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Pub Visit - England

Calans1Saturday 1st April 2017

Bob Thompson

Styled as Calderdale’s first micropub when it opened on 24th April 2015, Calan’s is a welcome addition to the many small businesses in this West Yorkshire town.

It is styled on the ethos of the original micropubs in that it offers no keg beers although it is possible to get traditional cider and wine here.

Calans2The idea for the pub came from Alan Binns and Alyson Jane Littlefair who are its co-owners. I exchanged a few words with them briefly as they exchanged shifts behind the bar counter and they are both dedicated to operating Calan’s in true micropub fashion.

However, it had not been all plain sailing as the premises were badly affected by the well-known floods of Boxing Day 2015 which badly affected Hebden Bridge.

The pub is located very close to the fast-flowing Hebden Beck which joins the River Calder only a few hundred yards away. The water level in the pub was three foot high at one time. The next day when the rivers had receded, there was a huge deposit of mud. The pub itself did not reopen until June of 2016, such was the magnitude of the clean-up operation.

However, the owning team were able to operate a pop-up pub in another location after a while. This was in an old mill close to Hebden Bridge station.

The marvellous Old Pack Horse Bridge crosses the Beck very close to the pub and we should feel lucky that it is still with us and not swept away. Although the town is very trendy these days it has always been a bit of a tourist destination with many pubs and restaurants. Nearly every building is constructed of the attractive local stone.

Calans3The pub is situated at the end of a small courtyard. As you approach the entrance door you can’t help notice the two outside tables with seating. These are covered by awnings.

Once inside the first thing I noticed that the unisex toilet was to the right of the door. Working my eye around the room in a clockwise direction the first thing I noticed was a tall circular table with a couple of high stools and I settled there.


Calans4After obtaining a beer I continued my visual exploration of the room. The double front window looks out onto the courtyard. It has decorative wrought iron bars on it, a nice touch. Inside there is a fitted bench with cushions. This faces towards the bar. Between the two window frames a newspaper rack is to be found. Under the bench the wall is faced with a decoration of diamond shapes. This theme is repeated in the room.

On the left side wall is another fitted bench which is cushioned in a pleasant white and red fabric. There is a long tall table in front with loose tall stools and chairs facing the wall. There many framed photographs, brewery ephemera and posters on the wall above. Continuing in a clockwise direction I came across the L-shaped bar counter with its five hand-pumps which are supplied with beer from casks found in a small glass-fronted cool room behind the serving area.

In the furthest right corner is a small space with another fitted cushioned bench and a couple of low circular wooden tables. The second side of the bar counter faces this area. On the far wall there is a shelf groaning with books; beer guides and the like. Above is a lovely mirror extolling the virtues of the Trough Brewery from Bradford along with a great number of pump-clips and some certificates.

Calans5Moving my eye towards the door I come across the fireplace which is usable. Between the wooden surround and mantle-shelf is the same diamond pattern tiling seen earlier. Above it all is a very large noticeboard with many local events being publicised; this is a true community pub.

The floor is covered by grey stones that look like slate. An interesting feature is the hand chalked blackboards above the bar. Alan draws a fresh one with an illustration for each beer served. I actually saw the process in action.

Calans6The five hand-pumps serve a selection of every-changing beers. When I popped in they were the following: Titanic (Burslem, Staffordshire) Cappuccino Stout (4.5%); Elland Brewery (Elland, West Yorkshire) Beyond the Pale Golden Ale (4.2%); Anarchy Brew Co (Stannington, Northumberland) Crime Scene IPA (5.5%); Great Heck (Great Heck, North Yorkshire) Mercy Pale Ale (4.0%) and Fyne Ales (Achadunan, Argyll) Jarl Blonde Ale (3.8%).

They also serve traditional cider and when I visited it was Beard & Sabre (Norcote, Gloucestershire) Yardarm Medium (5.5%).

Devotees of wine are not ignored and Prosecco is included. They also offer soft drinks and juices in cartons. Crisps, nuts and scratchings are available.

Do you know what a Stoodley Swirl is? No, nor did I. It’s a baked savoury that contains a mix of cooked vegetables. It originates at the Bakehouse in nearby Mytholmroyd and they sell them here. Stoodley Pike is a moorland hill that overlooks the town. The pub also has award-winning pork pies from Bolster Moor.

If you only ever visit one pub in Hebden Bridge, make it this one. Personally, I think it is one of the best micropubs I’ve had a beer in and would recommend it unreservedly.

Important Information:

Calan’s Micropub, 3 The Courtyard, Bridge Gate, Hebden Bridge HX7 8EX. Tel: 07739 563983

Hours: Sunday-Monday 12.00-20.00; Tuesday Closed;
Wednesday-Thursday 12.00-21.00; Friday-Saturday 12.00-22.00

Hebden Bridge station is well served by trains operated by Northern Rail. They go westwards to Rochdale and Manchester, also to Blackburn and Preston. Eastwards they go to Halifax, Bradford and Leeds.
From the station, cross to the station approach. Go over the canal and river bridge and turn right.
This is New Road. At a fork in the road bear right into Commercial Street.
The pub is on the left at the junction with Bridge Gate.

There are town buses that are often waiting outside the station to save you this walk.
Otherwise the main bus routes are the 590 and 592 from Halifax to Rochdale and Burnley respectively.
On the section through Hebden Bridge to Todmorden they often provide a bus every 10 minutes.
There is also the Route 500 Brontëbus over the moors to Haworth and Keighley, mostly every hour.
Arriving by bus alight in the town centre. Bridge Gate is to west of the stop just before the river bridge.
Turn right into it and Callans is in the Courtyard on the right.