TOP 100 PUBS – THE BLACK ROCK, WAKEFIELD

It’d been too long since my last Top 100 pub; you’ll be starting to think I’ve only got 1,000 of them.

I actually asked the Pub Tickers for a recommendation and picked the one described as “boring on the beer front“. The Ale House looked even better;

But sadly even a lone cask John Smith’s Bitter is too much too ask these days, and I saw no John’s.

So the Black Rock it was, and as good as it had looked at 16:30,

it looked even better an hour later.

This is Wakefield’s Scarborough Hotel, its Hare & Hounds, its Champion of the Thames (I’m showing off now).

A beautiful drinkers pubs, popular with all ages, without fuss or frills. A West Yorkshire speciality. Or used to be.

But what to have ?

The Tetley was listed sixth on the beer board, right at the bottom, and no-one wants the beer at the bottom of the list, do they ?

So I dithered and went for the middle one, just as the Bluebells cranked up “Young at Heart“.

I’d have gone for the Tets, but it was bottom of the list” I explained to the Guvnor.

He was horrified at my stupidity. “That’s just the order of the handpumps left to right !“. “We’re a Tetley pub !“. “Best Tetley in Wakefield” chipped in a bloke at the bar, before an unresolved debate about Tets not being what it was (25 marks, show workings).

It was all very cheerful, but how stupid did I feel, staring at the Tetley sign above my head while I sank a pint of Ossett Blonde (NBSS 3+). I love Ossett, but it’s not Tetley.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter. Chrissie Hynde sang “Brass In Pocket” and the Black Rock was, like that 1980 No.1, a classic.

And you may have to cross the Pennines to find a Gents this good.

I almost wavered and stayed for that Tetley, but in 2022 a ticker needs to pace himself. Just like BRAPA does.

21 thoughts on “TOP 100 PUBS – THE BLACK ROCK, WAKEFIELD

      1. I went on the Marston’s brewery tour in 1974, when Marston’s was still an independent company, so I think that trumps any tour that took place, 44 years later. 🙂

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    1. It was certainly brewed in Wolverhampton from 2012, after the Leeds Tetley’s Brewery was closed in 2011. The Yorkshire Evening Post had a report in May 2018 (https://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/welcome-home-tetley-beer-be-brewed-leeds-once-again-293057) that it was going to be brewed by Leeds Brewery (no relation) and this coincided with a rebranding (new pump clips and beer mats), but the Morning Advertiser the next day clarified that the beer to be brewed in Leeds was No.3 Pale Ale, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen in a pub. Meanwhile the “production of the brewery’s flagship Tetley’s Bitter will continue to be concentrated at Banks’s brewery in Wolverhampton.” Other Tetleys beers are brewed by Camerons in Hartlepool, and I thought I had read somewhere that the bitter is also now brewed there, but I haven’t been able to find any reference to that online, so it looks like it’s still Wolverhampton.

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  1. The licensee of the Black Rock certainly serves a good pint of Tetley’s, but it’s still nothing like as good as when it was brewed in Leeds. Same goes for Nicholson’s Scarbrough Hotel in Leeds.

    On their website, Carlsberg Marstons keep on going on about the yeast, but they don’t take into account that the move away from Leeds means the beer is not brewed with the same water, and the loss of the original fermenting vessels means that whatever micro-organisms were present (and affecting the behaviour of the yeast) are also long gone.

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