My third annual beer ticking pub awards.
As I’ve said in the past, I’m a beer ticker – I like to try as many different beers as possible and as such I’ve ranked my top ten pubs in order of the number of ticks that I’ve had there. I’ve not included beer festivals. Ticking isn’t the be all and end all of pub life, but it just so happens that I rather do like most of the pubs I’ve visited.
1. The Queen Crafthouse & Kitchen, Doncaster (3rd in 2017; opened during 2016)
Not the biggest selection of beers in my favourite ticking pubs, but a combination of great beers and absolutely brilliant staff. I want to write more, but there’s not much else to say – fantastic beer, even more fantastic staff and…
2. Friends of Ham, Leeds (1st in 2017, 2nd in 2016)
Bit of a turbulent year for FoH – after a few business troubles earlier in the year, they’re now owned by someone else and sadly, the beer list isn’t quite what it was, although it’s still great. I understand that the current owner is looking at selling it on, so let’s see what next year has in store.
3. The Corner, Huddersfield (9th in 2017)
Climbing up from 9th last year, they’re still their with great beer and staff. Huddersfield’s a strange place for beer – pop along for a beer in any of the decent beer bars on a weekday afternoon and there’s always folk just there enjoying beer in a chilled atmosphere. The Corner is certainly one of these bars.
5= Doncaster Brewery Tap, Doncaster (6th in 2017, 11th in 2016)
Climbing slightly from last year, Doncaster Brewery Tap don’t really focus that much on guest beers, but more on being a tap for their own brews. However, with a regular guest, some amazing keg guests and beer festivals throughout the year, they’re still in my top ten. If I could work out a way of factoring in a way of staff personalities instead of number of ticks per pub then they’re be way up the list. Incidentally, if I’d had just one more tick here, they’d be in joint 3rd , and another 4 then in second.
5= Mr Foley’s Cask Ale House, Leeds (new entry)
I’m not really sure why this is Foley’s first time in my top 10, but again, the combination of great staff and a good range of keg and cask beer prevails – there’s often up to 30 boxes of battery acid (sorry, cider) for those who like to indulge in such beverages. Outside of peak hours, they have a really chilled vibe – even in the week leading up to Christmas, I popped in one afternoon and there was a real cool vibe with just some really chilled out music instead of Jingle Bell Rock being played in a loop.
Sadly, they went into administration late in 2018 but have since been bought by Black Sheep Brewery. The bar has a brilliant location and the ‘concept’ is fantastic – I just hope they don’t start messing around too much.
6. Arcade, Huddersfield (7th in 2017)
Climbing slightly from last year, this non-cask ale pub still never fails to impress.
7. The Draughtsman, Doncaster (opened during 2017)
Now they’ve been open a year, they’ve climbed up to 7th place. Always a good stop off to sup beer elsewhere!
8. The Sportsman, Huddersfield (8th in 2017; 6th in 2016)
Still in 8th place with good beer and the pies. Oh my, you must try the pies!
9. Turks Head, Leeds (new entry)
It’s only recently that I’ve started frequenting the Turks Head, but once again, good beer and knowledgeable staff seem to be the key. Oh – and brilliant food with just that bit of a classy feel.
10. Tapped, Leeds (2nd in 2017; 1st in 2016)
Well – they’ve fallen from from being in the top one or two down to 10th. Why? For me, the biggest problem is that they don’t serve thirds (unless the beer is quite pricey). There’s only so much beer you can consume in one day, so I’ll generally go to places that serve thirds, and once I’ve ‘cleared up’, then might go to Tapped before the train home.
11. Head of Steam, Leeds; Bundobust, Leeds; Box Social, Newcastle, Crown & Kettle, Manchester; Maison du Biere, Elsecar
Well, I’ve always included an 11th place, but give or take a beer or two, these are all on a similar tick rating so I’ll say a few words about them all
Head of Steam Leeds – great beer. Nuff said
Box Social, Newcastle – too many great beers!
Crown & Kettle, Manchester – an amazing pub. It’s not chrome and trendy but has fantastic staff and beer and some of the best prices in Manchester
Maison du Biere, Elsecar – another of those places I ‘just like’ but included especially as they won a Barnsley CAMRA Pub of the Season even though they don’t serve cask ale. Well done!
Once again, only three pubs are in my home town of Doncaster – it’s a bit sad really that I have to travel so far from my home town. Well done to the Doncaster guys – you’re passionate about what you do, but can’t you work miracles and do something about the dire state of beer in the town?
Oh – and if any of the winners would like to buy me beer, I wouldn’t say no!