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West wins again

The West Riding was celebrating again in August as Heavy Woollen CAMRA voted it Pub of the Year once again, following up last years win. It is just reward for the hard work that Carole, Lucy (cellar manager) and the team of super skilled staff put into picking, conditioning and serving the best there is to offer in UK cask ale. There is always great beer on at The West and as our reputation has been for 26 years throughout we’ve won quite a few awards for our beer. There will be a presentation night when this is allowed and we hope to see you there where a great pint will be guaranteed.

Idle Beerhouse – opening up

We are happy and excited to announce that Idle Beerhouse will open on Thursday 16th July at 4PM.

Bookings are recommended due to a reduced capacity but not essential. We have taken many measures to ensure that you receive a pub experience that is safe and there are a few guidelines to follow.

If you want to book then ring on 01274 616587 or email us idle@beerhouses.co.uk. If you message us on social media please don’t assume the booking is made until we contact you.

Hopefully you will find it a safe and relaxed atmosphere that is still like a pub. Don’t forget we have two beer gardens that can accommodate up to 42 safely.

Our opening hours for the opening week are going to be as follows:

Thursday 16th 4 ’til 10

Friday 17th 3 ’til 11 (last entry at 10pm)

Saturday 18th 12 – 11 (last entry at 10pm)

Sunday 19th 12 – 8

Monday & Tuesday closed

Since the situation is very fluid at the moment the opening hours after the first week are subject to change.

West Riding Opening News

The West Riding is delighted and excited to say that we will be opening on Tuesday 14th July at 4pm.

Carole and the team are delighted to be coming out of our enforced hibernation and we are looking forward to welcoming our lovely customers back.

We have been working hard to ensure that you can come and enjoy a pint with us in a way that is safe for both staff & customers, without compromising our traditional pub atmosphere.

For our opening week, Tuesday 14th to Sunday 19th July, we will be advising you to make bookings wherever possible. This will ensure we can manage the flow of customers, make any necessary tweaks to procedures and allow the staff to get back up to speed. Bookings are not essential however due to reduced capacity inside the pub they are advisable.

After the first week, again bookings are not a requirement but are strongly advised. To ensure safe distancing between tables we have had to reduce our capacity and all customers will be required to have a seat and there will be no seating or standing at the bar. That means once we are at capacity we will have to turn customers away therefore book a table to avoid disappointment.

To book a table email manager.westriding@beerhouses.co.uk or call us on 01924 459193. If you message us on social media please do not assume that means a booking is made until we get back to you to confirm.

You’re sure to have lots of questions. We’ve done our best to answer them below:

FAQs

What precautions are you taking to keep people safe?

We have been working hard to make The West Riding is as safe as possible and have put many new procedures in place.

The key new policy is that we have reduced our capacity and all customers must have a seat whilst they are at The West. This will ensure we can easily control the numbers of people in the building. Groups will be at least 1m+ apart, more where feasible. Separate doors to enter and exit the pub will ensure smooth flow of customers and table service will stop the need for customers to congregate around the bar.

By the entrance and exit, and by the Ladies and Gents, there are hand sanitiser facilities for customers to use.

Cleaning is of course a top priority and staff have been fully trained to ensure the pub is always clean and safe.

Finally, we will ask at least one member of each group to provide contact details for NHS Test and Trace.

What will the pub experience be like?

In many ways The West will be just the same. The same great drinks in the same lovely old traditional pub. The buzz of conversation over a pint of cask beer, that we’ve all missed so much during lockdown, will be just the same.

The two most notable changes will be that all customers will have a seat and you will order drinks from your table rather than going to the bar.

Do I need to book?

No, you do not need to book however it is strongly recommended. Since capacity is limited

we strongly recommend booking if you can. All customers are required to have a seat so if we have none available we will have to turn customers away. Best to book and avoid disappointment!

What tables are available?

We have tables available for between 1 and 6 guests inside the pub.

You can also book a table in our beer garden which has been extended both out the front and onto the stage for between 1 and 6 people. Note: Some of these tables are not undercover so you will be exposed to the elements.

What about the toilets?

Both the Ladies and Gents toilets will operate on a one-in-one-out system with well defined safe distanced queuing. Staff will clean the toilets at 20-minute intervals.

Can I smoke?

If you book a table in the beer garden you can smoke. Smokers who are seated inside will not be able to go into the beer garden to smoke as this risks infringing on our safe distancing measures, there are designated areas outside for smokers coming from indoors.

What about payment?

We encourage customers to order and pay on our new app when available or use contactless payments. We will continue to accept cash but wherever possible please pay via contactless.

What about the quiz and other events?

Our Monday night quiz we hope will return at the usual time on Monday 27th July. Once we are up and running more events will follow.

Test and Trace?

The Government has asked us to collect contact details for NHS Test and Trace. As such we will ask for the contact details of at least one member of each group coming to The West. Whilst we will ask every group this is not mandatory and if you do not wish to leave contact details you do not have to. All your information will be held securely as per our GDPR policy and will not be used for any other purpose without your consent. Please refer to our ‘Privacy Notice’ on our website for more details.

What about Dogs?

We are a very dog friendly pub. There is no change to the policy that all dogs are welcome that are well behaved, on a lead and not on the furniture. However you must also ensure your dogs do not block the taped walkways so as people can safe distance.

What are the opening hours?

The current situation is very fluid and we will have to adapt and change over the coming weeks and months. Our initial opening hours are given below but this is likely to change as we get a better picture of what the situation will be.

 

Tuesday 14th July: 4pm – 10pm

Wednesday 15th July: 4pm – 10pm

Thursday 16th July: 4pm – 10pm

Friday 17th July: 12pm – 11pm (last admittance 10pm)

Saturday 18th July: 12noon – 11pm (last admittance 10pm)

Sunday 19th July: 12noon – 9pm

Monday 20th July onwards TBC

The Old Turk – Opening Up

We are excited to announce that The Old Turk will open to the public today (10th July) at 5pm and will be open to the general public both Friday 10th July & Saturday 11th July from 5pm.

Booking is not required but we will have limited capacity due to the COVID-19 guidelines. Our maximum capacity is 32 seated inside and when at that capacity we are sorry but nobody else will be allowed inside the pub. We have extra seating outside but this is obviously open to the elements. All COVID-19 guidelines must be adhered to as signposted within the pub.

Hopefully not too much has changed other than you must remain seated in the pub and there is to be no sitting or standing at the bar. There will be table service provided.

Then from week commencing 20th July we are offering the pub as private hire, available at any licensed time for your group for free*. We can safely cater for groups up to 30 people**

*Terms & Conditions apply – there is a minimum spend for free hire

**All COVID-19 guidelines must be followed and fully adhered to

Cricketers – Opening News

We are very pleased to announce that The Cricketers will re-open at 4pm on Thursday 9th July.

Jo and the team are delighted to be coming out of our enforced hibernation and we are looking forward to welcoming our lovely customers back.

We have been working hard to ensure that you can come and enjoy a pint with us in a way that is safe for both staff & customers, without compromising our traditional pub atmosphere.

For our opening week, Thursday 9th to Sunday 12th July, we will be advising you to make bookings wherever possible. This will ensure we can manage the flow of customers, make any necessary tweaks to procedures and allow the staff to get back up to speed.

We will be closed on Monday 13th and Tuesday 14th July and will then reopen fully from 4pm on Wednesday 15th July.

From that date, again bookings are not a requirement but are strongly advised. To ensure safe distancing between tables we have had to reduce our capacity and all customers will be required to have a seat and there will be no seating or standing at the bar. That means once we are at capacity we will have to turn customers away therefore book a table to avoid disappointment.

To book a table email cricketers@beerhouses.co.uk or call us on 01924 267032. If you message us on social media please do not assume that means a booking is made until we get back to you to confirm.

You’re sure to have lots of questions. We’ve done our best to answer them below:

FAQs

What precautions are you taking to keep people safe?

We have been working hard to make The Cricketers is as safe as possible and have put many new procedures in place.

The key new policy is that we have reduced our capacity and all customers must have a seat whilst they are at The Cricketers. This will ensure we can easily control the numbers of people in the building. Groups will be at least 1m+ apart, more where feasible. Separate doors to enter and exit the pub will ensure smooth flow of customers and table service will stop the need for customers to congregate around the bar.

By the entrance and exit, and by the Ladies and Gents, there are hand sanitiser facilities for customers to use.

Cleaning is of course a top priority and staff have been fully trained to ensure the pub is always clean and safe.

Finally, we will ask at least one member of each group to provide contact details for NHS Test and Trace.

What will the pub experience be like?

In many ways The Cricketers will be just the same. The same great drinks in the same lovely old traditional pub. The buzz of conversation over a pint of cask beer, that we’ve all missed so much during lockdown, will be just the same.

The two most notable changes will be that all customers will have a seat and you will order drinks from your table rather than going to the bar.

Do I need to book?

No, you do not need to book however it is strongly recommended. Since capacity is limited

we strongly recommend booking if you can. All customers are required to have a seat so if we have none available we will have to turn customers away. Best to book and avoid disappointment!

What tables are available?

We have tables available for between 1 and 6 guests. For groups between 7 and 18 people we have two side rooms that can be booked for your exclusive use if adhering to all safe distancing guidelines.

You can also book a table in our beer garden which has been extended into the car park for between 1 and 6 people. Note: most of these tables are not undercover so you will be exposed to the elements and outside tables must be vacated by 10pm at the latest. We now have seating outside for 40.

What about the toilets?

Both the Ladies and Gents toilets will operate on a one-in-one-out system with well defined safe distanced queuing. Staff will clean the toilets at 20-minute intervals.

Can I smoke?

If you book a table in the beer garden you can smoke to your heart’s content (and your lungs dismay). Smokers who are seated inside will not be able to go into the beer garden to smoke as this risks infringing on our safe distancing measures. Instead they will be able to smoke outside at the front or side of the building and away from the entrance & exit.

What about payment?

We encourage customers to order and pay on our new app or use contactless payments. We will continue to accept cash but wherever possible please pay via contactless.

What about the quiz and other events?

Our Wednesday night quiz we hope will return at the usual time on Wednesday 22nd July. Once we are up and running more events will follow.

Test and Trace?

The Government has asked us to collect contact details for NHS Test and Trace. As such we will ask for the contact details of at least one member of each group coming to The Cricketers. Whilst we will ask every group this is not mandatory and if you do not wish to leave contact details you do not have to. All your information will be held securely as per our GDPR policy and will not be used for any other purpose without your consent. Please refer to our ‘Privacy Notice’ on our website for more details.

What about Dogs?

We are a very dog friendly pub. There is no change to the policy that all dogs are welcome that are well behaved, on a lead and not on the furniture. However you must also ensure your dogs do not block the taped walkways so as people can safe distance. Also note that the dog treat jar will be out of action to reduce the risk of spreading the virus and ensuring safe distancing from the bar.

What are the opening hours?

The current situation is very fluid and we will have to adapt and change over the coming weeks and months. Our initial opening hours are given below but this is likely to change as we get a better picture of what the situation will be.

Thursday 9th July: 4pm – 10pm

Friday 10th July: 3pm – 11pm with last admittance at 10pm

Saturday 11th July: 12noon – 11pm with last admittance at 10pm

Sunday 12th July: 12noon – 8pm

Monday 13th July: Closed

Tuesday 14th July: Closed

Wednesday 15th July: 4pm – 10pm

Thursday 16th July: 4pm – 10pm

Friday 17th July: 3pm – 11pm

Saturday 18th July: 12noon – 11pm

Sunday 19th July: 12noon – 8pm

Monday 20th July onwards TBC

Sportsman – Reopening News

We are very pleased to announce that The Sportsman will re-open at 4pm on Thursday 9th July.

The team are delighted to be coming out of our enforced hibernation and we are looking forward to welcoming our lovely customers back.

We have been working hard to ensure that you can come and enjoy a pint with us in a way that is safe, without compromising our traditional pub atmosphere.

For the first weekend, Thursday 9th to Sunday 12th July, we will be open on a bookings-only basis. This will ensure we can manage the flow of customers, make any necessary tweaks to procedures and allow the staff to get back up to speed.

We will be closed on Monday 13th and Tuesday 14th July and will then reopen fully from 4pm on Wednesday 15th July.

From that date, bookings are not required but are strongly advised. To ensure safe distancing between tables we have had to reduce our capacity and all customers will be required to have a seat. That means once we are at capacity we will have to turn customers away. Book a table to avoid disappointment.

To book a table email sportsman@beerhouses.co.uk or call us on 07766131123.

You’re sure to have lots of questions. We’ve done our best to answer them below:

FAQs

What precautions are you taking to keep people safe?

We have been working hard to make The Sportsman as safe as possible and have put many new procedures in place.

The key new policy is that we have reduced our capacity and all customers must have a seat whilst they are at The Sportsman. This will ensure we can easily control the numbers of people in the building. Groups will be at least 1m+ apart, more where feasible. Separate doors to enter and exit the pub will ensure smooth flow of customers and table service will stop the need for customers to congregate around the bar.

By the entrance and exit, and by the Ladies and Gents, there are hand sanitiser facilities for customers to use.

Cleaning is of course a top priority and staff have been fully trained to ensure the pub is always clean and safe.

Finally, we will ask at least one member of each group to provide contact details for NHS Test and Trace.

 

What will the pub experience be like?

In many ways The Sportsman will be just the same. The same great drinks in the same lovely old traditional pub. The buzz of conversation over a pint of cask beer, that we’ve all missed so much during lockdown, will be just the same.

The two most notable changes will be that all customers will have a seat and you will order drinks from your table rather than going to the bar.

 

Do I need to book?

For our soft opening, Thursday 9th to Sunday 12th July, you do need to book.

From Wednesday 15th July bookings are not required. However, we strongly recommend booking if you can. All customers are required to have a seat so if we have none available we will have to turn customers away. Best to book and avoid disappointment!

 

What tables are available?

We have tables available for between 1 and 6 guests. For groups between 7 and 18 people we have two side rooms that can be booked for your exclusive use if adhering to safe distancing guidelines.

You can also book a table in our beer garden for between 1 and 6 people. Note: these tables are not undercover so you will be exposed to the elements.

 

What about the toilets?

Both the Ladies and Gents toilets will operate on a one-in-one-out system with well defined safe distanced queuing. Staff will clean the toilets at 20-minute intervals.

 

Can I smoke?

If you book a table in the beer garden you can smoke to your heart’s content (and your lungs dismay). Smokers who are seated inside will not be able to go into the beer garden to smoke as this risks infringing on our safe distancing measures. Instead they will be able to smoke outside on Fitzwilliam Street. Unfortunately you will not be able to take drinks with you outside.

 

What about payment?

We encourage customers to order and pay on our new app or use contactless payments. We will continue to accept cash.

 

Will you be serving food?

Initially we will not be serving food. Once we get a clear indication that the demand is there, we will again start serving up our amazing pies. If you would like us to serve food let us know; we are always trying to gauge demand.

 

What about the quiz and other events?

Our Sunday night quiz will return at 7pm on Sunday 19th July. Once we are up and running more events will follow.

 

Test and Trace?

The Government has asked us to collect contact details for NHS Test and Trace. As such we will ask for the contact details of at least one member of each group coming to The Sportsman. Whilst we will ask every group this is not mandatory and if you do not wish to leave contact details you do not have to. All your information will be held securely as per our GDPR policy and will not be used for any other purpose without your consent. Please refer to our ‘Privacy Notice’ on our website for more details.

 

 

What are the opening hours?

The current situation is very fluid and we will have to adapt and change over the coming weeks and months. Our initial opening hours are given below but this is likely to change as we get a better picture of what the situation will be.

 

Thursday 9th July: 4pm – 11pm

Friday 10th July: 12noon – 11pm

Saturday 11th July: 12noon – 11pm

Sunday 12th July: 12noon – 10pm

Monday 13th July: Closed

Tuesday 14th July: Closed

Wednesday 15th July: 4pm – 11pm

Thursday 16th July: 4pm – 11pm

Friday 17th July: 12noon – 11pm

Saturday 18th July: 12noon – 11pm

Sunday 19th July: 12noon – 10pm

Monday 20th July onwards TBC

Beerhouses – Pubs Openings

Hello Everyone,

We at Beerhouses have been working hard over lockdown to ensure that when the time came to re-open the pubs that we could do it in a manner not only that is safe to do so but also where the offer and experience is right for you, our fantastic customers. Having carefully considered the risks and the feedback we have received we have decided to take a safety first attitude to open our pubs in stages and learn as we go. This will give us the opportunity to ensure our policies and practices work and are safe, test out new methods of working and ensure that everything we do is bang on! It will also give us the chance to ensure our staff are fully trained on working safely and that the return to work is done with their health & well-being in mind.

This schedule is a work in progress and is subject to change as we learn from each opening and guidance may change. However today we are really excited to announce that:

The Sportsman & The Cricketers will open on Thursday 9th July. More details on times, booking tables and what to expect will follow early next week.

We then hope to open The West Riding week commencing July 13th and then Stalybridge Buffet Bar & Idle Beerhouse w/c 20th July if all goes well.

As stated, these dates could be subject to change and if there are to be any changes to this we will let you know via our website & social media channels.

We are really excited about re-opening our pubs and seeing you come back in, please support independent pubs & brewers and we can then get back the social element that you can only get in a pub, a real pub, selling great beer (and other drinks)!

Team Beerhouses

#longlivethepub #supportindepentpubs

www.beerhouses.co.uk / @beerhousespubs / e: feedback@beerhouses.co.uk

Beerhouses – Preparing for Trading

Beerhouses – Preparing for Trading

Hello all, just to fill you in on some of the things we have being doing in readiness for reopening our business after the COVID-19 lockdown. These steps have/are being taken to ensure that we have taken every precaution to protect our staff, our customers, our suppliers and anyone else we may come into contact with as we start to reopen our business.

With regards staff – just some of what we have been doing includes

We have surveyed all our staff to collate information, understand their worries or concerns and to gather feedback on how they feel and what we could be doing for them, currently over 85% of staff completed our survey.

We have created and trained out to all staff a COVID-19 workbook that includes our new and updated policies and requirements on cleaning, keeping safe, safe distancing and safe ways of working.

We have created a risk assessment that understands the staff needs to reduce the risks. This has been shared with all our staff and will be available to view on our website prior to opening

All managers have had mental health awareness training and we have created a simple mental health pack with links to guidance and advice that is available to all our staff. Some of our team have also have completed the Mental Health First Aid course via the very wonderful Licensed Trade Charity

With Regards Customers – just some of what we have been doing includes

We surveyed our customers via social media and received over 700 responses which has tailored our thinking and decision making towards our offer whilst understanding the needs of the anxious, nervous & vulnerable.

We have fully risk assessed our pubs and in line with government guidance have created a plan and our own Guidance for Customers (aka The Rules) to try and ensure safe reopening. These will be available to view on our website prior to opening.

We have fully deep cleaned all areas in our pubs and will have increased sanitation / cleaning options for customers and clear defined cleaning procedures for each of our areas.

We have ensured, wherever possible, that seating areas are socially distant as per guidelines both inside and out, we intend to have an ordering app, will encourage use of contactless or app payment and will be doing table service

Plus loads more….

Also may we take this time to say that we are a small independent group. We have a fantastic team of skilled, dedicated and loyal staff who are doing their very best in very difficult circumstances. We don’t have millions to help us through this situation and are learning as we go, so please can we ask you to remember this. If we make a mistake or something doesn’t appear to be working please let us know so we can fix it before you social media or review site it, we are as new to this as you.

Please can you also try and remember that we are publicans and bar staff rather than experts in virus control. We are following the guidelines as set out to us by the government so please don’t get frustrated if your understanding of households, groups and bubbles is different to ours. The decisions we have made on groups, bookings and size is based on our understanding of the advice so please be patient with us, we are doing all we can at this time to ensure a safe return to ending restrictions whilst controlling the risks of spreading COVID-19.

We hope to announce our opening plans later today (26th June) see please keep an eye out for these

Many Thanks – Team Beerhouses

www.beerhouses.co.uk / e: feedback@beerhouses.co.uk / Find us on Socials @ beerhousespubs

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.

Many Thanks

Team Beerhouses

 

 

 

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.

Cheers Mike!