OTLEY PUB CLUB
SEPTEMBER NEWSLETTER 2017
What with holidays and the 26th Otley Folk Festival [and broadband connectivity problems] all intervening over the past week or two, this newsletter’s looking a bit thin [figuratively and non-digitally speaking]. Unfortunately I wasn’t here for all of the Folk Festival [but fortunately I was in Florence, which was nice!] Anyway, I got back in time to wander into town on Sunday after lunch, and the streets were empty! But the pubs were full! There was a fabulous three-piece playing Irish folk in The Tap House; then I went next door to a busy White Swan for a couple of sing-alongs [Simon and Garfunkel and a sea shanty]; back along the road to the Junction, which was packed for Glen Folk; and then to North Bar Social for the beer and the Woolpack for the music.
I definitely got the impression that the pubs were enjoying it, and so were the musicians. Can’t really say anything about the ‘formal’ concerts on the programme, cos I didn’t manage to get to any, but general feedback seems to be that it was another great weekend. Hope you enjoyed it! [My own day fizzled out into a doze on the settee after tea – could have been that I was OD’d on walking round renaissance treasures all week, or maybe just stopping off at the Fleece for ‘just one more’ on the way home!
FANCY A WEEKEND BEER FESTIVAL? AVOID KL!
Officials in Kuala Lumpur have withheld a permit for the annual Better Beer Festival, scheduled to be held in October [See Newsweek online.] The festival began in 2012 with an attendance of only about 200, but this year organisers say they were expecting about 6,000 visitors over the weekend. The decision was due to the political sensitivity surrounding the event in the mostly Muslim country, according to information given to festival management, with city officials naming “licensing” issues as grounds for their decision.
Although the Muslim-majority Malaysia has laws that prohibit Muslims from drinking, they don’t apply to other religious or non-religious minorities. Earlier this month, right-wing politicians said that such events might lead to criminal acts, rape, and sexual promiscuity. Riduan Mohd Nor, one of the leaders of the conservative Pan-Malaysian Islamic faction (PAS) said The festival would turn Kuala Lumpur into the “largest vice center in Asia”. So ditch those Malaysian weekend away plans, and stay in Leeds, where last year there were at least NINETEEN separate beer festivals, including our very own one in Otley.
YORK LANDLORD FINALLY GETS HIS MRO OPTION
There have been many scare stories about the length of time it’s taking for anyone to get their pubco to agree to an MRO option, about the obstacles put in their way, and about the costs involved. Very few, it seems, end up with the ‘happy ever after’ result the much-vaunted legislation was intended to deliver. The possible incompetence or dilatoriness of the pubs’ adjudicator has been one reason quoted far and wide. But the main one seems to be that the pubcos were definitely not prepared to just ‘put up and shut up’ without charging exorbitant amounts for ‘new for old’ reparations, charging ultra-high rents or forcing long contracts. All of these can be dealt with by the pubs adjudicator – but see above! So it’s nice to see one [fairly] local landlord achieving his aim, albeit after a long and legal fight. Good to see Paul Crossman, who runs the Swan in Bishopthorpe Road in York, with a smile on his face in the picture alongside. [Story from York newspaper The Press.]
THOMAS CHIPPENDALE’S 300TH ANNIVERSARY
I’ll keep throwing in reminders about this from time to time over the next few months, so that you don’t forget what’s likely to happen in Otley next June. [The month of Thomas Chippendale’s baptism, and probably his birth as well.] There are plans for a Chippendale memorial flowerbed; a concert of 18th century music and songs; a film and lecture about Chippendale’s life and work; a ‘birthday party’ at the beginning of June; a lecture and practical demonstration of marquetry and cabinet making techniques; an antiques market and fair; a specially brewed local beer; an ‘ale trail’ round 18th century pubs, and a walk in the Otley Walking Festival; even a Thomas Chippendale tribute float in Otley Carnival – and much more. It’s possible there will be lots of additional foreign tourists in town over the summer, and it’s going to be lots of fun!
BEER PRICES GOING UP AGAIN?
[Probably] the world’s biggest beer company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, said it was facing increased costs in the UK that would soon be passed on to consumers in pubs and bars. So if you usually drink Stella, Corona or Bud you could be seeing the increase sometime “in the next two years”, according to InBev’s president for Northern Europe, Jason Warner. It’s blamed on the recent increase in inflation in the UK from 0.6% to 2.6% over the last twelve months. So, although I’m sure those three beers are perfectly acceptable drinks; and other brands are likely to increase their prices as well; AND at the risk of infringing Wychwood’s Hobgoblin copyright; you could always try something less bland and mega-corporate than Corona, unless you’re “Afraid you might taste something (other than lime), lagerboy?”
BEER BLOGS – DULL AS DITCHWATER, OR A DELIGHT?
A couple of beer blogs with a Yorkshire connection caught my eye this week. The first because of the delightful name – ‘Lady Sinks the Booze’ – and the second because I’m a CAMRA member. Let’s start with the second, called appropriately ‘Beer and Whine’. Written by a self-confessed “apparent hipster” and (on Twitter) “millennial beer geek”, this particular offering slags off CAMRA, CAMRA members and Wetherspoons, with a side-swipe at baby boomers and hippies along the way! It’s really not worth my while arguing every point he makes, as he obviously fulfils one of the main reasons for being a blogger at all – to parade his egotistical point of view in what he imagines to be an erudite and darkly humorous way, whilst hoping to be provocative enough to compel people to respond, thus boosting his blogging ego even more. I’ll leave you to make your own mind up about his ostensibly genuine criticisms in “CAMRA – The Campaign for Rudeness & Arrested development”, and do feel free to respond in kind if you must. I’ll just say that anyone who calls his partner his “better half” and can only criticise Spoons by using a vulgarity really isn’t a ‘millennial’ equivalent of the upstart crow, whatever he might think! [The local connection? Apparently “a small craft ale pub” (interesting use of words – so not a ‘craft beer bar’ then?) “whilst living in Leeds”.]
Now the second major reason for someone to start writing a blog is a genuine interest in informing and/or entertaining readers, with no real concern about whether they respond or not. The enjoyment is in the writing itself, and in the possibility that someone out there might actually like it – and that’s sufficient. So I was much more taken with the blog post by ‘KIRSTWALKER’, called ‘A Few Drinks in . . . Sheffield’. It’s humorous, entertaining and informative. It describes the pubs, the punters, the beers, Sheffield and even a bit about the author herself. [Oh, and just a note here to any millennial CAMRA hating bloggers, she’s a CAMRA member but her current favourite beer is Magic Rock Salty Kiss. If it weren’t enough that that’s brewed in Yorkshire, she loves Seabrook’s crisps from Bradford, even though she comes from Runcorn!] Good on ya!
DO THESE 5 PUBS SERVE THE BEST BEER IN ENGLAND?
Sticking with CAMRA very briefly, did you know that 5 pubs have, incredibly, featured in all 45 editions of the CAMRA Good Beer Guide? They are identified and described here [and none are in Yorkshire, #sadface]
AND FINALLY [IF YOU’RE NOT CAREFUL!]
I have been known to repeat this message a few times, especially around Christmas and New Year – “Don’t be a wazzock – don’t drink and drive!” Everybody [probably] knows that in England and Wales, the alcohol limit for drivers is 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, 35 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath or 107 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine. In Scotland though, the limits have been lower since 2014, when the Scottish Government say they changed their drink drive limit to bring Scotland in line with most other European countries, to save lives and make Scotland’s roads safer. The limit was reduced to 50 milligrammes of alcohol in every 100 millilitres of blood while the breath alcohol equivalent reduced to 22 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.
The obvious question is always “how much can I drink while staying under the limit?” Unfortunately, there is no safe way of predicting that, as it depends on a combination of at least 8 different factors [see the guidance on the Drinkaware website.] The best advice is always DON’T try to guess how much is ‘safe’ – and if you are going to drive, avoid alcohol altogether. However much we all might like it, your life and that of other road users is worth much, much more.
SOME THINGS HAPPENING (and I’m Head Over Heels!)
THE BLACK BULL
– From 20 September there will be a quiz night every Wednesday at 8:00 pm
– Every Friday from 8:00 there is karaoke and a disco
– Last Saturday of every month there is a singer. On 30 September the singer is Ollie Whyte (50s -70s covers)
– 23 September Steve Chapman-Smith (Country-Irish mix)
– 30 September Stormtrees (Acoustic duo)
– 7 October Marshalls’ and Friends
– 14 October Joe and Anne Gallagher
HORSE AND FARRIER
-21 September Thursday burger nights launch. Buy one get one half price
– 29 September Comedy Night 7:30 pm Tickets £5 available on Facebook page
– 29 September Lagunita’s night – free samples from 7 pm
– 29 September Rock and Roll Disco night from 8:30
[I did tell you right at the start that the newsletter was looking a bit thin this week. But if you check out the links below when you want to go out in town, you’ll find they’re probably much more informative than I can ever be anyway!]
STEW & OYSTER
– 26 September 10:00-12:00 the ever-popular Baby Social!
PUB FACEBOOK LINKS . . .
Please remember that as these pages are the responsibility of the individual pubs, I can’t guarantee they’ll be up-to-date, I’m afraid – but then I can never even guarantee that about my own stuff either!
BOWLING GREEN (and see photo)
OTLEY TAVERN (and see photo)
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.
@NorthBarSocial (and see photo)
I think there’s only two pub accounts in town so far, [as well as ours at otley_pub_club]
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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 – firstname.lastname@example.org , or get in touch via the website and I’ll put you back on the mailing list right away. Thanks!