Travel : Vocation brew day Cragg Vale and Hebden Bridge

Thursday I woke after a strange dream filled nights sleep. A combination of all the homelessness I had seen and some odd open plumbing system on the toilet cistern that created dripping water noise all night resulted in me dreaming I was sleeping rough. I pulled myself together , went for breakfast in the small pub dining room where each room had its own designated table. A full English later I wandered out round the town, found a decent flat white , and took in the market that takes place daily and clearly supplies many of the population with their weekly shopping. It was colder today unlike the spring like weather that had been following me. I was then collected by Katie from Vocation and driven up to Cragg Vale where the brewery is. We were quickly in country that looked like it was straight out of All Creatures Great and Small. Vocation is a sizeable operation with both a 20HL and 50HL brewhouse , outdoor 100HL fvs and cans stocked in Tescos around the country. Its a dramatic and at times inhospitable place to run such a large brewing operation. We brewed an NZ IPA on the 20HL kit. As I waited for the brew , I popped up to an adjacent cafe and deli which impressively considering we were in the middle of nowhere pretty much on a fell, was heaving with customers. I got a cured northern style pork pie and eat it while walking along the country road a little. Once the beer was headed to the FV, Vocation head brewer Matt drove me down to Hebden and we headed to the pub. We were on the way to the towns community owned pub The Fox and Goose when we came upon Ben and Leslie Hoole who had come across from Bradford. We diverted to the Old Gate as it was closer and got some pints in. It turned out that Ben and Matt had both lived in the same house in Tadcaster which was a coincidence although I was accused of setting the whole thing up. We then moved on to the Vocation and Co taproom for more beers with more of the Vocation production crew and more banter. Ben and Leslie then headed for Bradford , Matt headed for Tadcaster and I headed for the Fox and Goose. Community Pubs are where the community band together to buy their local and run it as a cooperative. The Fox and Goose was a great pub. The man who had been running Calans the night before was now behind the bar here, along with 2 friendly women. All were keen to chat , about my trip and their respective trips to NZ. I then talked to a scottish lady next to me who travels down regularly to visit the pub. Full of beer and good cheer I walked back down to the village, got myself one last naan bread shish kebab and turned in for my last night in England.

Originally posted on Facebook

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