Chester & South Clwyd

Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale

Calder Valley pubs by train

Tuesday 30 July 2019

On a sunny Saturday (June 22) 15 people turned up at Chester station to board the 1023 train to Halifax. This was a new service from Northern Trains which formed a direct service from Chester to Leeds via Manchester Victoria. We arrived at Halifax just after midday and headed to the café/bar in the Square Unity, originally a square chapel but now restored as an arts and performance venue next to the Piece Hall building. Four beers on handpumps were available and I tried Stod Fold Chord, a light blonde ale which was refreshing after a 2 hour journey. On the way out we walked across a delightful, colonnaded square which has featured on several TV programmes e.g. Antiques Roadshow, and made tracks to a micropub called The Grayston Unity. 5 beers were on offer here and I had Kirkstall Black Band porter which was very good, I think most other people had the lighter beers and we found some outside space to sit out and enjoy the sunshine. Next stop was Victorian Craft Beer Café which spoiled us with a choice of 10 beers including 2 dark and 2 ciders. So I had Moor stout and North Riding Toffee porter, both very good with the latter just ahead on beer scores for me. A quick stop at another micropub called Alexanders for Beartown Atlas then on to the Royal Oak which 9 beers on – 4 of them dark beers, I must have landed in heaven! In fact this pub wasn’t on our original itinerary but was recommended by a small breakaway group who couldn’t fit into the micropubs with the main group but it was a brilliant tip and the pub offers 10% CAMRA discount. Eagle of Darkness, a 5% porter by Eagles Crag brewery was my beer of choice, in very good condition with smooth taste. Now we moved on to our last pub in Halifax; the famous Three Pigeons, an excellent 1930s Art Deco style pub with 5 separate rooms radiating off an octagonal entrance lobby. It is owned by Ossett Brewery so 5 of their beers were available plus 4 guests. The Ossett Yorkshire Brunette was very good as was Ikley Black IPA, not as hoppy as I has expected.

Back to the station for the train to Hebden Bridge, a charming small town with a well kept old-fashioned station. First stop was Calan’s micropub but it was packed out so some of us moved on to the White Lion for a quick half of Timothy Taylors Boltmaker, then moving on to the Old Gate, a modern style pub with impressive copper bar top, 9 beers on offer and tempting food menu! A very good pint of Thornbridge Black Harry helped wash down excellent fish & chips

There are many more good pubs to try in Hebden Bridge but sadly it was time for the train to Todmorden where we only had time to visit Nightjar, a new micropub with a small front room bar but also upstairs seating. 6 beers were on and I had Born Slippy banana Stout, an excellent beer. Time for the last train journey of the day catching the 1939 to Chester after a great day out.

Photo shows most of the group outside Halifax Town Hall.