“There’s nowt such thing as bad beer, it’s just they that keep it that spoil it” – Brad, The Furnace
Let that sink in.
The clutch of villages below Barnsley is a geographical minefield (no pun intended), which only now I realise can be lumped under the ward of Hoyland Milton, I think. It’s an area of solid housing, and spectacular countryside.
A decade or so ago we visited Elsecar’s Heritage Centre a few times on the way north. In those days steam trains and science experiments would occupy toddlers for hours while Mrs RM perused displays of garden furniture. Nowadays it seems to rival Garden Centres as a place for coach parties of OAPs to buy coffee and cake.
I may have done the set of Elsecar’s pubs now that I’ve visited the Furnace. A more solid set of drinkers pubs you won’t find anywhere, but all tidy and welcoming to all.
As Simon got there first I will direct you to his exemplary description first. I was highly tempted to show Landlord Brad the review by Simon on my phone, but I couldn’t remember if Si had slagged off any of the locals anywhere in his epic. You can’t be too careful with BRAPA.
I thought it was wonderful, though I will grant you the extra special reception may have had more to do with Mrs RM. By that I mean her appreciation for real ale is legendary, of course.
Plenty of solid bench seating, perhaps a bit modern for the Sam Smiths aficionado but pleasant enough for your granny. I like a good all-rounder; pubs full of beer bores or pub tickers limit the conversational mix. Green tiling obsessives will enjoy the toilets.
But it was the welcome that did it for us. Tandleman often writes about varying experiences in pubs. Brad greeted us like guests; promoting his wares, asking about our trip, taking the mick. That promotes conversation, and conversation is king. So I mentioned the keg Magnet, a beer I thought long dead, and he poured me a free half. Full or iron, but very tasty, thought Mrs RM.
The beer range above is about as exotic as it gets in Hoyland. If you want more than a malty one and a golden one get the train to Barnsley’s Old No.7.
Clearly we had to have the one named after Brad, a typically full-bodied and moreish Clark’s pint with a tight head (NBSS 3.5).
While we sat scoffing craft crisps the bar kept us involved in a running gag about Beth’s trip to Cambridge (I hope it was a gag). Other folk came and went with updates on motorcycle accidents and United’s latest signing.
As we returned our glasses and complimented the beer, the Landlord gave me the quote at the top. It doesn’t take much to make me happy these days.
NB good to see the famous 11th Century paintings still in place. If this was Cambridge, they’d be stuck in the Fitzwilliam Museum waiting for hyperactive school children from Arbury to deface them.
QUIZ TIME – What is the significant change since Simon’s visit last month ?