I’d like to start this weeks article with a big thanks to Darren and the team up at the Sportsman, Ploughcroft (http://www.ridehalifax.co.uk) over the bank holiday weekend.   I’ve just entered my 5th decade and they did a great job of hosting my 40th birthday party on the Saturday afternoon and evening.  The food and service was as expected from the pub and they made sure everyone had a great time.   It is times like these when the pub is king for celebrating, there is no better place and you have to make the most of these times with friends and family surrounding you.  Although I think the everlasting glass of Glenlivet Single Malt I seemed to own on the day won’t be seeing the light again for a while.

The same weekend I also had a chance to chill out at the Upper George in Halifax for the first time in years on a weekend night as usually a daytime visitor.  I said last week it hasn’t changed in 18 years and nothing could be closer to the truth bar the change in TV technology, some reupholstering and new carpet.  Frankly half of the customers went there 18 years ago as well.   The 3 rooms surrounding the island which are the 2 bars makes it feel like the proper pub it is, there has been no move to create a better flow for customers or more room (and when crowded is guaranteed to block up at some point, especially when a band is in the back corner).  The brands may have changed on the bar, but I like the place for keeping to its honest rock pub roots and honest goes a long way for me.  The stage outside on the night hosting two local bands Rugosa and Eyes Wide Twenty utilised the open courtyard well and both bands put on a great show.

I also popped into the Victorian Craft Beer Cafe in Halifax on the way home from the George and was very impressed by the selection of beer on offer, although even by Friday night some of the more popular ales had ran off already.   The Vocation Brewery Chop and Change Motueka was spot on I had there, but sadly the final orders bell beat me to a second pint.  But Simon put on a great range of beers (and 12 ciders) and next festival, I’ll be down there for longer.  Whilst talking about Vocation Brewery (http://www.vocationbrewery.com), based in Cragg Vale.  I’ve now had a chance to try all 6 of their launch beers and all without exception are cracking ales, full of taste, interesting, good aftertaste, everything I want in an ale.  Bread and Butter, Heart and Soul, Pride and Joy, Divide and Conquer, Life and Death, along with the 2-3 varieties of Chop and Change single hop beer all beers I’d be happy to drink all day.  It’ll be interesting to see what they do as they expand their range.

As I said last week in this column I’ve been doing this for nearly 5 years and only missed one issue in this time.  Later this year I’m going to have to take a 3 month break from writing this column weekly, probably starting in the last 2 months of 2015.  We’ll be mixing guest columnists pieces with my own contributions to keep you entertained.  The reason for this is that I’ll be not drinking or going to the pub full stop.  This is due to myself going through chemotherapy and radiotherapy for Tonsil and Lymph Gland Cancer.  As part of the side effects of radiotherapy, it severely affects the ability to swallow in the later stages of treatment and early stages of recovery (requiring a peg feed to get enough nutrition), the other reason is I’m going to lose my sense of taste for 3 or 4 months around the same time, making drinking beer rather pointless unless you drink Fosters when it will make no difference to the experience.    For someone who’s main pleasures in life are good beer and good food, it’s probably the worse place to get it, so all you local brewers, can you please hold off your good beers until Spring 2016 please.

People have a go at the NHS, but I can’t fault them and the McMillan Cancer Nurses in how quickly I’ve been treated and fast tracked into treatment as well as their fantastic support.   There are many things which make Britain great, fantastic beer and national health care are some of the best things.  You don’t really appreciate them until you really need it or are deprived of it.

  1. Curmudgeon says:

    Very sorry to hear about that – let’s hope everything works out fine for you and your sense of taste comes back.



  2. Jolly Jock says:

    All the best for the treatment, bit of an excessive way to make Fosters acceptable though 😉

  3. santobugtio says:

    Thanks for the support….gonna be weird being off the beer for 4 to 5 months

  4. Fergy says:

    Hello there.

    first and foremost, the very best of luck with your forthcoming treatment and I do hope everything goes well for you. It will certainly be a nuisance not being able to drink beer or taste decent grub but obviously it is all for the good eventually.

    I visited Halifax and Calderdale for a week and just returned to London a few days ago. The first pub / hotel I visited and where I stayed in Halifax was the Old Post Office and it was there that I came upon your excellent publication. As luck would have it I had literally just finished the edition on display when a chap came in delivering the new edition (afternoon of 3rd September, was that you?) I rapidly devoured this as well and got some great tips for places to visit. Very well done on an extremely interesting and informative read.

    I should add that it was my first visit to the area and I hope it will not be my last. I found some great pubs, some interesting brews (I am normally a cider man but I do like beer now and again) and some very friendly people, both staff and punters.

    It is still work in progress but I contribute to a travel website called Virtual Tourist (as shown) and my various pages there shall certainly be extolling the virtues of your fine venture here.

    Keep up the good work and, again, good luck with the treatment.

    • santobugtio says:

      Thank you for your kind words regarding writing and my treatment.

      A man named Stuart runs the magazine, I’ve been a contributor for 4 years now.

      Plenty of good ciders pubs in the area for you as well.