As the famous George Gershwin song from Porgy and Bess starts “Summertime, and the livin’ is easy”.  The aforementioned season finally made its first showing this weekend and beer gardens ‘cross hill and valley were full of pale legged drinkers.   The tourists were out in force on Sunday in Hebden Bridge and the pubs were making hay while the sun shined.  It is really good to see the town relatively full again despite the number of shops and pubs which haven’t re-opened yet, although drying out should be complete on many premises now and an early summer re-opening should hopefully be on the cards.

1000693I popped into Calan’s Too for a pint after a rather warm walk in from the far end of Mytholmroyd.   Having only just opened for the day, the beer garden was already filled and we retreated to the shade of the empty bar.   Alan and Alyson were delightful as usual and the Fell Brewery Yolo I had was on top form.  Chatting to the two owners, the good news is that they are now allowed to start work on rebuilding their permanent base back in the town centre.   The new bar is being designed to be more flood resistant so when the next one occurs repair turnaround time will be in terms of weeks not months.   The pair have only two weeks left on their temporary licence at Machpelah Mill, those being the last two in May as this coming weekend (13th-15th) the venue is being taken up by the annual folk and roots festival.  The plan is to hopefully open in early June even if it temporarily has to run using a similar setup to their pop up bar for a few weeks.  Like other drinkers who have enjoyed Calans Too there will not be many who complain if that is that case.  My dad who visited with me noted “that normally he’d send a flat beer back but both beers he had were spot on” there.

We did aim to visit the Libertine in Mytholmroyd on the walk back to the car, but we found it at the start of its refurbishment (well, to be honest, the staff firing up the BBQ next to the venue). This is for what I believe is its transition from a pop up bar to a fully licensed micropub.  I look forward to seeing the finished project in a couple of weeks when it should be complete.  We stepped into the Dusty Miller instead, my first time since the December floods.  Still in a state of mid repair, but no worse a venue for it, the pub is running on a drinks only basis.   Four handpumps served a range of decent beers including an Elland and the shade in the side room was more than welcome as well as a good cool beer before we finished off the day’s ramble.   

20160508_200939Later that evening I popped into town for a bite to eat and a few beers with my parents and wife.   As we walked up to Wetherspoons I spotted the statutory notices have gone up at the proposed venue of the new micro pub opposite the bus station.   The application is on behalf of The Pumproom Micropub Ltd to open the AH Micropub.  As I previously mentioned I was chatting to the guy who is behind this venture and the idea sounds interesting.  He is planning to sell a number of his own brewed beers, alongside a range of ciders, spirits and coffee sourced from small independent suppliers.  His aim seems to be to give the customer products you can’t find in many other places.   Just round the corner the Grayson Unity is now being fitted out according to updates on their facebook page and should be open sometime in early summer although no dates have been mentioned yet.    It appears they are going to offer a range of local and regional ales alongside the expected coffee offerings which will be popular during the day given its location opposite the town hall.

Lets look at the new and existing out and out real ale outlets in the town centre.  AH Micropub and Grayson Unity joins Victorian Craft Beer Cafe and Dirty Dicks among  others (I’m only talking pubs in the town centre and not those on the road at the bottom of Halifax town centre).  All of them are offering different things to the ale drinker in small ways.  Of course all offer the mandatory handful of well kept real ales, some of these offering many more.    One is looking to offer small production run products, one is offering a wide range of both keg and cask ales (over 20 taps in total if you count the cider), one is a pure real ale joint with a range of small brewers and bigger ale brands, whilst one is looking to offer local and regional ales alongside a daytime focused offering.  Small differences, but those which make each pub very different to each other.

If variety is the spice of life, then it’s fun to taste it all!