Sunday 25 November 2018

BRAPA - Armitage Spanks the Monkey

It is blog titles like this which should be winning me gold & silver statues and plates at the beer writer awards, alas, probably safer to pretend I don't care, and declare myself proudly independent & punk rock. 

Probable actual shot of the folk in tonight's pub
It was Friday night and I was back in West Yorkshire, determined to finish ticking off those stray GBG entries before the end of January.  After Ackworth and Alverthorpe last week, we were still on the letter "A" with Armitage Bridge, a short bus ride from Huddersfield or if you want the full experience, a local train to Berry Brow and an interesting 15 minute walk, past church, winding river, and down the cobbles through a series of terraced houses, a real step back in time as Last of the Summer Wine played in my head.  Shame it was pitch black, probably beautiful views on a summer's day.

Speaking of which, I was vaguely aware this place existed, as Bryan in work (a guy who loves his ale but ordinarily prefers a good pub session to a beer festival) raves about 'Monkeyfest' held here every July.  I assumed he'd been on about the now dead Puzzle Hall Inn near Sowerby Bridge, but incorrectly, it seems I'd made a fake Monkey Puzzle connection in my brain!

He had admitted that he couldn't imagine just coming in here for a pint on a non-festival day, but my hopes were still high after the build up.  After all, on the train journey, two student girls opposite talked about Jellyfish DNA whilst clutching a large tub of Polyfilla.  Only on special days do you get such a pre-BRAPA treat.

At the pub entrance, two kids were hiding around the corner from their Mum and Dad, hence my rather blurred and rushed photos .......

1396 / 2369.  Monkey Club, Armitage Bridge

So yes, I expected more and this little club never really delivered.  An old bloke looked me up n down in a judgey way, but then orange scarf and Royal Engineers 1875 FA Cup winners top are probably not a combo they get much around here.  Barman was a solid, sensible looking chap, the two blokes before me had both ordered Carling, so I was glad when he pulled the Barncliffe Bitter through first (and gave it a top up, no questions needed) and yet the ale was fizzy and just tasted vaguely off.  It was freezing too, I took my coat off so I'd feel the benefit later, but even the Royal Engineers would've struggled in this climate.  I'd not had to show my CAMRA card to get in, and whilst the beer was a fantastic £2.70, I'd kind have wished I had as it often breaks the ice, and people in here seemed a bit stand offish, so I sat alone, between one screen showing basketball and one with Sky Sports News.  I had loads of time til the train so went back for another pint, much better this one from Saltaire, but very cold.  The kids got bored and played hide n seek, one tried to hide near me but was worried there might be spiders on the floor, so tried to get her Dad to hide her under his coat, but he refused to take it off on account of the temperature, even though he looked a proper Yorkshire hard man!  Turned out her brother had forgotten to look for her anyway.  Then, everyone started watching Mrs Browns boys clips on their phone, guffawing loudly like I've never done at this woeful comedy.   Time to sup up and head back to the station.

Spot the monkey

The pantry is open and bulging, a test of honesty?

The train amazingly was back in Huddersfield on time.  That meant I had TWO whole minutes to get from Platform 2 to Platform 6 to get the train to Brighouse, where I had a second tick I wanted to get done.

But as I ran towards the underpass, I saw it depart.  It was 70 minutes til the next train.  It was a cold night.  I could've sat in Head of Steam / King's Head and had a couple of pints (no great hardship) but with a train to York around the corner, and a heavy day coming up tomorrow, I decided to be sensible and head back home.

And going back to the start of my blog, I guess that until I walk into a pub and write something like the following, the BRAPA trophy cabinet will remain empty.  Good night.


 ".....I spied a person of unspecific gender at the bar but wished to cast no aspersions so I had no opinion on them, or for that matter, anyone else in the pub.  I eyed up a delicious range of 6 cask ales and 12 keg beers (all of which I embrace equally out of respect to the brewers in the hope I get a free sample, an invitation to a tasting session, or a chance to 'collab' with them into making an ale called BRAPA P.A. which has always been hashtag lifegoals for me.  Incidentally, it was initially going to be named BRA P.A. but the pump clip was problematic for many.  The building I was drinking in had some fine exposed brickwork, metal pipes, 2016 chic I think they call it, and I had a great chat with strong young female Sommelier Marie-Sotter who told me why I was an inadequate average white man, 'gammon' and possibly 'triggered'.  Her 4 year old son Ethan told me Trump was destroying the world order and it made him feel rather tearful on a daily basis, and why do humans think it is okay to kill animals?  After being made 14% more woke by simply being in their company, I was given a tour of the nano brewery in the shipping container spray painted with graffito, and Charles, the head brewer, made a joke about the Irish back-stop which  was so dense, yet chimed so resonantly with 2018, that I smiled sagely to myself to display an inner intelligence I don't like to brag about even though I have more genes than most of my followers.  My friends of varying ethnicities then arrived and we all went for a bottomless quinoa and roasted tofu brunch at Maddie's Deli Eats, which had only opened ten minutes previously.  I went home feeling smugly superior, but sort of empty as I hadn't been morally outraged all day.  Fin."  


  1. (me pours a beer and settles in for a read whilst the better half is putting up Christmas decorations in the living room*)

    "It is blog titles like this which should be winning me gold & silver statues"

    Yikes! I typed "Armitage Spanks the Monkey" into DuckDuckGo (with Safe Search off) and 9 of the first 10 listings shocked even me! :)

    "Shame it was pitch black, probably beautiful views on a summer's day."

    Google Streetview confirms this to be correct. :)

    "two student girls opposite talked about Jellyfish DNA whilst clutching a large tub of Polyfilla"

    Two girls, one tub?
    (don't try to Google that!)

    "between one screen showing basketball and one with Sky Sports News"

    I didn't know basketball was a thing over there.

    "guffawing loudly like I've never done at this woeful comedy. "

    Must be an age thing. ;)
    (me and the missus get a chuckle out of it)

    "Spot the monkey"

    I thought is was 'spank' (or 'shock')?

    "it was initially going to be named BRA P.A. "

    My vote goes to that one (and not just because it starts with a piece of lingerie). :)

    "and why do humans think it is okay to kill animals? "

    Did he say whilst eating a burger? :)

    "even though I have more genes than most of my followers"

    I think you need to read up a little bit more on biology. (guffaw)

    "but sort of empty as I hadn't been morally outraged all day."

    Wait. I thought most of you lot went 'pub ticking' just to get a crap cask ale so you could be just that! (chuckle)

    Otherwise, you have a career ahead of you in a version of Harlequin Romances methinks. :)


    * - yes, I know I've complained about putting up Christmas decorations before December 1st but starting next Friday my wife will be up to her eyeballs with 9 catering gigs for the holidays (not to mention keeping the lunch truck filled with food every weekday) so I'm cutting some slack just this once. :)

  2. Knowing your luck that review of "unnamed" brewery will win an award Si. I'm going to make you one out of those discarded John Smiths Smooth cans they use for wooden spoons in Bristol.

  3. You should submit your BRAPA piece (the one at the end) but they don't give feedback, so you will likely win. Unless they send someone round to your house to re-educate you.

  4. The British Guild of Beer Writers is a self-appointed mutual appreciation society who dole out gongs to their own members. As Matthew Lawrenson has said on Twitter,

    "The BBW Guild has always struck me as being similar to a gang of eight year olds who issue Secret Club membership cards to themselves so they can meet together in dad's shed."

    They have just announced a new code of conduct.

    Incidentally, that monkey looks disturbingly like US Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

    1. Took at look their site and their code of conduct, couldn't take any more of it after about 5 minutes. What a complete set of liggers, blaggers and self promoters ( AKA TW$£ts ) I could not imagine wanting to be in the same room as any of them.

  5. When we in Newcastle Under Lyme in August, I could have shown you where the Armitage Shanks factory was. Probably a better experience than The Greyhound.