The Valley Bar is a bit of a walk from anywhere the casual visitor to Scarbrough would frequent. I thought I’d been in here before but nothing was striking any chords. I was sure I’d walked up here before though?
For 2pm on a Friday afternoon it wasn’t busy and then it wasn’t deadly quiet neither. There were a couple of people sat in each of the four rooms off the central bar. Not bad for the week before Christmas.
They obviously hadn’t sold much cask ale, at least not the ones we wanted because the barmaid pulled a good pint through each of them and chucked it down the sink. I give her top marks here, not just for being friendly and chatty neither. If you don’t know how busy you’re going to be, with five cask ales on, it’s better to wait until one is asked for before pulling some through.
I thought it best to try Darkstar Hophead, an old favourite just to see what Fuller’s might have done to it. Nothing really, as nice as ever I thought, although I have no recent touchstone. I wonder where things will go now under the directorship of Asahi?
Personally, it worries me, the larger the company the more ‘economy of scale’ impacts. Would a financial person looking at the balance sheet allow the hand to mouth purchase of small quantities of specific ingredients or would they direct their small acquisition to select something from the list of supplies they had bulk bought on the global futures market?
Anyway, time will tell, lets get back to The Valley where we had a pint of Hophead and a half of Nightjar, ex Slightly Foxed of Hebden Bridge, Stout which came to a very reasonable £4.20 in total. The second pint of Hophead was nearer NBSS 4 than the first one, which I had as 3.5. Again showing the need to have some throughput on a line for the beer to be in top quality, but clearly evidencing the pub’s GBG status.
As I sat down I removed my parka, only for a bloke in the corner to tell me I might be putting it back on in a minute. I fiddled with the electrical fire cum imitation stove at the side of us but couldn’t persuade it to fire up, so I put my coat back on like everyone else.
The ensuing conversation removed my confusion. He said he thought the old pub had been better when it was just in the bit at the bottom end, cosier, friendlier. He couldn’t remember exactly when, but someone had bought up the house on the corner and converted two buildings into a much larger pub. There’s letting rooms and it’s been decorated quite nicely, in a modern sort of pub style. It was a big place though and with maybe a dozen in and a fire that wouldn’t turn on, just a tad chilly.
Then his mate sparked up with that old ice breaker everyone uses when they recognise out of towners, ‘So where you from then?’
Turns out he was originally from Sherburn in the same Kingdom of Elmet as I reside, and knew the long term ex-landlord of the pub directly across the road from me. We swapped stories and anecdotes, and properly had a good laugh until it was time to go and have a look at the new North Riding Brewery.