Otley Food and Drink festival is on Sunday the 16th – and what are OPC doing?? Why, giving away free beer, of course! Only <50ml tasters you understand, but still they’re FREE! [Please don’t keep coming back to our stall to try to build them all up to half a litre total though – we WILL remember you!!] The whole day is great fun, and there’s bound to be everything from hog roast to vegan food as well as beer, soft drinks and prosecco. (Maybe even ‘Mr Pinty’ again!) We’re hoping to do a bit at the main stage as well like last year, so do look [and listen] out for us. Hope the weather’s kind! BBC online forecast for Otley doesn’t stretch that far yet.



You’ll remember we recently launched our project to rename all Otley’s pubs after Yorkshire celebrities for Yorkshire day 2018. Well in case you haven’t filled in the survey yet – here’s the link again. That will tell you all you need to know about the project, and how to complete the survey – PLEASE DO SO IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY! It only takes about 5 minutes. Then share the link with all your friends and tell them not only what fun it is, but how they can win a prize if their choices agree with the majority! [Currently looking very much like a magnum of the finest (well, nearly) red wine!] The survey closes at midnight on Sunday July 17th 2o17, so hurry up!

It’s important that we get as many people as possible completing the survey – and not just so that we get as representative a result of people’s wishes as possible. If – or hopefully when – some or all of the winning celebrities agree to visit ‘their’ pubs next year, we might have to provide the costs of transport and/or accommodation for them. Potential sponsors love to know the size of their audience, so if we can get hundreds voting; tens of thousands hearing about it in the media; and then thousands more turning out to see the celebrities when they arrive, we’ll have a much better bargaining position! You might think at this point that we’re being over-ambitious hoping to get A-listers, but unless we try how will we ever know? [Thanks to Otley Town Partnership for being the latest organisation in town to help promote the survey – much appreciated, and numbers completing it have risen again.]



To celebrate the fact that there are now more female MPs [208 I think] in the UK Parliament than there have ever been, here ’s an article from The Guardian about the changing attitudes to sexual stereotyping – on the production as well as the consumption side of the brewing industry.



The Norfolk Brewhouse in Hindringham have brewed a cask ale which is a pure blend of two resurrected ingredients – just Chevallier Malt and Ernest hops. The malt is from grain first grown in 1824 in Suffolk, and never used again commercially after 1930 – until it was resurrected a couple of years ago. The hop called Ernest was first selected in 1921. There is also a bottled version, brewed at Poppyland Brewery in Cromer, which will be slightly stronger at 6pc and also includes some coloured malts to create a robust and fruity American Red Ale. A third resurrected ingredient called kveik – an ancient strain of Norwegian yeast – has also been added to the bottled version, which is appropriately named Back from the Dead!

Meanwhile, almost at the opposite corner of Britain, Glasgow’s WEST brewery has launched a vegan-friendly, ‘healthy’ bottled beer in time for summer. The Bavarian wheat Heidi-Weisse has a hint of banana in the flavour, can be mixed with apple juice and is described as the healthiest beer on the market. It’s an extension of their prize-winning Hefeweizen, described by many connoisseurs as the best wheat beer on the market, and should soon be available across the UK.


The best pub signs, apparently, are those that use traditional material: endurable exterior grade oil paints on aluminium or hardwearing hard wood. Traditionalists look down on those who buy bespoke sign-making software. One such traditionalist is David Young from Devizes, who says ”One of the most crucial things a pub sign should say is welcome! It should be eye-catching, attractive and maintain some of that unique tradition.” You can read more on the Telegraph website, including the story behind some specific pub names like ‘The Bucket of Blood’!



It’s Summer now, right? The weather’s bound to be good for weeks to come, so it might be a good time for cooking and eating all fresco. But what about the choice of drinks? Here are the top ten BBQ beers chosen by the Independent, from Signature Brew Roadie All-Night IPA to Fyne Ales Fynebank. See if you agree, and if you can’t – because you haven’t tasted them all yet – now’s a good time to try!



The two walks that Otley Pub Club helped to organise during the Otley Walking Festival were both hugely successful. Despite the awful weather in the middle of the week, both the first and second Saturdays were fine, and our 2 walks attracted about 45 people each! The 4 pubs walk proved hugely popular in a clockwise direction, which was the opposite direction to previous years. The start was much less strenuous than walking straight up the North face of The Chevin, and Leathley seemed the perfect place to stop for a mid-walk break. All the pubs were very welcoming, and I would like to say a special thank you to The White Hart in Pool-in-Wharfedale. Our usual stop – The Half Moon – was closed when we arrived, so we all turned up unannounced just along the road. The service was swift and friendly, the beer was immaculate, and the pub garden was a perfect place for a whole walk photoshoot! [The photo was taken by one of the walkers, and appeared in The Wharfedale Observer – thanks to Bob for the OPC advert on the T-shirt!]

On the followin g Saturday, the 1st of July, we followed the [possible] route of Parliamentarian cavalry who were shadowing Prince Rupert’s army along the Wharfe valley, on his way to relieve the siege of York on almost exactly the same date in 1644. From Fairfax Hall in Menston, we walked out of sight of any potential Royalists on the North side of the valley by staying below the Chevin ridgetop, before emerging into the car park of The Royalty. Here Andy FitzGerald perfectly choreographed a re-enactment of the Battle of Marston Moor, using only 6 willing volunteers. Finally, we visited All Saints Church to see the Fairfax tomb and memorials, the 17th century pews and much more, before saying our goodbyes over a final pint in The Black Horse. During the walk, Andy related the story of the battle itself, and at the end Bob read Brenda Cromwell’s [no relation!] poem “The Eve of Marston Moor”. The whole event was so successful, we’re thinking of repeating it when The Black Bull is open again [see below] so we can return there and drink it dry just one more time!



So, back to Tallinn for the last couple of days, and a chance to visit the newest opening Brewdog international bar. It’s in an area that’s being ‘gentrified’ [of course] and that looks as though it used to be part of the docks. Yeah – big tables, stone walls, old warehouse conversion – all the things that yell ‘craft’ and ‘hipster’ and ‘trendy as . . .’ But it was soulless, the Dead Pony Club did nothing for me, and it was more like the pub equivalent of a Hard Rock Café than anything else – which is probably the global brand they would love to emulate.

The one other place I visited before coming home was TABAC back on Suur-Karja in the old town, which promotes itself as a ‘Brasserie Restaurant’ rather than a bar. Their website says “Tabac is a hip exposed-brick brasserie complimented by classic golden-era-style cocktails. There is an easy, smooth cool to the place – from the enormous smoky mirror to the Grand Hotel styled bar.” I had a pint of Grimbergen Dubbel that was pretty fab, but I guess old beer drinkers are not really their target clientele even if our waitress did say otherwise. She said that corner of the old town used to be known as the Bermuda Triangle because it was the centre of young noisy drinking nights out. Tabac was now trying to appeal to a wider audience, of all ages. I think I confused her terribly when my deconstructed rhubarb crumble was delivered, by telling her that I came from the RHUBARB triangle in Yorkshire.



By the time we have our meeting on Thursday, The Black Bull should be open again following a major refurb. I was told a week or so ago that the re-opening date would be July the 4th, so I’ll be going down there tomorrow to check it out. A similar ‘check-out’ visit to The White Swan when that re-opened on Friday the 23rd of June showed that the old place, under the familiar stewardship of Chris Shippey, was still going strong! Lots of people enjoying the beers, and dogs enjoying the day out! Hope it goes from strength to strength.

The Bay Horse is a different story. I wrote on June 20th to the estate agents dealing with the freehold sale, to ask if we could help to promote the sale and to volunteer to speak to any potential purchaser who might want to know more about the town and its pubs. So far I have not had the courtesy of a response to that email. However, the pub does appear on Colliers website, so here is a link to that page. If anyone from a brewery is reading this, and would like to buy a pub in the famous pub town of Otley – please get in touch with Colliers at once! Or us! We would love you to join our Otley pub family – (BTW – we could have provided a more attractive and ‘saleable’ photograph!)



 Or was it fake news? This appeared under “STUFF HAPPENING IN PUBS”, at the Horse and Farrier:

  • Open mic night 1st Thursday every month at 8:30

In fact, I bumped into Paul Briscoe after the newsletter went out, and he assured me that he’s there EVERY Thursday, so you don’t have to wait a month to get your music fix. Sorry!


– – / / – –



Next meeting is this Thursday July 6th, with the usual committee meeting at 19:15 on the western end of Westgate in The Fleece. Bit of socialising there after the meeting, then on to The Cross Pipes at about 08:45 and finally The Black Horse at 9:30.




Bob Brook

OPC Secretary

03 July 2017

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