The Maple Tree - Town Pub of the Season

The Maple Tree on Plantation Road, Balby has been voted as Doncaster Pub of the Season for Spring 2016.

Congratulations go to the managers, Ian and Jill Morris, and their staff, as the award as ever is given on the quality of their beer. They keep 2 regular beers, Wychwood Hobgoblin and Marston's Pedigree, and up to 4 other handpull beers at any one time. On a recent visit they also had Ringwood Old Thumper, Jennings’ Sneck Lifter, Hobgoblin Gold and Revisionist Sardinian Bock. Should you find it a problem deciding which beer to order, you can always try 3 different thirds for the same price as a pint.

Compared with a lot of pubs in our branch area, the Maple Tree is a relatively new addition to our long list of hostelries selling real ale. For those of you who don't know, it is a new build pub in the fairly recently-built Plantation housing estate near the large 24 hour Tesco Extra in Balby. They have their own car park or you can catch any of 3 buses there, the 22, 72 or 73.

The Maple Tree is a well furnished and a tastefully decorated large open plan pub, but the clever use of differing seating areas gives it a much more cosy feel. It is ideal if you just want a quiet drink on your own, or to catch up with friends and family, and for those with children. They have both an indoor play area with 6 large puzzles to keep them amused, along with the 2 newly - installed interactive digital screens, or there is a gated outdoor area with climbing frame, slide etc. for the more adventurous. Also outside is the largest armchair you'll find in the area, I'm sure.

You can pop into the The Maple Tree on a Tuesday evening and enjoy a game of poker, or you could take part in the popular quiz nights on a Thursday and Sunday, or most other times if you fancy a quick game of pool.

The large range of food is served from 11am, ranging from light bites to a full Sunday roast, and there is also a separate children’s menu to choose from should you need it. Since becoming a Generous George pub after its recent re-fit, it now boasts its own pizza oven at the end of the bar, which along with the ice cream parlour boosts the main menu.

The Hill Top - District Pub of the Season

We are pleased to announce that, once again, the Hilltop has been awarded our District Pub of the Season by popular vote at our branch meeting.  This follows similar awards in Summer 2011 and Autumn 2013.

This time we thought we’d look back at the history of the pub. The original Hill Top Hotel was on the opposite side of Sheffield Road. It opened in 1828. Francis Ogley owned the building and by 1846 he had added the Hill Top Brewery in adjacent buildings. Brewing ceased in 1881 and the hotel was supplied by Mappins Brewery of Rotherham who bought the pub in the 1920s and rebuilt it on the present site. The business was later sold to Hartley’s Brewery of West Cowick near Snaith. Hartley sold out to Hull Brewery in 1957, Hull sold to Mansfield Brewery in 1985 and Mansfield to Marston’s in 1999. The Hill Top survived all these takeovers but was threatened with closure by Marston’s in 2005.

This is where Julie and John Bullcroft come into the story. They bought the pub in 2005 and installed cask ale soon after. Their efforts paid dividends as the Hilltop became very popular with visitors and locals alike. Actually, the nearest housing is about half a mile away. John’s background is in plumbing and Julie’s in hospitality, food and drink.

One of John’s and Julie’s early ambitions was to install a brewery at the Hilltop; this was achieved last year with help from Gary Sheriff of the White Rose Brewery when the Hilltop Brewery was established in outbuildings at the rear of the pub, history repeating itself! The brewery has really taken off with up to three brews usually available on the bar, often with a guest beer from another local brewer.

Opening hours are Tuesday 5 -10pm; Wednesday & Thursday 5 – 12am; Fri 4- midnight; Saturday and Sunday noon – midnight; closed Mondays. Quiz and Play Your Cards Right feature on Wednesdays when supper is provided and Hoy is played on Sundays. Sunday lunches are so popular that booking is recommended. The adjoining Pie Shop is open Thursday and Friday 10am -4pm and Saturday 10am -1pm.

The Hilltop stands on the A630, Sheffield Road, at its junction with Old Road at the far end of Conisbrough close to the Rotherham boundary. It can be easily reached by X78 bus which runs frequently between Doncaster and Sheffield continuing until very late in the evening and stopping close to the pub