Make tracks for Pendle Beer Festival...
This weekend, our next-door neighbours in East Lancashire are having a bit of a do. Pendle Beer Festival in the Muni, Colne, opens at 4.30 Thursday and all day Friday and Saturday. Always a popular event, it is well worth making the trip over from Keighley or Skipton. Transdev Burnely and Pendle buses (number 25) run every half hour from Keighley, Cross Hills and Cowling until 3.40 p.m. from Keighley Bus Station, after which they run about hourly. Last bus back from Colne town centre to Keighley is at 8.35. Numbers 28/29 run frequently during the day from Skipton Bus Station, last bus back from Colne town centre to Skipton is at 6.33 (Saturday), 6.35 (Thursday and Friday), later buses go only as far as Barnoldswick. So, why not have an afternoon/early evening on the other side of the hill? There are over 100 cask beers awaiting your company!
A popular Settle free house has been awarded branch Pub of the Season for Winter 2015/2016: the Talbot Arms on High Street wins the accolade for the second time. Run by Rosie and Russell East, who bought the pub along with other family members in 2011, the Talbot boasts six hand-pumps dispensing beers from Cumbria, Yorkshire and Lancashire alongside Theakston Best Bitter and a regularly changing cider, usually from Pure North. A dark beer is usually included in the range. Good-value home-cooked food is available from 12 to 8 daily and tea or coffee and home-made cake offer an excellent alternative. The single-roomed pub has a pleasant ambiance, and is warmed by a large stove resting in the huge fireplace. Tucked away at the back is a dart board and pool table. The award was presented on Saturday afternoon 23rd January. The write-up from the previous presentation says it all...
Autumn saw a flurry of activity and investment in the pubs in Keighley and Craven:
Newly opened in December were two micro-pubs: Gallagher‘s Ale House in Cross Hills is the latest venture from Steve Banks and Janet Langton, owners of Skipton‘s Beer Engine. Meanwhile in Haworth, Al‘s Alehouse opened in the River Street Café. Being micropubs, both have restricted opening hours, so check the links above to WhatPub for more information.
At opposite ends of the branch (literally), both the Waggon and Horses in Oxenhope and the White Lion in Cray re-opened after long periods of closure. The White Lion closed shortly after the Tour de France passed by and re-opened on Christmas Eve; the Waggon closed before the Tour route had even been planned and re-opened in October! Both have had major refurbishments and we heartily welcome their return. Both are open all day, every day.
Substantial refurbishments were also completed at the Red Lion in Silsden, which is now in the keen hands of Luke Reid, the Devonshire in Grassington, now owned by Timothy Taylor and managed by Pickles Pubs and the Airedale Heifer in Sandbeds (coincidentally on yet another edge of our area), new home of Bridgehouse brewery.
Why not check them out - they've made the investment, now they need your custom! (The links in the text go to the pubs‘ respective entries on WhatPub - follow these for more information on opening times, beer range, facilities and so on.)
The media are full of nonsense about “Dry January”, staying dry for a month after the excesses of Christmas and New Year. This does nothing for licensees, their pubs and the breweries who supply them. Instead, go “Tryanuary”. Rather than stop drinking, try something new. If you drink lager, try real ale. If you drink golden ales, try a mild or a stout. And so on. Alternatively, just try a few different pubs to the ones you regularly visit. With the latter in mind, here are a few random suggestions of excellent pubs in our branch area which are normally off the radar:
The Bay Horse, Oxenhope - rescued from possible closure a couple of years ago, this community pub offers a good range of beers. It's on the 500 bus route which runs hourly from Keighley and Hebden Bridge until mid evening, so no need to drive.
The Goat‘s Head, Steeton - another community pub and a free house. Four beers are available, including a varying guest beer. If you fancy a meal, tie it in with a visit to Steeton Hall, another recent rescue from closure, which also sells a range of cask beers. Both pubs are very handy for Steeton and Silsden railway station and on various bus routes, so again no need to drive.
The Hare and Hounds, Lothersdale - Joe and Tracy Currie have been running this village local since 1996. It‘s a bit off the beaten track, unless you‘re walking the Pennine Way, which passes the door, but is well worth a visit.
The Royal Oak, Settle. Run by Country Village Inns, a tiny pub chain whose only other pub is in Ingleton, the Oak was substantially refurbished about eighteen months ago. Featuring LocAles, it retains some historic panelling and a fairly unusual revolving door.
The Foresters Arms, Grassington. Grassington‘s “local” but with a warm welcome for visitors too. A rare outlet in the branch for both Tetley Mild and the only regular outlet for Black Sheep Riggwelter.
The Crown, Addingham. Three guest ales are usually available in this privately owned free house (bought out of PubCo ownership a few years ago). Check out the snug and “smoke room”, which earn the pub a listing on CAMRA‘s regional inventory of historic pubs. (Go through the door to the right of the bar to find them.)
On December 15th, members of Keighley and Craven CAMRA were pleased to present Phil Booth with a plaque celebrating 10 consecutive appearances of the Boltmakers Arms in Keighley in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide. Phil has run the Boltmakers, a Timothy Taylor tied house on East Parade, since January 2005 and in that time has won Pub of the Season four times. The Boltmakers sells the full range of Taylors beers alongside a couple of guest ales and a traditional cider.
December‘s the month everyone gets their new diary, so here‘s something you need to put in it: the dates for Skipton Beer Festival 2016. From 2nd June to 4th June 2016, we will be holding the tenth Skipton Beer Festival. For the second year running it will be held in Ermysted‘s Grammar School Refectory on Gargrave Road, only 10 minutes walk from both the railway and bus stations. Opening at 3 p.m. on the Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, the festival will offer up to 70 cask ales (all cooled) alongside cider, perry and bottled foreign beers. CAMRA members will be admitted free at all times; there will be a small admission charge for non-members. Full details in the new year.
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 (pictured), 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 award was presented on Thursday 10th September.
The UK is losing around 20 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.
September 10th 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...
Congratulations are due to Timothy Taylor, Keighley‘s longest established brewery, on Boltmaker being awarded joint bronze in the Bitter category in the Champion Beer of Britain 2015 at CAMRA‘s Great British Beer Festival. The 4% bitter (formerly known as Best Bitter) was awarded Supreme Champion in 2014 and joined Golden Best and Landlord as a holder of that prize. Click here for more details and the full results.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.