The clocks have gone forward, and we have are having a timely 2 week warm spell, which is destined to end by the time these words get printed.  The spring / summer season has now started officially.  This is marked by a couple of events, first, the launch of a new Pimms marketing campaign, and second the rapid filling up of our pubs’ beer gardens.

My local pub, the Cock and Bottle, has just finished its terrace, and it has a view that is hard to  beat locally.  Sitting atop Beacon Hill, it has an uninterrupted view running down to the valley at its base and scanning left and right a panoramic view from Hipperholme to Hove Edge.  Only fields and farms stand in your way.  It is this time of year where having a local is very much appreciated when you have that hankering for a couple of pints on a saturday tea time or sunday afternoon sitting out in the sun (or rather cloud most of the time in reality).

The changing of the clocks also marks the start of the outdoor climbing in the evening, and I spent Friday evening high up in the Pennines on Pule Hill to the west of Huddersfield, watching the sun set over the hills as we finished our last climb.  After this, the obvious choice is to go for a pint or two, and I did just that.  Taking advantage of the fine beers served at the Red Rooster and the warm evening temperatures in its garden, I had a very pleasurable couple of pints.

The first was “Pint” from Marble Brewery, a beer I have mentioned before, was excellent as always.  The follow on was Toads “Blonde on Blonde”, a golden ale, which was a nice beer (if not spectacular) in its own right, but nowhere near as good as the “Pint”.  The owner of the Red Rooster, Eddie, also has a chain of tenancies across Huddersfield, Bradford and Calderdale.  Locally his empire also includes the Black Bull in Brighouse and one of his latest projects the Barge and Barrel, just up the road at Elland.

In a chance meeting with one of the long term staff there, I was told that a refurbishment of the pub is in the pipeline, but the place has been given a spring clean in the meantime ready for summer.  I’ve no doubt that the quality of ales will keep their previous standards, and it’s good news that the brewery is staying on site as well.  However my personal thinking is that having 3 pubs in such close vicinity is going to cannibalise your own customers unless the offerings are distinctive enough.   The opposite argument that some people will make is that if you are going to lose customers to other pubs, you may as well run that pub as well.

Looking at the three premises, the Rooster is an out and out ale house while the Bull focuses on a mixed food and drink offering, and is less known for the range of real ales.  The Barge and Barrel touches on both of these bases to a large degree with its range of ales and the wide selection of food on offer with its menu.   The distance between Elland and Brighouse may be enough to annul this overlap, but I can’t help but think it will have some effect.

Returning to Pule Hill, I spent a very pleasant afternoon walking above Marsden at Deer Hill Reserviour before dropping down for a couple of drinks at the Carriage House at the foot of said hill over the weekend.  Here I got to try Black Sheeps’ Golden Sheep on tap for the first time, a beer I have tried several times bottled.   Beer always has that edge when freshly pulled and this is no exception, a light cask ale, with more than a hint of its darker brothers in its taste, it would make a very nice session ale.  They also stocked another old favourite in Stowford Press Cider from Westons, a medium dry example of the form, which was the perfect drink to end a warm summers afternoon for me.

Until next week, may I wish you Happy Supping