Wednesday, 15 October 2014

BRAPA - Barton on Humber, Alverthorpe and Wakefield

As I tried to shun thoughts of a potential BRAPA day wasted last Saturday, and how much I could blame Ben for a selfish house-moving session when I could be ticking six pubs instead of two, I decided to get over myself, be grateful for the invite, and enjoy the two pub ticks available in the interestingly strange Lincolnshire town of Barton-on-Humber.

With good local knowledge from Lincs based friends, Tom, Chris and Bernie, I completed a grueling 4 hour journey (including stops) with a short walk from the train station to my first pub since I'd finished my 2015 GBG cross ticking.

474 - The Sloop, Barton-on-Humber - After a few questionable reviews from friends, expectations were low as the four of us entered this pub, with a light and airy yet nautical ship like feel with each room (and there were many to choose from, each with their own character) named after a part of the ship.  We went for the Port Cabin where I enjoyed one of the two local brews, the Tom Wood's Bomber County which was very nice, as I admired the Delft tiling on the fireplace.  The gang formed an idea in my mind for a Grimsby/Cleethorpes BRAPA day in the New Year.  Most of the criticism of this place seemed to come from the fact that Greene King IPA had been their "guest" ale for a long time now.  For a local, I'd understand the frustration.  For me, a minor inconvenience,

Chris & Bernie race to the entrance of the Sloop

475 - Stables, Barton-on-Humber - With Ben putting on a good spread and some nice polypins of two Wold Top beers, Colin doing a cracking barbeque, and me getting the BRAPA lowdown on Macclesfield from Lizzy and boyfriend Tim, I was feeling guilty for my earlier selfish thoughts but was still relieved when Christine impressed on me a sense of urgency to get to this cosy little gem of a bar.  She'd co-written the beer guide entry, I think she has shares in the place too because she seemed delighted I was impressed with it!  How could I not be?  Split level, warm, good ambiance, good staff, great quality ale in the form of Oldershaw Volupta, I would rate it highly indeed for a place that wasn't a traditional boozer.  

All that remained was another lengthy train journey back (my train at Donny was delayed so I hopped on the next one I wasn't booked on, and avoided the guard with headphones and fake sleep!)  2 pints in York Tap surrounded by racegoing idiots was still nice, all in all a good day.

Racegoers can't spoil a Post-Barton 'Tapped Stogie' from Sheff Tap, in York Tap!

I also realised I'd inadvertently got another BRAPA tick earlier this year, an accidental pre-emptive one in the form of Grantham Wetherspoons, the Tollemache Inn (476) after a depressing defeat at Norwich last season.  I enjoyed a very quick pint of Adnams Broadside in this, one of the first 'Spoons opened outside London.

Fast forward three days.......

With my Autumn/Winter schedule now firmly in place and the realisation I hadn't done a West Yorkshire BRAPA since my supposedly final Bradford trip in mid August, I was back on the trail after work on Tues 14th Oct to try and get some more ticks in this most difficult of months.

477 - Alverthorpe Working Men's Club - Funny how things change.  In the 2014 GBG, Alverthorpe was simply listed under Wakefield but now suddenly a place in it's own right beginning with the letter "A", the sense of urgency for this tick was great!  After a scary walk from Westgate station where a Rooney lookalike eyed up my iPhone (I think I walked through a rough estate), I had reservations about this WMC but to my relief, only two other chaps (both young) were in this typically carpetted no nonsense WY club.  Some interesting stained glass was as exciting as it got, 2 ales on (my Stancil Blonde was decent).  If there was a guide for TV sound quality, this place would NOT be in it, awful effects on the 'Vintage TV' channel which made already dodgy music sound worse.  Overall though, this place lacked the X-factor.

Alverthorpe WMC, decent but lacking star quality.

478 - Fernandes Brewery Tap & Bier Keller - 2.1 miles of walking through spitting Wakefield rain right across town to the Kirkgate area needed to yield a reward, and wow what a place!  Up some stairs past the Bier Keller which only opens weekends, I found a dimly lit room full of a very diverse clientele, all wooden boards with old pub and brewery signs hanging from rafters in what felt a bit like an upstairs barn.  Oh yes!  Home to a great brewery too, owned by Ossett (another great brewery), both of their beer ranges featured plus many additional guests which was charitable of them.  Some students behind me were loving it, as were a rock n roll couple near the loos, whilst I sat near the other saddo old men having a nice quiet drink.  There was one negative though, and quite a big one, my Fernandes Nightjar most definitely on the turn, though it took me half a pint to be sure.  Shame as this could have been quite perfect otherwise!

Quality upstairs bar area, but my pint failed to hit the spot.

479 - Wakefield Labour Club (Red Shed) - I wasn't sure if I'd get here tonight as it only opens 7pm on weekdays, but with all that walking, it was 6:50pm when I left Fernandes so I'd timed it perfectly.  With the rain now teeming down, I was thankful of the short walk not far from Kirkgate station and was shocked to see what really did appear to be a red shed!  It didn't looked open but I pushed the door and was greeted by a jolly young barman and one regular, both getting a bit too excited by 'the One Show' doing a feature on birds of prey.  With the low ceiling and incredibly intimate nature, I joined in the One Show love-in with a local pint of Five Towns "Lost Hope", an absolute winner of a pint.  I know a friend of the brewer, but I promise I'm not biased.  I had no choice but to loosely join in the conversation, as the channel changed to an Austrian version of a Bundesliga match, a bit bizarre.  I thanked them very much, and went on my way but I'd love to bring my Dad here.  Pub of the day!

It really was, pretty much, a Red Shed!

I walked back to Westgate as the train options were more frequent and more direct, and was soon in Leeds and eventually York, pleased to have ticked three more pubs off as I settled down with some Paella and cuppa.  


So, 11 pubs done in October so far and if all goes well, three more on our Arsenal day on Saturday and I'll have exceeded my target of 12.  Just as well with a week in Spain slowing things down, but on my return just before Hallowe'en, I'm looking to squeeze in another West Yorks BRAPA  with Baildon, Bingley and possibly Keighley depending on post holiday tiredness.  November however, looks like the perfect opportunity for plenty of days out and pub ticks.  Nothing outlandish, all Yorkshire as far as I can see as I conserve funds for Xmas!  

See you soon, Si

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