Friday, 28 August 2015

BRAPA : the archives (301-310)

We are pushing on well with the archives now, as I was in the late 300's when I officially started counting pubs as "BRAPA" ticks in early 2014.  Whether I will get the archives finished before the 2016 Good Beer Guide comes out, remains to be seen, but here's ten more anyway, mainly in West Yorks but starting with one I missed ......

301.  Castle Gardens, Poulton-le-Fylde

"P" was for Poulton-le-Fylde as me and occasional Brapster (my new term for someone who comes pub ticking with me) Jig Johnstone spent a sunny Saturday in West Lancs on 28th Sept 2013.  The decision to walk out of Poulton to Carleton was probably borne out of the realisation that one pub, the Grapevine, was closed, and I can now see it has limited opening hours.  Anyway, I remember nothing about the interior at all, we sat on some sturdy benches on the main road at the front drinking Adnams Lighthouse in the afternoon sunshine (not bad for the time of year), I rated the beer quite good but the range must have been quite unspectacular to choose this.  It wasn't one of the better A-Z days and we soon crossed the road to find an off license to buy some bottles for the train - the highlight being our lack of bottle opener meant a (probable) call-girl helped us open them on the tables!

Rare footage of me at Castle Gardens with my Adnams Lighthouse
302.  Big Six, Halifax

One of the earliest real ale pub ticks of all, it was drizzling in 'Fax as me and Dad took the opportunity to showcase Hull City's talents to the finest Mackem of all, John Watson II.  This may well also have been one of the first times we used a Good Beer Guide to locate a pub on a football day, the date of said game being 2nd Feb 2002 and I think there's a strong possibility I was still using my second hand 1999 GBG rather than the 2002 one I bought as in the 2002 edition, it is only an "Inn Brief" and this may have put us off.  Amazingly, all three of us remember vividly the experience.  It was hidden amongst normal houses (always the best pubs) next to a green area of land.  It was a proper old fashioned heritage pub, and Big Six was a local mineral water company of the 1930's rather than a reference to rude white reggae song by Judge Dread (much to mine and JW2's dismay!)  We had no food but Dad discovered that only "Ploughman's in a Bag" was on offer.  This was an incredibly novel idea to us, the pickled onion had shrivelled into a bit of skin, and being the perfect host (Dad had only met John once or twice before), he braved the rain to find a local Tesco to bring us sandwiches back which we felt comfortable eating in the pub.  Beer wise, I have no idea!  A wonderful pub which I have often thought of re-visiting on recent trips to the 'Fax.

303.  Three Pigeons, Halifax

I've narrowed it down to late 2004 when I first visited this wondrous pub, a rare example of Chris Irvin not causing Chris Irvin syndrome having raved about it for a few years previous.  I remember it clearly.  Hull City didn't have a game but Dad was bored so randomly decided (jointly with me) that we go to a non-league game, meeting me half way, Halifax Town v Burton Albion.   I'd been staying with my sister who was at Uni in Preston and I had the WORST hangover ever (drinking Aftershock til 3am).  The weather was appalling, gale force winds and driving rain.  As I took the train from Preston to Halifax, I felt like I could puke at any moment so opened the window and let the rain drizzle onto my face!  It felt good until a businesswoman snapped at me to close it.  It was blowing her documents around.  I told her about my hangover but it made no difference.  A student lad with long hair understood, he gave me the thumbs up,  I went and stood in the vestibule, went to loo about 3 times.  The train guard was relatively sympathetic when I convinced him I wasn't fare evading.  I found Dad on the platform and we legged it to the pub.  Dad bought me a Hambleton Nightmare and a warm pork pie from a heated snack shelf.  I felt very fragile but this delightful combo helped slightly rejuvenate me.  Some yellow shirted Brewers (Burton fans) were looking wide eyed and excited by this great pub on a bench opposite.  Just as I was settling down, a local Town fan came in and declared the game was postponed, high winds!  On the way back, a lorry overturned at Garforth and we got stuck in traffic.  We were listening to Radio Humberside and their newish chairman John Fenty climbed a ladder in the gale to fix the tannoy system.  He was branded a foolhardy hero.  A couple of years later, he complained to Ofcom because Blunderside called him a plonker.  Football is a fickle old game.   I've been in Three Pigeons twice since, on the "Poulton le Fylde" day mentioned above where me and Jig had a gloriously strong "Rat Against the Machine" and after a recent tough walk back from Southowram, I was pleased to see it still at it's best - an Ossett pub I believe which is never a bad thing.

Arriving at Three Pigeons on 21/7/15.
304.  Town Street Tavern, Horsforth

17th May 2013 and again, Jig was my designated BRAPster (though obviously that term didn't exist then) as we hopped aboard the York-Leeds Harrogate line to tick off some new Market Town Taverns on a random weekday.  What I most remember about my Horsforth debut was resenting the mile long walk from railway station to pub.  The pub itself was bare boarded, dark and spartan even by MTT standards.  The beer range that would normally have impressed us had been seen at all our previous MTT's, so seemed quite boring!  A large group of students were dominating almost all the indoor seating so we sat in the small outdoor garden.  Because we wanted to be in Knaresborough before rush hour, we rushed a bit and didn't have too much time to savour any 'qualities' this pub might have had.  Not the best pub experience ever!  

305.  Rat & Ratchet, Huddersfield

5th September 2004 and whilst I love a pub with a bustling atmosphere full of happy people, I did not enjoy the circumstances causing this as a throng of blue and white striped shirts were ecstatic, having beaten my embarrassing Hull City 4-0.  Dad and me needed post-match reprieve, and it's fair to say that this was a wonderful pub serving a great range of Ossett and local Rat beers (probably the first time I saw them) in their flagship pub.  We'd not really had chance for a pre-match drink being an early Sunday kick off, so this was the highlight of an otherwise terrible day!  I can't remember much apart from sheepishly having to force my way through the blue and white masses to get a round in, but they just looked at me in a sympathetic way and didn't even try and engage me in conversation!  I saw this pub on a recent trip to new Huddersfield classics, the Star and the Grove, but I was all pubbed out and working the next day so I walked straight passed it. 

306.  Bar T'at, Ilkley

15th December 2012 may not have been the most sensible time of year to go walking on Ilkley Moor (bar t'at), but looking back now, this was one of the best of my 25 A-Z Aleway adventures.  Jig and JW2 were with me, and after getting a bit lost around the whole Cow n Calf rocks, it was more than a blessed relief to be back in town in this warming pub, fittingly named.  We might have hit it at the wrong time as it was very foody, and it took the young, white shirted staff quite a lot of brain effort to comprehend that (a) we weren't eating and (b) we did want to sit at a proper table and not just prop up the bar.  We got there in the end and I was telling my friends a particularly expletive filled joke when I turned round to see one of the most feared work team leaders, Pam, sat at the table next to me.  Ooops.  This woman does live in Ilkley, and has been on Masterchef too, and it was clear she'd seen me.  The anxiety was killing me so when she went upstairs to the loo, I followed her so I could deliberately bump into her and break the ice.  It worked well!  The beer was great, plenty of Ilkley ones on like Mary Jane, this in fact was a Market Town Tavern so another bonus in my mini challenge to get all of them ticked off.

John and me on Ilkley Moor bar t'at, pre-pub.
307.  Boltmakers Arms, Keighley

My two visits here both coincided with returning from the Keighley-Oxenhope steam railway days out, the first being on a Welly gang day out in the summer of 2012, and then again, the following spring with Krzb, JW2 and Jig.  What was quite remarkable that the two experiences were almost identical in every way.  We walked into the pub, it was cramped with locals, quite starey locals, and getting a round of Tim Taylor Boltmakers was difficult with limited space available.  The conclusion was that the tiny outdoor drinking area with wall creepers and open toilet window was the only place to stand, to get out of the way as much as anything.  But having done that, the locals glowered at us even more!  On the first occasion, we were joined by some of these local smokers and from what I can remember, there was a bit of aggro in the atmosphere caused by them being argumentative.  It was slightly better second time round as no one followed us, though the looks we got were even harsher.  I'm not even going to go into the dodgy renaming of the Tim Taylor Best Bitter as Boltmaker, but despite chatting to many people who love this pub, I didn't see the attraction and would happily walk a bit further to Cricketers or Brown Cow.  

7 July 2012 - me and Mark at Oxenhope pre-first Boltmakers visit.

308.  Fox & Newt, Burley, Leeds

Today at work, Christina told me she walks past this pub on her way to work every day.  She sees a big sign outside saying "REAL ALE" and immediately thinks of me.  How sweet.  Anyway, I am at a total loss to remember my first time here.  Something tells me it is a lot longer ago than I think, though I do remember feeling ashamed just how long it did take me to realise it existed, considering how often I walked to gig's at Joseph's Well.  I only have two real recollections.  The first was with Jig (yes, that man again) as we needed refreshment half way to see a gig at the Brudenell Social Club, probably OFF! on 23rd June 2012 supported by some even more insane American kids.  The beers are superb being from the Burley Street Brewhouse, ales I first sampled at Leeds Beer festival several years ago but always taste better here, and have Formula One themed names.  The pub seems a strange shape, almost triangular up near the loos, but is bare boarded and joyfully basic.  There was a big screen showing some International football match, probably the Euros and Jig kept hitting his head and arm on it and having to apologise to those watching!  On Valentine's Day 2014, I treated myself to a romantic Friday lunchtime work escape pint, and made it here for a stunning pint of the old Laguna Seca.  I loved it but felt slightly uncomfy, as I sat alone at a table for six when a large group came in.  I tried to indicate I'd be happy to downsize, but they didn't quite get it!  Great pub.

309.  Arcadia, Headingley, Leeds

It was the summer of 2010, probably late June, and me and JW2 had taken the day off work to watch Yorkshire v Worcestershire at Headingley.  After a very enjoyable sunny morning and a fair bit of action, Yorkshire bored us to tears after lunch with some terribly slow batting my Brophy and Bairstow.  It was nearly tea and they'd scored 31 runs all session, it was ridiculous so we lost patience and found our nearest GBG pub, which was here!  Little did I know back then it was another Market Town Tavern off the list, but popping in again for a "swift half" after my second ever midweek BRAPA evening trip, it does have all the hallmarks.  Plenty of students were tapping away on laptops, a few student girls were showing off too much flesh (disgraceful!) and me and John went to an upstairs area overlooking the main street where students were sorting out rented accommodation from the building opposite, which basically seemed to involve running around like headless chickens!  I read this pub has a strict "no entry" policy on anyone wearing fancy dress.  Good.  

310.  Riverhead Brewery Tap, Marsden

As previously mentioned, my memories of my first ever Transpenine crawl (Welly Gang Summer day out, 2008) were a bit hazy after skipping breakfast at Dewsbury and having too much stout in Huddersfield.  So I think we came here as well as a not very good pub called the Tunnel End Inn.  Though I learnt lessons that day, I do not recall coming here with York friends in the summer '09 Transpenine crawl, but my first memorable visit was on the summer 2011 Welly gang day out where we sat outside along the glorious river, looking a ducks, eating takeaways/snacks from across the road, and trying desperately not to be associated with the Transpenine lager louts.  Marsden locals compained about such idiots throwing themselves in the river and generally being anti-social, thus giving a once excellent crawl a bad name, which incidentally James May and Oz Clarke must also take some of the blame for!  It was on this day when I really realised the whole thing was a busted flush, but could still appreciate the pub.  But my love of the place was only fully realised on 1st Feb 2014 when a group of us came to Marsden to "celebrate" the pagan Fire Festival I'd been recommended by someone at work.  Right up my sister's street, we started and ended here and as good as the fest was, this pub was mine and Jig's highlight despite being standing room only.  We declared the Riverhead brewery beers "the best brew pub ales ever!" which is quite a bold statement looking back, but they were gorgeous even if a pagan Michael Schumacher kept staring at us.  Post festival, we eventually got a seat though there was an element of "locals get served before visitors no matter who has been stood at bar longest" which always gets up my nose!

And that concludes a brilliant West Yorkshire ten (well 9 plus one Lancs), I really enjoyed that write up and will look forward to the ten as we venture to places like Otley, Pudsey  and even L**ds.  Although the 2016 GBG is almost upon us, I am going to finish archiving the 2015 entries before I start on the new book.  I can feel that one month reverse owl syndrome building up .....

It's gonna be a hoot, Si


  1. We're going to lose today.

    Halifax was a bloody good choice to take a non Hull City AFC supporter to show them the might of the tigers. We were ace there. I think it was 6 visits, points gained 18, goals conceded 0. They were all hard fought as well. Shame about the 2-1 defeat at Fer Ark when they first got back in the league.

    Three Pigs is a contender for best pub in the country for me. It is one of the reasons I look forward to us being back in the 4th division on our war back to the Shay.

    I didn't see Colin Murphy's Black and Amber Army lose 4-0 at the MacAlpine Ground, but I recall the 3-1 in similar circumstances a year previous. I always forget the name of the Taylor's pub. That is one of the low points of Peter Taylor, the repeated buggering off to be with the under 21s instead. His presence would surely have made a difference. We could even have won both leagues if Taylor had been present and we'd won those games.

    I recall going to Arcadia with my Dad, funnily enough when looking for student accommodation so 2009ish. It was possibly the day we saw you walking down the street in the centre, so bailed off the bus at the first possible moment.

    First Transpennine crawl was the day we didn't go to the Tunnel End, just the Riverhead. It was also your none breakfast day. I think you went home at some point.
    The second visit was the day we went to the terrible Tunnel End place. That was my idea, I appologise and accept full responsibility. I only hope it gets in the guide one day so you at least get a tick out of it. We walked along the canal from the Tunnel End to the wonderful Tunnel End. I think my mum bought some doughnuts and sausage rolls in the Coop to help feed you up on one of the visits. When's the book out. Let me know if you need a hand with it at some point.

    I particularly enjoyed that archives visit. I shall make a confession in the comments section of the next one.

    Was the hoot pub deliberate or just unfortunate? Almost as bad as one of mine.

    What happens after you get ejected from a Black Sheep pub?

  2. 1. Thanks Tom, it wasn't deliberate to take JW2 to Halifax, in fact we'd won at Darlo with him and drawn at Mansfield (where we always lose) so maybe he should have come to more matches!

    2. Totally agree, Three Pigs is one of the best I've ever been to.

    3. I take it the Taylor's pub and Peter Taylor are not linked in any way.

    5. Interesting. My memories are so vague, but I really don't think I went home early as I remember Slawit late on and Ben n Christine falling out on the journey back between Hudd-York. I will let you review the Tunnel End if it ever gets back in Guide as cannot recall it's interior. I do now recall your Mum buying me snacks to help sober me up, and it worked!

    6. I really enjoyed writing that one too, and i was dreading West Yorks cos thought I'd not remember any of my first visits, Leeds will be tricky.

    7. The "Hoot" was deliberate I am ashamed to say!

    8. Is this a joke? Do you get baaaaa'd?

  3. 1. Darlo was also a traditional happy hunting ground though. Not as good as the Shay, but the only defeat I cam immediately remember was the 2-0 (the program the following home game actually ,managed to get the score wrong and say 4-2) when Delaney was absolutely shite at left back and it pissed it down. Indeed, it started pissing it down even harder after the game to the extent that Father and I had no choice but to go into the first open door on the walk back to the station. By pure chance it happened to be a pub. I'm sure there are other defeats that I have erased from my mind.

    3. I hope there is no link between Timmy and Peter Taylor.

    5. I think one or both of us is conflicting memories of two days. That is something I am often guilty of. You did go home from the Riverhead once, but I think it was the trip when we didn't go to the Tunnel End, thus making it the first. I think Ben and Christine falling out at Hudders was the second trip. I'm not even certain on the number of trips we have done. It was two wasn't it.

    8. You do get baaaaa'd. I'm not sure it qualifies as a joke. Am I now baaaaa'd for even making it?

  4. 1. Interestingly am still trying to pin point the day I did Darlo's number 22 as you correctly remembered it was closed on the bank hol Monday game.

    5. I would trust your transpenine recollections more than mine. Am sure we only did two and Dad only came to second one. It's a mystery. May Dad have gone early on 2nd one?

    8. We are both as baaaa'd as each other!

  5. 5. I don't remember your Dad ever coming to a transpennine crawl. Maybe we need input from other minds to put us straight. Or that could of course make us even more confused.

  6. 5. He was def there on the 2nd one I'm talking about. I remember him in Dewsbury and Riverhead Tap. I suspect there's a third occasion one of us may not have been on like you said earlier!

  7. A trip when I wasn't there would explain an awful lot.