Good news can be hard to come by in Castleford. The old mining town has sat and watched by as industry moved in and out of the region bringing with it tidal sweeps of economic uncertainty. Redundant collieries are the last remnants of the boomtown growth that accompanied the mining industry. Large-scale retailers such as Burberry and Nestlé, which once called the town home, have since shifted their operations elsewhere.
But on the corner of Church and Carlton Street sits a pub that has become a symbol of re-birth in the area. Revived after a long closure by publicans Neil Midgley and Maureeen Shaw The Junction pub has enjoyed national acclaim over the past few years, with Roger Protz among the prominent industry figures to have paid a visit. Last year the Society for the Preservation of Beers from the Wood held their inaugural national beer festival there which pulled people from across the world to Yorkshire.
And now The Junction has been included in a new book that documents 150 unmissable beer experiences from around the World. Authored by award winning beer and food writer Mark Dredge the collection features the world’s greatest beers, bars, breweries and events, claiming to be “the ultimate bucket list” for every beer lover.
Described as “one of those wonderful beer anomalies” Dredge pays complements to visionaries Midgley and Shaw for creating a “place where the vision of its owners is dedicated to something that they genuinely believe in”. But most crucially, how “they’ve created an extraordinary experience”, which is often the bit that gets missed off when people talk about The Junction.
As a long-term admirer of the pub I can attest that the beer is superb and that the wood conditioning is a big reason why. But in making The Junction the “home of beers from the wood” we risk overlooking the charm and nostalgic value of the pub.
The Junction is the Beamish of the pub world, where you can kick back in the snug and enjoy a decent pint of bitter like your grandparents would have done back in the day. It is live music on a rattly piano and pork scratchings with your mates drinking Taddy lager. It’s Yorkshire in all its “hole in your bucket”, “ey up cock”, “how’s tha father” glory, and it’s an experience not to be missed for any beer lover.
So before you kick it, get down the Junction to check your bucket for holes.
Pre-order The Beer Bucket List here.