Roosters’ win at first Market Tavern awards

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Food and Drink by Tom Hay

You know Market Town Taverns? You definitely do. It’s the pub chain behind The Old Bell, The Swan on The Stray, The Mitre, Muse... all them. Good pubs, they are.

As a chain of Yorkshire pubs (based in Knaresborough) it makes sense for MarkTavs (which nobody calls it) to stage some Yorkshire beer awards. And that, dear reader, is precisely what it has done.

A bunch of brewers and beer fans crowded into Cooper’s in Guiseley (another pub in the MarkTavs empire) to witness the presenting of eight awards.

Saltaire Brewery off of near-Bradford picked up quite a few, including overall champ, but we had a couple of more local winners.

Rooster’s from Knaresborough walked off with the title of Dark Beer Winner.

The beer in question is a lovely coffee porter called Londinium, and it’s a bit of a team-up, as it gets its coffee flavours from After Dark by Taylors of Harrogate.

And Black Sheep in Masham won the Speciality category with its Imperial Russian Stout. I’ve not tried that, but I want to. Black Sheep says it has: “Initial sweetness quickly followed by a peppery hop which fades into liquorice and chocolate raisins, then a very long warming finish.”

You can grab the former at and the latter at

Sainbury’s baked beans. Better than Heinz. Discuss.

Hate walls and ceilings?

I don’t – I think they’re great. But this recent heatwave has shaken my faith in confined spaces. Until this country gets widespread air-con, or winter sets in, I’m moving outdoors.

The Square in Harrogate’s Princes Square agrees.

It’s been waiting for months to get permission for a street cafe bar running alongside the restaurant, and it’s finally been granted, adding places for 40 al fresco diners.

“It actually reminds me of a town square on the continent now,” says chef director Darren Gladman.

Darren’s recently been rummaging through France, hunting for new wines to bring back.

He spent the best part of a week in Montpellier (the city, as opposed to the hill in Harrogate) checking out vineyards and roaming round the Châteauneuf-du-Pape region.

“It was a great time,” he says. “We learned a lot about how the wine is produced, and the types of grapes, and hand picked a few bottles of wine for the bar and restaurant.

“We decided to bring back a blush from Chateau de Campuget to celebrate not only our new street cafe bar and also to tie in with our new wine menus – and hopefully the Tour de France.”

I recently tried vegetarian haggis. When my brain stopped screaming: “What the hell is the point of this!?” I discovered it’s quite nice.

I also recently tried vegetarian black pudding. When my brain stopped screaming: “What the hell is the point of this!?” I discovered it’s horrible.