Sunday, 23 November 2014

BRAPA - the Nidderdale day.

"Once more unto the BRAPA breach I go", as Shakespeare nearly said, as I arrived in Harrogate on a foggy but mild Saturday morning awaiting my bus up through Nidderdale.   Firstly, there was time to stock up on pork pies to get me through the day and watch the tail-end of a children's christmas choir, but as we sing at Hull City "you've only got one song!"

506 - Royal Oak Inn, Dacre Banks - After a trouble free journey on the number 24 bus, I was at my first venue and was surprised to see how busy it was with locals and walkers alike, having a drink, whilst some staff planned some kind of "pub strategy" business meeting on a laptop in the same quiet room that I had discovered.  This was a nice homely pub, cosy with a great fireplace that two walkers complained "should be in at this time of year, very stingy" though it was warm enough to me.  It had a separate food area called the 'green room' or something ominous, all these North Yorks country pubs seem to have these food areas.  My pint of Rudgate Viking was good though wish I'd spotted the two guest IPA's a bit sooner.  An elderly couple chatted to me about BRAPA and declining beer quality of standards such as Deuchers, Pippin, Guzzler and the like.

A busy, bustling start to the day in Dacre Banks

507 - Wellington Inn, Darley - A mile and a half walk followed including the obligatory "no pavement" section, included obviously just to annoy me.   As one of the only 'non-diners' in the pub, I wasn't allowed to enjoy the splendours of 'baronial hall' style room with huge fireplace (this time, the fire was in).  However, with the sun streaming through the windows of the front bar, a bit of Inspiral Carpets on the jukebox, my extortionate £3.45 Golden Pippin was almost enjoyable, plus the landlady started talking to me a bit which was nice as I always get a bit paranoid that people who come into pubs like this with the sole intention of drinking are treated like second class citizens!  The free wi-fi added a bonus point, but the lack of phone reception found me walking about a mile to the end of the huge carpark to finally ring for a taxi.  I really regretted not just walking into Darley for a bus, what was I thinking as this particular firm fleeced me for the fare.  

What is that comin' over the hill, is it a GBG pub?

508 - Station Hotel, Birstwith - My mood lightened as soon as I walked into this lovely little place.  Despite being recently refurbished into what seems to be a fairly light, modern style, it retains it's separate drinking areas and I sat in a kind of library, games room type place with a really nice feel.  This was also my favourite ale of the day, a Rudgate Pumpkin Ale which also had lots of clovey, nutmeggy elements to it, The staff and locals seemed friendly through the little contact I had, I'm sure I recently read about a murder in this village, surely not!  I had ages to wait for my bus and wasn't prepared to taxi it again after the last total waste of money, so I nursed my pumpkin ale and walked slowly, very slowly to the bus stop.

Amazing pumpkin ale in a light, friendly pub.

509 - Harrogate Tap, Harrogate (obviously) - Well, this place certainly wasn't here last time I came to Harrogate, but what a fine addition.  Very much like Sheffield Tap of all the taps out there, it has an entrance directly onto the platform to York but also as a two minute walk from the bus station.  I wish all BRAPA ticks were this easy.  It was busy and very female predominated, wish always scares me about every time I come to Harrogate, making me feel like Dougal in Father Ted - "women!" "where??"  The beer range was typically interesting and vast, my Outlaw passion fruit flavoured ale was wonderful, and a big group left in the side room just as I arrived, stopping me from getting piles off the very hot radiator.  There's plenty of very good pubs in Harrogate but you'll do well to get further than this.

Another top Tap, quite a revelation.  

I'd considered getting another bus up to Ripon where I need 5 pub ticks, but with a heavy Thursday just gone and Boroughbridge coming up (which I can combine with Ripon), I left it and was so sensible, I didn't even have a post-BRAPA York Tap pint.

It has been a good November in terms of pub ticking, it could have been even better, but with Castleford on Tuesday and a couple of new Manchester ticks on Saturday all being well, we are not finished yet! 


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