Community Pubs – My personal favourite

I’ve lived in Woodseats for nearly 30 years and it’s always seemed to fall a bit short when it comes to decent cask beers. Then the Chantry, the Big Tree and the Abbey started to up their game when the Weatherspoon’s Woodseats Palace opened some years ago. However price and quality have always seemed to be lacking consistency. But then something really interesting started to happen down the bottom of Fraser Road in 2011.

The Alehouse opened. Previously known as the Sheaf, it had suffered years of closures and reopening’s throughout the late Nineties and Noughties. A pub with a fascinating history, once a vibrant watering hole serving the workforce of the Laycock’s Engineering Company and many of the other industries that once thrived in the area

It had clearly lost its way until a new enterprising owner relaunched the pub in 2011 as the Alehouse committed to great quality ales.

Since April 2016 the pub has been managed by Sue, a retired social worker ably assisted by her team of friendly local staff and volunteers. The pub goes from strength to strength continuing the philosophy of providing great ales from around the region and beyond. Regulars appearing, include the Saltaire range, Mallinsons, Dancing Duck, Dark Star, Titanic, Whitby Beers, Salamander and Great Heck starting at £2.60 a pint. Remarkable pricing!

pumpsThe Dark Star range once tasted will forever live in the memory. Sue provides a text and email alert service for customer favourites and is open to suggestions for new beers. Recently I had an alert received whilst in Abu Dhabi for Dark Star American Pale Ale. Couldn’t quite make it back for that one!

The pub retains its old charm and consists of a large Bar Saloon with original long bar and furnishings and a very comfortable large lounge which is available for private bookings, birthdays weddings and wakes! It’s on the doorstep to Hutcliffe Wood Crematorium.  The pub has a real community feel and offers a warm welcome to all.

loungeSue is keen to maximise the use of the Lounge. There are planned events including live bands, folk nights, and a community market 4 x year with donations going to local charities. The lounge is available to young families late afternoons at weekends with its own toy corner. It’s also available for private hire. There is a monthly book club, and a general knowledge and bingo quiz night on a Thursdays. Other planned events include Brewery tastings and Gin nights and even Ukulele Workshops. You can check out on what’s coming up by following the Facebook page.

Due to start soon is a coffee and music morning the first Saturday in every month

benchesThere is outdoor seating ideal for snatching an early sneaky one after work on a summers evening.

Sue provides hot home cooked food on Fridays using the best local ingredients. This is very popular 6.00 – 8.30

It’s now on the 86 and 96 bus routes so you can get off on Archer Road at the Laycock’s Social Club and amble along Fraser Road to the BOTTOM of the hill 5 mins from the stop. The Alehouse is a must for anyone looking for a great pint with friendly staff and customers. It’s located in that real ale desert almost a no-man’s land between the Broadfield and Woodseats. A great stop off to be included in any real ale pub crawls in the area. It is so inspiring to see a local pub make such a determined come back from what would have been eventual closure and demolition.

Here’s to the many Alehouses out there!

Note the Alehouse is open Tuesday to Friday 4.00-11.00; Saturday 3.00-11.00pm and Sunday 3.00 -10 00 pm – Food on Fridays

Dick Williams


About Andy Cullen

Andy has been actively involved in CAMRA since the early 2000s after being recruited to sit on a National Younger Members Task Group. Since then he has held roles on the branch committee including Secretary, Membership Secretary, Magazine Editor, Chair and now Social Secretary. Andy has also been involved with the Steel City Beer & Cider Festival almost every year since becoming active in the branch.

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