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Previous Pint Pleasures - November 20, 2002

guinness eileen

Cubley Hall, Mortimer Road, Cubley, Barnsley, South Yorkshire

Five miles north of Sheffield off the A629 is the amusingly named village of Penistone. (Sorry to disappoint my American friends, but it's pronounced PENNIS-ton.) South of Penistone is the village of Cubley, where Cubley Hall is located. We found this place during a drive in the country on a warm sunny Saturday. Looking thought our CAMRA guide and selecting the only pub listed in the area we were expecting your typical small village inn. But Cubley Hall is massive, consisting of several buildings on beautiful grounds. The location started life as a farm on the Pennine packhorse route of the 1700s. After being a gentleman's residence in Victorian times and then a post-war children's home it became a free house in 1983. In 1990 the oak-beamed and slate-floored barn was converted into a restaurant, and in 1996 accommodation was added with 12 ensuite bedrooms.

Dressed in our summer casuals we were feeling a bit intimated as we approached the entrance, expecting something posh. But it's not posh at all, simply expansive, and on this weekend lunchtime the rooms were packed with people. As soon as we sat and ordered our pints Andrew suddenly remembered a Jonathan Meades review of this place. Mmmm, we thought: what sort of heavenly lunch are we about to experience? The menu was quite gorgeous and enticing, but sadly my pizza wasn't brilliant. But we did enjoy our pints of Jennings Cumberland Ale (4% ABV, Jennings Bros., Cockermouth, Cumbria). This reminds me of a southern beer, even though it's from Cumbria. It features a somewhat fizzy flavour but a pleasant midrange bitter rounding off into a full body, and it's the colour of aged polished brass -- but without any of that green stuff. No rubbing with Brasso needed...

When you're finished with lunch and pints, the grounds of Cubley Hall offer pleasant views of the countryside: hills, dales, cows, and more cows. What more could you want on a sunny weekend day, except perhaps for a few sheep?