I’m sending out this month’s invitation a bit early, so that I can remind everybody that this Saturday, we in The County of the Broad Acres should be celebrating everything that God’s Own County has to offer. In our case that means pubs, and of course as far as the pubs are concerned, that means Yorkshire beers. More about that below, but first . . .




The next OPC meeting, followed by the usual monthly social drinks in pubs around town, doesn’t take place until the following Thursday, August the 6th. It will begin at 8 pm [if we can get the committee to shut up and close their meeting by then!] in THE BAY HORSE, which is on Market Place, opposite the entrance to the market square. It’s not quite as big as some of the other pubs in Otley, so let’s see if we can pack it out next week! In fact you might call it ‘bijou’ (and it is a ‘jewel’ of a town centre pub, with traditional cosy rooms, and some of the cheapest real ales, shorts and sandwiches in town. Guest real ale at £2:00 a pint, anyone? Double vodka & Coke £2:00? Grated cheese and chilli jam sandwiches £1:50? The Bay Horse has them all – PLUS one of the best flower displays in Otley in the ‘beer garden’ in Bay Horse Court. Then at 8:45 we’ll go across the market square, straight on up Newmarket to the end, then turn left and straight on to –


THE ROSE AND CROWN. This is a beautiful early 18th century building, bedecked with flowers, on the corner of Bondgate and Crossgate, just where the X84 from Leeds has to wait to turn into the bus station. So in many ways it epitomises the image of Otley pub culture to visitors staring at it from the top deck. It is just as nice inside, with welcoming traditional pub furniture and fittings. The lunchtime menu is massive, home-cooked, and so popular that the pub is usually fully booked for special meals at Easter, Mothers’ Day and Christmas. Equally popular is the music and cocktails scene it provides into the early hours for a younger audience at weekends. On leaving here at about 9:30, we’ll turn right out of the door, right again down Crossgate to the traffic lights, and right again along Boroughgate. About 100 metres along on the left [just before The White Swan] is –


THE OTLEY TAP HOUSE. The newest pub on the Otley scene, it opened just before the Tour de France came through town almost exactly a year ago, but in that short time it has gathered a large and diverse community of regulars. During the day the customers range from single retired people and their dogs, to parents and toddlers playing with toys and games. At night the feeling of a Continental bar shines through, with parties enjoying wine or the excellent range of real ales and continental lager on offer. The wooden furniture in the single ground floor room adds to the café/wine bar ambience, and there’s a ‘secret’ garden through the rear door.




Committee members attacked the pubs en masse [well, 3 of us] last week, to find out just how many different Yorkshire beers, from how many different Yorkshire breweries, were going to be available in the run-up to Yorkshire Day and on the day itself. Incredibly, in a town with ‘only’ 20 pubs, we discovered at least 33 [we might have missed some!] different brews on tap, from a phenomenal 22 different Yorkshire breweries! These are either all on the bar already, or will be on Yorkshire Day itself – and we didn’t even ask about bottled beers!


The new Town Council has decided to continue the new tradition of celebrating ‘Yorkshire Week’ in Otley – except it stretches to almost 2 whole weeks!  So as the celebration lasts officially from the 27th of July to the 9th of August, you should be able to sample at least one beer from most of the breweries in that time. [As usual, Otley Pub Club encourages only sensible drinking.]




There’s far too much going on for me to mention, so do try to get hold of the leaflet containing all the details of what’s on offer – try Otley Library or the Town Council’s offices in Orchard Gate shopping centre. A few highlights – films at Otley Courthouse include the fabulous film about a Yorkshire mining community ‘Brassed Off’ [06/08]; and ‘Still Alice’ [09/08] about a university lecturer diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. Oscar-winning performance from Julianne Moore, the film is shown in conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Disease Society and Otley Film Society. There are Yorkshire walks by Otley Walkers; plenty for kids at Otley Library, The Whartons and Cross Green; loads of music and sport; and the Zombie Apocalypse Run on August the 8th! Stay alive!!




An increasing number of pubs sell bottled beers now, and one Yorkshire brewery can’t keep up with demand for its strong craft brews. A couple of Southerners who moved to Yorkshire two years ago because of its booming beer scene, and opened Bad Seed Brewery in Malton, have already had to move to new premises so they can treble their capacity. Their core beers are all above 5% abv and include an IPA at 7%. So although they say they brew “Beer that makes you sit up and take notice. Beer that makes you want to sing. Beer that makes you happy to be alive”, I think after a couple of IPAs it would be beer that makes me want to nod off! If you want to try it on a posh day out, they already have a contract to supply Harvey Nicks in Leeds.




[Hope I’m not exceeding my ‘remit’ here . . .] but the brewery is having an open day from 12 til 5 on Yorkshire Day. Link here – I’ll say no more.




OK, I cheated with that headline from a recent Guardian article, which originally said Calderdale, not Yorkshire, but as it’s Yorkshire Day this week, and the area covered by the article isn’t a million miles away from us, I thought I’d pinch it. [And there’s a tiny mention of beer.] Sally is the author of Last Tango in Halifax, and Happy Valley. She grew up in West Yorkshire but says it was only as an adult that she started to truly appreciate the area’s dramatic landscape and cultural heritage (as we all do!). It’s worth a quick read.




You might expect to see our President, local LibDem MP Greg Mulholland, supping a pint in one of Otley’s pubs at the weekend, but it was good to see an MP of a different Political persuasion, from a neighbouring constituency, with a large party in the garden of The Fleece on Saturday evening. I don’t know whether they’d been tempted by The Old Yorkshire Pit barbecue, or just recognised that Otley’s pubs are worth travelling ‘over the border’ for. Either way, they looked as though they were all enjoying themselves – and so they should!




Even those Brewdog punks realise how good Yorkshire Ale is! This Friday night, July 31st, they will be showcasing Ilkley Brewery beers at the BrewDog Bar Clapham Junction. There will be 5 Ilkley beers on tap from 6pm onwards, so if you find yourself in that benighted city through no fault of your own, and you fancy a proper pint, you know where to go!




Hope to see you NEXT Thursday AUGUST 6TH [and during Yorkshire weeks!]


Bob Brook

OPC Secretary

28 July 2015

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