The Talbot Arms, Settle

The Talbot Arms -- exterior.

As you’ll see from the gallery we posted earlier today there’s no shortage of pubs in the conjoined-twin-towns of Settle and Giggleswick but one was our clear favourite: the Talbot Arms.

Situated off the High Street, behind the market place and a few doors down from the 17th-century architectural oddity that is the Folly, the Talbot is visually striking: a wall of white with the pub’s name in huge black letters and an unusual sign of a white dog which looks both hip and yet also strangely medieval.

Inside is a single large room, rather bare, which somehow conveys that dining is an option without making it feel like an obligation. On our multiple visits we found locals chatting at the bar, in corners gossiping, or in muddy boots reading the Craven Herald with glasses of wine.

The ale list at the Talbot.

The cask ale offer struck us as interesting for various reasons. First, because we recognised few of the breweries; secondly, because there was a clear effort to cover a range of styles, from mild to pale’n’hoppy via old-fashioned bitter; and, finally, because the range seemed more resolutely small-and-local than some other pubs in the area.

Pump clip for Partners Cascade.

Not every beer we tried was top notch but none of them were downright bad, and all were in good nick. It was also here that we also found our beer of the week: Partners Brewing Cascade (4% ABV, £3 a pint). Somewhat neglected in favour of more fashionable hop varieties, Cascade is surely due a revival — citrus, yes, but with a distinctive fruits-of-the-forest character that lent this particular beer a ripe juiciness to balance a light body and flinty bitterness.

Perhaps those of you who know the northern scene better than us will let us know whether Partners is a generally well-regarded brewery — we suspect not, or we might have heard of them — but, regardless, this particular beer was one we stuck on for multiple pints, and for two days in a row at that.

The Talbot Arms also has a proper beer garden — that is, not a wasp-infested yard next to the bins with a pile of mouldering carpet, as is found in most English pubs, but something landscaped and leafy, with solid tables, and a mixture of sunshine and shade. It isn’t quite up to German standards, but it’s not far off.

Now, if you visit Settle, the Talbot might not be your favourite — perhaps we were lucky with the weather and the particular beers that were on offer — but you can certainly have some fun finding out over the course of a day or weekend.

14 thoughts on “The Talbot Arms, Settle”

  1. Actually been here, in 2013. Was wandering around Settle and this place had a big banner on it saying “Keighley & Craven CAMRA Pub of the Year”, so reasoned I’d at least get a decent pint of cask. Had Ilkley Green Goddess, if I remember correctly. Then straight back to Giggleswick station for the train to Lancaster.

    You did visit the local Booths to stock up on cheap Beavertown, right?

  2. Matthew — we visited Booths but (a) did most of our drinking in pubs; (b) aren’t mad fans of Beavertown (they’re OK); and (c) were on the train with stupidly heavy rucksacks so didn’t want anything else to carry.

  3. Partners are newish (launched 2011) and located in the unfashionable Not A City region. I’ve had their tripel(!), courtesy of Spoons(!!), and liked it a lot. Did you have the Naylor’s? I’ve always thought of them as a bit of a meat-and-potatoes brown bitter outfit, but having checked their Web site I think I may have underestimated them.

    1. Phil — we did try the Naylor’s and found it pretty decent, poised in a sweet spot between honeyish old-school ‘golden ale’ and in-your-face, perfumed pale’n’hoppy.

      Their brand seems to be either confused or in transition: beer mats, for example, have old-fashioned ‘real ale’ graphics on one side but distressed graffiti-style BrewDoggy punk typography on the other.

  4. Even in Leeds I rarely come across Partners. I would put them in the ‘solid, CAMRA friendly, quietly going along making popular styles of cask beer’ bracket. I would guess actually the majority of microbreweries around the country are similar. They don’t shout (or get shouted about) very much but they are the sort of beer you are likely to find in your average freehouse (or SIBA supplied tied pub).

  5. A North American observer will be struck by what seem uniformly low ABV in the blackboard menu. Curious if you ran into any beers of 5% or more..

    Gary

    1. Gary — the strongest beer we came across in these country/small town pubs was Old Peculier at 5.6%. Everything else, as far as I can recall, was under 5.

    2. It’s a fact of life that, outside specialist beer pubs, stronger cask beers simply don’t turn over quickly enough. Nowadays even a five-percenter can be a rare sighting – beer ranges often don’t go beyond the Landlord/Pedigree level.

        1. We’d expect (or at least not be surprised) to pay a little more for a 5.5% beer than for something at 4.5%.

  6. I hadn’t heard of Partners, but I note the GBG states it was begun in 2011 with the takeover of the former Anglo Dutch Brewery, which did produce good beers as I recall.

  7. It was only last week I was in my local and manager was ticking off one of staff for ordering partners. Perception as dull easily available and aimed at aging camra members. It will sell but not as fast as a lot of others. Naylors very much same category despite wild and wacky attempts at branding ( and the occasional real gem of a beer)

    1. Wow. Their tripel, ‘Tabatha’, is a cracker – & a cask tripel isn’t exactly bog-standard beardie fare either. Perhaps they’ve got an image problem.

  8. Definitely a lot of pubs around Yorkshire that never stock beers over 5% apart from old peculiar and / or riggwelter [ both cracking but not not in fashion with beer geeks ]

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