Hull Cider Crawl

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In 2009, CAMRA posted out a rare edition of their 'Beer' magazine to members... rare because it was all about cider, something I've never known them to do and have never done since. Inside the issue was a cider crawl around Norwich, which I did a few months later (I may write about that someday too). I have to say, although I did find some interesting Norfolk Ciders, I thought that there were more pubs that sold real cider in my home city of Hull, or Kingston upon Hull to give it its full title! I'm not writing this to blow Hull's trumpet... okay, maybe a bit, but it's more for the benefit of like-minded cider folk who I've met on my travels and have wanted to visit, especially John and Ginge, two cider loving blokes after me own heart! CiderMike 14:32, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

The Route

If you follow the route below you'll see the city centre, the old town and it's historic High Street and Hull's not so glamorous industrial area. It's pretty much a "U" shape starting from the station and coming back again. I've put pub names and street names in bold to help you find places.

The Crawl

Assuming you're arriving in Hull at the interchange (that's posh for station) the nearest place you can get a real cider is The Admiral of The Humber which is a popular Wetherspoon's pub situated on Anlaby Road/Carr lane, which is just across the road and around the corner from Paragon Station. Okay, I know it's only a Wetherspoons, but its close and is also a good meeting point. However, don't expect any sort of speedy service, the few staff behind the bar don't seem to pay attention to who was next and tend to make a beeline for the regulars who prop up the bar. With this in mind, I find that shouting and waving money a bit like your trying to get a bargain at a market stall helps. Service in Hull's other two Wetherspoon's pubs is generally better.

Next, I'd visit The George Hotel which is a historic pub in Hull's old town. It posesses the world's smallest window which was used by the gatekeeper of the George Hotel to look out for stagecoaches and customers. To get there walk directly down Carr Lane, on to Whitefriargate and turn left at the bottom on to Land of Green Ginger, by the way, Land of Green Ginger is neither green or has any ginger! The George usually have a well kept Old Rosie on a hand pull, and if that's ran out they also stock Weston's Premium Organic and Thatchers Katy in bottles.

The front of Walters Bar, Hull

Our next stop is Walters Bar which is on Scale Lane. To get there come out of Land of Green Ginger and turn on to Silver Street, walk down to the bottom, cross Lowgate and go straight forward. By now you should be able to see Jaz Bar or less next door is Walters. Walters takes its name from a barber's shop which traded in the same premises in the 1820s, sometime later it became Venn brasserie where you could buy a tiny piece of steak for about 25 quid! Alan Murphy and Chrissy Fleming took over the building in 2007 and turned it into a contemporary bar selling real ale, continental beers, a large selection of Whiskys and of course real cider. There always 6 ciders on hand pull and in recent times I have enjoyed Gwynt y Ddraig, Gwatkins, Wilkins, Skidbrooke, Solway, Ross on Wye, and many others. It was named "Kingston upon Hull Pub of the Year 2009" and many other titles by CAMRA's Hull & East Yorkshire Branch.

After Walters, walk to the bottom of Scale Lane, towards the river Hull, don't go to far or you'll get wet! You're now on Hull's famous High Street and you should be looking straight at Lion & Key. This pub was once called Nellys and was a well known Irish bar, although ironically now it is owned by an Irishman (the same person that owns Walters) it is less Irish and has recently had a paint job making it look cleaner and more stylish, although still down to earth. Lion & Key has 3 ciders on, and they do tend to be different than the ones in its sister pub, so it is worth a visit.

Ye Olde Black Boy

Almost opposite Nellys on High Street is Ye Olde Black Boy. It initially opened as a pipe shop in 1720 and has served a number of different purposes throughout the years including a brothel and a public house. It is said that the name of the pub comes from a Moroccan boy who worked in the building when it was a coffee shop in the 1730s. Some say the pub is haunted, although many do in the hope of publicity and tourism. Rumour has it that a landlord's dog was apparently so traumatised by spending a night downstairs in the pub that it had to be put down. Personally, the only spirits I've ever seen here are the ones on the optics... anyway, back to cider! You'll find Weston's Old Rosie on sale, although it is a little pricy at £3.15 per pint, no doubt because of the pubco which owns it.

Sailmakers Arms is the next pub selling selling on our crawl, and it's not too far away either, infact it's just 1 minute away as it's also on High Street. When you leave Black Boy, turn left and walk down High Street and look for the Sailmakers pub sign. This pub has recently had a change of management and have begun selling Old Rosie, although they do endevour to stock locally-made products when their pub co lets them; a recent example of this is Moorlands Farm Cyder made in North Newbald which they had on hand-pull on 09/10/11.

Next, it's another Wetherspoon establishment called Three John Scotts which is on Lowgate. No history here reallly, although for most of the 19th century, St Mary's Church, opposite this Wetherspoon pub, was run by three successive vicars, all called John Scott, hence the name. To get there walk down the cobbles of High Street and turn left when you reach Chapel Lane. When you get to the bottom you'll see two white phone boxes (there all like that in Hull because of the independent phone company "Kingston Communications") and next to those is the entrance to the Three John's. Recently, there has been at least three ciders available from boxes in the chiller.

After leaving Three John's, turn left and then turn left around the corner and look for Bar Exchange which is your next cider outlet situated on Alfred Gelder Street. This building was the old post office building which housed the local telephone exchange, hence the name. The actual bar is run by the very experienced landlord who used to have The George (see above), and his idea is to turn what was once a trendy night-time venue into more of a pub, he hasn't got there yet, but it's good to see the progress made everytime you call in. There are 3 varying real ciders on hand-pull at Bar Exchange, on the opening night it was Hecks Kingston Black, Moorlands Farm Cyder Med/Dry and Gwynt y Ddraig Two Trees Perry.

The Whalebone
The M&R sign outside of The Whalebone

There is a bit of a walk to get to our next cider joint (about 10-15 minutes), but assuming your thirsty you shouldn't have a problem! When you come out of Bar Exchange, cross the road (towards the Guildhall), and head down Wilberforce Drive, go past the statue of William Wilberforce and Hull College until you get to the bottom, then turn on to George street, go past Napoleons Casino (unless you're feeling lucky) and turn left when you get to Wincolmlee. Keep going, past The Bay Horse (although stop if you like the Batemans Ale) until you see a yellow painted building with an M & R ales sign outside, this is The Whalebone. This pub has its own micro brewery and sells Westons Old Rosie and Broadoak Kingston Black, as well as the Weston's bottled range. The Whalebone was named "Hull & East Yorkshire Cider Pub of the Year 2008" by the local branch of CAMRA.

Our next pub is about 15 minutes away, leave Whalebone and go down Green Lane, this later changes to Cannon Street, walk down until you get to Caroline Street. Walk down Caroline Street and cross Freetown Way (busy dual carriage way) and then continue walking down, by now this should be Grimston Street and you should pass Hull's Central Fire Station and on the left is another good pub, The Old English Gentleman albeit cider-less! However, if you're feeling nostaligic then the pub has photos of past actors who have graced Hull's own New Theatre over the years and no doubt celebrated with a pint or two (or a glass of wine for the ladies!) after the show is over.

Go straight down Albion Street, passed the Hull New Theatre, and eventually (on your right) you'll see a small cellar bar which is located downstairs from a dentist practice. The bar is called Hop & Vine, although it still has a sign left in place from the former licencee saying just Vine which has never been removed. The Hop, as it is known to regulars, is joint winner of "2010 CAMRA National Cider Pub of the Year", "Yorkshire Regional Cider Pub of the Year 2010" and "Hull & East Yorkshire Cider Pub of the Year 2010". It permanently sells Moorlands Farm Medium/Sweet Cyder and occasionally has up to 3 changing real ciders/perries from various producers. It is closed on Sundays, Mondays and half of Tuesday.

Richard & Janet receive a camra award from branch chairman

As were almost back at the station... sorry, Interchange... you can choose to make our next pub your last if you wish, although there are plenty more! Our next pub is The Wellington Inn on Russell Street which is just a few minutes away. Continue walking down Albion Street and turn right on to Percy Street. walk to the bottom of Percy Street until you get to Freetown Way again. Cross Freetown Way (carefully... by this stage that may be difficult!) and by now you should be able to see some flats behind a wall and the GMB building, head towards that and go down the street down the side of that which is Russell street and you will see a flag post coming of a building, that's the Welly. It often looks closed from outside, but inside is anything but. Richard and Janette Gant bought the property in July 2004 and have rejuvenated the pub. Their efforts have seen them win CAMRA awards for best real ale pub numerous times, as well as third place in "Cider Pub of the Year in 2009". The pub boasts Hull's only walk in beer-chiller, specialises in bottled beers from around the world, and you'll find at least 2 real ciders, normally Westons Old Rosie and a Biddendens or Broadoak. Prices seem to have risen to £3.30 a pint.

From the Wellington, you can either go back to the station, or continue to a further six cider selling pubs which are not too far away (see below). To go back to the station, come out of the Wellington the way you came, except when you get to Freetown Way, head towards the Jobcentre plus building (Britannia House) on Ferensway (should be on your right). Once on Ferensway, walk back up past Hull Truck Theatre until you reach St Stephen's Shopping Centre and the interchange is just across the road.

The other Hull pubs selling real cider that are not too far away include:

  • The Adelphi on De Grey Street which is a night time live music venue selling Weston's Old Rosie and bottles from Moorlands Farm Cider - you may have to pay to gain entry.
  • Xanders on Newland Avenue which sells two of the Weston's ciders on hand pull.
  • Larkins on Newland Avenue sells Moorlands Farm Cyder in bottles, but be warned, it's sold at the same price as some of the industrial "trendy" drinks at £3.75 per 500ml bottle.
  • Zachariah Pearson on Beverley Road which is another JD Wetherspoon pub with Weston's ciders.
  • Gardeners Arms on Cottingham Road which normally has one of the Weston's range.
  • Wheelhouse on Beverley High Road which has had Black Rat, Thatchers Cheddar Valley and Old Rosie on recently. This is by far the furthest away pub, so public transport could be an option if you're not as fit as you'd like to be.

Of course, you could do the route in reverse or even visit the pubs that sell cider in Beverley and the surrounding villages if you wish. Details of those pubs can be found on the Cider Pub Guide to Yorkshire page.