Friday 30th August 2013
Although I had heard of this brewery in a vague sense I was nevertheless quite surprised to stumble across this fully-fledged Café-Bar at the top of the Main Street in Haworth. To explain, I had a spare day whilst in York and so decided to go for ride on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway then visit a few pubs, followed by bus crossing of the moors and down to Hebden Bridge in the Calder Valley, something I've always wanted to do, and then journey back on the train to York.
I arrived on the train at Haworth station and on the forecourt there was a vintage open-top bus going to the village. To be honest, this was a godsend, and so for a small fare I avoided the slog up Haworth's cobbled streets. If you have been here you will know that this is a severe climb and so much nicer to just walk down. I had an open mind when it came to what pubs to visit, so it was a real pleasure to find somewhere new.
There was a very short period of time between me registering that here was a previously unknown and unvisited watering hole and then actually crossing the threshold; little more than a nanosecond!
It is not a big place; to the right of the entrance door I noticed was more of a café. The tiny bar was directly in front of me and there was a small drinking area to the left with stools and small tables.
The wall on the left of the room appears to have a portion of a fermentation vessel. At first I thought this was an extension of the real brewery but of course, that is what it is supposed to look like; but it isn't.
I noticed several things about this "brewery" that are not quite what they seem. I'm not saying there is intention to mislead but there is lot of information unsaid. The point of this is unclear as the beers are good and there's no need to hide their provenance.
The pub and brewery are owned and run by the Gascoigne family. Andy Gascoigne started his brewing career at the Waggon & Horses up on the moors south of nearby Oxenhope. This is no longer a brew pub but is excellent nevertheless.
He then went north to the Isle of Seil, near Oban in Scotland and established the Oyster Brewery in the pub of the same name. Brewing ceased in 2008 but I understand the pub is still good.
The Haworth Steam Brewery was established in 2011. I believe it was behind the bar-café and was hand built in such a way that it could be used as a 2.5 or a 5 barrel brewery. However it seems that brewing is now done at a location away from the town and Haworth Steam has become a "cuckoo" brewery, confirmation of this would be welcome. The kitchen is run by Mandy Gascoigne with the bar operated by daughter Karen.
There was a reasonable selection available when I visited. This consisted of: Austerity Blonde (3.8%); Hurricane 1PA (3.6%) and an, as yet unnamed pale ale (3.9%). There was a guest beer in the form of Wold Top Headland Red Ale (4.3%). They also served Gwynt y ddraig Black Dragon cider (7.2%).
There is a (very) full menu offered that even includes breakfast choices. So, should you be in this beautiful part of West Yorkshire, it is well worth walking up Haworth's historic Main Street to visit this nice little pub.
Haworth Steam Brewing (Gascoigne's Café-Bar-Bistro),
98 Main Street, Haworth. West Yorkshire BD22 8DP. Tel: 01535 646050
Open: Sunday-Wednesday 10.00-18.00; Thursday-Saturday 10.00-23.00
Food is served: Sunday-Wednesday 10.00-16.00;
Thursday-Saturday 10.00-16.00, 18.00-21.30
Obviously, the best way to reach Haworth is on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway.
It's even better if the vintage bus is available to take you up the hill to the top of village.
The normal bus service is provided by the 500, 664 and 665 routes running from Keighley bus station. The 500 continues over the moors to Hebden Bridge. There is also route 698 from Haworth to Bradford. Please note that these routes all serve the railway station and not the top of the village.