Welcome to our news Blog. Sadly CalderCask readers have been waiting since last August for the next edition. Our publishers seem to have had difficulty in meeting deadlines so, reluctantly we are looking for other avenues to publish news, social outings, award presentations as well as details of upcoming beer festivals. It would be interesting to see what you would like to see so please send in your feedback.
First of all the branch would like to thank Andy Grant who took over as editor of Caldercask 15 months ago and worked extremely hard to produce a well written dynamic series of magazines.
Branch AGM Postponed
Regular attendees at our Branch Meetings were caught out when it transpired that the Branch AGM hadn’t been advertised correctly. A fusilade of e-mails then ensued and the Branch AGM will be held at the Blind Pig on Thursday 11th May at 8.00pm.
Branch Committee Resignations
The branch reluctantly accepted the resignations of two long standing officers. CalderCask Editor and Publicity Officer Andy Grant stepped down in January. He was closely followed by Allan Whitehead who had been the Branch Communications officer and Contact.
Fortunately neither have stepped away from the branch and will be active and instrumental in planning for the 2017 Beer & Cider Festival.
This is a section where we can put articles about many of the pubs that are in our branch area. If you have an idea for an article please get in touch.
A Pair of Local(e) Gems
by Andy Grant
The Halifax & Calderdale branch of CAMRA has sometimes been criticised in the past – and not without justification – for highlighting busy town centre pubs at the expense of our local area’s more far-flung and sometimes less-visited rural inns. This little article is an attempt to rectify that situation by describing two excellent pubs “on the tops” above Hebden Bridge, which are easy to reach by public transport and don’t always get the recognition that they deserve.
The two pubs have several things in common: both started life as farmhouses in the 17th century, but were gradually extended and licensed in the 19th century to become, firstly alehouses, and eventually fully-fledged inns. Both have a regular seven-days-a-week bus service stopping right outside the door until late in the evening, but are also surrounded by a dense network of public footpaths and bridleways, should you prefer to earn your pint by a little physical exercise en route. Both pubs qualify for CAMRA’s “LocAle” accreditation by selling beers brewed within a radius of 25 miles from their location. And…..finally: Both pubs are Cask Marque accredited for the quality of their beer.
The first pub is the wonderfully-named New Delight at Jack Bridge, near Colden, on the Heptonstall to Blackshaw Head road. Now a family-owned free house run by Ben and Bea Tasker, it has had several owners over the years, including Dutton’s and Mansfield Breweries. It must have been very busy when Colden Mill, across the road, was in full production; but the mill is long gone, the adjacent dyeworks has been converted into private houses and most of today’s customers are farmers, walkers, campers and locals from the surrounding moorland hamlets. Ben is the brother of Dan Tasker, Head Brewer at the nearby Bridestones Brewery and the pub acts as the brewery tap. On entering the front door, you can either turn left into what is, in effect, the locals’ bar, or turn right into the slightly more comfortably appointed lounge area. The bar occupies a square space in between these two rooms, with two pumps on one side and three on the other, and then there are two further rooms to the rear, one of which has a pool table. The other back room is sometimes used for live bands at weekends. Both the front rooms are warmed by real fires in winter and are comfortably furnished with a selection of local photos and artworks on the walls.
There are five handpumps on the bar, serving two Bridestones beers – usually Sandstone and Pennine Gold – Thwaites’ (now Marston’s!) Wainwright and two guest beers, which are often, but not always, from the Marston’s range. All the beers are very reasonably priced, as is the range of good, wholesome, home-cooked meals (including vegetarian options). The pub is only half-a-mile from the Pennine Way and welcomes walkers with muddy boots, dogs and well-behaved children. The pub also now owns the adjacent camping site, which is very popular in the warmer months. At this time of year the pub keeps winter hours, which are 5 – 10 pm (food till 8) Monday – Thursday, 2 pm – midnight Friday (food 5 – 8), 12 – 11pm (food till 8) Saturday and 12 – 10 pm (food till 8) Sunday. The postal address is HX7 7HT, the grid reference is SD 962282 and the phone number is 01422 846178. The TLC 596 bus route from Hebden Bridge Station to Blackshaw Head stops right outside the door and takes about 17 minutes from the town centre. Do pay this lovely country pub a visit – you will be assured of a warm welcome from Ben and the team.
The second pub is the Hare & Hounds at Wadsworth, a few hundred yards East of Old Town and known locally as the “Lane Ends”, owing to the fact that it is situated at the junction of Lane Ends Lane, Billy Lane and Nook Lane. This is a Timothy Taylor tied tenancy held by Dave Hill and his wife Jeanette. Dave has a very particular sense of humour and is a stickler for detail – especially when it comes to cellar work – and his beers are always in immaculate condition. He and Jeanette also make a point of greeting and acknowledging every customer, be they regulars or visitors, when they arrive and depart – making for a very welcoming pub indeed. This pub also started life as a farmhouse in the mid-17th century – this time a long laithe-style building with the house and barn in line, known as Lane Ends Farm. According to the 1841 census it had an ale licence, whereas the nearby Mount Skip (now a guest house) was only licensed to serve wines and spirits. By 1858 – coincidentally the year in which current owner Timothy Taylor’s brewery was founded – it was marked on the Ordnance Survey map as the “Hare & Hounds Inn”. Like the New Delight, this pub also once slaked the thirst of large numbers of mill workers; this time from the nearby Acre Mill – which became notorious after the second world war for one of the worst industrial illness scandals ever after having been turned over to the production of asbestos for gas masks.
The pub is situated at about a thousand feet above sea level and commands wide-ranging views across the Calderdale landscape. The entrance leads directly into the front lounge, with tables and chairs for diners, bare stone walls, an original stone fireplace, paintings by local artists and an old “clocking-in” machine. To the left is the pool room, which contains more paintings – all of which are for sale. The bright, modern bar faces a separate seating area with a door leading out to the patio and its excellent views – where you can enjoy the antics of the pub’s rare-breed pigs and free range hens. Beyond the bar is a second lounge/dining room with another old stone fireplace.
Five handpumps dispense the full range of Timothy Taylor ales – Golden Best, Boltmaker, Landlord, Dark Mild and Ram Tam – the latter being replaced by one of the brewery’s limited special beers during the Summer months (“Le Champion” for the last couple of years). The pub is also a rare local outlet for bottled “Aecht Schlenkerler Rauchbier”, the fabulous dark smoked beer from Bamberg in Bavaria – an acquired taste but, in my opinion, one well worth acquiring! As a Taylor’s tenant, Dave will be able to obtain limited edition beers from the new micro-brewery which is currently being developed at Ingrow.
An excellent range of food is served, including both meat and vegetarian Sunday roasts. Head Chef Jane Crawford spent some time in Kerala, Southern India, and has created a unique curry menu from that region. Tuesday evening is curry night, when you can have a curry and a pint for £8.50, although the curry menu is also available whenever food is being served. Opening hours are 6 – 11 pm (food till 9) Mondays to Fridays and 12 – 11 (food till 9) Saturdays & Sundays. Quiz night is Thursday. Children and well-behaved dogs are welcome and toys and games are provided to keep the apprentice drinkers amused – should they not get Dave’s sense of humour!
Like the New Delight, the Lane Ends can be reached on foot from a number of different directions but, whichever route you take, the walk from Hebden is a pretty, but relentless, uphill slog. For the less energetic, the TLC 595 bus route from Hebden Bridge station to Crimsworth via Old Town stops outside the door every half hour on weekdays and hourly in the evening (when it changes to 594) and on Sundays. The postcode is HX7 8TN, the grid reference is SE 005280 and the phone number is 01422 842671. Their website is www [dot] hareandhounds [at] me [dot] uk and e-mail: info [at] hareandhounds [dot] me [dot] uk Good value bed & breakfast accommodation is also available. This is another excellent rural pub which can be highly recommended and where you will receive a very warm welcome.
Pub of The Year
We are delighted to announce the Pub of the Year Award for 2017. Once again strong candidates made it a difficult choice but I’m sure you would agree that The Cross Keys, Siddal make a deserving winner. Not just the well kept beer, the atmosphere created by Hugh and Ruth have kept customers returning again and again. Despite the fact that it is away from the centre of Halifax the pub seems to have the right mix to attract customers from far and wide. The presentation took place on Wednesday 29th March at 8.00pm.
There are a couple of pictures from the event here:
This section will highlight articles and news about our breweries beginning with one that was scheduled to appear in our CalderCask in October 2016 which was delayed due to publishing difficulties. We apologise to all of our supporters and advertisers for this delay including Elland.
An Interview with Steve Francis, the new Managing Director at Elland Brewery
by Graham Pitts.
It has been a hectic few months since Steve Francis joined the Elland team as the new MD, taking over the reins from Dickie, Andy, Mark and Fiona. Talks had been underway for some time about taking a majority share in the brewery. The former directors had pulled Elland back from the brink of financial disaster and settled the ship, steering the brewery through the great time when 1872 Porter won the Supreme Champion Beer of Britain in 2013 but, being based in Peterborough, the next step was proving to be logistically difficult. Dickie and the board wanted to ensure the long term future of the brewery, so only the right stewardship would do. There had been other suitors over the years and there had been numerous conversations with people who had a great desire to run their own brewery but, having invested so much time, enthusiasm and energy into making Elland into what it is today, the board wanted to find someone who respected the heritage but could take the brewery forward in the right way…..and that’s where Steve came in:
“I have the highest respect for Elland Brewery and for what the team had achieved. As a local – well fairly local (I live in Hebden Bridge), I have drunk and enjoyed Elland’s beers for many years and I know that they go well in several establishments that I frequent; so when an opportunity arose to invest in the brewery I jumped at the chance. What I saw in Elland was a well-established and well-respected brewery producing a great range of beers that was ready and able to move forward and just required some leadership and resources that I thought I was well-placed to offer.
I believe that the team are doing a great job and, with improvements in our kit and some tweaks to the way we go about our craft, we can move on to even greater things. It is not my intention to be involved too much in the development of our beer range as our head brewer does a brilliant job of that. I believe that what I can bring to the party is my experience, gained in food manufacture, of business expansion, project management and developing and leading teams to achieve significant growth.
I’m genuinely excited about the future and about the opportunities that I see ahead of us as we move into the next chapter of the Elland Brewery story”.
So the first four months have been hectic, at times frantic, but always interesting. There are many things to do: In the short term, Steve is focussing on getting the brewhouse fit for purpose, starting with the brew kit we use every day, making sure we’re compliant with the latest legislation and brewing the best beer we possibly can. The next stage is getting bigger kit, doubling the volumes we can produce and expanding our horizons across Europe and beyond. We already sell our beers in Scandanavia and there’s a clamour for the Porter across the Pond. However, like all the best things in life, doing it right and doing it brilliantly is better than doing it quickly. That’s the philosophy here at any rate.
The Man in the Orange Jacket
Another section from our Social Secretary Roger Bentley currently awaiting a report from the trip to Newark