We held our [over-running, as usual] committee meeting up at The Royalty this month, but still had time to have a ‘crowd’ photo taken in the middle of Yorkgate, with the pub in the background looking good at 100 years [and more] old. On the centenary of it gaining its first licence as a ‘beerhouse’, we dodged traffic that would have been impossible to imagine way back then, while trying to get the best shot! I don’t like to embed photos in emails, and last time I sent out the Newsletter as an attached Word docx, several people told me they were unable to open it. So I’m afraid you’ll have to look for the picture on our website [once it’s posted!]



Yes, I know The Black Horse is a lot older than just one year, but it did re-open in time for Le Tour last July after a pretty iffy few years and being closed for a few months. I went down and had a pint on behalf of all of you (it’s a hard job . . .) and wished them a ‘joyeux anniversaire’. They may well be having some sort of formal party soon – to celebrate their ‘proper’ anniversary [when everything was completed to their satisfaction], and if they do, you can be sure I’ll let you know.

Otley Tap House definitely only opened for the first time a year ago – so I went down and had a pint with them too!! [You really need to help me out here – sitting in that suntrap back garden with a cool pint of Hobgoblin Gold was a pleasure I would happily have shared!]


Fabulous weather [on the whole – the odd thunderstorm notwithstanding] and brilliant Morris Dancers, Music and more, made the week a great success. Kicking off with the 4 pubs walk and finishing with the Grand Finale in The Manor House, the Festival made the most of Otley’s pub resources and sent hundreds of walkers home feeling very happy. Many thanks to all of the pubs who provided welcome rest and refreshment for weary walkers, or a venue for the entertainment on offer. Special thanks to Eileen and David at The Manor House for their hospitality and sandwiches on a very busy Sunday for them at the end of the Festival.



Coming up this Sunday, July 12, from 10-o-clock til 4, is Otley’s third annual Food and Drink Festival. There will be a wonderful array of over 50 stalls selling good quality, locally sourced products and a full programme of events including a cookery theatre with demonstrations by local chefs. Throughout the day there will also be food and wine tastings, local breweries, live music and entertainment and much, much more. A ‘tasty’ day for all the family, so come along and join in the fun! [More information on the Visit Otley website.]

And while you are here, don’t forget to sample the fine array of food and drink ALWAYS on offer in Otley’s pubs. I hope the weather’s fine so you can enjoy the Festival to the full, but if it turns cold and wet you’ll always find a welcome in one of our many fine hostelries!


I mentioned in the last social invitation that there is now a ‘teabag’ that you can add to cheap draught to make it taste like craft beer. Well, I’ve been told by one of our members, that a decade or two ago in France it was the practice to add an orange bitter aperitif called ‘Picon Amer’ to cheap Eurofizz lager to make it palatable. I don’t think you can buy Amer any longer [unless you want to pay £299 for a bottle from the 1940s from The Whisky Exchange], but the same website has four other Picon varieties if you want to try them!


If you’re having trouble getting to sleep at night, you might want to dip into this long article about how cheap big brand beers are old hat, and everyone should be drinking much more expensive individual craft beers, served at the table, by a sommelier who can discuss the taste and the ingredients with the ‘guest’. I wonder if anyone has actually asked the ‘beer tribes’ in Britain what they really want? I would guess the top answer would NOT be Peroni between £5 and £6 a pint, or a true Belgian bar experience . . . !



Proposed powers would give football club supporters’ groups the right to be first and preferred bidders if club owner decides to sell or if it faces closure, according to an article in the Guardian. Unfortunately this proposal is only in Scotland at the moment, but would give supporters’ groups the right to become the first and preferred bidders if the owner of their club decides to sell or the club is facing closure after a financial collapse. One possible, far-reaching option ministers could also consider goes much further than the English powers to protect Assets of Community Value. It would be to give fans’ groups the legal right to put in a bid even if the club is not up for sale – a power already in force in Scotland for tenants of rural estates. [With LUFC facing yet another demand for sanctions – this time from the PFA – that proposal might be of interest to Russell Crowe if it were ever introduced in England!]


Dark Star Brewery in Sussex set up a scheme to coincide with NHS Blood week from 8 – 14 June, where blood donors were rewarded with a free drink after they had given blood. The scheme was so successful in raising awareness, that the Brewery extended it to the end of the month. If people were concerned about drinking immediately after giving blood, they could wait a few days before collecting their reward – either draught or bottled – direct from the brewery. [Although, going back to Scotland again, I’m sure they used to offer Guinness alongside the tea and coffee at blood donor sessions up there sometime last century. Can anyone confirm that?]

Anyway – what a great idea! I wonder if we could persuade any local brewers to take it up? I know there are always questions [and eyebrows] raised whenever health and beer are juxtaposed, but it’s really important to get as many people as possible giving blood. As Dark Star found out, a scheme like this is more about raising awareness [with thousands seeing it on social media] than it is about giving away beer. You can see their Facebook page here.


If you’ve been on trend over the past year or so, you might have been using a mobile phone App called ‘Flypay’ to order and pay for your meals when eating out. You have to pre-register a credit card, and scan QR codes, but it means you don’t have to catch the eye of a waiter to bring you a bill, and you can even share the cost of the meal with your mates. Now, according to an article in the Publican’s Morning Advertiser, that technology is being introduced for bar tabs as well. It replaces the old idea of leaving a credit card behind the bar, and is being trialled in conjunction with the London Brewery, Fuller’s. Don’t know about you, but I prefer to have a visual check of how much is left in my pocket, but this certainly sounds an efficient way of not having to worry about carrying cards or cash on your nights out.


Now this idea I do like! Performances of Romeo and Juliet in pub gardens throughout July and August, by the touring drama group Permanently Bard [geddit?]. Fuller’s [again – they seem to be pretty dynamic in promoting and diversifying their offers] are collaborating with the group for the 4th year, and are offering the play in a dozen pub gardens in August and September. But is it something you would pay £15 for, and how many landlords would want to deny their beer garden to their regular and passing trade – even if only for one sunny afternoon in Summer? Maybe it’s something I’ll talk to Otley landlords about – with a view to trying something similar next Summer. Let me know if you’d be interested – in Shakespeare, or maybe other [possibly cheaper] live beer garden entertainment.


If you’ve always wanted to run a pub, but were too scared, or poor, [or sensible?] to drop everything and give it a try, you can now experience all the necessary planning, management, and risk taking with an app for the iPhone or iPad. Features also include extensions to the pub; staff choices; stock development; and event management. You can buy it here on iTunes .  Knock yourself out!


Way back in May, I told you our minutes secretary, Catriona, would be walking the 25 miles over Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough in June, in support of the Yorkshire Cancer Centre at St James’ Institute of Oncology [Jimmy’s] in Leeds. Well she did complete it, in well under the 12 hours allowed, and earned about £250 for the YCC in the process.


You might remember my telling you about the Carlton Tavern in Kilburn, which was demolished without warning over one weekend, and which Westminster Council ordered to be rebuilt brick by brick. Now The Alchemist in a conservation area in Wandsworth has suffered the same fate, and the owners could face the same punishment, according to the PMA. No doubt the spiralling cost of property and land in London is convincing property developers that the risk is worth taking, in view of the huge potential profits. There’s always the chance that the local Council won’t have the finance, or the will, to pursue a case against the developers, who will no doubt be only too willing to pay a large fine in the hope of making millions.


Thornbridge Brewery and Waitrose supermarket are offering home brewers a chance to join the craft beer revolution. Enter this competition for a chance to have your home brew brewed by Thornbridge, and put on sale in Waitrose stores.  But hurry, competition closes at the end of July!

– – / / – – / / – – / / – –


Remember that not every pub has special events on every week, and it would be unfair to expect them to. Some have a quiz on the same night every week, some have a DJ, others have drinks promotions one day a week, and so on. They’re quite happy with that, and so they should be – and all those regular events are on the OPC website. So, because I was overworked and under-resourced this week, I had to just email everyone to see what EXTRA – special events they might have on. Trouble is, landlords are the busiest people in the world, so it’s not surprising that I didn’t get (m)any responses! At least this means you have the opportunity to have a bit of a pub crawl around Otley and see what’s happening for yourself! [And watch out for my next social invitation in 3 weeks, to see if there’s more news!]


Sat 25 July – Pop-up ‘Authentic American BBQ Experience, with a twist of Yorkshire’. With http://www.theoldyorkshirepit.com/, and see more at https://www.facebook.com/fleece.otley There might be tickets left if you’re lucky – and you can eat either outside or inside, depending on the weather!


[How about this for a response?]

Ey Up Lad, it’s Yorkshire Week!
Sat Aug 1st free Roast Beef and Yorkshire Puds while stocks last, raffle in Aid of Yorkshire Air Ambulance
Evening Live music Wang Dang Doodle (to be confirmed)
Sun 2nd 4-6pm live music Glen Folk followed by Malcolm Devereux giving beard grooming tips!
Mon 3rd Happy Monday’s cask ale from £2:30 Key Quest free Yorkshire Tapas
Tues 4th Live Music Bull Frog Jones
Wed Quiz Night 6 Yorkshire themed prizes at least 6! . . . and free food!
Thurs 5th meet the brewer Timothy Taylor’s free tasting evening with free food – again!
Fri 6th Whisky tasting evening an opportunity to taste Wharfedales widest selection of quality whiskies at reduced prices and the chance to purchase these at wholesale prices.
Sat 6th live music Bar Code Zebras (to be confirmed).
See thee!


Sat 11/07 – AMY METCALFE, Dynamic young female vocalist

Fri 17/07 – PAUL STEWART, Powerhouse male artiste

Sat 18/07 – ELLI JO, Fabulous female vocal from Stockport

Fri 24/07 – BONNIE, Highly entertaining female vocalist

Sat 25/07 – JOHNNY MARTELL, Award winning vocal entertainer

Fri 31/07 – BEEBI DEL, Top class female singing star

– – / / – – / / – – / / – –


That’s all for now – with the usual apologies for things I’ve missed or misrepresented, and thanks as usual to everyone for giving me their time and information.

And don’t forget – if you no longer want to receive these newsletters and any other correspondence from Otley Pub Club, just email the return address. All your details will then be removed from all my records – it will be as though you never existed (to us)! Likewise, if I get three newsletter non-delivery reports for the same reason of email failure each month, I will delete all your records as well. So if you suddenly stop hearing from me but you still want to be a member, something’s gone wrong! Just send an email to this address, or via the website and I’ll put you back on the mailing list. Thanks!


Bob Brook

OPC Secretary

10 July 20145

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