Although the pub only opened relatively recently, Dirty Dicks Food and Ale Emporium is rapidly becoming my favourite pub in Halifax, overtaking the excellent Ring O’Bells.  I visited for the 3rd time last Tuesday to meet a mutual friend of mine and the editors on a flying visit to the country.  The pub was nicely busy for a Tuesday night and seems to be attracting a crowd ranging across the ages.  However I must mention my beer for the evening, Phoenix Brewery West Coast IPA, a lovely rich tasting hoppy pale beer from just outside Rochdale.  This has jumped straight into my top 5 beers this year.  I normally try to sample as many beers as possible when going to a good ale pub, this time I wasn’t even tempted to change brew.

However at the Ring O’Bells I did sample my first brew from the new Slightly Foxed Brewery based in Sowerby Bridge at the weekend.  The ale is a good one, citrus flavoured and very drinkable, but I felt it needed a bit more “interest” to the flavour, the tasting notes mention 3 american hops in the recipe, they didn’t punch their weight in this brew.

Slightly outside the district boundaries is the Riverhead Brewery Tap in Marsden, which sits next to the river running through the centre of the town.  Due to our climbing session at nearby Pule Hill being prematurely finished by the glorious summer rain, me and a friend retreated to this establishment, and both of us were impressed.  5 own brews and 4 other beers make an excellent beer selection at this Ossett Breweries Hostelry. I sampled the Butterfly Bitter and Goldcrest, both good beers, but the latter was the better, being a 4% pale hoppy beer with citrus undertones which always seems to hit the spot with me.  My fellow drinker tried one of their milds and was equally impressed.  Upstairs is a restaurant which has a very good reputation.

Although happening a few weeks ago, I’ve not had space to mention my visit to the Standard of Freedom in Skircoat Green.  A pub I never would have considered visiting, but for including it on a pub walk I was writing for another publication.  The pub is compact and cosy, but has a great view from the back windows overlooking Copley.  The beers are all “standard” real ales including Timothy Taylor and Black Sheep as well as that famous “Yorkshire” brew Tetleys Cask.  On my visit the beers appeared well kept and my Black Sheep tasted like a good one should.  Although not a pub you would make a trip out for, its one to keep in mind if in the area.

Also not mentioned due to space was a flying visit to the newly opened Shoulder of Mutton in Hebden Bridge, now managed under Eddie from the Red Rooster.   The pub hasn’t changed much since my last visit, but I suspect a spring clean and a touch of redecorating has taken place.  The beers are the usual suspect with 3 ale pumps serving more mainstream brands on this occasion, although 1 was off at the time.  I can’t comment on the ale as I was in the mood for a lager that day, but it’s proximity to the main square and the ability to take your drinks outside and watch the kids in the said square will mean a probable repeat visit when it is busier, as a Thursday afternoon is not the best time to judge a business.

This week is rapidly turning into tour of the areas pubs, and I see no reason not to continue this.  My local pub, the Cock and Bottle at Bank Top got a new beer in the last few weeks, after an extended period of the same brews being offered, all of which were popular with the regulars.  The beer in question is Castle Rock Harvest Pale from Nottingham, and what an excellent beer it is, golden coloured, full of flavour and nicely hinted in the hops.  This beer has usurped Silver King as my regular drink as long as it stays on the pump.  This beer won the Champion Beer of Britain at the Great British Beer Festival last summer, and is a justified winner as far as I am concerned.

Until next week happy supping and a hello to the editor from the mutual friend from across the pond.

  1. Rep says:

    Hi, Gloria.
    Didn’t know you were such an enthusiast.
    Thought geeks lived on pop tarts and Red Bull.