Remember – if you’re only interested in what’s on in the pubs, go straight to the end!

And if you’re still here – do you really like Christmas jumpers? If you do, do you like the Scandinavian chunky ones with repeating patterns of evergreens and snowflakes, or the jokey English versions with elves and Santas and Rudolphs? I buy one every year, wear it 2 or 3 times, then put it away carefully for next year – when I don’t wear it, because I’ve just bought another! I must admit I’m beginning to wonder whether it’s worth £5 or more for each time I go out with “IF FOUND, RETURN TO PUB!” or “REINBEERS” splattered across my chest. But then I remember “IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME FOR A BEER!” and everything’s fine. I hope you dress up well for the festive season, and that you have a glorious Christmas and New Year. And landlords – may your pub be merry and bright, and packed out every night, before the strange 21st-century witchhunt that is dry January is cast upon us again!


It seems that some people in the 21st century are becoming [shall we say, to be polite] less ‘aware’ of what they are doing when they buy drinks! The award-winning Welsh brewery Tiny Rebel have been criticised for the design on their Cwtch beer can, after one customer said they bought the beer thinking it was a fizzy drink, and that the can “looks very similar to Sunkist”.  (I couldn’t see it myself, and the fact that it says “Welsh Red Ale” on the front might be a bit of a clue as to what’s inside!) Alcohol industry standards body the Portman Group subsequently ruled that it did in fact breach packaging and marketing codes, and the brewery have agreed to make the “logo less dominant on the front of the can” in future.

You can read the rest of the story here – as well as another problem for Tiny Rebel. Apparently their attempt to export their Fubar Pale Ale to Sweden faltered because of a label design that includes a hand grenade and bullet holes. (OK – fair enough!)



It’s bad enough on the roads at this time of year, with everyone seemingly rushing to the shops, or home from work, or ‘driving home for Christmas’. But when the weather keeps changing – warming up, then freezing again – there’s even more reason to be careful!

According to BBC local online news last week, seven cars were involved in a crash on the same Leeds street on Thursday morning because of black ice. Police say that they were called to Well House Road in Oakwood just before 08:20 in the morning. One woman was taken to hospital with a suspected neck injury. Officers said the cause is black ice and the road was closed. [Photo by @bleachingagent]

Take care out there, and if you really do have to go to the pub by car, either make damn sure you have a designated sober driver or leave the car at the pub and pick it up the next day!



If you thought the movement of beer and beer styles was taking place in only one direction, you might find this article from America interesting. It’s about the availability of English bitter ales in North America, and the attempts by some breweries over there to produce their own versions of the classic English style session beer. I love this quote from Paul Jones of Cloudwater Brew Co. in Manchester – ““There’s the beer you talk about—like all those juicy IPAs—and then there’s the beer that you talk over,” he adds in reference to English bitters. The idea being that English drinking culture is based on drinking a few pints of reasonably low ABV beer when you go out, which you couldn’t do with the intense-flavoured 8, 9 and 10% US Craft beers. When they compare some local US bitters with their English counterparts, I’m sure it will come as no surprise to you whatsoever, to see which individual bitter comes out on top!



Let me say straight away that this is just a personal idea on my part, and that we haven’t had an opportunity even to discuss it in committee yet – but it’s already apparent that perhaps not all the officers would agree! I was talking to an area manager in one of Otley’s pubs last week about how we could work together to the benefit both of their business and the OPC membership. They suggested that as they already offer a ‘corporate’ discount of 10% to businesses, they could maybe do the same for OPC members. Of course, members would have to carry a way of identifying themselves and we don’t currently provide membership cards.

It made me wonder whether in 2018 we could offer a membership card to anyone who wanted one, for an annual sum yet to be decided – but let’s say £5. If card printing and postage cost about a pound, and say 1 in 10 of the current membership took up the opportunity, it would net OPC the best part of £200 a year. Those who didn’t want to get a card would still remain on the mailing list and would continue to get all the newsletters and notifications that they do already. In the case discussed above, the 10% discount would be on the TOTAL spend at each visit, including food, so just a couple of meals and a few pints would soon make you your money back and make the card worthwhile.

If we were to go ahead with the OPC card, we would obviously hope that we could persuade other pubs to offer discounts as well, or some other inducement to OPC members to get them to enjoy Otley pubs more often. I know pubs are run on the tightest of margins, and that any cuts in prices on the bar could make landlords’ life even more difficult. But many pubs in Otley already offer discounts, or have done in the past, and some might be willing to consider it again. Maybe we could even start to tempt people out to the pub instead of buying cheap beer from supermarkets! Let us know what you think – would you pay a fiver to be an OPC ‘Premier’ member? Or if you run a pub, do you think discounts bring in more custom or not?



You might not even have realised there was such a beast as The British Guild of Beer Writers, so you might have missed their annual awards ceremony at the end of November. I have been known to mention writers like Roger Protz in the past, as well as Melissa Cole and Pete Brown. This year The Michael Jackson (not that one, surely?) Gold Tankard for beer writer of the year was presented to Adrian Tierney-Jones. Adrian has written about beer and pubs for around 20 years and his words appear in national newspapers, drinks trade titles and in a string of books, including The Seven Moods of Craft Beer, published earlier this year. All the awards and more can be seen in this Beer Today article.

If you wan t to check out Adrian’s writing talent, here’s an article from Original Gravity Magazine about Fuller’s Brewery collaboration with other brewers to produce 6 new and distinctive beers.



An ‘original’ beer glass? A ‘forgotten British classic’? What do you think of the ten-sided tankard that’s being re-introduced by catering trade supply company Stephensons? Personally I do prefer the look of it to the old ‘dimple’ tankard that used to feel as though it weighed twice as much as a thin pint schooner, and my personal favourite for knocking back the Tetley’s was the shape pictured alongside. I’ll have a chat with some of the landlords in Otley to see what they think about getting some in. I haven’t tried one yet, and I’d like to give one a go. BTW – Did you see North Bar Social were serving in steins at their Christmas party last week? When I was in Glasgow recently, one craft bar we visited only served its beer in half pints or litres! [And the half pints were all £3:50 each, apart from one that was £3:99!!] You can read all about Stephenson’s Lantern tankard here.


Yes, I know I keep banging on about OPC not having any money and wondering how we could start to build up our project funds but, here I go again. When Otley Pub Club committee members have worn their ‘corporate’ T-shirts in the past, we have had the odd question from people about whether they could buy one. At first the shirts were intended just to identify committee members at events like the Otley Food & Drink Festival, or OPC-sponsored ‘meet the brewer’ events, but later we thought maybe members would fancy one. So we’re contemplating marketing merchandise on our website in 2018 as well. Maybe just T-shirts, maybe polo shirts and sweatshirts as well. They would be available in a variety of colours and all sizes, with either the large ‘all-over’ logo as worn by the committee or a smaller more discreet version, both in either black or white. I’ll keep you up-to-date on that one next year!



Craft beer, Prosecco and gin have been the big alcohol sales success stories over the past few years. According to the latest market report fr om the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), reported here in The Guardian, gin sales have hit a record high in the UK this year. 47 million bottles were sold in the UK in the year to September 2017. That’s very nearly a 50% increase in sales in just 4 years, but unfortunately for publicans most of those sales are in shops and supermarkets. Less than 20% of sales were from pubs, bars and restaurants. Gin-themed Christmas gifts available this year apparently include hot water bottles, baubles, advent calendars, Christmas jumpers, fairy lights, Christmas crackers and even gin-flavoured cheese.



You might have heard by now [news travels fast in Otley!] that Korks Wine Bar’s final event will be its New Year’s Eve party this year. This message was posted on Facebook last week –

“Dear friends of Kork’s, 2017 will be our last Christmas.

Thank you all for your amazing support over the last 37 years. 
It has been a privilege to share hundreds of parties, weddings, birthdays and celebrations with you and your families.

Thanks to all the bands who have played here over the years from Jazz to Punk, Reggae to Folk, we have rocked and rolled and danced the night away.

Some of you have worked with us on the other side of the bar in the Kork’s family, from wash ups to chefs, waitresses to DJs.

Others have supplied us with fabulous wines & produce over the years.

You know who you are….thank you.

We would love to see you over the next 2 weeks of the festive period to share a story or two & raise a glass.

In true Kork’s style, we will be going out with a bang, a boogie and lots of fizz 🍾

Here’s to a legendary Kork’s Christmas Wrap Party on Saturday the 23rd of December.

It’s been emotional………

Much love & peace Chris & Becky  ❤”

So, both personally and on behalf of Otley Pub Club, I’d like to wish Chris and Becky all the best in their next [ad]venture, and say that the food, the drink, the atmosphere and the music at Korks will be sorely missed by the whole town!



No, not that stuff they used to call beer down Sheffield way! Apparently brewing, or beer stones are to be found in large numbers on many Viking dig sites. They were part of an extremely old method used by people who couldn’t afford metal cooking utensils,  to cook and to brew beer. As they couldn’t put wooden bowls on open fires they would super heat rocks and then drop them into the pot in order to boil the wort and mash when making beer. This article from describes how Norwegian archaeologists at a dig near Trondheim were not expecting to find much more than beer stones, when they came across evidence of links to Dark Ages Ireland.



Music AND jumpers!

Just like the Christmas Jumpers in the introduction, some people love Christmas songs, while others detest them! But that might be because you only ever hear the same old songs played ad nauseam every single year – from about Halloween onwards! So you might want to try out these 12 alternative Christmas songs from ShortList. Go on – give them a listen sometime when you’ve got nothing better to do! Unlike most online ‘lists’, this one isn’t just phishing clickbait or endless adverts, and you scroll through them rather than having to wait for all the next page adverts to load!

I’ve just had a quick dip into them, and my favourite is The Wombats with “Is This Christmas?” [which you might have said too, if Les Dennis had been sitting at your kitchen table.] Didn’t really understand the Best Coast and Wavves track [or their name!] but at least “Got Something For You” is only 2 minutes long. As for the Ariana Grande effort “Santa Tell Me”, you’ll either find the endless bouncing and grinning delightful or it might make you physically sick – possibly depending on how old you are. Oh, and at the end it has some ‘hilarious’ outtakes  .   .  .



(Check Christmas and New Year opening hours with the individual pub.)


  • For details of Menus and opening times over Christmas and New Year, head over to The Royalty website –
  • Please note that the pub and restaurant will be closed from Monday to Wednesday,  January 8th to 10th inclusive for minor refurbishments.


  • Christmas Eve DJ Sunday 24/12 from 7:00 PM
  • Open Christmas Day
  • New Year’s Eve Shenanigans [trans – silly or high-spirited behaviour; mischief] including quiz, party games and other assorted fun Sunday 31/12 from 7:00 PM


  • Watch out for a new menu and new opening hours coming in the New Year


  • New Year’s Eve party with live DJ and hot buffet from 7pm to 1am. Tickets £15 with all profits to Yorkshire Air Ambulance


  • Winter drinks menu now available as well as mince pies and mulled cider 
  • Current photo exhibition [and sale] will be changing over Christmas, to be followed by changing exhibitions throughout 2018
  • New Year’s Eve Magic Rock tap takeover – details on Facebook [link below]
  • Thursday evening January 18th Belgian beer and cheese tasting. This will be a ticketed event in conjunction with The Curious Hop. More details soon on Facebook [link below]
  • January 19th to 21st weekend ‘Black & Brews’ tap takeover by Black Iris and Brew York beers.


  • Christmas Eve – Joe Gallagher from 5 to 7pm, b efore you go home to wrap your presents.


  • Open Christmas Day! if you need to escape the mayhem or fancy a cheeky tipple before your Christmas dinner then pop in from 12 noon. All other opening times over the festive period on the Facebook page (link below)


  • Nothing special over Christmas – unless you count getting the customers back in! The new management team are committed to the pub’s future and seem to have got the old place buzzing again.


  • Our chosen charity is St George’s Crypt, Leeds and we will be a drop off point for their Christmas appeal. So any Items from the list can be left here and we will see that they are delivered. (See details on facebook page – link below)
  • If you’re the ‘designated driver’ for the night, ask for your badge at the bar – it will get you free soft drinks all night as a thank you for helping people avoid drinking and driving! [For just a small donation to charity.


Christmas Quiz Thursday 21/12 from 7:00 PM

Daily Raffles until end of December

Otley’s Got Talent Competition starts first week of January 2018, watch out for details on Facebook Page (link below)


  • Quiz night every Thursday at 8:00 PM
  • Steve Chapman Friday 22/12 at 8:00 PM
  • Chewit-Well Mummers Friday 29/12 10:30 PM


  • Special limited edition Chipotle Stout on from this week, and a wide range of festive beers available over Christmas and New Year.


  • New specials/bar snack menu now available from £3:95. More details on facebook page (link below)
  • Thursday December 21st from 8:30, Dr Paul Briscoe’s festive open mic night


  • Ace of Spades Jackpot game every Wednesday at 7:00 PM
  • Quiz Night every Tuesday at 8:00 PM except Boxing Day
  • The In-Crowd DJ Set (Motown, Ska, Northern Soul, Mod and Punk), Spenna from Otley Ska night on decks Saturday 23/12 at 8:00 PM
  • Christmas Disco Sunday 24/12 from 8:00 PM
  • New Year’s Eve Disco Sunday 31/12 from 8:00 PM
  • Charity Night Live Music in aid of Mayor’s Charities, defibrillators and Little Sisters of the Poor Saturday 20/1/2018 from 8:00 PM


  • Following 2 successful open mic nights, watch out for more on Thursdays in 2018
  • New Year’s Eve party from 8pm. Join us for a night of celebrations with dancing and drinking! Free hot supper! Get sparkled up. Ticket only (these are free but just let us know how many you need saving!)


  • Open Mic Night every Friday from 8:30 PM
  • Sarah and Neil Wednesday 21/12 from 8:30 PM
  • Joe and Anne Gallagher Saturday 23/12 from 8:00 PM
  • Bar Room Buskers Thursday 28/12 from 8:00 PM
  • Rum Doodle Saturday 30/12 from 8:00 PM
  • New Year’s Eve Party with DJ Sunday 31/12 from 8:00 PM
  • Leather ‘O and Loss Loui Thursday 4/1/18 from 8:00 PM
  • Haylee Storm and The Twisters Saturday 6/1 from 8:00 PM
  • Henry Parker and Joe and Anne Gallagher Thursday 11/1 from 8:00 PM
  • Steve Chapman Smith Saturday 13/1 from 8:00 PM


  • Designated driver offer will run from 12th December to 2nd January 2018. Just tell our staff you’re the designated driver when your group orders a round, and get a free soft drink or no alcohol beer. Limited to one drink per round.
  • Would you rather have respect, gratitude and a safe journey home – or a 12 month driving ban, a fine of up to £5,000, a criminal record and reduced job prospects? You know it makes sense!
  • Every Wednesday is Prosecco night – just £10 a bottle!











































Stew and Oyster

– – / / – – / / – – / / – –

Finally, my usual apologies for errors and/or omissions this month. If you are receiving these newsletters and any other correspondence from Otley Pub Club by email, but you no longer want them, just email the return address and let me know. On the other hand, if you stop receiving our newsletters in future but you still want to be a member, something’s gone wrong! Remember this email address for the future – , or get in touch via the website and I’ll put you back on the mailing list right away. Thanks!


Bob Brook

OPC Secretary



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