I know I said this weeks piece was going to be about my Manchester trip, but that is for another week now.
This week is dedicated to the local Micropub sceneand firstly to Alan and Alyson at Calans, which opened its pop up venue this weekend just outside Hebden Bridge in the basement of Macpelah Mill, on the junction with Station Road. They are open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 2pm, closing at 10pm apart from Sunday at 8pm, scheduled until late May / early June when they hope to move back into their original courtyard premises. The bar is a basic as it comes, a couple of tables, a rack of auto tilts, fridges with bottles out back and a cash register. But they are keeping up great range of beers, with 10 ales on when I visited on opening night Friday, down to a mere 8 when I visited again on Sunday afternoon. Craft ciders and wine are also served, but things are kept simple here and is the better for it! Served straight from the cask, the beers are served in great condition and don’t suffer from lack of pump! The beers are what you came to expect before their courtyard premises became a truly “liquid led” venue just after christmas with Vocation, Elland, Bridestones supporting local brewers, and regional brewers such as Abbeydale, Great Heck and Mallinson a solid back up to these beers.
The fixtures do not maketh a pub and this pub proves that perfectly. The original venue was always warm and friendly, although the former could be attributed to the “human” central heating system once it got busy. It’s an oddity that a pub’s pop up venue is actually three times bigger than it’s permanent venue, but they were easily filling the larger venue and a bit more on Friday night, with Sunday showing a still healthy footfall. The two owners garnered a lot of good will in the town and this has been repaid by the customers now. The best of luck to them both in the next few months and if word of mouth continues to spread then it bodes a fine future for the bar in both its venues.
The micro pub scene is booming in the Calderdale region at the moment and just down the road is Libertine in Mythomlroyd, which has been on scene for a bit longer, and is establishing itself as a bit of a magnet for drinkers local and further afield. Although I’ve not had a chance to visit yet, it looked more than full as I drove past on Friday tea time. Based opposite Sainsburys it serves 4 real ales, a nice range of spirits and real ciders. Adjoining the building is an outside cocktail bar and guest street food vendors each weekend. Taking a very different approach to Calans, the benefit being that the building is theirs 24/7 so can be fitted out as they need, whereas Calans are renting an existing commercial space and need to be able to ship out certain weekends, such a the Folk Festival where it is already pre booked. I’m looking forward to visiting Libertine in the next few weeks and giving a review right here, especially if the quality of the bar takeovers continues with Vocation and Northern Monk visiting in recent weeks.
It’s good to see the Calder Valley starting to pick up from the Christmas 2015 floods. Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd now have a Co-op supermarket back and the Mytholmroyd petrol station is re-open, cashpoints are becoming the norm than a rarity in the area. Hebden Bridge is still suffering from a glut of shops being dried out, halogen heaters being ubiquitous in the town, but more and more premises are being opened. Moyles has opened again as a bed and breakfast and although the bar is not open, it’s positive it is running some level of business. Lets hope this summer sees the area restored to it’s previous glory.
I also got talking to a guy who is planning to open another micropub in Halifax town centre later this year on Friday night. I can’t go into too many details as paperwork is still being dealt with but the location will be convenient for public transport users and it will operate as a brew pub for their own beers. Listening to him this should be a really good bar once up and running!
Now for some personal news and this is the last you will hear of this. My cancer is incurable, I’m not going to get any better. I was offered an operation with 20% chance of cure, but would mean me losing the ability to eat, drink or talk. The risk / benefit was not worth it. I’m having palliative treatment to extend my life. As long as I can drink and type I’ll be doing this column. I can’t do any more damage to my body now, so will enjoying my beer even more, happy supping until next week.