An incredibly rammed 17:25 service eventually had me alighting at a grey and drizzly Saltaire, similar weather conditions as on my previous visit here in December 2013. I always feel more guilty about drinking here than anywhere else as Sir Titus Salt (who built it for his workers) was a great believer in abstinence and it seems an insult to his legacy that alcohol can be sold here!
But I won't complain too much .....
691. Hop, Saltaire
One of the ever growing number of modern Ossett 'Hops', this is as bright and shiny as they come but with perhaps a more homely ambiance than the ones in Sheffield and Leeds at least. A big square high roofed barn of a building with big shiny glass windows, the barmaid was a friendly lass and got some top 'bantz' going with me by asking if it was raining as I seemed like a drowned rat (it was only spitting but my new Chinese leather jacket has that dramatic effect!) I ordered a strong 6% IPA from Great Heck which was gorgeous, and sat on a high stool in amongst the rabble. This consisted mainly of some mis-matched work colleagues having awkward after work drinks, the kind where someone laughs hysterically and then there is silence for next 5 minutes. It was fun to watch their pain! I then found out this pub used to be a tram shed, and things started to make more sense. Like York's modern but atmospheric Hop, it also has a pizzeria attached and perhaps an upstairs you can get to, it was hard to tell. Much recommended though as I painfully had to down the last few third of my IPA as my train awaited.
|Another Ossett Hop to add to the collection.|
692. Fox, Shipley
It was all go in this small cafe bar when I arrived as they were celebrating their second birthday. I ordered the 'birthday ale' to get into the swing of things, brewed by the seemingly never before heard of 'Beespoke' brewery. The quirky barman was a nice chap but he asked me why I hadn't bought a present for the fox. A girl at the bar then introduced me to the fox, Jesus, because "he looks down on you from high". Though he looked pretty well stuffed to me! Despite the hubbub of happy post-work drinkers, I commandeered a good sized table in the middle of the room and realised I'd have to drink this 5.1%er fairly speedily as well. This was a BRAPA return to Shipley for me, having been here in June 2014 and it was nice to see traffic lights have now been invented in the town. I was intruiged to see this not referred to as a "micro pub" (the buzz industry phrase of the moment), perhaps a little too big but that doesn't normally stop them. Maybe it was having TWO toilets? Perhaps they even did blackcurrant cordial. I didn't have time to find out as my train back to Leeds was due in 7 minutes. A very nice little addition to the West Yorks drinking scene.
|The fox "Jesus" - it's my party and I'll cry if I want to.|
|A not very pre-emptive tick at Oporto, but give it 50 years!|
It is officially autumn, officially my favourite season of the year. So what lays in store for BRAPA?
1. On Saturday, Beck Hole, Grosmont (if open), Egton and Lealholm. There was Danby potential but after last year's farce, I'm not going to rely on 4 train connections to 'make' with less than 10 mins between them, plus Tom suggested Danby had Middlesbrough away potential. I just hope Grosmont comes good. I had contemplated Whitby's remaining two but it might be nice to combine these with the two in Robin Hood's Bay at a later date.
2. Next midweek night should see my second trip of the year to Hebden Bridge with Mirfield potential. No reason why I can't crack on with Tuesday midweek WY BRAPA's throughout October.
3. Nottingham Forest a week on Saturday, am going to bring it down to three pre-match pubs as I felt 4 was too ambitious with the walking / time allowed. Sir John Borlase Warren, Falcon Inn and Organ Grinder - all very close together which is good, all 12 noon openers not so great so may have to join the BRAPA Crapper for one in VAT & Fiddle. Newshouse potential after the game.
4. Dad is back in 'East Yorkshire' chauffeur role on the 10th as I start to tick off the first two of the remaining 5 which have now reappeared since the 2016 GBG was published. I'm going to a wedding evening do on this day, could the new Headingley tick be a good place to meet the four ladies I'm going with? Would they mind? Do I even care?
5. Sheff Wed we are boycotting so Loxley, Hillsbrough Hotel and a couple of others Kelham Island way looks good for that one. However, am feeling the Isle of Axholme thing I'd arranged with Tom on the Sunday may be a step too far and probably will give it a miss.
6. The 24th sees part VIII of my Bedfordshire trip, this time using Bedford as a base (where I have a new pub to do) and then bussing to villages like Renhold, Felmersham, Sharnbrook and the like. Depends how many I can squeeze in for time. Will need some serious planning for that one.
7. I've booked a couple of days off for a pre-Hallowe'en spooky BRAPA date (watch this space),
8. And finally, a horror show trip to MK Dons. Could I be cheeky and ask that we cross the border into Beds to get the vital Salford tick? Unless I do it on 24th. To be fair, there 2 or 3 MK pubs to do anyway so should be fine, but will need a chat with Dad.
So as you can see, plenty to keep me going. I was getting a bit disillusioned around GBG publication time, but I've very much got my BRAPA mojo back now and October could be a very productive month, though September will take some beating!