Pubpaper 821 – Brighouse Canal and Music Festival

Posted: 23rd August 2015 by santobugtio in Pub Paper, Writing

Brighouse this weekend hosted it’s annual Canal, Beer and Food festival.  This year the festival was bigger and better with three music stages spread around the town, with the festival bar being located by the main stage on the Bethel Street car park.  As well as the three official stages, Jeremys and Millers hosted their own music stages playing throughout the day on Saturday.  The town was packed with people on Saturday despite the heavy rain just after tea time, which cleared for Rugosa to put on a cracking set before hitting later acts Blood Sweat and Beers with a downpour who put on a great set despite the soaking.  It was also nicely busy Sunday afternoon when I popped down for an hour, sadly having to miss the set by Rainey Street Band due to prior commitments.

The music side was organised by Jason Fieldhouse, guitarist with Rugosa and long term bar man at the Commercial / Railway Inn in Brighouse.  Three stages with great acts throughout the day, he deserves the recognition for getting such a good line up sorted despite the usual problems with big festivals of last minute band changes.  His second year of doing the job, things can only get better next year.  The music scene in Brighouse is really thriving at the moment, with 5 or 6 venues around the town hosting regular music nights and you sense there is a real community between them in the area, something which can do no harm at all when running a festival like this locally.

The town’s pubs were all up for the festival as well.  Pubs I rarely visit like the George and Black Bull, both adjacent to official stage were doing great trade watering music fans outside whilst providing wrap around entertainment through the weekend.   Wetherspoons was doing cracking trade in their beer garden when the heavens were not being opened.   Millers and Jeremys were packed throughout the day as their own music offerings kept punters happy.  But the festival beer tent was good value at £3.00 per pints and some good beers.  

The highlight for me was the Anchor Steam Bigleaf Maple, a triple hopped (Nelson Sauvin, Citra, Cascade) with double dry hop (Citra, Cascade) 6% beer.  A lovely rich interesting beer, of which a few were consumed.  The South West Cider was a lovely dry cider which refreshed the palate after a few beers.   Rat Brewery had a very nice 5.6% golden beer #RatCrafted, again with plenty of flavour.  From a lager point of view the Dortmunder Vier was a nice choice and a good beer.  Other beers came from Nook Brewery (Holmfirth), Fernandez (Wakefield), Rat Brewery (Huddersfield), Riverhead (Marsden) and Ossett.    You’ll notice that four of these brewers are all part of the Ossett Brewery empire, but the overall  beer choice and range of styles was nicely balanced to suit all drinkers at the decent price.  The same people have operated the bar for the last two years (as well as for the towns 40’s weekend) and they do a very good job in this aspect.

The food was also good, maybe a little less choice than last year, but between our party we tried 4-5 stalls and all of it was decent grub, including the excellent very hot malaysian curry and some good hot dogs and burgers from the Polish stand in the Bethel Street car park.   Overall the organisers did a great job on this years festival, despite the weathers best attempts and I look forward next years festival.    Our local small towns put on some cracking events, including the Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing Festival coming up soon.  Our pubs contribute to all of these, so sup up and enjoy some great beer.   

On a final note whilst talking about Sowerby Bridge, the new occupants of the Bull’s Head (to be called The Sowerby Taps) are well into their refurb now and it is looking rather good and if the beer selection is as good then the town will have another worthy stop on its real ale trail.   The town has suffered a couple of losses in its pub stock recently so its good to see a reverse.