07 January 2013

Huddersfield, Batley & Leeds visit

Harold Wilson strides away from Huddersfield Railway Station
With frequent train services from an impressive railway station and a Premier Inn situated next to the canal,
View of Huddersfield Broad Canal from Premier Inn (Annexe)
 Huddersfield was chosen as the weekend base from which to visit some excellent local pubs in West Yorkshire.
FRIDAY - THE TAPROOM, BATLEY
Friday was mainly spent in the car with a long drive in the rain from Newbury to Huddersfield. In the evening we caught the train from Huddersfield to Batley and from there walked to the Taproom, Batley along
Station Road, Batley
cobbled streets lined with impressive stone buildings that were once showrooms for the local 'shoddy' manufacturers.  Just past the Union Rooms, a JD Wetherspoon pub, we reached the Taproom in
The Taproom, Batley
  
Commercial Street, Batley. This pub was once the Wilton Arms but has been renamed since Chris Berry took over in May, 2012. Chris donated the old pub sign to local pub historian, Rod Kay.
Chris Berry, Landlord of the Taproom, Batley
There are two main rooms in the pub and there are handpumps in both rooms providing a good range of ales, mainly from Yorkshire. A blackboard lists all the beers available in both rooms.
Ossett Yorkshire Blonde (3.9% ABV), Timothy Taylor Landlord (4.3% ABV) and Theakston's Old Peculier (5.6%) are the regular beers with several guest ales also available. Live music is featured in the music room on Friday and Saturday nights.
The stage was just big enough to fit 'The Downfall Band' when they played at the Taproom on the Saturday night.
The Downfall Band
For more details of the Taproom, Batley - http://www.taproombatley.com/ 
Twitter: @TaproomBatley Taproom Batley

SATURDAY (1) - THE GROVE, HUDDERSFIELD (1ST VISIT)
Turnbridge lift bridge (Locomotive bridge) over Huddersfield Broad Canal
 The sun came out on Saturday and there was even a rainbow. A good morning for a walk along Huddersfield Broad Canal and a visit to Huddersfield market in the town's Victorian Quarter. A bonus was live music from Frumptarn Guggenband.
Frumptarn Guggenband

An unusual pub sign is sited on the roof of the Boy and Barrel Inn in Beast Market. Irene Morris played piano in the pub every Tuesday evening from 1981 until 2006. 
Boy and Barrel Inn, Beast Market, Huddersfield.
More news about the pub can be found on Johnny and Joe's History 

The Grove, Spring Grove Street, Huddersfield
Although it is on the other side of Huddersfield from the canal basin, the walk past Huddersfield bus station and through the Castlegate underpass soon brought us to The Grove in Spring Grove Street on the corner of Springwood Avenue. A busy pub on a Saturday afternoon is a sure sign of good beer and this is exactly what we found. On our first visit we turned right on entering the pub and went into the smaller of the two rooms. A friendly welcome from behind the bar and a pint of Redwillow Wreckless (Pale Ale - 4.8% ABV) 'An orchestrated cacophony of hops and malt' was the best way to begin this visit! Redwillow Ageless (Double IPA - 7.2% ABV) 'Big on hops, big on flavour' was also available, at the adjacent pump.
Redwillow 'Ageless' & 'Wreckless' - 5th & 6th pumps from left at The Grove

A large blackboard showed details of the beers on handpumps including ABV and price per pint. A smaller blackboard gave details of lagers, wheat beer, fizzy cider and guest kegs.
Smaller blackboard at The Grove
 
A notice on the board near the bar mentioned blues / jazz piano music at The Grove on Sunday evenings so we resolved to return and try some of the other beers the following evening.
More details about The Grove: http://www.groveinn.co.uk/ 
Twitter: @TheGroveHudds The Grove
 
SATURDAY (2) - THE SPORTSMAN, HUDDERSFIELD

From The Grove we walked via the bus station and near the railway station to another pub featured in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide 2013 - The Sportsman.
Situated near the railway viaduct at 1 St Johns Road, Huddersfield, the Sportsman immediately impressed with its art deco style.
The Sportsman, Huddersfield
The curved bar has a big range of handpumps and the fridges behind the bar include an interesting selection of bottled beers.
Curved bar, The Sportsman, Huddersfield
 With a hand pump dedicated to a beer from Mallinsons brewery in Huddersfield, this was a chance for a pint of the pale and hoppy Dabchick brewed by Mallinsons.
The art deco detail continues into the Gents toilets. Coloured tiles denote various sports including football with the blue and white stripes of Huddersfield Town FC (left), sailing and horse racing.
Tiles in the Gents toilets, The Sportsman, Huddersfield
The origins of these tiles remain a mystery. In October 2011, Hans van Lemmen, an expert on medieval tiles came to investigate the tiles after being contacted by Huddersfield historian Chris Marsden. The Huddersfield Examiner reported on this visit: Huddersfield Examiner 20/10/2011

Customers at the Sportsman. Framed Huddersfield Town FC football shirt on right.
More details about The Sportsman: Under the viaduct - The Sportsman
Twitter: @TheSportsmanHud The Sportsman

Next stop was Huddersfield railway station for the train to Batley and a second visit to the Taproom. See 'Friday' for more details of the Taproom, Batley.

SUNDAY (1) - WHITELOCKS, LEEDS

To Huddersfield railway station again, this time for the (crowded) train to Leeds.
Water tank on the roof - view from Huddersfield station 
There was time to get a photo of the roof mounted water tank near Huddersfield station, built in the days of steam locomotives, before catching the train. It was nice to be able to see the scenery pass by because the previous journeys to Batley, on the same route, were in darkness. Leeds station has been transformed since my previous visit.
Leeds - station is in lower left of map
A community worker, in a high vis jacket, kindly offered me an identical map of Leeds when I stopped to take a photo of a map at the exit from the station.
There was some time to wait before Leeds Art Gallery opened at 1pm so a pub listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide 2013 would be my first destination. Whitelocks First City Luncheon Bar consists of a row of cottages tucked away in Turks Head Yard, off Briggate.
Whitelocks - Turks Head Yard, Leeds
 Inside the copper covered bar with ornate tiles on the facing and some stained glass windows give a distinctive look to Whitelocks.
Whitelocks Luncheon Bar Dining Area
Tables had been reserved in the dining area but I was able to occupy a table and enjoy a look at the Sunday papers and drink a pint of Kirkstall Pale Ale in advance of the diners' arrival.

More details about Whitelocks: http://www.whitelocksleeds.com/
Twitter @WhitelocksLeeds Whitelocks Ale House

Leeds was now busy with Christmas shoppers and attractive arcades like the County Arcade make the city a good shopping destination.

County Arcade, Leeds

SUNDAY (2) - VERITAS ALE & WINE BAR, LEEDS

After a worthwhile(free) visit to Leeds Art Gallery, I was ready to visit a second pub.
Veritas Ale & Wine Bar (left) and Leeds General Infirmary
The Veritas Ale & Wine Bar at 43 Great George Street, opposite the Gothic Revival style buildings of Leeds General Infirmary, has a good range of draught and bottled beers.
Veritas Ale & Wine Bar, Leeds
It has a light continental feel and is something of a cross between a restaurant, cafe and pub. Timothy Taylor Landlord is a regular beer here but I chose a guest ale, Mary Jane from Ilkley Brewery.

More details: Veritas 
Twitter: @VeritasLeeds Veritas Bar Leeds

SUNDAY (3) - NORTH BAR, LEEDS

A walk towards the east, through the busy Christmas market in Millennium Square
Christmas market at Millennium Square
and past St John's Church, the oldest church in the city centre, leads to the North Bar at 24 New Briggate.
North Bar, Leeds
The North Bar has a narrow frontage but there is a functional long bar inside with a range of keg taps and handpumps. 
North Bar, Leeds
On the long wall opposite the bar there is a wooden board with the names of beers that have been served at the North Bar. The bar carries a big range of bottled beers so many of these beers may still be available. 
'Beer wall', North Bar, Leeds
The beer I chose was 'North Prototype', a 3.8% ABV pale ale, brewed by Kirkstall brewery in collaboration with North Bar.
The buildings and site of the original brewery are now the home of Leeds Metropolitan University in Kirkstall, in the north west of Leeds.The new Kirkstall brewery is situated on the banks of the Leeds and Liverpool canal, in the shadow of the original brewery.
More details for Kirkstall Brewery: http://www.kirkstallbrewerycompany.com/
Twitter: @kirkstallbrew Kirkstall Brewery Co

More details for North Bar, Leeds: http://northbar.com/a/
 Twitter: @NorthBarDrinks North Bar

SUNDAY (4) - KING'S HEAD, HUDDERSFIELD

Back at Huddersfield railway station, there are pubs housed in the old ticket offices at the east and west wings of the station building. The King's Head, formerly the Station Tavern, is situated in the east wing.
Jimi Hendrix in the King's Head pub sign on platform 1.
 There are some stairs up to the entrance at the front and a back entrance from platform 1 for disabled customers. A unique approach is that Jimi Hendrix is the king used in the pub sign.
Smaller bar, near front entrance, at King's Head, Huddersfield
Inside, there is one large room with the original tiled floor and two smaller adjoining rooms with some unusual continental beer posters on the walls.
Pint of Magic Rock 'Curious' (left) at King's Head
I was happy to find 'Curious' by Magic Rock on the bar and ordered a pint. The sparkler at the point of dispense gives the pint a creamy look when first poured. This 'Original Pale Ale' is 3.9% ABV and is  brewed with plenty of US hops to give the beer a floral aroma and citrus flavours.
Magic Rock Brewing Co is a local brewery established in 2011 and based at the Bed Factory, Quarmby Mills, Oare, Huddersfield.

More details about Magic Rock Brewing Co. http://www.magicrockbrewing.com/
Twitter: @MagicRockBrewCo Magic Rock Brewing

More details for King's Head, Huddersfield: http://the-kings-head-huddersfield.co.uk/
                       
SUNDAY (5) - THE GROVE, HUDDERSFIELD (2ND VISIT)
The Grove, Huddersfield
The reason for returning to the Grove, apart from the excellent range of beers, was for some jazz / blues piano music. This time we turned left, into the bigger room, of the pub on entering. The notice below advertising the Sunday Session with pianist Ewen McLeod Hill (aka Thirteenth Pyramid) had been spotted on a previous visit. 
The music was relaxing and Ewen wasn't put off by people chatting while he played.
We chatted with friendly people at the neighbouring table who had brought their dog with them and the pub is definitely 'dog friendly'.
The main blackboards had details of all the cask beers in both bars. My first beer was an American Rye from Buxton Brewery, a good opportunity to try a beer from this brewery whose beers are not seen in Berkshire as a rule. This turned out to be one of my favourite beers of the weekend and a bargain at £2.70 pint. 
Cask ales at the Grove, Huddersfield
The other beers sampled during the evening included the seriously spicy 'Winter Solstice' (3.8% ABV) from Raw Brewing Company, based at Stavely, near Chesterfield, which was served from the 'Low Gravity Pump' and the fruity tasting 'Magus' by The Durham Brewery.
A good feature of the Grove is their splendid 'Grove' branded half pint and pint glasses. These are taller than a standard glass and oversized so that you can be sure of getting a decent measure of beer in your glass.

Another memorable feature of The Grove is the variety of art exhibited on the walls and even on the ceiling.
There was time for a chat with Ewen, the pianist, after his last piece and before it was time to leave. It was also a chance to sample 'Dobber' from the North Manchester microbrewery, Marble Brewery, another brewery whose beers don't reach Berkshire.
More details about the pianist: Ewen McLeod Hill
More details about The Grove: http://www.groveinn.co.uk/ 
Twitter: @TheGroveHudds The Grove 
 

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