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Manchester, United Kingdom
Tyson is a beer hound and cheese addict living in the beery metropolis paradise known as Manchester
If the people are buying tears, I'll be rich someday, Ma

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Over The Hills And (Not So) Far Away

We needed passports and inoculation jabs for yesterday’s trip. Yes, we were crossing over into Yorkshire. As we weren’t leaving till 1050, I realised valuable drinking time could be wasted. So I headed for breakfast at the Peel and a little aperitif. Butcombe Blonde and Wickwar Coopers set me up before the serious drinking began. Keeping our dictionaries handy, we set off for our first stop. This was the Cock O’ The North in Hipperholme, Halifax. This unusual boozer is home to the Halifax Steam Brewing Company. It’s basically a portakabin decked out in sub art deco style, and a long bar with a massive array of handpumps. There is a room at the side where the brewery can be viewed. I’ve only ever rated HSB as average, so it was interesting to sample their beers from the source.

Ramsden’s Lilly Fog (4%) was a pale beer that was pleasant enough, but lacked any real punch. Marilyn (4%) was another pale beer that had just that bit too much malt to make it quenching. Frankie, yet again 4%, was more or less the same. I began to see a pattern. Like a lot of brewers, I think they could do with using a few more hops to make their beers more distinct. Their ordinary Bitters were a little too ordinary. However, they do brew some interesting beers. I heard good reports about their Jamaican Ginger and I couldn’t resist trying their ginger/nettle beer. This was as unusual as it sounds. The ginger comes through immediately, but instead of the usual strong aftertaste you’re expecting, the nettle cancels it out. Interesting, although I couldn’t imagine having a session on it.

It was only a short hop to our next stop-the Travellers Inn. This is a traditional stone-built local and is part of the impressive Ossett empire. It had a good selection of their beers and an even more impressive whisky range-which I’m kicking myself for not trying. Their house beer was actually rather bland for an Ossett beer. From there it wasn’t far to Halifax and a couple of hours to wander round there. The weather had improved and we went al fresco at the Pump Room. I’ve written about this place before and once more it didn’t disappoint. I enjoyed Golden Pippin (naturally) and Phoenix Hopsack. The latter of these was the source of some discussion, as some people found the hops used “too rough,” but personally I really enjoyed it. By now I was wellnigh clemmed, as the locals would say, so I tucked into a rather tasty fish pie.

We moved over to the nearby Three Pigeons which again had a reasonable selection of Ossett beers and I sampled some of those and a guest from Bradfield. There was yet more Ossett to be had at the Drop Inn at Elland. We’ve been here a couple of times over the years and I recall the side room use to be the no smoking area. I tried the Ossett Wheat (4.6%) which proved to be a clear wheat beer, with a hint of coriander. Just round the corner was the Barge and Barrel-yet another old friend. Of the beers imbibed, Ossett Yorkshire Gold (4.2%) was the best, being both dry and spicy. Meanwhile, the Wallsend Wonder was regaling us with her visit to see Mamma Mia. At one point I thought she was going to break into song to illustrate her point, but luckily the danger passed.

Last port of call was the Red Rooster at Brighouse. This stone flagged pub had beers from Copper Dragon and Moorhouses, and I managed to sample both before Stopwatch Sid called a halt to proceedings. Then, suitably well oiled, we headed home. The Bury contingent promptly decamped to the Trackside and got cidered up, al fresco style. I stayed loyal to the beautifully orange Cheddar Valley, while some heathens went for the honey cider. In my opinion, honey, like rum and whisky doesn’t belong in cider. Or beer for that matter. It’s at this point that things get a bit hazy. I remember going to Blind Tiger at some point, but don’t remember the journey home. A check this morning revealed that wallet, phone, and I had all arrived in one piece. But it remains a mystery exactly how...


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