OTLEY PUB CLUB
MARCH NEWSLETTER 2017
MARCH TO THE MUSIC OF TIME
OK, the quality of temporal puns is deteriorating from its already low st arting point! And whilst my recollections and meanderings might not have the literary excellence of Anthony Powell’s 12 volume cycle of similarly-titled novels, or the quality of Nicolas Poussin’s painting on which the title was based, I hope you still find them a sufficiently interesting way to pass a small amount of time this March. Meanwhile, the early warm sun has brought out not only the early bluebells, but also the early honey bees. Let’s hope we don’t now get frost and snow to ruin everything for them.
MORE BEER FESTIVALS COMING UP
Wetherspoons Spring beer festival is on its way to the Bowling Green from Wednesday 22 March until Sunday 2 April inclusive. This time they’re featuring 30 beers that all come from only award-winning breweries – 25 from the UK and 5 from around the world. [And if you thought ‘Black IPA’ was an Oxymoron, how about ‘Brazilian Burton Pale Ale’? Brewed for Wetherspoons by Brazilians Paulo and Samuel Cavalcanti at Banks’s Brewery in Wolverhampton.] Iron Maiden fans might want to look out for Trooper Red ’n’ Black, a deep-ruby-coloured porter-style beer at 5.8% ABV (6.8% bottled) from Robinsons Brewery in Cheshire, inspired by the famous metal band, and with Eddie on the pump clip.
Slightly further away [time and distance] is the 16th Baildon Beer Festival. Bill Arnold, Festival Organiser, sent me this description for the newsletter – “I know it’s not in the Otley Area but a lot of people in your Area do come to it, it is the 16th Baildon Beer Festival on Friday 28th April 4pm – 11pm and Saturday 29th April Noon – 11pm, Admission £2 (includes Programme, Glass & Snacks, Camra & SPBW Members FREE on showing of a current Membership Card, Held at the Moravian Church Hall, Westgate, Baildon, 20 Real Ales + 2 Real Ciders + Wines and Soft drinks.” I’ll probably be walking over there myself on the Friday afternoon, so I might see you all there.
And finally (for today at least), the week before Baildon and even further away still, there is Skipton Beer Festival from Thursday 20th to Saturday 22nd April. At Ermysted’s Grammar School, just a 10 minute walk from the railway station, over the Leeds and Liverpool canal. 70 real ales and the usual ciders/perries/bottled foreign beers, with food available at all sessions. Once again it’s free to CAMRA members [no wonder CAMRA membership’s going up!] and more details are available on the festival website.
And there are more! If you fancy a trip out to Thorner, or you live near there, they have a beer festival in the Victory Hall on Carr Lane on Saturday the 22nd of April starting at midday. Morley beer festival takes place over Easter weekend from the 14th to the 16th of April at Morley Cricket Club, Scatcherd Lane. They’ve got street food, live music, market stalls, and bouncy castles to get the beer swilling round your insides!
You’ll see below that The Roebuck has already received the new Taylor’s blonde beer – Knowle Spring. The TT website says “The new member of the Taylor’s family is a light, refreshing blonde ale with the depth of flavour you expect from Taylor’s beers. Named after the Knowle Spring upon which our brewery sits, and which provides the fresh spring water for all our brews.” I haven’t tried it yet, but no doubt I shall soon!
I also had a look at Taylor’s latest brewery news magazine this week, which c ontains “news, views and dispatches” from the brewery. One of the things it advertises is the virtual brewery tour on the website. There are all sorts of reasons why they can’t show visitors round the brewery, but if you’ve got 15 minutes to spare, why not crack open a cool bottle of Landlord and let this film show you round?
BIGGEST PUB CRAWL EVER?
I know we’ve had link to an online map in this Newsletter before, that showed you how to travel between virtually every pub in Britain, but 3 mates from the West Midlands have actually visited an incredible 20,000 of them! That includes all 11,000 in Wales and all 6,000 in the 20 counties of the Midlands [are there really 20 Midlands Counties – I’m just plagiarising this from the full story on The Daily Mirror website!]
They started with a group of 12 in 1984 when beer was just 64p a pint, but some have died, some have dropped out [and women aren’t allowed to join them!] As you can imagine, they’re finding it harder to travel to new pubs now they’ve done all the ‘local’ ones. My favourite quote is “We’re not massive drinkers . . . Nowadays, I try to limit myself to 1,500 pints a year”!
A BEER JOURNEY #2 – TEXAS, Pt 2
You last saw me in the Mad Dog British Pub on San Antonio River Walk [and it’s possibly the last time anyone will see me there]. Our hotel was only 5 minutes’ walk away on the side of the river, but if I ever did feel the need to take any bottles back with me, the ubiquitous beer in that part of Texas seemed to be Shiner Bock, from ‘Kosmos Spoetzel and his little brewery’ in Shiner Tx. Shiner is just south of Highway i10, midway between Houston and San Antonio, and the brewery is open to visitors. I didn’t have time to call in on the way, and had to make do with the bottled stuff, which was pretty standard Eastern European lager in the version I had. At least that was until we called in to The Rainforest Café, where we got the same beer on draft. It was no better or worse, though a lot colder, but the enjoyment of it was greatly improved by the occasional roaring of the life-sized animatronic tigers right next to our table! Even better was the offer of a second pint at half the price of the first PLUS a free glass to bring home. So I now have a memento out of which I can drink much nicer beers at home.
Another one of the chain restaurants we visited on the River Walk was Joe’s Crab Shack. Like most of the bars and restaurants, they had a choice of local beers, so I had a ‘Soul Doubt’ from San Antonio’s Freetail Brewery. It gets mixed reviews, and in good old ‘punk’ style the brewers say it’s “Not for sharing with your parents – they wouldn’t get it!” I loved it! As for Joe’s Crab Shack, we’d only been sat down for a few minutes when all the staff lined up in the aisle next to us, and started dancing to the music that was playing. Then just calmly walked away afterwards and went back to serving. But the REALLY good thing about the place was that, not only did the fish come fried in proper batter, but was also served complete with ‘scraps’!
Next on the list was Tex’s Riverwalk Sports Bar – again not the most promising name for somewhere to get a good beer, but yet again coming up with a local draft in Pedernales Classic IPA. This one comes from a bit further north in Fredericksburg and unlike the Freetail doesn’t provoke a wide range of reactions on the ratebeer website, with most people giving it a fairly middling score. I thought it was nicely balanced without losing the American IPA hop flavours, and was perfect for sipping in the sun. We also spent a couple of hours in the Briscoe Western Art Museum. It didn’t even have a café, let alone a bar, and amongst all the exhibits and interviews with old white people who seemed to own about half the state there didn’t seem to be a single mention of beer. Surely there must have been something more satisfying and thirst-quenching in the old West than a shot of ‘red-eye’
Even when it was time to come home and we were sitting in Terminal D at Houston, there was still a better choice than the Heineken, John Smiths and Guinness that you are often faced with over here. [And, you know, if you like them that’s fine – it’s just that I don’t, particularly.] I had a bottle of Goose IPA while saying farewell to Texas and wandering about the state of the brewing business. Chicago craft brewery Goose Island was bought out by the biggest brewing company in the world – Anheuser-Busch InBev – in 2011. AB InBev brands include Beck’s, Budweiser [the US version], Brahma, Stella Artois, Carling – are you seeing a pattern here? So what will they do with a relatively small craft brewery [but already with global reach]. Sadly, they will probably first change the branding to make it more globally acceptable [Goose Island IPA is now Just Goose]. They’ll also change the recipe, to make it easier to standardise and mass produce – and probably cheaper. [Brewmaster Greg Hall ‘stood down’ at the time of the takeover in 2011.] Then it will be aggressively marketed to put similar products out of business until we’re faced with a bland global marketplace. Ah well, it still tasted OK while killing the last couple of hours in the US, and I did manage to bring a bottle of Mezcal back, complete with worm!
ALL THE BEST PUBS ARE IN YORKSHIRE!
Well, that might be exaggerating just a tiny amount, but the George and Dragon in Hudswell near Richmond has just won CAMRA’s National pub of the year award. The small village pub was saved by the local community after it had closed in 2008 and left the small North Yorkshire village with no other facilities for its residents apart from a village hall. Within two years, the community banded together to form the Hudswell Community Pub Ltd group and bought back the pub, re-opening in June 2010 after extensive renovations.
The community was determined that the George & Dragon would offer far more than a traditional pub. As well as acting as a meeting place and venue, it is also home to the village library, a local shop staffed by volunteers, community allotments and free internet access for its patrons.
Happily, we have all those facilities and more here in Otley – and we also have quite a few pubs. And it’s one of our own pubs that has won the latest Leeds CAMRA pub of the month award! The Junction Inn on Bondgate has been chosen for that accolade for March 2017, so I’ll forgive them for not having the full list of upcoming bands available in their excitement [see individual pub section below]. But if we don’t know what’s on, we’ll just have to go down and enjoy the beer! Well done to Tony and everyone at the pub!
CHARITY DAY/NIGHT FOR ISLA
On Saturday April 1st at The Manor House pub in Otley, there’ll be a day full of events for the Mitochondrial Disease charity the Lily Foundation, in support of two year old Otley girl Isla Shaw. Starting at 2pm there’ll be food, family and children’s games and a disco; a 5K fun run at 3pm; Keiran La Fox live from 7:30pm; together with an auction, a raffle and disco with DJ Steve Heard. For details of a marathon being run by Danny Cooney from Otley this Sunday, see the article in The Wharfedale Observer.
STILL MORE BEER ON LEEDS LIST
Leeds List’s latest promotion of the pub and bar scene does at least concentrate on beer, rather than the cocktail-led extravaganza that was their ‘happy hour’ article last time. In an article called “21 of the Best Leeds Bars for Beer Drinkers” they say “For fans of real ale, Leeds is like a hopped-up Paradise.” They then go on to talk a lot about craft beers, and bottled beers from around the world, with the odd ‘traditional boozer’ and ‘best bar for Yorkshire beers’ thrown in. What I did find pretty insulting though [being an ‘old man’] was the description of Mr Foleys as “the best bar (sic) you never go to”. They say “It’s an old man’s pub [at least they got that right this time), but they have an incredible selection of beers”, as though the two should never go together. They really should get out more – if they want to come to Otley I know some old men who’d be delighted to take them round all 21 boozers we have here!
PUBS IN THE LOCAL NEWS
Three of the headlines for the ‘most popular’ stories on the Wharfedale Observer website this week are “Woman Chokes to Death in Pub” [terrible!], Pub Firm is Fined over TV Licence” [naughty!], and “Pub Could Become Dental Surgery” [at least that’s positive, but it’s a shame the pub had to shut first – it would have been nice to be able to come out of the surgery into the tap room for a pint of post-trauma anaesthetic!]
Why the long face? Apologies – but I did say it was only speculative that we might be able to get Thwaites’ shire horses over to Otley for the Carnival in June. They are much in demand as you can imagine, and were already committed for that weekend. However, I am still trying to see if we can get them over here in 2018, so watch this face!
PUB BUSINESS RATES
With the changes in business rates, some Otley pubs rates bills are going down, which is great, but some are also going up by a tremendous amount.
Our President Greg Mulholland has campaigned hard as Chairman of the British Pub Confederation for a cap on the rise in business rates for pubs, similar to that introduced in Scotland recently. So it was pleasing to see that the Chancellor included a concession on pub business rates in his Budget. But whilst the £1,000 reduction for pubs with a rateable value under £100,000 shows that the Government has listened to the concerns of the pubs sector, it doesn’t go far enough, especially as it will only operate for a year, and a real cap on business rate rises is still needed to protect our pubs.
If a pub’s not mentioned in any month, it just means they have nothing ‘special’ on over the next 4 weeks – just the usual beer, food, music, or whatever it is they have every week!
ROSE AND CROWN
Book now for meals on Mother’s Day, so you don’t miss out on their fabulous Sunday lunch – AND a free gift for every mother, as usual.
And for something completely different from a Mother’s Day lunch, how about Sex on the Beach, a Shot Bat, or an 88% ABV vodka!
YEW TREE –
- See photo for a typical week at the Yew Tree
- Karaoke last Saturday every month
- Saturday April 8th race night and disco in aid of Otley Lido. Raffle with top prizes; late bar; cash race prizes. Tickets £2 available from the pub – 01943 461330, starts at 8pm.
- Taking bookings now for lunches on Mother’s Day
- Likewise, if you want a lunch with a view on Mother’s Day, you really do need to book in advance
- Open on Easter Monday
- Taking bookings for Mothers Day, phone now to avoid disappointment!
- The pub’s just gained Cask Marque accreditation, and have also now got Timothy Taylor’s blonde ale – Knowle Spring OTB
- Quiz still on every Wednesday, with the chance of big prizes.
- Charity quiz night being run by Wharfebank Business Park, on Thursday the 16th of March. Anyone can join in – just be there for the start at 7pm. It costs £5 per team and there’ll be free pie and peas!
- Open mic 1st Sunday every month
- There’s no longer a ‘tasting menu’ – just home-cooked reasonably-priced good food!
- Sunday roast on Mother’s Day – bookings now being taken
- The beer garden’s now being tidied after the winter storms, and will be ready for the sunny Spring weekends [if we get any]
- Looking really nice now – see photo [with alligator(?) head!]
- Country and Western night with Dori and the Outlaws, on Saturday March 18th from 7:30pm
- See details of upcoming beer festival in the article above,
RED LION –
- Old people’s Thursday bingo afternoon is doing really well, so why not call in and join the fun?!
- The recent boxing on TV was so popular that future events will be shown as well.
- Still planning a quiz night, and a ‘jam’ night for singers and musicians, so just keep an eye open for more news soon.
- Tuesday 14th – Friday 17th Cheltenham Festival on the big screens, and a free competition every day. Every pint you buy come s with a horse’s name. If that horse wins you get a free pint! Then all the winning tickets go into a draw at the end of the day to win 8 more pints at the bar! Brilliant!
- It’s goodbye to Tim and Sarah, but no news yet of who’s taking their place
HORSE AND FARRIER –
- New and increased range of cans and bottles behind the bar
- Open mic every Thursday
- Tea and cake offer all day every day, with new cakes all the time.
- Specialising in home-made all hand-stretched pizzas
- Roosters ‘meet the brewer’ event coming up – watch for news
- Also planning a gin tasting evening – currently 24 gins behind the bar
- NB – Private party in the pub on Saturday March 18th, so it will be closed to the public from late afternoon onwards.
MANOR HOUSE –
- Sat 11/03 Blimey O’Reilly
- Paddy’s Day [and Night] Friday 17th of March – Guinness Stew; Irish Dancers; then from 6 – 8:30pm Mid-Life Crisis; and from 21:00 onwards The Raisers
- Saturday 18th March The Start Band – 4-piece
- Friday March 31st, Barclay Wright from 6-8pm
- Saturday 1st April – Charity Day/Night for Isla (see article above)
- Saturday 8th April – Colleen’s Fancy
- Sunday 9th April – Glenn Folk 4-6pm
- Manor Bingo every Tuesday, great fun with Declan
- Irish music session in the evening Wednesday March22nd and every other week
- Manor Sessions every Thursday – check their own Facebook page for details each week
- Quiz and spin the wheel every Sunday night, so –
- If you want a quiet pint – come down on a Monday!!
OTLEY TAVERN – See photo [sorry the sun was shining!]
STEW AND OYSTER –
- Quiz every Thursday at 8pm. Free entry and you can win a £40 bar tab! There’s also a Play-Doh round [yes – modelling!] with a random prize that could be adding 2 points to your quiz score; some bar nuts; or even a bottle of Prosecc!
- Free pies on Friday.
NORTH BAR SOCIAL –
- One Mile End tap takeover coming next week sometime!
- Ask about their cheese and beer pairings. [And try asking them if they have any GJETOST – a Norwegian goat and cow cheese mixture that looks and tastes like caramel fudge! Just don’t ask me how to pronounce it!]
THE CROSS PIPES –
- Poker nights are back on Thursday evenings
- Every Fri/Sat it’s music night, where you can play your own playlist direct from your phone, or request whatever you want – they can play ANYTHING!
- Any sport/music on Freeview/terrestrial TV will be shown
- Food will be coming soon
- Phone 07950 751191 if you want to know more.
OTLEY TAP HOUSE –
- Quiz every Thursday
- Steve Chapman Smith Friday 17 March at 8pm
- Neil Garatt and Friends Sunday 26th of March at 4:30pm
- Lula and the Be-Bops on Sunday 12th of March
- Live bands every Tuesday – keep checking for details, they just weren’t available when I called in.
BLACK HORSE –
- After a long period of relative stability since the TdF came past its doors in 2014, there’s been another change of tenant during the past month. No news of any other changes yet, but we’ll keep an eye on it and let you know.
- I believe they are going ‘back to basics’ with the regular menu though, and the new details will be out soon. They’re definitely getting a menu ready for Mother’s Day, so keep an eye on their website, and their Facebook page below
- Don’t forget their USP is the large function room, with its own bar. Ring the pub for details of availability and prices for conferences, meetings or just family get-togethers, and they’ll be pleased to help.
PUB FACEBOOK LINKS . . .
As these pages are the responsibility of the individual pubs, I can’t guarantee they’ll be up-to-date, I’m afraid – but where they are, the information is likely to be much more current and comprehensive than my monthly newsletter! It’s worthwhile checking with the one you fancy going to, just to make sure nothing’s changed.
AND IF YOU’D RATHER FOLLOW PUBS ON TWITTER’ . . .
As with Facebook, some of these might not be up to date, but if you follow them you’re likely to get timely updates on what’s going on between our newsletters.
Although I think there’s only two pub accounts in town so far – [but OPC now have an Instagram account as well, at otley_pub_club. Trouble is, we’re all so old and non-tech savvy, that we don’t really know how to use it to its best advantage! Anybody who’d like to take it on, please get in touch!]
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Finally – I do apologise for any mistakes and/or omissions I might have made while writing, editing and proof-reading the above. And – 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. Third – if you stop receiving our newsletters in future but you still want to be a member, something’s gone wrong! Remember this email address – firstname.lastname@example.org , or get in touch via the website and I’ll put you back on the mailing list. Thanks!
10 March 2017