Wednesday 20 August 2014

BRAPA - Bradford to a finish?

Yesterday evening saw my third and (hopefully) final trip to Bradford as the three reamining pubs were ticked off once and for all!

It was easily the best of the Bradford trips too, I mean the train was actually on time and not heaving and that rarity set the scene for one of those BRAPA experiences where everything runs smoothly.  Bradford City were away from home, no Palestinian demos in the square, pavements existed, Manningham was kept at a safe distance, so yes, all in all, it was everything you'd want from a West Yorkshire post-work session.

508 - Corn Dolly, Bradford - With hindsight, this was the best pub of the night and surely one of Bradford's finest as it combined comfortable pubbiness with a good range and quality of ales, something my later two pubs struggled with between them.......

Cosy interior at Corn Dolly
I noticed Timothy Taylor's Boltmaker had just won beer of the year, I'd made a mental note to try it next time I saw it, it was in here, so I overlooked several more interesting looking guests and thoroughly enjoyed this, more than ever before (power of positive thinking?)

509 - Sparrow, Bradford - I'd heard this little cafe (which actually had room downstairs I didn't realise until I went to the loo) was the last refuge for Bradford's trendier hipster set, although my experience found most of them were over 50 tapping away on their tablets with grey ponytails, healthy tans and a certain sense of self importance.  Having said that, I really enjoyed this in a 'North Bar' style way, friendly staff, had a joke with a group at the bar, had a really nice 5.4% ale made from New Zealand hops, and I'm sure a nice girl was looking at me .... perhaps.  She had walked in wearing sunglasses on a grey evening so possibly blind.  Good though, just lacked pubby warmth and comfort really.

510 - New Beehive, Bradford - Wow - well this place certainly left me with mixed feelings.  A glorious old heritage building, gas lighting (which wasn't in evidence), high ceilings, a grand old mural of a group of pub regulars from the olden days about to set off on a trip/holiday from this probably very unchanged pub.

Panoramic shot at New Beehive
Even the walk to the toilet was a wonderful maze like step back in time, the ladies loos very much an after thought squashed into a corner of the gents - superb!  The young barman was affable and responded well to my positivity. So what was wrong?  Well, only 2 beers on and they had many more handpumps available. The quality of my Spitting Feathers was questionable.  Tried to convince myself it was me but it had sulphury elements.  It was cold and too quiet.  I really hope I caught this pub on a bad day and it isn't in decline, it could be the best pub in Bradford, but I've said that in several historic York pubs that have got complacent over the years.
NZ Hops at the Sparrow Bier Cafe

Well, the new Good Beer Guide comes out 3 weeks today and a frenzy of cross-ticking and note making will be made by me - no one should be so excited about a new GBG, it isn't natural! Having consulted with some of my friends who understand BRAPA, I've decided to keep both a tally of the pubs in the soon to be current 2015 guide, and one that includes all those I have visited to date in any guide to date.  Phew!

This weekend, despite being a bank holiday, is very much "up in the air" due to several factors including 'midnight work testing on Sat eve', 'work Sunday trip to Ossett/Mirfield yet to be confirmed' and more.  It's very unlike me not to be planned and I am finding it tough! Woe is me.

Next midweek I'm now thinking Bradshaw as this is next in West Yorks in alphabetical order.  It would mean a bus from Halifax.  Sounds scary.  Can't wait!  See you all soon.  Si

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