A long time ago I lived in Brighouse>  I left in 1990 and hoped I’d not be returning. But that was under different circumstances which I’ll not go into here. I’ve recently had a few trips back there and although I’ve only bought ale in two pubs they are worthy of mention.

If I’m out for a drink or two I take the train, there is a direct service from Doncaster but not very often. Other options are change at Wakefield, taking into account the need to swap between Westgate and Kirkgate stations, or go via Leeds at increased cost. Actually, you can make a saving by booking Doncaster to South Elmsall at £3.20 anytime return then South Elmsall to Brighouse, £9.50 anytime return or £6.70 off-peak return. A bit of a saving on the £17.00 anytime return for the full journey. For that to be effective you must catch the slow train though.

If you prefer to go by a faster service you book to Wakefield at £9.70 anytime return then have a choice. Go via Leeds for £7.10 anytime return or via Wakefield Kirkgate at £4.40 off-peak or £6.00 anytime. But beware, if you book a return the last connecting train back from Brighouse is 9.30pm. I usually time it for a night where I can get a lift home, which I’ll explain shortly.

Having arrived at Brighouse station and climbing the stairs out of the station you take a left and left again for the main Huddersfield Road into the town. But not too far. Just over the railway bridge is a pub with two names – it’s been the Commercial for many years but also seems to be called The Railway. They normally have 2-3 real ales on, one of which is from Ossett Brewery as they are one of Ossett’s “OBE Club” pubs.

I have had quite a few nice pints of Ossett ales in there, although on my last visit the Silver King had just gone off and they had not got the Bosbury Bitter settled enough. I ended up having a couple of jars of Merrie City Crystal Gold (4.2%). They were also selling Copper Dragon Golden Pippin plus one I forget now, but hadn’t appealed to me.

When I visit the town I am usually there for a disco night out. Not that I boogie on the dancefloor you understand, I am an ex DJ but know quite a few of the guys who are still active and two of my friends happen to work doing that job at The Calder in Brighouse on Friday and Saturday nights. I’m therefore able to stop until the end at that venue and get a lift back home. Sadly, they are not running a taxi service so I can’t sort you out there.

The Calder is a Stonegate house, big and loud when the disco starts, usually after 9.30pm. They do pretty standard pub food but also have 4 hand pumps on the bar. These are normally Greene King IPA (sorry, can’t win ‘em all), Black Sheep Bitter, Elland Pale (rebadged as Calder Pale) plus a guest. For special events, like Halloween, they had Hobgoblin as the guest, with the flashing pumpkin pump clip.

I can happily down several glasses of Calder/Elland Pale while I’m there. They’ve had a lot of the popular guests, one time they had both Timmy Taylors Boltmaker and Landlord at the same time. Alongside the house Elland offering I was very happy that night. I’ve had other Elland brews there, all of which have been spot on.

The Calder is Cask Marque accredited but does not seem to have been recognised by the local CAMRA branch, despite me sending email to let them know when it re-opened after a £500,000 refurbishment a year ago. It is located directly opposite the big Sainsburys at the bottom of Huddersfield Road, with a big Wetherspoons opposite their side door. Several other pubs in the area, but I’ve not ventured very far as there is an incentive to stop in The Calder.

Pints of real ale that are 4% or less were on at £2.80. In Autumn 2015 they introduced a 10% discount on real ales for CAMRA card carrying members so it came down to £2.52 a pint. They also have a collector card for real and keg ales only, buy 7 and you will get your 8th free. That worked out at £2.45 a pint if you fill a card or an amazing £2.205 if you paid CAMRA member prices. Above 4% the price increases according to strength.
(** Since writing this they’ve changed, along with other Stonegate outlets, to a card that gives you the 9th pint free when you’ve bought 8)

As I said at the start, a long time since I lived there and I’ve fond memories of some pubs, many of which are no longer it seems. I was a DJ around there for 12 years, I didn’t drive so was able to enjoy the odd pint. Not there was much to speak of back then, nearly all bland electric dispense stuff unless you went looking for hand pulled.

I have made one afternoon trip to The Calder, simply to take advantage of the 8 for the price of 7 beer offer and use a free train ticket. I left there earlier than the last train so that I could call into Dewsbury Railway station and the West Riding bar on the way back.