"It is back onnnnnn babyyyy!" That is what I'd have said if someone had phoned me on the afternoon of Thursday 15th July and asked "Si, what exactly is the plan regarding the completion of West Yorkshire pubs in the 2021 Good Beer Guide?" A question which of course, was never likely.
Yes, a successful Saturday outing to 'Halifax & Co.' had reignited the quest within. Something BRAPA prides itself on is the yearly completion of West Yorkshire. Every year since 2015. Harder now as I work from home in York rather than L**ds, but still achievable.
For this trip, a train straight through to 'Uddersfield (thus preventing me from breathing in L**ds air), a hop, skip and a jump to the bus station, playing its serene classical choones in a vain attempt to stop the nob'eads from foighting. 20 minutes later, I'm in the quaint town of Elland. Horrid name, nice place. My first visit since March 2015.
Elland Craft & Tap, Elland (1874 / 3303) may not inspire as a name, but don't let that deceive you, a superbly done out micropub with a nod to the traditional. This is West Yorkshire after all, a rewarding county to pub tick in. Difficult entrance. "Please ring the bell". Uh oh, I've been in this situation a few times during 'the lockdown years'. Do what it says, and you risk a gurning local shouting "COME IN THEN YA LAZY BUGGER!" Ignore it, and a telling off from the staff "DID YOU NOT READ THE SIGN?" I go with the former this time. It rings out a jolly little ditty, two part Westminster Abbey, one part Van Halen. A bloke opposite who has a 'pub ticker' air about him glances up and smiles. Three ruddy locals smirk and one shouts 'ow do'. Friendly place. A barmaid with a pink TLC t-shirt (retro!) brings me a beer menu. Very Colwyn Bay. "Dressed for the parachute regiment mate, same colours ho ho?!" shouts the ruddy ow-doer. I confess that it wasn't something I'd thought of when I got dressed this morning. One of his mates admits he's got Germanic ancestry, which causes a minor kerfuffle. My North Riding ale is amazing (aren't they always?) and me n Col spread ourselves out nicely over the little swathe of bench seating, always a rare treat in a micro where getting haemorrhoids off a splintered bench placed between two old beer kegs is de rigueur. Three 'ladz' leave without paying, but remember just in time, which amusing our parachute chum. Nice stuff from Elland.
|Possible ticker and my pint|
|Lovely little bit of seating in here|
|Ruddy ow do blokes beyond my pint|
|'No Faith in the beer selection' - geddit? (they'll make a Maltmeister out of me yet)|
Back in the bus station, my other pub isn't too far a walk to the south side of town, but with frequent buses are available, a short ride made sense.
Bit of a problem as we queued at Stand U though, a man tells us there'll be a slight delay as there's to be a change of bus driver. Most people take the news with good grace, but a tall lanky lad with an Oxlade-Chamberlain shirt on proper stretches out, whines to his Mum, and puts on theatrics, even though he's an adult.
When the bus driver appears, I invite Mummy Oxlade-Chamberlain and Stroppy Pants to join the queue in front of me. Whilst she gratefully accepts, he sulks that he's gonna stay here for now! "Ugh, I don't need this today!" she tells me. "We've already been done by the police, now he's playing up!" 'Errrm ok' I think, taking a step backwards and nearly stepping on a teenage girl with too much facial fuzz.
Back at the station, twenty two minutes until the train home. Well it'd be rude not to wouldn't it?
I've never found a pub as hard to leave ever, anywhere as Dewsbury's West Riding Refreshment Rooms, and I've been a fair few times. Just a quick half of something easily drinkable, I tell myself. I scan the ales. Staff look at me. Then my brain & mouth decide to totally throw a spanner in the works, and I'm well surprised to hear the words "PINT OF ACORN GORLOVKA" come from my lips. Well, this is highly irregular. The race was on. Luckily, it is a stunning beer, regardless of strength, and with no other customers around distracting me with their amusing antics, it was a challenge I managed well. The lacings tell their own story. A perfect end to a great (and very productive) midweek BRAPA trip.
No blog tomorrow as my sista is in town, but I'll be back on Friday to tell you how I completed East Yorkshire, with a cheeky bit of South Yorkshire thrown in.
See ya then, Si