I’ve been a fan of Ossett beers since enjoying them in the Brewer’s Pride in the early 2000s. They’ve grown their own estate of pubs organically since then, with their houses in Liversedge and Marsden really standing out. A high turnover of a tight but distinctive range might the secret to their success, rather like Joules.
Ossett have been branching into pubs with a younger appeal of late, and their Hop bars in the big West Yorks cities have all been busy when I’ve visited.
The two new places in York are both Ossett, and they’re excellent, if very contrasting.
The Fox is a pleasant stroll through the terrace houses and public school playing fields to the suburb of Holgate. It’s a classic York multi-roomer, one of the most photogenic places I’ve been to lately, though oddly quiet due to a heatwave that brought the beer garden into rare use.
York is spoilt for classic unspoilt interiors, with the Blue Bell, Golden Ball and Swan being just the ones in the current Beer Guide.
The Fox still has signs of it’s Tetley Heritage Pub status, but like Joules has put its stamp on the place in an understated way.
It’s not unique, but feels like a classic. The only thing it lacks is people, but come the end of Summer next week I’ve no doubt the inside will be packed again.
The beer choice was pretty much exemplary too, except there was too much of it. Plenty of premium lagers, and Ossett Blonde, being carried into the garden, so of course I went for the Brass Castle that impressed so much at John Clarke’s beer tasting at MancFest.
While tasting very decent (NBSS 3), the bit of scum on top wasn’t the most appealing, but that didn’t dampen my enjoyment of this place.
The walk across town to the other GBG newbie is quite wonderful.
In Fossgate, it’s party central in the Blue Bell, so I settle for the more refined Hop across the road.
After a week of Landbierparadies and VolkenreutherWirsthaus I’m grateful for some nice simple pub names I can spell.
Hop has a really pleasing mix of folk on an early Saturday evening, with more oldies than you’d find in their Sheffield or Saltaire places, even though getting a table to enjoy their lovely pizzas seems a forlorn hope.
Learning my lesson from the Fox, I stuck to the Blonde (quite right says Mrs RM), which was superb (NBSS 3.5).
Ossett seem to be getting most things right at the moment, and their own beers are rarely encountered in less than good form. Having a bold, clear pump clip design undoubtedly helps.