At our June meeting, members of Keighley and Craven CAMRA voted Skipton‘s Beer Engine, which opened in spring last year, as Pub of the Season for Summer 2015. Run by Steve Banks and Janet Langton, this tiny micro-pub offers 5 real ales alongside cider, wine and bottled beers (but no spirits) in a convivial atmosphere. On the beer front, there is always a dark beer available, and often something “different”. The Beer Engine is located on Albert Steet, just off Coach Street (and round the corner from the better-known Narrow Boat). Check out WhatPub for directions and opening hours. The provisional date for the presentation of the award is Wednesday 19th August.
The 9th Skipton Beer festival, held for the first time in Ermysted‘s School refectory at the end of May, was a great success at the new venue. Over 1,700 people attended over the three days and managed to drink their way through most of the beers, ciders and perries on offer. Over 5000 pints of Real Ale, 250 litres of Cider and Perry and 400 bottles of imported foreign beer were consumed. The Mild Trail was well supported, with 91 customers savouring at least six of the mild beers available.
Feedback was generally excellent and 24 new CAMRA members were recruited. Julian Smith, Skipton‘s MP dropped in on Friday evening and later Tweeted how much he had enjoyed the event. Elland Brewery 1872 Porter (matured in whisky casks) was voted Beer of the Festival, with Brass Castle Snow Eater coming second. Cider/perry of the festival was Jim‘s Perry. Luckily the weather, although cool, was generally kind to us and enabled drinkers to enjoy the spacious outdoor area (see photo right).
The Organisers would like to express their thanks to Ermysted‘s, the Town Ambassadors, Copper Dragon/GreyHawk breweries and all the other supporters for helping to make it one of our best festivals yet.
For our first endeavour in Clubs campaigning within the Branch, we are delighted to announce that the Three Links Club has gained this award. It now goes forward as an entry into the Regional Club Of The Year, and we wish them the very best of luck in this competition.
It is the home and meeting place for Skipton and District Lodge of the Oddfellows Society. The club offers a relaxed atmosphere and a very warm welcome to its members and visitors alike. It has worked very hard on the quality of its cask ale selection and serves Craven Bitter and Hetton Pale Ale on handpump from the local Dark Horse Brewery at Hetton in excellent condition. Both are selling equally well.
The club offers a number of activities for members and visitors, and these include: whist groups, Quiz Nights, Zumba exercises, Ukelele group, craft mornings, fish & chip Bingo, and live music events. Facilities include a function room for hire, as well as the large, comfortable lounge bar.
Following two rounds of surveys, the winner of the Keighley and Craven Pub of the Year 2015 is the Brown Cow, Keighley. The Brown Cow on Cross Leeds Street at the bottom of West Lane and Oakworth Road was joint winner last year (with the Kings Arms, Silsden) and won the title outright in 2008, the first year it was awarded. Barry Smith and Carol Taylor-Smith have run the pub for nearly twelve years, initially as a Timothy Taylor tenancy, before buying the business outright as a free house several years ago. It has featured in the last eleven editions of the CAMRA Good Beer Guide.
The Brown Cow ticks all the boxes: seven pumps offer a choice of three regular beers from Timothy Taylor alongside a choice of four ever-changing guest beers, mainly from the Yorkshire and Lancashire area. At least one of the guest ales is always dark in style, oftern a porter or stout. Traditional cider is also available. It has a quiet and friendly atmosphere, a back room available for meetings, which hosts a small “library”, and plenty of beer related magazines to browse in the unlikely event there is no-one to chat to. The Brown Cow is open from 4 daily (except on Sundays when it opens at 12 noon). The award will be presented on Wednesday 13th May at about 8.30 p.m.
For more information, see the Pub of the Year press release.
On Monday 20th April members of Keighley and Craven CAMRA, a couple of local licensees, a local brewer and some members of the general public crammed into the back room of the Brown Cow, Keighley to meet and question the five candidates standing in the forthcoming General Election in Keighley and Ilkley. Loosely based on the CAMRA “General Election Manifesto”, the lively discussion centred on beer and cider, pubs and other CAMRA campaigning topics with candidates expressing their views and then fielding questions from the floor. Keighley and Craven CAMRA would like to thank the five candidates for making the time to attend: Gareth Epps (Lib. Dem.), whose idea it was; Kris Hopkins (Con.), sitting MP and minister with responsibility for pubs; Ros Brown (Green); Paul Latham (UKIP); John Grogan (Lab.). Thanks also to Barry and Carol at the Brown Cow for hosting the event.
Keighley and Craven branch has received some positive information from the new owner of one of the branch‘s most iconic Dales pubs. The White Lion at Cray, which sadly closed shortly after the Tour de France passed by last July, has been bought by Dennis Peacock. Dennis tells us that the pub will remain closed for a couple of months, while a full refurbishment of both the bar area and the letting rooms is completed. It should re-open in early summer 2015. Progress can be followed on both the pub‘s new Facebook and/or Twitter pages, which can be linked to from its new website.
On 10th February, members of Keighley and Craven CAMRA were pleased to present James and John Mitchell with a plaque celebrating 10 consecutive appearances of the Cricketers Arms in Keighley in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide. The Cricketers on Coney Lane is a family-run free house serving two regular beers from Yates brewery (in Cumbria) alongside three guests from around the country. Recently re-decorated, the pub is warm and welcoming. Purchased from Timothy Taylor by John Mitchell and Worth Inns in 1996, it has been managed by John‘s son James for almost ten years. The photo shows branch secretary Fred Baker (left) presenting the award to James.
The dates and location of the 9th Skipton Beer Festival have been confirmed. Organised by the local branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) the festival will offer up to 80 different British real ales, cider, perry, bottled foreign beers, English wines, food, prize draws, souvenir merchandise and CAMRA membership offers. Milds will be featured with the ever popular Mild Trail. The new location is The Refectory, Ermysted‘s Grammar School, Gargrave Road, Skipton BD23 1PL. This is approximately 7 minutes walk from both the railway and bus stations. The festival will be open on Thursday 28th May 2015 at 3 p.m. and will continue until Saturday 30th May, opening at 11 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Admission charges will be £1.50 on Thursday and £2.50 on Friday and Saturday, pay on the door (no advance tickets). Card-carrying CAMRA members will get in free at all sessions. Unfortunately, despite us being in a school, there will not be any facilities for children, so the festival is for over-18s only.
For more information go to the Skipton Beer Festival web-site nearer the time (it is not yet up and running), telephone the Branch Contact on 01756 796167, follow Keighley and Craven CAMRA on Facebook and Twitter (links in the left-hand menu) or follow Skipton Beer Festival on Twitter.
On Tuesday 16th December, members of Keighley and Craven CAMRA presented Heather and Mark and their staff at the Turkey Inn, Goose Eye with the Winter 2014/5 Pub of the Season award. Nestling at the foot of Goose Eye Brow, the Turkey is a warm, welcoming pub serving food all day. Regular beers come from Goose Eye (Bitter and Chinook) and Timothy Taylor (Golden Best and Landlord) and these are supplemented by a further four guest ales, usually including another Goose Eye beer (Barm Pot at the time of the presentation). Heather and Mark bought the pub in 2011 when it was temporarily closed and have made substantial improvements since. In 2014 the external stone-work was cleaned and the rotting leaded windows were replaced with replicas still bearing the logo of Aaron King, a local Keighley brewery which closed in 1958. Photo right: Branch secretary Fred Baker (right) presents the plaque to Heather and Mark.
In mid September the Keighley News revealed plans by supermarked chain, Tesco, to turn the Royal Oak in Mill Hey, Haworth into a convenience store. A loophole in current planning legislation would allow them to do this without requiring planning permission, although permission was being sought firstly for a cash machine in the wall (which was rejected), and subsequently for major structural changes to the building (including partial demolition). The good news is that Tesco has now withdrawn their plan. The Keighley News reported that Tesco‘s pulled out after their second application had been turned down for conservation reasons. However, the future of the pub is still far from secure. It is open and trading and has been selling some interersting guest ales of late, but pub-owning company, Enterprise, have still to decide what to do with it. Members of Keighley and Craven CAMRA are sure it could be a viable pub business in the right hands.
At a national level, CAMRA has identified similar activity by supermarkets as a major threat to pubs. In the last year alone, dozens of pubs across the country have been closed and converted to stores using this loophole, some of them thriving pub businesses prior to their acquisition by one of the supermarkets and many of them potentially viable. Pubs matter! Check out CAMRA‘s Pubs Matter Campaign for more information on this national campaign.
On 15th November 2014, Barry and Carol at the Brown Cow, Keighley were awarded joint runner-up in the Yorkshire CAMRA Regional Pub of the Year competition. The award, which conicided with a beer festival at the pub, was presented by former Yorkshire CAMRA Regional Director Mick Moss. Each Yorkshire CAMRA branch (there are 17 of them!) nominates one pub and these are assessed by a team of judges who visit each pub anonymously over a period of several months. Six main criteria are used including Quality of Beer; Atmosphere, Style, and Décor; Service and Welcome, Value for Money and Community Focus. The Brown Cow was pipped at the post by the Kelham Island Tavern in Sheffield, a former national winner. The other joint runner-up was the Old No. 7 in Barnsley.
September 11th saw the launch of the latest edition of the CAMRA Good Beer Guide, the premier guide to pubs selling real ale in the UK. Listing 4500 pubs, both urban and rural the Good Beer Guide is revised and updated each year by CAMRA volunteers up and down the country. The Guide also has a comprehensive list of UK breweries. Local CAMRA members help select the 22 pubs which feature in the Keighley and Craven area. Click the image (left) to buy...
Keighley Beer Festival took place over the weekend 25th to 27th September at Central Hall on Alice Street in the heart of town. Customers enjoyed the opportunity to try around 60 real ales and about a dozen traditional ciders and perries. A selection of foreign bottled beers was also on offer, including some rare offerings from across the Atlantic. There was a pleasant atmosphere throughout, with plenty of choice still available at close of play on Saturday evening. Beer of the Festival as voted by the customers was Peasholm Pale from the North Riding Brewery in Scarborough, with Bad Kitty from Brass Castle in Malton (which won Beer of the Festival at Skipton earlier in the year) coming second. Customers also chose The Hogfather, produced by Orchard Pig in Somerset as Cider of the Festival.
Keighley and Ilkley MP and Community Pubs Minister, Kris Hopkins popped into the festival before it opened. Kris had been invited to be a member of the panel judging the Yorkshire and the North East entry in the bitter category for CAMRA‘s Champion Beer of Britain 2015, which was hosted by the beer festival, but due to the recall of parliament was unable to participate. The panel went onto select Timothy Taylor Boltmaker as the winner, with another local beer, Goose Eye Bitter selected as runner-up. Boltmaker, which won the national competition this year has thus won its place in next year‘s final, to be held in Olympia inAugust.
If you came to the festival, thank you for your support and we hope you enjoyed yourselves. If you didn‘t, you can see what you missed on the Keighley Beer Festival 2014 web-site, where the beer and cider lists can still be viewed. Also, check out the write-up in The Keighley News
Congratulations are due to Timothy Taylor, Keighley‘s longest established brewery, on Boltmaker being awarded Champion Beer of Britain 2014. The 4% bitter (formerly known as Best Bitter) joins the brewery‘s other regularly brewed beers, Golden Best and Landlord, as holder of this prize. Click here for more details and the full results.
Last summer the Grand Départ of the Tour de France came to Yorkshire. The route passed through Keighley and Craven on both days (5th and 6th July) and provided a great opportunity for fans to not only see our beautiful countryside but to visit some of our excellent pubs. There are over 40 pubs on our section of the route and a further 50 or more within three miles of it. If, like our webmaster, you still hope to ride the route having enjoyed the spectacle on the day, but intend to spin it out over several days, check out our gazetteer of where to find a beer and possibly a bed.
In Spring 2014, City of Bradford Metropolitan Council, with a little help from Keighley and Craven CAMRA, published a selective colour guide to pubs in Keighley and the Worth Valley. Featuring photos and descriptions, the guide can be obtained from tourist offices or downloaded from our publications page..
Not unrelated, Wharfedale brewery have launched their own ale trail, the Alesway. Featuring 15 pubs, 13 of which are in the Keighley and Craven area, the trail is a colour leaflet (download from the web-site or pick up in the pub). Visit 10 of the pubs for a free t-shirt. More details here.
Towards the end of September CAMRA‘s new on-line pub guide, WhatPub.com, went public. Billed as the definitive on-line guide to real ale pubs in the UK, it features 47,000 pubs, around 36,000 of which serve real ale. In the Keighley and Craven area, around 160 real ale pubs are listed, which members of the branch make every effort to keep up-to-date. Most show opening hours, descriptions and beer lists and some have photographs. Some clubs and restaurants selling real ale are also listed.
The release is the culmination of a two year project by thousands of CAMRA volunteers nationally, who have gone out to gather and collate the required information. As well as having a full web-browser interface, WhatPub is also optimised for tablets and mobile phones to allow you to find the nearest decent pub when on the move. As well as basic details, most entries show additional features and facilities such as whether food is available, whether families or dogs are welcome etc. A map showing the pub‘s location is shown along with directions where necessary and a list of pubs nearby. If you want to keep up with what‘s happening at a particular pub, links to the pub‘s own web-site and social media pages are also listed, where relevant.
Next time you‘re away from home and want to find somewhere for a drink, or if you want to just confirm what time somewhere near you opens or serves food, WhatPub should be your first port of call.
The UK is losing 26 pubs every week. Many of these are still viable businesses but property developers can make a fast profit by turning them into offices, housing, supermarkets, fast food outlets, betting shops etc…and many of these can be done without planning permission, leaving local communities powerless to stop them. Listing a pub as an Asset of Community Value with the local council can make a difference in preventing a pub from closing. If your local pub is threatened, find out more about how to do this.