Invitation Feb 1

HO HO HO! [AGAIN! – More Portmanteau Words]

Dry January’s over for another year, and so is ‘Tryanuary’ [awful word] – although there’s nothing to stop you carrying on with your exploration of new local drinks. There are always plenty to choose from in Otley’s pubs – and now we’re into ‘FeBREWary’! [Pinched the word, and the picture above, from Beau’s Brewery in Vancleek Hill, Ontario – mid-way between Montreal and Ottawa, so they probably need snowpants a bit more than we do.] Much better word, and a good invitation to carry on trying out real ales from Yorkshire and further afield. Now if anyone has an extremely clever word for March, which encourages or discourages the drinking of beer or any other alcoholic beverage, please do let me know as soon as possible, so we can share with everyone else!




Don’t you just wish they’d make their minds up? One week, there’s a ‘research’ report saying that one glass of red wine a day is better than being teetotal; the next week [last month actually] the Chief Medical Officer says we definitely shouldn’t drink every day, and that there is no such thing as a safe level of drinking. One week, scientists [at the University of Reading] say that drinking one to three glasses of champagne a week [or a day, if you believe Cosmopolitan Magazine, who obviously didn’t read the press release properly!] may counteract the memory loss associated with ageing, and cInvitation Feb 3ould help delay the onset of degenerative brain disorders, such as dementia; the next, there’s someone like Sir Ian Gilmore, formerly Head of the Royal College of Physicians, saying exactly the opposite – that even light or moderate consumption of alcohol increases the risk of dementia in later life.



England’s Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, says new research shows any amount of alcohol can increase the risk of cancer. You’ve probably already seen lots of jokes about people having to remember to lie to their doctor that they drink about 14 units of alcohol a week now, rather than lying about drinking 21 like they used to have to! In reality of course, it’s no laughing matter. Alcohol is a drug that can be misused like any other, and we all know what consistent drug abuse can do to your body. Heavy ‘binge’ drinking can be especially dangerous – in both long- and short-terms, which is why OPC has always recommended sensible and responsible drinking.



It really is true that wine – particularly red wine – does contain several antioxidants, such as quercetin and resveratrol, which may play a part in helping to prevent heart disease and cancer – but primarily for men aged over 40 and post-menopausal women. The high level of phenolic compounds found in champagne can improve spatial memory, by favourably altering a number of proteins linked to the effective storage of memories in the brain.  Many of these are known to be depleted with age, making memory storage less efficient, and leading to poorer memory in old age and conditions such as dementia.  Champagne slows these losses and therefore may help prevent the cognitive losses that occur during typical and atypical brain ageing.

Invitation Feb 2


The 14-unit limit has been chosen because at that point, your drinking leads to a 1% risk of dying from alcohol-related causes. Prof Sir David Spiegelhalter, an expert in understanding risk from the University of Cambridge, said it was important to put the 1% risk in context. He said an hour of TV watching or eating a bacon sandwich a couple of time a week was more dangerous!

“It all seems to come down to what pleasure you get from moderate drinking,” he added.

[Information also taken from the following sites – ]



Living near a pub makes yDick Macks Pub - Dingle Irelandou happier! [No wonder those of us who live in Otley – with its 20 pubs – are so happy!] Recent research by Oxford University [reported here in The Telegraph] found that regulars with a local pub nearby are “significantly” happier, have more friends, better life satisfaction, and actually drink in more moderation. It also apparently showed that social skills improved after a drink [although possibly not after two or more!] This is a serious academic report from the University’s Department of Experimental Psychology, and if you’re interested, the full 61 page report can be found here! (You might get a potential virus warning here, because it’s a .pdf file. It’s on the official CAMRA website though, and I’ve had no problems, but it’s up to you whether you choose to open it!)



February’s meeting will be this Thursday, February 4th in North Bar Social on Bondgate, just round the corner from Kirkgate. As usual, the committee will be meeting first [upstairs] at 19:00 for a 19:15 start, and we always hope to be finished with any formal business by 20:00 so we can have a relaxed drink before moving on to the next pub. This week, that will be The Black Bull [from 20:45] and we’ll move on again to The Horse & Farrier at 21:30.

Everyone is welcome to sit in on the committee meeting itself – and maybe, just maybe, 2016 will be the year when some of you realise that it’s quite good fun thinking up events to support Otley’s pubs, and then seeing them successfully put into effect! We could certainly do with an extra couple of brains and pairs of hands to help us raise our profile even more!


AND FINALLYIMG_20160129_1231253_rewind

Catriona and I visited Riga in Latvia last weekend, where we spent some time in a typical Latvian pub called The Queen, decorated with red phone boxes, London black cabs, Minis with a Union flag painted on the roof – you get the picture. They offered beer tasting trays, like some pubs in this country – the only difference being their tray held four half pints instead of three thirds. That way, you get a proper taste!

And always keep checking our website – at – for more news, and updates on future meetings. Hope to see you this Thursday February 4th [and of course as often as possible in Otley’s pubs!]


Bob Brook

OPC Secretary

01 February 2016

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