Calan’s was Hebden Bridge’s first micro pub when it opened in April 2015. Although I would contend, that although micro in scale, it isn’t a micropub at all – more of that later. Mind you, it does say micropub above the door!
It’s changed hands since I last visited. It used to be run by Alan and Alyson who are a smashing couple, but they hung the towels up on May 13th this year after three years building up the wonderful business they started. I wish them the very best of luck in whatever they do, but sadly I understand Alyson has been poorly, so get well soon chuck, it was nice meeting you.
Although the pub has changed hands, nothing seems to have changed. New owners Nadine and Damian seem to be carrying on where Alan and Alyson left off. And why change a winning formula. In any case, Nadine use to work behind the bar and I can confirm that they too are friendly and very genuine people who will do well.
I said I’d go back to the micropub element didn’t I. Well, it’s closed on Tuesdays and only opens noon till 10pm on Friday & Saturday, 8pm on Sunday and 9pm on the rest of the week. The toilets are a single, shared affair, they are however spotless and well appointed, elevating themselves to a higher level with little touches like complimentary feminine hygiene products.
Like I said, the pub’s not very big, essentially one room with a bar and a ‘behind a glass screen cellar’ where all the beers are stillaged upright. There is however an outside drinking area in a small courtyard that’s shared with other premises, a sort of coffee shop cum wine bar and a restaurant. It’s all very pleasant actually.
So what is it that sets it above a lot of micropubs? Maybe, on a Saturday afternoon, it’s the constant stream of people. Maybe it’s the five cask ales, quality brewers from across the UK that attract the constant stream of customers? Maybe it’s just the craic and the pleasant ambience? Whatever, everything works to create the atmosphere of a busy little pub rather than a micropub, many of which, to me, lack the special charm required of a decent public house.
Beers? Ashover Milk Stout (6%: £3.40), Elland Nettlethrasher (4%: £3.20) BBB of the very best sort, Salopian Hi Frequency (5.2%: £3.40), Beatnikz Republic Spring Pale (3.6%: £3.20) and Calan’s Pale Session (4%: £3). I should have asked who brewed the house beer, but I forgot. The Salopian and the Elland beer were both around NBSS 3.5%. On previous visits I have been equally impressed with the variety and quality of the beers. There is always a dark beer on, which is nice and a real cider too.
Although the clientele were predominantly CAMRA members on my last visit, the pub attracts a real cross section of locals and visitors. I couldn’t resist taking the photo of the chap reading his e-book and if the opportunity arises, a photo of Inter City Ken has to be included.
Although this little flurry of Hebden Bridge posts might not be coming out in order or in series, I think you, dear reader, will be forming the opinion there is a clear theme building of quality ales and a real beery diversity in the town. Okay Calan’s is out and out real ale, and it does it very well, but there are out and out ‘not cask ale’ places too. That’s why I like the town, and will tell you that if you do visit Hebden Bridge, then Calan’s is a worthy inclusion in GBG2018 and has to be a ‘must do’.