Despite all my fingers being crossed. There was no snow here at Christmas – but there was a heck of a lot more rain! After Boxing Day and subsequent floods, many bridges in Yorkshire were suffering, and we can only thank our lucky stars that Otley’s wasn’t one of them. Tadcaster, Elland, Collingham and Linton on Ouse were amongst those badly affected – at least ours was only closed for several hours and was pronounced safe after the floods. That was despite the water being up to the top of the arches, and several adjoining fields being completely under water – as well as Wharfemeadows Park! And as I said last time, Otley pubs were quick to rally round and offer rest and shelter.


Of course, pubs elsewhere were badly affected by the floods, especially a number near Kirkstall Road in Leeds, and in the city centre. Most are trading again now, but these are the ones that CAMRA Leeds knew about –


Aire Bar

Bridgewater Arms (formerly Aire of the Dog)

Cardigan Arms

Golf Cafe Bar

Kirkstall Bridge Inn

Old Red Lion

Phoenix (formerly Central)

Rising Sun (permanently closed)

Syd’s Little Egg


I also had to feel sorry for the landlord of The Barge and Barrel in Elland, who found himself cut off from the town when the bridge was closed. Fortunately a temporary pedestrian crossing is being installed as I write this, and £5million has been promised by the Government to repair the bridge.





The Leeds Branch of CAMRA will be holding a social meeting in town
on Saturday the 30th of January, if you fancy going along. They’re starting off in the Horse and Farrier at 1-o-clock; then the Old Cock at 2; The Junction at 3; and possibly some others!


The short list of 4 for the Spring pub of the season includes The Junction, and if you’re a CAMRA member, you can place your vote here. But hurry – first round voting closes on Tuesday the 26th of January at 19:00! Voting also closes soon [Sunday the 31st of January] for the 30 pubs in the Leeds area to feature in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide for 2017. You can vote for as many or few as you’d like, but do it soon! All 3 pubs featured in the meeting above are included in the list of 64, and [again – if you’re a CAMRA member] you can vote for any or all of them here.


Early warning for this year’s festival, which will take place on 17/18/19th of March at Pudsey Civic Hall. There’ll be the usual wide range of real ale and bottled beers, and for the first time this year, craft beer from kegs. [Otley beer festival just beat them to it of course, having also introduced craft beers last November!]


Have you seen the maps of Leeds, showing all the pubs, in the style of London Underground maps? There is one that includes Otley as well as ones that highlight historic pubs, the ‘Otley Run’ pubs and so on. Worth checking out the site if you haven’t seen them already.


It doesn’t seem so many years ago that there was supposed to be a shortage of hops for the brewing industry in this country. The traditional centre of English hop-growing in South-East and South-West England had run down production and we were relying on imports from Europe. Then the ‘craft’ beer revolution [because in beer terms, you can’t really call it anything else] began to have an impact, and small brewers around the country began to chuck sackfuls of hops into their beers, seemingly at all stages of the brewing process! Beer drinkers began to recognise, and get a taste for, hops from places as far afield as the USA, Japan, New Zealand and elsNEWSLETTER YORKS HOPSewhere.

But did you know that the most Northerly hop farm in Britain is here in Yorkshire? Starting with a small experiment back in 2012, two friends from East Yorkshire began planting and harvesting their own hops. Their latest harvest was in September last year, and the hops have been used by a number of local breweries already, like Wold Top, The Rat, Brass Castle and Saltaire.





The Hairy Bikers’ programme featuring The Black Bull has been postponed until ‘early spring’, according to the production company, but we’ll keep checking and let you know the date as soon as we find out. In the meantime, plans for a summer event in Otley are underway, with an English Civil War Society ‘skirmish’, along with a ‘living history’ exhibition being the outcome we’re working towards – although there’s still a lot of work to do! If we can pull it off, there’ll be up to a couple of hundred people in 17th century costumes in town on the anniversary of the eve of the battle of Marston Moor – the date when the Black Bull was allegedly drunk dry. No doubt they’ll be attempting the same feat again! There should be a couple of cannons, a couple of dozen muskets, loads of troops with 17-foot long pikestaffs. All I have to do now is find a suitable battle site, adequate space for everyone to camp, and room for a living history exhibition – all within easy reach of the centre of town! Oh – and a few thousand pounds of sponsorship, and all this within the next few weeks/months.

So if anyone out there thinks this sounds like a fun project they would enjoy getting involved with, I would really appreciate some help! [Or, you know, if you have some spare land or money . . . !]



Since our previous Chairman and Otley Pub Club founder member Peter Jackson and his wife and co-founder Fiona organised a float for Otley Carnival back in 2013, we haven’t taken part again. So we thought it might be time to get involved again. However, there aren’t many of us on the committee, and although we’re great on ideas and PR, we don’t always seem to be quite as good at practical stuff! However, we do know that lots of people not only love getting involved in this kind of community event, but are probably more able to deliver a fully-designed and –decorated end product on the back of a lorry than some of the rest of us. So although you might not want to come along to our pub meetings, or get involved in the more monotonous tasks involved in being on the committee, perhaps you fancy yourself as a Carnival star? If so, all you have to do is reply to my email and we’ll welcome you with open arms!



All the new text has been produced and proof-read, and sponsorship is coming in for the Ale Trail update, so production should be possible within a couple of weeks. [Yes, I know – when did I first start talking about this, and it still isn’t here? Apologies on behalf of us all.] As for the passport, we’ll hold on to that until later in the year now – maybe try to coincide the launch with another event in Otley, like the Tour de Yorkshire or Yorkshire Day.



Because of the other things we’re hoping to do this year, which might be a bit time-consuming [not to mention expensive] we’ve decided not to have a specific Yorkshire Day project in 2016. Probably all we will do is once again publicise the amazing range of Yorkshire-brewed real ales [and craft beers] that is sold in Otley’s pubs. We think that, pub for pub, Otley is the best place in Yorkshire to find Yorkshire-brewed beer, and we’ll be out to prove it once again. (So our Yorkshire Day ‘big idea’ will have to wait till 2017 – let’s hope nowhere else pinches it before then!)



Since last month, I’ve had a meeting with a couple of people from Otley Word Feast Press, with a view to collaborating on an anthology of poems all about pubs and pub-related paraphernalia. They were very keen, and are hoping to get contributions on the theme of celebrating the importance of pubs in the cultural life of the community in time for National Poetry Day at the beginning of October. We’re also hoping to organise the beermat promotion exercise that I spoke about last time.



I might end up just having to start my own Facebook page for this – unless anyone else wants to do it first!



Yep, they’ll come along . . . eventually!



Not only is January a ‘dry’ month for some people, it’s also pretty dry as far as information is concerned this year, I’m afraid. Here’s what I managed to get [although, as usual, if I’ve missed anything just email me back, and I’ll get it in the next invitation [as long as it’s in the first half of February]. And these are only the ‘one-off’ or new or changed events at the pubs. There are far too many regular quizzes, beer promotions, carveries, pool or darts days, snack offers and a thousand (?) other things that go on every single week in Otley, that I simply can’t include them all every week. Do keep checking individual pubs’ Twitter and Facebook accounts, and their websites [and ours!]


I only read the article about every Wetherspoon’s having a unique carpet after I’d been in there, so I don’t know whether it has any relevance to the pub name or location – I’ll check it out next time!


Sat 23/01 – Brave Face

Tue 26/01 – Hail Bales

Thu 28/01 – Lisa Marie Glover AKA Lone Songstress

Sun 31/01 – Glen Folk (Afternoon)

Tue 02/02 – Andy Johnson

Sat 06/02 – Croft/Mullen Band



Wed 27/01 – Presentation of awards for Otley Beer Festival 2016. Saltaire and Thwaites were joint 1st.

Sun 08/02 – (and the first Sunday of every month) Irish session from 2 – 6pm

Wed 10/02 – (and the second Wednesday of every month) Irish session from 8:30pm

Fri 12/02 – (and the second Friday of every month) open mic night. [This is the one from the Falcon club on Westgate.]

And – Bar Staff Required – see left!














Tue 26/01 – Open Mic night

Fri 29/01 – Nigal Rae. Vocalist, guitar and mandolin.

Sat 30/01 – Dave McKendrick. Singer/guitarist.

newsletter tavjan










Enterprise have approved an upgrade to the toilets, and new carpets throughout. Food will start to be served when that work is complete. Sundays 6-9 live music in the upstairs room. Championship level 2nd pool table soon upstairs as well – new players welcome.


Now selling 79% vol absinthe, at £4 a shot. Poster in the window says Adults Only! [But I thought you had to be an adult to drink anyway . . .]


Fri 22/01 – Joe and Anne Gallagher [evening]

Sun 31/01 – Joe and Anne Gallagher [afternoon, acoustic]

Sun 07/02 – PubAid/JustGiving The World’s Biggest Quiz for OAOP. Part of an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest multi-venue quiz!


– – / / – – / / – – / / – –


As ever, I might have missed things or misrepresented the facts, for which I apologise.  Thanks to all pub landlords and staff for giving me their time and information – and remember, the more you give me, the more I can tell potential customers about! Even more apologies for the even later production of the newsletter this month. You might have guessed from a couple of things I said above, that I’ve got a lot to do at the moment, and I’ve got a little behind in my work. [As the butcher said when he backed into the bacon slicer. . . ]

If you no longer want to receive these newsletters and any other correspondence from Otley Pub Club, just email the return address. On the other hand, if you stop receiving our newsletters but you still want to be a member, something’s gone wrong! Just send an email to secretary@otleypubclub.co.uk , or via the website and I’ll put you back on the mailing list. Thanks!


Bob Brook

OPC Secretary

16 January 2016


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