In God's Own Country

It doesn’t take much of an excuse for me to saddle up and ride into the Wild West. West Yorkshire, that is. So when Eddie, the eager, legal beagle suggested a trip there, I took little persuading. The sensual beery delights of Huddersfield are well known to us, but for the likes of Eddie’s vater and Old Uncle Albert, it was all virginal territory.

Before embarking on the main course, however, an aperitif was called for. Only ten minutes further on from Huddersfield is the delightful Dewsbury West Riding Refreshment Rooms. This is classic boozer situated on the railway platform and famously made an appearance on Oz & James Drink to Britain

Uncle Albert soon made himself at home and seemed to be auditioning for a Burl Ives role in a Western. Suitably refreshed, we were soon back on the platform and heading back to Huddersfield. Our first stop there was the Star on Albert Street where the Pictish proved too good for just one pint.

After finally dragging ourselves away from the Star, it was only a short walk to another old favourite-the Rat & Ratchet. This needs no introduction as it has been on the real ale map of the North for many years and, once again, didn’t disappoint.

Our next stop was a new one to everyone in the party, bar me. The Grove, on Spring Grove Street, has steadily, but quietly, built up a reputation not simply as one of the best pubs in the North, but in the country as a whole.

As we know, more isn’t always better when it comes to beer, but the Grove is one of the few places where it is. Having eighteen handpulls is impressive enough, but having dedicated pumps for the likes of Marble, Durham and Jaipur is even more so. And that’s before you even get started on the bottled selection.

However, it’s not just the beer range that marks the Grove out. It’s the fabric of the pub and the nature of its customers that make it unique. So naturally we were reluctant to leave and many a (supposed) last pint was drunk. We even sampled the intriguing cask strength 10 year old Ardmore whisky.

This unusual whisky boasted of condoms and skunk on the palate. I can’t say I detected them, but then again, I’m not particularly au fait with their taste, so perhaps it did. It certainly needed a dash of water to make it more approachable.

Our next stagger was to the Sportsman which was a first for everyone. This comes from the same stable as the West Riding Refreshment Rooms and has two small anterooms leading off from the main bar. Choice was a little disappointing with nothing light or hoppy (save the regular Landlord) in sight. They did, however, have Bury’s own Outstanding White amongst the fonts.

No surprise that the two last stops of the day were at the two pubs adjoining the railway station. Both served up some excellent beer and after a dalliance with a couple of real ale swingers, it was back to the Devil’s own country. Top tip: get the express. Not only is it quicker, you can snooze undisturbed by the feckless chavs that frequent the other routes.


ricardon said…
bastard. good photos wish was invited

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