Despite living for 10 years in Huddersfield, The Grove was one of the (very) few pubs that I never visited. Now this Spring Grove hostelry is a destination boozer must-do for ale enthusiasts far and wide. Whenever I`m back in West Yorkshire, I make a b-line for this bar.
As usual, The (Holy) Grove was really busy with a nice array of discerning clientele supping steadily and keeping the half dozen bar staff very busy. I began with a lovely Buxton beer `Spa` (4.1%) which was eminently quaffable, packed with Citra, and it is always great to see them on cask; we don`t seem to get that honour often over in Sheffield! Next more cask with the Curious as was which is now renamed `Ringmaster` (3.9%) after some apparent shenanigans with another brewery over its original name. Still a tidy tipple only a mile or two down the hill from the Magic Rock brewery. I was hoping to get a dry-hopped Jaipur which the Grove stock but I didn`t see it on the (substantial) beer blackboard. It can be a problem choosing an ale here as there is literally that much to go at! Also I had spent enough time gawping at the list and there were two ladies perched in front of it who probably thought I was staring at them!
Wanting to finish this short session with a flourish, I then opted for a De Molen special. Storm and Averij (damage in Dutch?) is a Double India Pale Ale weighing in at a hefty 10.2% and a fair £3.75 for a half pint.
Not what I expected to be honest. This one is full of flavour and a very dark orangey brown colour with an inviting white head. However, it does not give the bitter hoppiness that I had expected / wanted rather the fruit sweetness comes through with a fair dose of spices on top. It is a fair old mixture, interesting and complex but thankfully not, for a 10%+, alcohol-dominated. Don`t get me wrong, I did enjoy this one but it was not a patch on the De Molen Vuur & Vlam I had on a previous Grove visit but that still rates as one of the very best ales I have ever had on keg!
Buxton Spa - 8.5 / 10
Ringmaster - 7 / 10
Storm & Averij - 7 / 10