuds, peas in a pod and runner beans.
Not even the ornithological taxidermy on the walls could put me off. I even ate all the Yorkshire pudding.
The Kings Arms at Heath sits on the edge of Wakefield, harboured between the back end of the city and the scrub where rugby fans park for the short amble to the creaking ruins of Belle Vue. The area is an unlikely setting for a quintessential English village, an other worldly mix of residential, rural and renegade horses tethered amidst the oddly placed moors.
Lining the top shelves of the wood panelled walls that surround the dining room are hardback books: travel guides, classics, Edwardian children’s books. What Katy Did peers down from a perch besides an ancient guide to my home county. There’s even a dusty bottle of Yorkshire Black Beer, its sepia label faded from years guarding the shelf.
Plates of food are full and large, the food hearty and good value (Sunday lunch for two with drinks under £20). The beer includes the pubs own bitter, presumably brewed by Ossett Brewery who own this revitalised village building. If the food wasn’t great it would be worth visiting just to nestle in one of the many snug rooms and stare at the glass cabinet of historic beers, including one brewed for a former president of the USSR.
And on a slow Sunday in late summer or early autumn it’s easy to stay snuggled in one of these wood panelled snugs for a long time after the well priced and homemade dessert board is delivered. Or maybe I’ll just have another Yorkshire pudding.Tags: heath, ossett, ussr, wakefield, West Yorkshire
A brisk day in March, wet but without rain. Ducking through the dripping steel railway bridge, carving through residual puddles, Sowerby Bridge seems jack-knifed between the twenty first century and the 1970s. It’s partly the lack of ubiquitous chain stores, partly the dubious puns of the shabby independent shops, but mostly the hues of a downtrodden day in a small Yorkshire town.
Out the other side of the town the road befriends the trajectory of the River Ryburn as it steers through the steep wooded valley, roaming towards the Calder. The Triangle public house, in the tiny village of Triangle, is boarded up, not the first dead watering hole on the winding roads that lead to the quiet, charming town of Ripponden.
At Ripponden, about as remote an urban centre you can get in the sprawl of West Yorkshire, time blends from 1970s into the eighteenth century in the shadow of the Victorian church. A few footsteps further on the day retreats to nearer the 1670s as a cold breeze rustles across the cobbles of the ancient humpbacked bridge that leads to a quiet, unassuming public house.
The Old Bridge deserves its name. The bridge from which it takes its name, just like the church whose shadow it lies in, has been rebuilt many times since the first packhorse crossing. The pub is as old, over 700 years as the oldest records attest too. In the 14th century the town were not even on the first of their four churches that the river or weather has razed along the way. Old broom, new handles, new brushes.
The Ryburn runs straight and narrow under the ancient structure, the pub nestles on the northern side, resplendent in bright white wash. Warm fires, real ale, fine dining, but with not an ounce of pretension. The Old Bridge is family run, locally revered, bustling with merry drinkers around the bar and belly-patting diners, content and perhaps a little dozy.
Since 1307 similar scenes may have been played out in this hidden pocket of hostelry. On the main York to Chester road, journey-worn travellers would have put their feet up here, may have knocked back unfussy ale and unfussy food, stocking up on victuals and sleep. Curled up in a window nook in 2012 the beer is a little brighter and food is a little more fussy (but excellent) – scallops with parsnip puree, mackerel pate, sea bass with chorizo, crisp and luscious belly pork.
Bowed by time, oak beams run low in the sitting rooms either side of the cheery communal bar, warmed by fires or stoves and sitting under a cockeyed triangular roof that’s seen seven centuries of welcomes and goodbyes.
The river barely flows. A tear drop on the neck of a window box daffodil is frozen in the crisp Sunday air. Under these bows, between mahogany panelled walls, Airedale Valley Bitter meets chocolate orange brownie (scrumptious), and like that droplet, we’re immovable, resolved to enjoy the slowness with which two hours lumber by.
One hundred and twenty minutes. But a tiny percentage of the years and patrons that the Old Bridge has watched over in its lifetime.Tags: british pubs, West Yorkshire, yorkshire
Saltaire Brewery’s annual two day beer festival is timed to coincide with the Saltaire Festival, a celebration of music, art, food and posh car boot sales in the remarkably pretty terraced village near Shipley, Yorkshire.
On the opening Friday night of 16th September 2011 the rain slanted down in true Yorkshire style but it didn’t put off hundreds of beer devotees from heading to the small brewery building next to the river Aire.
We showed our tickets and were handed a beer list along with a branded & lined pint glass. Upon first reading I could see a few typos and misplacements on the list, I thought – whoever wrote this up couldn’t organise a piss up in brewery – how wrong I was, literally!Tags: beer festival, magic rock, marble, old spot, saltaire, West Yorkshire
From the gastro pubs of Ilkley to the cove-view nooks of Robin Hood’s Bay; from the alleyway drinking dens of Leeds, to the walkers respites littering Garsdale, Wensleydale, Dentdale, Ribblesdale, Malhamdale, Nidderdale…
Yorkshire is blessed with pubs, nearly 10% of all the public houses in Britain. Some good, some bad, each and everyone someone’s favourite. All 5,115 of them.
What better way to spend the Bank Holiday than oiling your discourse down the local, or heeding Milton Crawford and taking a moment to reflect on life. And when your done, you can vote for your favourite Yorkshire pub at Yorkshire.com/pub
Tags: british pubs, Pubs & bars, ribblesdale, West Yorkshire, yorkshire
There are 54,000 pubs in Britain and 5,115 pubs in Yorkshire. Ish. Thanks to the border hungry constituency of Brigg & Goole which straddles both the East Riding of Yorkshire and the northern climes of Lincolnshire we’ve had to apply some educated guesswork to the final tally. Thanks to the CAMRA press team and the British Beer & Pub Association for help locating the raw data. And thanks to Dan Cohen, John FotoHouse and Rick Harrison for the pics!
April 21st, 2011Pubs & bars
I had the pleasure of being invited to the re-opening of a pub this week. Someone has paid a visit to what used to be the Three Horseshoes in Otley and replaced its worn out steel trotters to get the place back on its feet.
The newly named Horse and Farrier on Bridge Street in Otley is the fifteenth addition to Market Town Taverns’ portfolio, which stretches across North and West Yorkshire including Arcadia in Leeds, Brigantes in York and Bar t’at in Ilkley).
Now, I’ll lay my cards on the table, I’ve long been a fan of Market Town Taverns, I like the cut of their jib and I like that there’s always a selection of 8 real ales available, as well as a handy selection of bottled beers. The Old Bell Tavern, another Market Town Taverns pub, is my local in Harrogate it’s very traditionally styled, has real character and I even had my wedding reception in the restaurant there.Tags: british pubs, Horse & Farrier, Market Town Taverns, Otley, Pubs & bars, Three Horseshoes, West Yorkshire
July 30th, 2010Pubs & bars
I’ll be going back to Bar t’at, Ilkley’s ‘North Bar’, because the first time around I wasn’t bowled over. We didn’t need to comment to the forgetful bartender, he only had to see the look on my Dad’s face.
Suffice to say my pint of Thornbridge Hopton was just the ticket and our longer than expected wait for my mums coffee gave us the chance to admire a host of brewery related posters and paraphernalia. Our beloved Hooky took pride of place over the stairs whilst Sheps, Brakspear, Harvey’s and Bass adorned the walls around our table.
There was even some Belgian bits and bobs hiding way up towards the ceiling, including a prominent pink elephant poking his head up above the doorway.
We even had time to piece together the West Yorkshire dialect that litters the wall, with it’s talk of unfortunate lovers, worms and ducks.
Nil points for the service (we’re blaming it on the lack of hats, or even Mary Jane) although that’s only because it was my Mum who got the worlds smallest coffee after the worlds longest wait (if it had happened to anyone else I’d have just used the opportunity for another pint).
Bar t’at will certainly get a second chance though and I’ll be jumping on the train from Leeds one weekend to drink the hand pulls and the fridges dry, hopefully to the point where I’m singing along to the walls even though I can’t read them.
Anyone fancy it? Read the rest of this entry »Tags: bar t'at, Bass, brakspear, harveys, Hook Norton Brewery, ilkley, shepherd neame, West Yorkshire, yorkshire
April 22nd, 2010Beer Events
Another ‘whoop’ for Loiners this weekend as Friday and Saturday sees not just one beer festival in Leeds but two!
Rothwell, home of the charming Rosebud and our very own Copper Dragon loving R’Sam, is holding a beer festival. 40 cask beers, plus bottles, cider, perry and food will all be available in aid of two local charities.
The organising committee have been working their socks off since January and the fruits of their labour (with some help from Wakefield CAMRA and Clark’s Brewery) will hopefully lead to another addition to West Yorkshire’s beer scene.
“We’re raising money for the local church roof which was stripped of lead just before the bad weather” says Paul Mann of the organising committee. “Additionally half the proceeds will got to Rothwell Lions who go a great amount of work in the local community”.
“The beer list is changing right up until the last minute but we’re hoping for a good crowd”.
The Leeds and Wakefield areas are spoilt for choice this weekend, with both Rothwell Beer Festival and LS6 Beer Festival so now it looks like a beer before and after this Saturday’s football.
For more details visits www.rothwellbeerfestival.co.ukTags: beer festival, leeds, Rothwell, West Yorkshire
It seems so simple, this-setting-up-a-brewery lark.
Walking around the compact, but seemingly organised Leeds Brewery with co-founder Sam Moss, it’s easy to forget that the business has only been in existence for a touch over two years.
Situated on a light industrial estate not far from Leeds’ bustling centre, the brewery is the hub of an expanding local empire that now stretches to three pubs across the town centre as well as the modern and compact Leeds Brewery HQ. The team produces three permanent beers and twelve seasonal beers; one for each calendar month. The beers are on sale across the country and also in Leeds brewery’s three self-owned pubs in Leeds city centre.
Being Leeds residents and big fans of the beers that the brewery makes, we jumped at the chance to take a day off work and visit our very own local brewers. Upon arrival the other half of the management, Michael Brothwell, was busy making an emergency keg delivery in the back of his Ford Fiesta, so it was down to Sam to take us round the modern set up… Read the rest of this entry »Tags: best, brewery, business, leeds, leeds brewery, midnight bell, pale ale, tetleys, West Yorkshire, yorkshire
July 13th, 2009Breweries
Anglo Dutch Brewery – Summertime Ale, 4.1%
Having been critical of The Porterhouse earlier this Summer for not being fully stocked with light, golden, summertime brews I could hardly go into the Cross Keys, Holbeck, on a warm sunny day and not try this topical summer number.
I do not know much about the Anglo Dutch Brewery but, according to their website, they were officially launched in 2000 and they haaven’t had a history update since 2003. Nor could I find this beer on their website (www.anglo-dutch-brewery.co.uk) so I was going into it slightly blind but very willing.
I was more than happy with the result which was enjoyed in the evening sun behind the Cross Keys. It is hard to believe, sat drinking a beer in this peaceful spot, the other areas of Holbeck only a short walk away.
The beer itself was slightly yellow, rather than the anticipated golden. It has cirus flavours and was quite sharp to the taste, coupling this with the rather flat texture it was reminiscent of a more full bodied version of the traditional bottle with a slice of lime such as Corona or Sol. Perhaps a great British alternative to the these hispanic imports.
The beer certainly deserves to be treated more seriously than the comical light it paints itself in. The picture may be too small to show it but the caption says ‘Others are cleaning up the all decade merchant bankers party’. My advice is forget the merchant bankers, forget the imported lagers and bash on with a cheeky few pints of this West Yorkshire gem on a sunny night in Leeds.Tags: Anglo Dutch Brewery, corona, Cross Keys Pub, Holbeck, leeds, Sol, Summertime Ale, West Yorkshire