A great pub, with its own brewery. What more could you ask?

The Flying Duck, Ilkley
96%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)

After a very enjoyable evening at Outside the Box, Ilkley’s Community Café (check their programme of events, it’s well worth a visit www.outsidetheboxcafe.com) we nipped round the corner to The Flying Duck, Wharfedale Brewery’s flagship pub. And what a cracking place it is – yet another reason to be increasingly envious of my Ilkley chums.

It’s a very handsome building, inside and out – the oldest pub in town, dating back to the 1600s, and chock full of features – York stone and oak floors, extraordinary beamed ceilings, open fires and exposed stone walls. I’m told by my mates that in a previous incarnation it was a dark, sticky place called the Albert (and before that, the Mallard. See what they’ve done there?) but the sandstone’s been blasted and now the monumental masonry gleams, and the fabulous fireplaces radiate warmth.

The Wharfedale Brewery was born out of an idea dreamed up by a dozen or so mates – all with a close connection to the town for one reason or another – and who liked a drink. Well, many of us do but not everyone puts money where their mouths are. I’m very glad this lot did.

Out back there’s a very smart glass and stone brewery with viewing windows so you can watch the magic happen; Wharfedale Blonde, Black and Best are made here, along with seasonal occasionals such as Cascade.

Other offers include Greyhawk Blonde Obsession, Hop Studio Gold, Sonnet 43 India Pale Ale, Liverpool Organic and Manchester Bitter from Marble and Saltaire – and the lager’s local too – Copper Dragon’s Radka and a house lager brewed by Tirril. Impressive, or what? Between the pub and the brewing barn is a handsome decked beer garden, too cold to use right now but I bet it’ll get some stick come summer.

The food offering is unapologetically pub grub with the likes of giant Yorkshires and gravy, curry, hotpot and chilli and the usual list of sandwiches. Dogs, cyclists and walkers are welcome – The Flying Duck really is a fine addition to the town.

About The Author

Mandy Wragg is a freelance food journalist, writing and inspecting for the Yorkshire Post, Alastair Sawday, the Morning Advertiser, the AA, Cool Places and David Hancock's Inn Places. She co-writes www.squidbeak.co.uk, an independent guide to eating, drinking and staying in Yorkshire.

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