This week’s article was planned to be a two legged affair.   Of course unlike Leicester City’s closing down on the Premier League title, which seems to be all one way at the moment with their rivals shooting themselves in the food and the awesome Jamie Vardy providing or scoring week after week.   As a very long term Leicester City fan and Halifax resident, it’s a double pride to see him doing so well week after week and look forward to seeing him kick European ass over the summer if Roy Hodgson sees any sense at all.

The home leg is always the one you want second, but here we want to go first, I’m not going to go on about my situation apart from things are not going to plan at all and some major life defining decisions are to be made before next week’s article.  Back to the beer, I had some really good visits to all of my favourite pubs over the last week.  The Cross Keys at Siddal, Market Tavern in Brighouse and Victorian Craft Beer Cafe in Halifax.   Starting with the newest venue, the Market Tavern is still not disappointing after 6 weeks, gaining all the right clientele from the town whilst dissuading those who should be drinking not too far away to stay there!  

12605344_513063148855467_676815325668198535_oA great range of beer is being well kept on every visit to the Market Tavern I make, a trip I try to make at least once a week.  My youngest daughter made her debut there this weekend and we could not have been made more welcome by Deb’s, something which keeps me coming back again and again.  Her and Snap have really opened up the Brighouse Real Ale scene again and become a fixture in very short time, if you have not visited then please do and support this small business.   If the demise of the “old” pub nearby even helped in their decision in opening the Market Tavern in the slightest, then it is no bad thing at all and has done the town a whole world of good.  A steady trade from mid afternoon to evening is testament to that.

12594_454082087988269_2110884420_nMoving onto the Cross Keys, this place has become a constant in my life through thick and thin.  I’ve known Hugh and Ruth for over three years now and you exactly what to get from them and that is honesty, something critical if you write in print.  However this extends to their attitude to the beer, which is as good as you will find in any pub in the country, if you are happy with a beer, but they sense it is going off, it is pulled off the bar and the pint quite literally pulled out of your hand!   For their regulars they are friends and that is how a pub should should be as a town or area local, these are model pubs in their field, as is the Victorian Craft Beer Cafe in a different way.

bar-areaThe Victorian Craft Beer Cafe caters to a very different crowd (although there is audience undoubted cross over between here and the other two pubs) and has to balance the need of the cask drinkers to that of their keg counterparts and numbers are king in this.  8 cask pumps and 10 keg pumps give plenty of choice, the bottle bar is hard to beat locally and it is good to see the return of Simon from his extended trip to Thailand and his extensive sampling of their craft beer scene.  I was chilling here on a Sunday afternoon with some nice live music over a couple of nice pale beers I’d not tried before with good friends and there are few other places I’d rather have been, the others mentioned being among that list.

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Illustration by Tom Scotcher

Now for a minor rant! The common element between all of these places is the acceptance of well behaved families. I’m one of those people who do not support access to pubs for all children at all times, but as a parent I do support access to families who know how to behave in a pub and teach their children the same, at the right times of day.  A pub is an adult environment and if your child can’t behave then don’t bring them along, just get a babysitter and enjoy it yourselves as adults.  I was at a “family chain” the other week and on the table next to me was a child playing with one of the large balloons on an elastic string, it came onto our table full of drinks and subsequently food twice, the child got told in no uncertain terms to keep his balloon under control else it might not survive a third visit, much to the disapproval of the parents.

I was going to detail my trip to Manchester, but as I’ve ran out of space, that’s for next week!  Happy supping to you all.