Roadmap 2021 Plans
Following on from the latest government roadmap announcements we are making plans to open in a safe and positive way as soon as is genuinely possible to do so.
Once there is clear information from government regards the legislation, requirements and information from the budget we will then be in a position to decide on a way forward after which we will confirm our plans for you.
We are considering and investigating all options open to us at the moment for safe step 2 and step 3 trading options. To keep up to date please follow our socials or to hear it first direct to your inbox then please sign up to our newsletter on the homepage.
COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) UPDATE
BEERHOUSES STATEMENT RE: COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS)
Here at Beerhouses we take the health & safety of our staff and customers very seriously. Whilst it is currently business as usual we are taking on board all government advice and monitoring the ever-changing situation closely. Just to let you know some of what we are doing.
- We have increased the number of times we clean all areas and will continue to clean all surfaces, doors, rails, chairs and public areas as often as is possible.
- All our staff will continue to wash their hands at regular intervals using sanitiser and following the handwashing guidelines. We always do this but as per advice we will do it more often.
- We have re-enforced to our staff our regular policies to ensure transfer risk is reduced – such as we always operate clean glass policy and our staff will never touch the top third of the glasses.
- We are ensuring enough soap / sanitiser is available for customers & staff so that proper and thorough handwashing can take place.
- All our staff members have been instructed on the government guidelines & advice and that they should follow this in both regards minimising risk & how to act should symptoms occur.
- We will continue to monitor & follow any government, NHS or Public Health England advice & guidelines.
We feel pubs are vital to the communities and can provide both relief and a vital service in times such as this so please continue to support local pubs & business wherever you can. However also please be mindful to others and please ensure you are doing all you can. You could also help reduce the risks to other customers and staff by doing the following where possible:
- Washing hands regularly as per the advice, wash for more than 20 seconds more often with soap and hot water.
- Bring back your own glasses to the bar so as to minimise the number of people that may touch them.
- Consider using contactless payment where possible as this also reduces physical interactions.
- Please take with you and dispose of any rubbish that you may create such as tissues
- And finally please continue to support pubs, independent business whilst remaining safe and respectful to others.
Your business, co-operation & understanding is very much appreciated during these very difficult times.
West Riding 25 years in the Good Beer Guide – How it all started
Tonight, 23rd January 2020, is the wrap up night for the West Riding’s 25th Year celebrations and a night where we receive an award from Heavy Woollen CAMRA for 25 consecutive years in the Good Beer Guide. To mark this event, former Heavy Woollen CAMRA chair, Andy Kassube, interviewed our founder Mr Mike Field to shed some light into how The West (& Beerhouses) started and became what it is today.
Mike was involved in the set-up of the Heavy Woollen CAMRA branch. He has led a very interesting life, so I hope you enjoy this insight into why an accountant and Insolvency Practitioner thought it would be a good idea to open a pub in a railway station!
Mike’s background is Dewsbury born and bred, he was born in the Moorlands Hall Maternity Home and lived in North Park Street. He went to St Johns School before going on to Wheelwright Grammar. From there the bright lights of Lancashire beckoned and he decided to go to Manchester University to study Politics and Modern History. (A little-known fact is that Judge Rinder took the same course after Mike!). It was while at university that Mike slowly started to develop his taste for Real Ale with Boddingtons a particular favourite as it was still brewed next to Strangeways prison at that time and was a cracking pint. However much to his shame like most people in the seventies he does remember drinking the “infamous” Watneys Party Seven and its keg Manchester equivalent the “Bodkin”.
On leaving University Mike took some labouring jobs whilst harbouring ambitions to be a journalist but with little success and after only one unsuccessful interview in a year (with the Sheffield Star) he decided he needed a change of direction. He decided to join Finney, Ross and Welch Accountants in Leeds as it was a profession with a reasonable income and working conditions. In 1977 he decided to start Insolvency work for a firm in Leeds and this became his area of expertise and he eventually qualified as an Insolvency Practitioner and went to work for David Horton in Leeds in 1983. It was whilst travelling to Leeds that Mike became more aware of the de-manned waiting rooms at Dewsbury station, but more of that later!
Before graduating from university the Real Ale attraction hit Mike on a visit to London in 1973. He was introduced to Fullers ales and realised how good beer could taste. At the same time, he saw an article about CAMRA in the Observer and this got his attention. The organisation was still in its infancy at that time and the only local branch was ‘West Yorkshire’. Meetings used to take place at either the Black Swan, Thornton Road, Bradford or the Brownroyd WMC in Bradford where the only beer was Yorkshire Clubs 4X which Mike believed was brewed in Huntington near York. The branch also met at the White Lion in Huddersfield and the Bowling Green in Ravensthorpe.
As CAMRA grew Mike became a member of the Kirklees branch and it was from there they used to take train trips and a regular venue was the Stalybridge Buffet Bar which was to become Mike’s inspiration and fuel his ambition. So, Mike had by now decided he wanted to introduce a bar into the empty waiting rooms in Dewsbury station and after four years of wondering he decided to take the plunge and on the 5th December 1992, he had a meeting with Ian Simpson at British Rail to pitch his proposition. Mr Simpson left the room to consult his colleagues and came back to give Mike the go-ahead. The hard work begun now!
Mike had estimated it would cost £75k to set up the bar which he had divided into thirds, one third his own money, one third bank loan and one third brewery loan. He had saved the first one, Dougie Johnson at the Co-Op Bank agreed the second, but the third element was not to be so easy. Mike wanted something different for the pub so approached Manchester breweries, but they were not keen to venture too far from home so had little success there. He approached Courage but they basically wanted Mike to sell his “soul and everything else he possessed!” so they were dropped and in desperation he approached Tetleys who agreed with a second charge on Mike’s home however he already given that to the Co-Op bank so this was a non-starter too.
So things were not looking good, however it was on Kirklees CAMRA weekend minibus trip to Batemans in Lincolnshire (organised by Jim Turney) and this was prove to be key to Mike’s dream. Jim organised an introduction to Batemans. Within a week, the iconic figure in the brewing industry, George Bateman, wanted a visit to the West! George turned up to what could be politely described as a building site and even despite his senior age clambered over the rubble inside to get a feel of the place and agreed to loan the monies to Mike as he saw the potential.
The rest is history as the West opened in January 1994, the pub was originally tied to Batemans and this relationship lasted for between four to five years until Batemans decide to concentrate on its local Lincolnshire markets. The loan was repaid, Black Sheep (who featured as a guest from the start) and Timothy Taylors were introduced in late 1998 as the core beers (as they still are today) with guests such as Durham and Roosters becoming regulars at the start.
The pub has won numerous CAMRA branch awards since its opening including the prestigious Yorkshire Regional Pub of the Year Award in 2006. It was also featured on the Oz Clarke and James May Drink to Britain TV programme on BBC2. Since the opening of the West, the company has grown to include The Sportsman in Huddersfield, The Cricketers in Horbury, The Old Turk in Dewsbury and Idle Beerhouse to their now Beerhouses pubs as well as Stalybridge Buffet Bar, which was of course Mike’s inspiration all those years ago.
Mike’s influence on the beer scene did not stop with the West Riding as in 1998 he decided to open a brewery in the town. At the time Paul and Cressida Klos were managing the pub for Mike and Paul had always shown an interest in brewing. Paul had done a little brewing at Rother Valley and was keen to continue his interest. Mike decided to back the brewery and as a “stop-gap” name the Anglo-Dutch brewery was born as Paul was from Holland, however the name became permanent!
The brewery was set up in the Savile Town part of Dewsbury with Paul literally building the brewery from scrap metal and pallets! As the brewery expanded tanks were bought from pubs and breweries that had surplus. There was soon a solid range of beers with Jaspers Pale Ale and Spike’s on T’Way named after Cressida and Paul’s sons. However, the beer that put Anglo Dutch on the map was Tabatha the Knackered which appeared at the Great British Beer Festival. This was a 6.0 Belgian Tripel style ale which also won a SIBA Gold Medal in 2003 and was renowned in the West Yorkshire area. In 2010 when Mike reached 60 he and Paul decided to sell the brewery and it eventually led to the formation of Partners brewery.
As mentioned earlier, Mike was very involved in the set-up of the Heavy Woollen CAMRA branch and along with Dave Johnson in 1994/95 they set up a sub-branch covering the Dewsbury, Cleckheaton, Batley, Mirfield and all surrounding areas. As the branch grew it lost its sub-branch status and is now recognised and established in the West Yorkshire area.
The interview finished by asking Mike to name some of his favourite beers and or memories. He will always remember the original Boddingtons at the Ducie Arms and Royal Oak in Manchester or the Tetleys when it would come fresh out of the brewery in Leeds. It is hard because both of those beers have changed so much over the last 30 years but to “older” drinkers we know what Mike is talking about. As for his favourite pubs there was The Old Still in Peterborough, sadly closed but an icon of its day serving real from jugs, The Golden Rule with its roaring fires and the original Hartley XB, and finally the Nags Head on Vicar Lane in Leeds for a cracking pint of the original Tetleys and entertainment as people often left by the window not the door!!
Hopefully you have appreciated this small tribute to Mike as he is certainly a hero to many of us as he was a man who followed his dream and made it him come true. He helped to put Heavy Woollen (& Dewsbury) on the Real Ale Map for the UK and further afield. When I say Dewsbury to people generally they say the town with the pub on the railway station and this helped to establish the Rail Ale Trail which has helped other pubs in our area and Huddersfield branch. He certainly had many tales to tell and some I cannot repeat but his contribution to real ale in our area cannot be underestimated!
Mike has now retired but still enjoys keeping involved in Beerhouses, the beer scene & CAMRA as well as his regular trips to his now local, The Cricketers.
First Battle of the Bands on Platform 3
By now you’re all aware of ‘Platform 3’ at the West Riding – our outside stage where we host live music, DJs and open mics all summer, every summer.
Year to year Platform 3 continues to grow and expand it’s scope, and we are very proud to have become part of a thriving live music scene in Dewsbury and beyond.
But to stay relevant we need to keep an eye on who’s coming up, that’s why we are hosting our first Battle of the Bands this year. We want to find the best of our local talent and give them a platform (3). The winning band will receive £500 in Beerhouses tokens and will be given a paid gig on Platform 3. You will also become part of our network of musicians, meaning opportunities to play at any of our 6 pubs in the future.
A backline (including drum kit) and sound man will be provided, you will just need your instruments and breakables.
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject header ‘WestBOB’ for more info or to get an application form.
Stalybridge Buffet Bar to West Riding Walk
A tough bunch of 13 arrived at Stalybridge Buffet Bar on the 06:55 train out of Dewsbury on a cool but sunny Sunday morning with smiles on their faces ready for the more than a marathon challenge of walking 27 miles back to The West Riding in Dewsbury.
After a light breakfast and with the weather set fair our intrepid walkers set off along the canal and followed the nice and gentle winds of the canal through Mossley, Greenfied and Uppermill onto Diggle. This is when the small matter of a 800 foot climb began to the top of Pule Hill which was a killer, provided nice views, but still a real tough ask. A brief stop to catch our breath and appreciate the fantastic views it was then on down to Marsden where the steep walk down was nearly as hard on the bodies as the climb but at least there was a break and refreshments in sight.
First stop and the completion of the first leg was The Riverhead brewery tap in Marsden where the kind people at Ossett Brewery had laid on some complimentary refreshments for our walkers. A drink, a great hot beef sandwich with a few chunky chips, applications of ointments & plasters and taking of ibuprofens and then they were ready for the off again. Leg two was the seemingly easier task of walking down the canal towards Huddersfield and stop number 2 – The Sportsman. However its not all down hill, the short but steep hill up towards town from Longroyd Bridge was not appreciated after 19 miles and 7 hours of walking but as the walkers approached the promise of a beer, some more food and chance to have a short sit were too much. What we planned to be a 10 minute toilet & drinks break turned into an hours recharge as the heat and distance took its toll (as did the blisters and injuries).
An hour later after two refreshing pints and the chance for the ibuprofen to kick in and they were off on the final walk towards Dewsbury, down Leeds Road and through Mirfield, Ravensthorpe and on to home. Hobbling, tired and completely exhausted our team managed to find enough to energy to get to the end and a welcome home drink. With the clock approaching 8pm and 27 miles covered in 10 and a half to 11 hours of walking our team reunited at The West completely knackered, nursing numerous injuries but happy to have completed the walk.
A great effort by all involved which has raised a great amount for our West25 charities. If you haven’t managed to donate or want to find out more please visit our money giving site here:
Also some thank yous:
A great big thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all the walkers – you are all legends and will be forever friends of Beerhouses. You know who you are – well done.
Thank you to all who supported along the route and at each pub, it meant a lot to the walkers.
Thank you for Ossett Brewery & The Riverhead for providing refreshments for the walkers as well as the staff at our pubs – Stalybridge Buffet Bar, The Sportsman & West Riding for looking after the walkers needs.
Thank you to Paulaner UK for sponsoring the walk which meant every walker and everyone who sponsored £20 or more received a free pint.
Thank you to Sam from The Corner and all her patrons and staff for supporting our charities, doing the walk and smashing the sponsorship funds.
Finally a massive thank you to everyone who sponsored or donated to the cause. It really is appreciated. Kirkwood Hospice, Candlelghters & Bens Music Foundation are some great charities and people will really benefit from your efforts.
#TeamBeerhouses #West25 #CharityChallenge #SmashedIt
Lovely canal path
Views on the way up
Down to Marsden
Sportsman – Pint
Sunday 12th – 28 Mile walk from Stalybridge Buffet Bar to West Riding LRR with the small matter of the Pennines in between. Beerhouses staff and friends are doing the Walk in aid of our West25 charity friends.
Approx timings and route:
PART1: Stalybridge to Riverhead Pub, Marsden – approx. 12 miles / 4 hours
Start – Stalybridge Buffet Bar 8:30am
Route – Stalybridge – Heyrod – Mossley – Uppermill – Diggle – Marsden
Finishing Part 1 at Riverhead, Marsden where our friends and hosts at Ossett Brewery have kindly helped sponsor the walk by providing the walkers with some refreshments and opportunity to fill up the water bottles in our brief (30 minutes or so) break
PART2: Riverhead Pub, Marsden to Sportsman, Huddersfield – approx. 7 miles / 2 & half to 3 hours
Leave – Riverhead hopefully 1:15pm or so
Route – Weather and condition dependent may be direct on A62 Manchester Road or on Huddersfield Canal or a mix of both.
Finish Part 2 at The Sportsman in town for quick comfort break and refreshments. Brief 15 minute stop off.
PART3: The Sportsman to West Riding LRR – Approx. 9 miles / 3 to 3 & half hours (legs dependents!)
Leave – Sportsman around 4pm
Route – Dependent on conditions under foot but hopefully along the Calder Valley Greenway that goes over Bradley viaduct – Dalton Bank – Colne Bridge – Mirfield – Ravensthorpe – Dewsbury Country Park – Dewsbury
Finishing at West Riding LRR hopefully around 7pm / 7:30pm (fingers crossed)
All timings are approximate and dependent on weather, conditions and weariness or fitness of the walkers.
West25 Charity Challenge – Three Peaks
The West25 Charity Challenge kicks off this Friday with The Three Peaks challenge. The group warmed up by doing two peaks on Good Friday and now feel ready to tackle the full Three Peaks this Friday.
This is part of the West Ridings challenge to raise £10000 for our fantastic charities – Candlelighters, Kirkwood Hospice & Ben’s Music Foundation in their 25th year.
Sportsman turns 10
Huddersfields favourite award winning pub is turning 10 years old in April and we’re starting to get excited about it. The multi-award winning CAMRA Heritage pub will shortly turn 10 and to celebrate we’re going have some fantastic events and obviously a birthday party so keep your eyes peeled for further announcements.
The biggest event will be the Sportsman and Friends collaboration beer takeover that will be running from 12th April right through for the rest of the month. John and his team members have been across some of our favourite breweries creating beers specifically for The Sportsman that will be top class and only available to us.
Many Thanks to our brewing friends who have helped us with this project – Mallinsons, Summer Wine, Blackjack, Wilde Child, North Riding, Brass Castle, Wishbone & Timothy Taylors and we can’t wait to see the fruits of our labours.
Fundraising Page for West25 Charity Challenge
After 2 months of the West Riding 25th Birthday year charity challenge we are happy to announce that we have now got a Virgin Money page where you can donate to our charities or support or charities. So far the Dead Hard book sale and 10p a pint from Line Four has enabled us to raise over £1100 but we want to raise more.
Please donate here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=michaelfield7&pageUrl=1
Team West Riding – Raising money for local charities
All hands on the pump for Beerhouses’ 25th Anniversary celebrations.
To celebrate 25 years since founder Mike Field served the very first pint at the West Riding Refreshment Rooms, the team at Beerhouses has launched a very special year of events – with all the proceeds going to local charities.
It all started with an idea to turn a set of dilapidated, unloved waiting rooms at Dewsbury train station into something that commuters and the local community could use and enjoy. 25 years on, the group behind the West Riding Refreshment Rooms can boast a chain of six award winning pubs, which also includes The Old Turk in Dewsbury and The Sportsman Inn in Huddersfield.
To celebrate its silver anniversary, Beerhouses will host a series of special fundraising events across the year, with all the proceeds being split between Kirkwood Hospice, Candlelighters and Ben’s Music Foundation.
Beerhouses’ Sarah Barnes and founder Mike Field receive a special presentation.
The team at West Riding Refreshment Rooms kicked off their year of fundraising in January with an all day celebration. Staff handed out free food to patrons, offered 25% discount on drinks and sold Black Sheep at 1994 prices throughout the day.
They have commissioned Elland Brewery to create an exclusive beer, Line Four, to celebrate the landmark year, with 10p from every pint sold going to the chosen charities, as well as creating their own gin with Jacqsons of Huddersfield from which 25p a drink will also be donated.
Barry Shaw, Operations Manager for Beerhouses, is proud to be celebrating 25 years. He says that both customers and the team wanted to support local causes throughout the year.
“We are delighted to be celebrating this landmark year. We employ nearly 90 people across the different pubs and most of them live locally so we are a real part of our communities. We also have a great relationship with lots of local suppliers, who we have worked closely with for many years. So we think that it should be the same for the charities we support too!
Kirkwood Hospice, Candlelighters & Ben’s Music Foundation are local to our pubs and lots of people who come in are touched by cancer and other life limiting illnesses. We want to make sure we keep the money we raise local.”
The Beerhouses team at their 25th Anniversary celebration event.
Beerhouses first venture was The West Riding Refreshment Rooms, located at the entrance to the Dewsbury Train Station. The idea of Dewsbury born founder Mike Field, the pub was transformed from a series of unloved and abandoned waiting rooms and opened to the general public in 1994.
By 2006 its growing reputation as the venue to enjoy a well-kept pint of real ale was rewarded with second place in the CAMRA National Pub of the Year awards. During its 25 years trading, it has won many awards for its beer as well as featuring in the Good Beer Guide every year.
According to Barry Shaw, the secret to Beerhouses success has been its willingness to adapt and change.
“As well as real ales and craft beers, we now sell lots of different gins, which we try to source locally. We like to support local independent and artisan producers wherever we can. There are some amazing local brewers and distillers doing great things.
“You’ve got to try new things and adapt to what people want, whilst making sure that you continue to focus on maintaining the quality of beer that people expect.”
A special plaque to celebrate 25 years of trading at the West Riding Refreshment Rooms.
As well as special events in a number of the group’s pubs throughout the year, the team will be taking on a series of challenges to raise funds for its chosen charities. And they have even published a book.
“We’ve got lots of ideas we’re currently working on.” said Barry. “We’re currently planning a walk from Stalybridge Buffet Bar to Dewsbury in early May. We’re also going to take on the Three Peaks Challenge and cycle from Liverpool back to Dewsbury along the Leeds Liverpool canal to help boost our fundraising efforts.
“We’d be delighted to hear from any of our customers or the general public if they have their own fundraising ideas to support our charities. Why not pop in to one of our pubs and speak to the team!”
“Special thanks goes to Christine Wood, who has written and published a gripping short story called ‘Dead Hard’ to help raise money. It’s set here at the West Riding Refreshments Rooms and it’s already become a best seller at the bar!”
New winter menu launched at The West Riding.
Come down to The West Riding and sample some of the new warming delights from our kitchen.
From comforting classics:
Brisket Hash Beer-battered Fish & Chips
To our famous stonebaked pizzas:
BBQ Brisket Pizza Sunny Pizza
And great veggie and vegan options:
Falafel & Tzatziki Salad Spiced Winter Stew
Check out the full menu here.