The Beer Engine, Skipton, September 2017

The walking tour of Skipton continues, and we find ourselves in our favourite pub from 2015’s walking tour, The Beer Engine. This year there was no-one in talking about “London swearing” just lots of people enjoying good beer on a Saturday afternoon. It is a place that knows its market and caters to them. There’s not much point sticking 5 keg lines in here and trying to convince local drinkers to have thirds of double dry hopped triple IPAs.

There are 5 cask ales on hand pump, ideally suited to the local market. There are around 4 ciders and some good bottled beers including some nice Belgian numbers. The perfect place to enjoy a relaxed pint and a chat.

My relaxed pint was Vale Ale by Three Castles Brewery from Pewsey in Wiltshire, a tasty caramel bitter.

A quick atmosphere shot to give you a sense of the place:-

A lovely little micro pub. Whenever we are next in Skipton, we’ll be back.

Stanforth Butchers, Skipton, September 2017

More food? Yes. It is dangerous to conduct a walking tour without sufficient calories. Award winning calories are an added bonus, so when there’s a traditional pork pie available that’s been made to the same recipe for over 80 years, at a shop where they regularly queue out of the door for them, it’s got to be worth checking out.

This pork and apple pie was probably the best pork pie that I’ve ever eaten, well worth a very brief stop on the walking tour of Skipton. Perfect fuel for any walk. I wonder if there’s anywhere else round here where we can get a drink?


The Castle Inn, Skipton, September 2017

A familiar venue from the 2015 walking tour. We stopped here for lunch then, and we did the same today. We had two pints here.

The first pint was Barista Stout from Theakston, a lovely sweet coffee stout. I remember having this one on a walking tour of Loughborough, and it’s still a lovely pint that could stand up to having a bit more coffee added.

The second pint was a pint of chips. We had pints of chips last time, so we had to have them again. Plates are always preferred, but the occasional quirky pint of chips is ok, especially when they are decent chips. It does make it hard to get the salt and vinegar evenly distributed though…

A lovely Skipton pub, and we sat outside watching the world go by.

Early Doors Micropub, Skipton, September 2017

The first stop on the second part of the “walking tour of Skipton“. This one wasn’t here when we came on our last walking tour, having opened during 2016. As you’ll see from today’s walking tour, Skipton is well catered for when it comes to pubs, and this is its second micropub (a little pub that concentrates on beer and not much else). It’s like pubs used to be, before Sky Sports became ubiquitous. It’s all about the beer, with six cask ales to choose from, usually two blonde, two amber/ruby and two dark. The friendly and helpful barman will guide you through the beers and offer a taster of any of them…

This was a UPA (ultra pale ale) from Doghouse Brewery in Lancashire (although they began life on the Isle of Man). Refreshing hoppy bitterness with just a hint of orange. A lovely session ale to start a town-wide session with 🙂

If you want a good old-fashioned pub for a nice quiet pint and not much else, then this will do you nicely.

Walking tour of Skipton, September 2017

This year’s walking tour of Skipton is upon us. The inaugural event happened back in September 2015, when Mrs MOFAD, along with regular MOFAD companions Hazel, Caroline and Ali, went to Yarndale, the festival of wool.

That was happening again today, but with just Mrs MOFAD and Hazel. Steve and Janette were also supposed to be here, but had to cancel due to illness.

Once again, Matt & I declined the kind offer of going to Yarndale to carry bags of wool around, and instead opted for a walking tour of Skipton. Only this year, we actually did more of a proper walking tour of Skipton to start with. Look! Nature!

Actual nature. This is not far from where we saw a kingfisher swooping low over Round Dam. The walk took us below Skipton Castle, alongside Eller Beck, up to the dam and through Skipton woods. We returned via Park Hill, site of a former civil war battery where Cromwell’s parliamentarian troops attacked Skipton Castle from. They never defeated the castle, but Lady Anne Clifford accepted that the Roundheads had won the war and ordered her troops to stand down. You get a good view down into the town.

That’s where we went next. To start the real walking tour of Skipton. Where we go the pub. And then another pub. And another one. You get the picture. To the pub!

The Narrowboat #1, Skipton, September 2017

After a gentle bimble around Skipton this afternoon we wandered back to the hotel and then back out again for dinner. We’ve booked a table somewhere for tomorrow night (a lesson learned from 2015) but tonight we just decided to wander until we found somewhere. We didn’t take long to find our dinner destination, settling on The Narrowboat, which we’d visited as part of 2015’s walking tour of Skipton.

The first reason for visiting was because I had spotted Hawkshead’s Passion Fruit Gose on the bar. Mrs MOFAD has been looking out for this beer since it was first announced, and we missed it at this year’s Thornbridge Peakender (along with many other great beers which came and went in the blink of an eye). It looked like it was finally time to try it.

So near, and yet so far. I’d ordered it at the bar, but the last few drops dribbled out of the keg. The pub let Mrs MOFAD have it for nothing (to compensate for the sadness), and she had to choose something else. Pogo by Wild Beer Co is fruit salad with a little hop character.

My first was Sorachi by Bristol Beer Factory, a decent cask ale but for me the Sorachi Ace hop was too muted. It’s a Marmite hop but I love its flavour which is why I was looking for more here.

A gentle golden ale next, in the form of Mallisons American SIPA. A decent pint but nothing to really excite.

Just in case you weren’t sure that we were in the North. Chips and gravy. Northern gravy. Although sadly Hazel’s pie had to go back, as during the likely reheating they had burned it rather badly, and it was inedible. It was eventually replaced with pizza, but they didn’t refund the difference.

No such problems with my pizza which they got right first time. A porky fest with bacon, sausage, pulled pork and black pudding.

Black pudding is northern filth, so it was distributed to other plates… Apart from the filth, this was a tasty, porky and crisp pizza, just what I wanted on a Friday night. If that wasn’t good enough, then Mrs MOFAD was even more delighted, as they had found some more Passion Fruit Gose. Her review was simple:-

“OMG. Best. Beer. Ever.”

Fairly clear cut.

My final pint tonight was Citra Star from Northumberland’s Anarchy Brew Co, one that I’ve had before in a can, and it’s even better on cask.

A shame that they burnt the pie, and didn’t really sort the situation out properly, but we did all eventually have a nice dinner and some great beer.

The Cake ‘Ole, Skipton, September 2017

Cake please!

After a gentle trundle around Skipton, we needed to stop off for tea and cake. There are plenty of options dotted around the town. We found ourselves in the Craven Court shopping centre and The Cake ‘Ole caught our eye (not least because it reminded us of Kerrie).

The wacky decor (sadly not pictured because we were too busy staring around the room and spotting things) certainly caught our eye so we grabbed a brightly covered table and ordered some tea, coffee and cake.


Actually I was the only one who ordered the cake. Because chocolate orange cake.

Look at that dense deliciousness. It was lovely. A good cup of northern tea to go with it – proper loose leaves, none of this soft southern tea bag nonsense. Delightful mismatched crockery (this caused some uproar on Facebook) and all the mad decor. Lampshades without the shade (just the wire frame) with various birds perching on them, an upright cow, a crow watching suspiciously on. A selection of cuckoo clocks (and cuckoo clocks that made other noises). Pages of the Beano as wallpaper. A zebra.

Friendly and happy staff round things off nicely – a great place to pop in for tea and cake.