Monday, January 05, 2009

The Ale Trail - Pub Reviews

The Ale Trail Pub Reviews, as featured in the Yorkshire Post

By Mark Reid, author of ‘The Inn Way’ guidebooks

New Inn, Appletreewick, Wharfedale

Most pub reviews celebrate the latest chic gastro-pub, with its pastel colours, place settings on all tables and ‘reduced jus’ menu blackboard. The vast majority of pubs don’t make the gastro-pub grade, but still offer excellent food and a warm welcome. And Yorkshire boasts some of the best country pubs in England; unique hostelries that are as much a part of the Yorkshire countryside as the hills and valleys. But all is not well. 36 pubs are closing every week in this country, and rural pubs are under threat as never before. Close the village pub and you rip the heart out of the community, with nowhere left to meet, celebrate or socialise and nowhere for visitors to experience local life. In order to safeguard this important part of our culture and heritage, it is a case of ‘use them or lose them’. So, I am on the trail of Yorkshire’s great country pubs, where walkers are welcome, beer is in tip top condition and the food is hearty and wholesome.

The sign outside proclaims ‘Hikers, Cyclists, Mountain Bikers, Horse Riders Welcome’, so it would be rude not to go in. After all, I’m on foot, it’s raining hard and I’m hungry. The New Inn at Appletreewick is geared up for the outdoor enthusiast, particularly if you’re into mountain biking for it is home to the World’s first mountain biking livery where you can safely store and repair your bike, ready to hit the trails of the Yorkshire Dales again. The walls of the pub are adorned with maps and snaps of mountain bikers, as well as fascinating old prints of ‘Aptrick’, as it’s known locally. The main bar is large and airy, with assorted tables and chairs, piped music and a smallish blackboard crammed with an extensive menu of snacks, mains and desserts, all reasonably priced. Sadly, the fire was not lit in the cast-iron stove, despite the onset of autumn outside; but still, the pub was warm and welcoming. I stood at the bar surveying the range of seven hand-pumps waiting patiently for service, when a local suggested I tap the bell. The barman instantly appeared and greeted me with a genuine smile. The beer selection was safe, reliable and local – no unknown micro beers here – and the barman knowledgeable. His description of Daleside’s Blonde (ABV 3.9%, £2:50 a pint), a light and hoppy brew with a hint of citrus, convinced me to try a pint, as well as a bowl of homemade roasted vegetable and tomato soup (£3:95). The beer was in excellent condition, just the right temperature and full of flavour, and before I’d had chance to blow the froth off my pint the soup arrived, piping hot, tasty and substantial. This is a genuine and unpretentious pub that is geared up for walkers and proud of its beer, where you feel comfortable even if dripping wet. I will be back, but next time I may just bike there.

New Inn, Appletreewick, Skipton, North Yorkshire. Tel: 01756 720252

Opening Hours:
Open all day. Food served 12 noon until 9pm.

An extensive range of food perfect for hungry walkers, including Home Roast Gammon Ham £9:95 and Local Kilnsey Trout £9:95. Choice of nine homemade desserts as well including Jam Roly Poly and Rhubarb Crumble, all £3:95.

Real Ales
Choice of seven hand-pulled ales from local brewers including Black Sheep, Daleside and Theakston’s as well as an extensive range of draught and bottled Belgium and Continental beers.

Six bedrooms - £65 per room per night.

Walkers Welcome?
Muddy boots and dogs welcome, with a tile and wood floor in the bar. Outside there is an extensive beer garden with views across Wharfedale. Appletreewick lies along the Dales Way, and great walks abound including Simon’s Seat, Troller’s Ghyll and riverside paths along the Wharfe.


1 comment:

  1. In stark contrast to my experience in Kettlewell,this is a place I would wholeheartedly endorse.Despite being covered in mud we were greeted with enthusiasm,and expertly advised about the ales available.The worst part of the evening was the realisation that we would have to leave the warm fireside of this glorious pub,and make our way back to the car at Bolton Bridge.As Arnie said "I'll be back"!