A phone call from the landlady of our pub. Do I fancy an hour out in Huddersfield, as she has to drop some stuff off to a friend that runs a JDW there? Considering my plan had been to mooch aimlessly about the house, why not?
The Cherry Tree is a particularly soulless version of the JDW genre, but it was bright and busy. The clientèle was mixed and cheerful. The staff were mature and knew their customers. No-one smelt of pee as far as I could tell. Now Huddersfield is a competitive place for good beer. The place positively hoaches with it, so the Cherry Tree majors on good cask ale with a decent choice both on and coming. I tried a half of the dependable Roosters Yankee and one of the Bora Bora from Elland. The barman asked me if I could identify the unusual ingredient. We agreed it was likely to be chocolate malt. The beer was heavily hopped and brown. I didn't care for it much, thinking the chocolate taste unbalanced the beer more than a tad. Howard Town Monks Gold was more than a touch hazy, but tasted fine.
We had only an hour and a half before the meter ran out. My companion was on the soft drinks and coffee, but she had landlady like things to do later, so that was our lot. I was tempted by the barmaid (a smashing lass in every way) into trying some wine, as it was all on offer. Any wine for the price of the house stuff. Errazuriz Carmanère was so rich and luscious, it filled every corner of my mouth with jammy berry fruit and peppery spice, but the star of the show was old world. Chateau Neuf du Pape (Caves St Pierre) was well structured, silky and complex. I could have had another. OK I did. The landlady bought a bottle to take away. At £7.95 it was £6 and more below its usual JDW price and worth it.
So a rare foray into wine drinking in a pub for me. It will be back to normal tonight. I am visiting Outstanding Brewing at Bury. Tyson will be there. I'll say hello for you.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
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