Dear reader, I’ve found a new beer friend, Kerry. Today was to be our first day out together and we had settled on Hebden Bridge as our destination because, well, Vocation.
We rendezvoused at Blackpool North and nattered all the way across to the
wrong other side of the Pennines like we were old friends. We’ve lived parallel lives in many ways, supporting Blackpool, working in football administration and drinking beer. We’ve just been doing it separately all this time. That changed today.
As we trotted out of the station, I observed that Kerry was shorter than me (no mean feat, let me tell you) and I actually felt tall. This was a whole new experience for me.
As we crossed the River Calder and turned left into town, I felt a wave of joy swelling through my body. To the minute, Kerry uttered the word joy to verbalise how she was feeling. This was going to be a good day.
Observe the man sitting by the door in this picture. As I loitered outside to take this photo he observed me.
‘You’ve got the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen.’
I explained I was experimenting with some new eye make-up. He was clearly hypnotised and followed us into the pub.
‘I thought you were leaving,’ said the barmaid.
‘I’ve only come back in because of the sexy ladies.’
Available for hire* if you want to up your custom, publican readers…
Dizzy Blonde for me.
We contemplated the menu…
…and both opted for the lasagne.
Just enough for me, despite the scrimping on the chips.
We enjoyed our beer and scran in the beer garden at the rear of the pub.
‘I’ll get that door for you, love.’
I loved the locals already. What a place!
There had been much confusion at the bar when our friend went off menu and ordered omelette and beans. There was a huge kerfuffle and practically a full board meeting to resolve what to charge for this but a price was eventually agreed.
As I was taking the internal photos of the pub, our hostess said:
‘If the landlady were here now, she’d be paranoid with you taking photos. She’d be thinking you’d come back to rob the place.’
What, little me? I felt I had to explain at this point that I was a blogger.
This pub is a blogger’s dream and is probably worthy of a blog all to itself but you know that’s not how I roll and there’s another seven pubs to go at yet, so…NEXT!
Quirky but not fer me thanks.
Here are the beers:
I really wanted the Old Pec but I do try to stick to lower ABVs on crawls these days so I went for the Boltmaker.
Now I don’t just select these pubs willy nilly; I always conduct research before embarking on an away mission. By way of evidence, here’s my planning for today:
As you’ll see from The Plan, we were here for the flood line, musical instruments and lights.
In my experience, if a pub has one or two quirks it has dozens. Meet Wire Man.
Also, in my last blog I promised you an example of those chairs I like, that give you a hug when you sit in them.
I was already in love with Hebden Bridge and we were only two pubs down. But no rest for the wicked…
A flying saucer shop? The sweets or actual UFOs?
Oh yes – Happy Valley was filmed here. Good show, that.
This place was a test for my low ABV resolve.
Obvs I went for the Plum Porter…
Small pub, this, with outdoor seating out front. We stayed inside because I wanted to look at stuff. But again there was no time to loiter, so off we headed to the next pub.
This alluring restaurant looks like somewhere I’d eat on hollibobs overseas.
Take a look at this from Google Maps, dear reader, and see if you can spot the deliberate mistake.
Now I trust Google Maps. When I tell it where I want to go and ask for directions, I expect to end up there. Usually, this works (except in Derby, where it gets confused by bridges). Today, however, it could Fuck Right Off.
Fucking ridiculous set of fucking steps that didn’t even lead to the fucking pub.
Look, just look at that fucking lying bastard map. We didn’t need to go that way at all. It wasn’t even in the right fucking direction. If we’d just carried on down the road, we’d have got to where the pub ACTUALLY was.
I needed a drink. It was hot and I didn’t need that FUCKING UNNECESSARY diversion.
I needed ICE so I ordered a Timmermans Peche with ice in it. This confused the barmaid, who then confused me back by brandishing a bottle of rebranded Timmermans Kriek and asking if that would do.
It did just fine.
I was confused by this weird weasel thing…
…which Kerry insisted was a fox, as in the name of the pub (it definitely wasn’t a goose – we were agreed on that).
We got onto the subject of ginger beer and I suddenly remembered a random stranger in Alberts the other week told me about a brewery that brewed only ginger beer – but exciting variations of it. I hastily Googled it to show Kerry (and you, of course, dear reader). Here’s the link to DMC Brewery. Another hint for Christmas there.
We resolutely did not go back the fucking stupid way and instead walked in a straight line to a pub we’d passed earlier but I hadn’t identified as being this one.
This place was EXCITING!!! A bottle shop with a bar at the rear and upstairs seating.
This is what we had from the fridges.
Mine’s on the left. Kerry’s was accidentally alcohol free, from the same brewery that I had the exciting alcoholic free beer from in Lincoln.
Our hostess recommended the seating at the front of the upstairs bit, so I followed her advice.
Are these old tram or bus seats? Love it!
These looked comfier though.
The Pub Paper was in here, too. I again flicked through and decided to pose the quiz questions to Kerry, before she took over and grilled me back. She was better than me. I’m out of the quiz habit and she goes regularly.
I know you’re dying for a loo review, dear reader, so check this treasure out.
Loving the tangerine and white.
I was now in ‘revert to stout’ mode which seems to be a thing when I’m faced with a beer board. Looking at it now with fresh eyes, I’d have liked the Yonder Pink Lemonade, I think.
We sat outside on the main road watching the world go by but also popped back in for a loo review.
By now I was beginning to feel the beer. Of course I was – I’d strayed off course with a couple of strong ones. But it was now time for food, so that would sort me out.
I’d built the day around the curry at this pub and was salivating at the prospect of wolfing it down post haste.
Hmm now what beer to wash it down with?
Wainwrights for me, please.
We took a seat out front (somehow managing to secure a table) and I ostentatiously considered the menu, even though I knew full well what I’d be having. When I see the word ‘curry’ (ok, madras), I needs me a curry!
But I couldn’t see a curry on the menu. What the fuck? Kerry sensed my apoplexy and marched into the pub to enquire about the curry.
She returned with devastating news.
‘Apparently they haven’t done curry for years.’
WELL TELL YOUR FUCKING WEBSITE THAT THEN.
I glanced at the menu through welling tears. I could have gone for steak but I didn’t want a fucking steak I wanted a curry and now I wasn’t going to get one and I was too cross to stay.
We quickly supped up and stomped off to a place that was guaranteed to perk me up.
Ohh yes! Welcome to the Danger Zone!
Remember this one from Halifax? Irresistible.
I was aware they also served food here – hence us not diverting for scran en route. No curry (hence this place was not my first choice for food today) but what they did have was bloody delicious – courtesy of Slap & Pickle.
Personal Cheesus (double cheeseburger).
The burger was VERY quickly demolished, with not a trace of heartburn to be had – testament to the quality of the ingredients.
The fries were terrifying because I had no idea what was going on there. Looking at the menu, I still have no idea. This is what happens when I relinquish control and let Kerry order.
I had a second beer (of course I had a second beer) and this time went for the Death by Cherries that I had enjoyed so much in Wigan.
Profuse apologies for the lack of photographic evidence of the beer board here (totally drink related) but, by way of example, here’s today’s tap list.
What a magnificent end to the day this was. Hebden Bridge, you exceeded expectations despite #currygate. I would love to visit again one day – perhaps at a more leisurely pace, taking in more shops (well just the chocolaterie would do) and fewer steep steps…
If you’re heading into Blackpool and are looking for things to do, head to Blackpool.com for inspiration.
Next Up: Kidsgrove Athletic v Chasetown.