First we had a conundrum* (see notes section below) as I'd wrongly assumed for two years now that the current Slaithwaite pub is the one I had visited a few years ago. Wrong Simon! Silly Simon! What a good job I checked or I'd have brought BRAPA into disrepute. It's been sitting there already highlighted since BRAPA began.
I changed trains at 'Udders to one bound for Wigan Wallgate and was surprised to see about three quarters of passengers got off at Slaithwaite (pronounced Slawit or even Slowit if you are really hardcore). Talking of hardcore, it was raining hard in a summery way and my coat was at the bottom of my bag so I was short sleeved. It was soon obvious this was a totally new pub on me, being on a fairly busy street corner. I felt a bit 'out in the wild wilderness of West Yorkshire' so a 5.5% Oblivion seemed a fitting beer to get, a fact that wasn't lost on a friendly drunken local next to me who seemed impressed I was pub ticking in his locality. In fact, all staff and locals here were in ebullient mood and it was a cracking post-work atmosphere. I still took my pint to some large red leather chairs which didn't seem to quite fit the pub feel. Sticky table too. One local got a phone-call, his wife wanted him home for tea. And then a young hybrid of Paul McShane and Stephen Quinn got a call from his Mum wanting to know where he was. It felt like all Slawit men were hiding here. And as my evening went on, everyone I spoke to raved about this pub.
|Friendly locals enjoying a fine range of ales in the Commerical, Slaithwaite|
690 - Sair Inn, Linthwaite
As I got out of the taxi, I realised how high up we were as I looked down onto picturesque countryside between here and Huddersfield. I'd had high hopes for this pub, and wasn't disappointed to find one of those ultra traditional 'drinkers only' pubs, like something from a rural 18th century setting. I'd read about a "long suffering landlord" but all I found was a friendly barmaid who I was soon chatting BRAPA to, and she pointed me in the direction of the local CAMRA mag to give me some tips, though to be fair, 90% of pubs listed felt like old friends to me! This pub is special in that it remains one of the few brewpubs around, and the Linfit ales seemed superb, my Autumn Gold was delicious and felt fitting considering the weather, Being pedantic, I might point out this pub is in the LinTHWAITE side of town, rather than Linfit! With hindsight, I might've taken the magazine back to bar and chatted with her more but it was choc-a-bloc with local after-work drinkers and probably a few farmers thrown in for good measure. The pub even had a nice damp old fashioned smell, gotta be an early contender for pub of the month. And Abbas was back on the scene quicker than I could drink to whisk me to Meltham.
|A winking pig greets me as I enter the Sair in Linthwaite|
691 - Wills O'Nats, Meltham
I really was out in the sticks now, just north of Meltham proper out towards Blackmoorfoot. And to be honest, I was a bit of an idiot here and it was entirely my own fault I didn't enjoy it more. Having said hi to two women in a tiny smoking area, I found a pleasant old fashioned bar with another healthy hubbub and nice staff as I ordered a Nook Best, remember that Holmfirth brewpub from a few weeks ago? Now you should know by now my main pub vice is the whole foody gastro thing, well this pub had a much quieter 'food area' totally cordoned off with reception area and 'spare barmaid' like the entrance to a restaurant! (well, I'm exaggerating a bit). I decided to sit there but being ultra-polite, the staff let me. Big mistake. Soon, a young boy was turning round asking his family "why is that man only having a drink?" ('errm, because it's a PUB you little shit!' I didn't say that, obvs. "Sit facing me and eat your food Tommy" his Mum replied). But when a young couple soon appeared and put a sleeping baby in a basket at my feet, I had to take the walk of shame back to the bar area admitting to the barmaid's that I'd made a mistake. Thankfully, the gents toilet was not back through the 'restaurant' either! I enjoyed the pub after that and reflected, they'd kept diners and drinkers so separate, the pub cannot be criticised - though the beer style and overall experience probably was still the weakest of the three.
|Master of my own downfall at Wills O' Nats, Meltham|
Attentions now turn to Aberdeen tomorrow amidst rumours of flooding in the Granite City! Floods and BRAPA don't mix, as my 2014 days at both Brighton and especially the Grosmont-Whitby farce have proved, but I am positive, I've packed my overnight bag, and ten pub ticks await as long as I plan it strategically enough - i.e. Under the Hammer only opens 4pm so will have to be a "day one" pub, the two Wetherspoons may be best left for the morning of day two as my train home is about 2:30pm on the Fri.
And Krzb Britain has planned the Goole area day on Saturday which makes my life easier.
Bon voyage, Si