Vocation & Co is the flagship taproom of Vocation Brewery, an independent company based in Cragg Vale, Hebden Bridge. This inviting, social space has a large blackboard behind the bar, with 20 cask and keg beers chalked up on it, and a row of taps backed with square white tiles. There are wooden tables inside, as well as seating on the pavement out front – Vocation & Co is also a dog-friendly place, with dog biscuits in a jar at the bar. So named because of the company’s emphasis on working with others, the bar has the slogan ‘good beer unites us’ above the door and is host to regular tap takeovers from the likes of Omnipollo, Burnt Mill and Track Brewery. It’s also been the venue for the Festival of Funk, a week-long celebration of particularly yeasty beers, and various launches.
With an emphasis on hiring knowledgeable, passionate staff, Vocation & Co also sources products from the best local suppliers for the menu from the bar’s kitchen. This begins with padron peppers as a bar snack, and tostadas – deep fried tortillas served with your choice of salsa. The main menu lists some extremely tempting burritos, with featured fillings such as Yorkshire short rib and salsa roja, adobo rub chicken and chipotle mayo or arbol chickpea and red pepper. Alternatively, there’s a selection of tacos to choose from, with ingredients including octopus, king prawns, pickled red onion and chilli chickpeas. Sides of skin on fries with your choice of salsa or tajin coated sweet potato fries are there to ensure that no one goes hungry; all of the dishes are served when ready and hot, and the majority are gluten free.
All of which should be no distraction from the beers on offer here, which include special editions as well as picks from the brewery’s own core selection. Brewed year-round are the Life & Death IPA, Bread & Butter dry hopped pale ale, Heart & Soul session IPA, Hebden Lager and more unusual brews such as Vocation’s extremely moreish chocolate caramel stout. In addition to this taproom in Hebden Bridge, Vocation Brewery also runs Assembly Underground in Leeds, a larger, subterranean venture that’s home to a range of street food venues and 50 beer taps – but Hebden Bridge is where it all began.