Keighley gets a bad press in Bill Bryson’s “Notes From a Small Island“, but then so do Milton Keynes and Worksop, so you can ignore him.
And no town that boasts Eric Pickles, Dennis Healey, Kiki Dee and Terrorvision among its famous sons can be that bad. That would have been a supergroup and a half.
Even by the standards of Bradford Metropolitan Borough, it’s a lively place. One foot into the new Guide pub that drew me out from Forster Square Station, it was clear that Sunday night was the new Friday in Keighley.
A couple of wobbly lads were clearly trying to do all the town pubs in a day, or perhaps celebrating finding a micropub open on a Sunday, and resembled that poor blogger who didn’t last the pace at last months Manchester Beer Fest.
The Lord Rodney over-plays its dining credentials a bit, but the Landlord was the best I’ve had in a while (NBSS 3). That’s not saying much, I’ve had some very dull Tim Taylors in GBG pubs in recent years, I suspect more down to low volumes than the brewer.
The neat little tourist leaflet suggests 45 minutes to explore Keighley, which by coincidence is how much time I had before the train back to Shipley.
That was enough time to admire the pleasant cobbled streets that almost compensate for the drab shopping centres. To be fair, I remember spending a fortune on cheap sweets here a decade ago, so the shops can’t be all bad. There was also a nationally renowned Hi-Fi shop (The Den) with a vinyl collection worth travelling for, but even Sainsbury sell vinyl now.
The 43 minutes I had left were enough to revisit the Brown Cow, one of my better drinking decisions of recent weeks.
I fancied another Landlord here, but the Super Saver Sunday beer from Ashover was, as they say, selling like hotcakes at £2.40, and rather magnificently dry and tasty it was. NBSS 4, a rarity for me.
The pub is even better, with a micropub feel in a proper pub setting, reminiscent of Ossett’s best houses. That means it’s as good for reading your Tyke Taverner as it is for pointless conversation.
Folk of all ages and gender in proper seats, with proper beer mats, and proper chat about Tinker Bridge (?), Police Chiefs and other old codgers. It was BRAPA heaven, if you know what I mean. Someone even said “Ey-up“.
A young couple contemplated their options; go home to the beer in the fridge (probably Cloudwater DIPA v12) or stay for another pint of Golden Best. They made the right call.
Pale ale heaven. Erlanger Nick will love it, if he hasn’t been already.
I made the train with 22 seconds to spare. Not quite enough time for a half here;