Delph, Diggle, Dobcross, Greenfield and Uppermill. Names that would gladden the heart of any brass band follower and also any beer follower that likes a drop or two. Saturday saw a merry band of stalwarts visiting an area of our CAMRA branch which isn't that far away, but isn't that easy to get to, especially if you want to do a few pubs, other than by bespoke transport.
I won't bore you with a dizzying pub crawl, but instead select a few highlights from an interesting day. Great pubs first of all. Pick of a very good bunch was probably our first stop the Royal Oak, set high above Delph amid splendid scenery. They opened specially for us and we enjoyed superb beers from Skipton and Millstone. Mild played a big part in the day too, with splendid versions from Jennings, Moorhouses and Copper Dragon. Surprise of the day for me was the Tetley Bitter in the King William IV - the King Bill - as they say in these parts. Sour, tart, full bodied and delicious. It reminded me very much of the beer in its heyday, but it has to be said, the cellarmanship here was, as our Yankee friends might say, awesome.
We did of course tend to swoop on the pubs mob handed, though all had been advised in advance, but we were treated ourselves to a mass invasion while at the Railway in Greenfield, as a swarm of Carling drinkers dived off a train. Although pissed they were amiable enough, if a little noisy and I'm sure you wouldn't have wanted your maiden aunt to listen to the songs they sang. Still, we shouted above the noise and drank one of the day's highlights, Elland Beyond the Pale.
Any lowlights? Well sort of. Perhaps the two most disappointing beers for me were from two of our family brewers. Robinsons Dizzy Blonde in the Waggon at Uppermill was very well kept, but just lacked a sure touch with hopping to lift it, while for once, Lees Bitter seemed off the mark and a bit one dimensional in the Cross Keys.
The beer of the day? I couldn't put a micron between Jennings Mild and Moorhouses Black Cat. Both were at the peak of condition, served properly - and you know what that means - and just as fresh as a daisy. Lovely.
I had some lovely photos for you. Unfortunately my camera, which I definitely had in the last pub, can no longer be found. Dear day out.
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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