Ten years. Ten chuffin years. One of them there decades. That was how long I lived in Huddersfield and, almost as soon as I left, the real ale scene started to blossom.......
Luckily, I still regularly visit my BFF in the Hudd and we usually hook up at the (Holy) Grove. Now then, this place was one of the few boozers that I did not visit when I resided on the West Riding back in the day and now it is a destination pub.
Living in the Steel City, I'm blessed with local Thornbridge boozers but I still started on a Jaipur. The Grove is lucky enough to have the dry-hopped version but, then again, they do have a lot of `luck` with cask lines always dedicated to the likes of Buxton, Magic Rock, Oakham and, of course, Thornbridge. The Jaipur was very steady but still not what my palate associates with that mega, stand-out beer from 2008 at the Coach and Horses, Dronfield.
Pint two and I popped over to keg, very early I know, but it was The Kernel. At £5 a pint, their Pale was good value, showcasing Simcoe & sons in a very drinkable 5.4%er.
Aside from the poor train connection to Sheffield (#hali), the only other complaint I ever hear about the Grove is that there is too much choice. 19 (?) cask lines and almost as many on keg is backed up (unnecessarily?) by a hefty bottle bank. The `takeaway` menu is quite a read!
Onto the halves then and the Harbour`s Mango and Chilli combined well in the 7% brew to make this one much more drinkable than you'd expect. Suffice subtle to be drinkable but maybe I`d prefer more of a kick from the fruit or spice. Mebbe. Or mebbe I was just getting (Dutch courage) brave / daft....
Best of a great bunch though came from Birra del Borgo off of the recommendation of the personable and knowledgeable bar keep. Very hoppy (as requested) but also with the added complexity that you`d hope for in a 6.4% APA. Known as `Re Ale this was class in t`glass, a genuine belter.
Shnoodlepip was an excellent follow-up as this Wild Beer brew is super sour with the odd kick of pepper and passion fruit to boot. At 6.5% this boot might be pink but it is deceptively hard-hitting. whilst justifiably popular. There`s a Coach and Horses link here too, I believe, as Kelly Ryan (ex-Thornbridge) had a hand in this special. Fair do`s!
Axe Edge (another 6.8% beaut) and done. Love Buxton and knowing that there is always a line dedicated to a beer of their's at The Grove is yet another reason that any ale addict worth their salt (or pepper corn in Wild`s case!) needs to pop over to the Hudd. Best set off now; it teks a while to get there!