Chorlton's very own microbrewery is to help local churchgoers celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Church in Chorlton with an exclusive beer brewed especially for the occasion.
While the community of Chorlton can be traced back to the 9th century, until 1512 the local people had to travel four miles to St Mary's, the parish church of Manchester to attend church services. Then the prominent Barlow family took it upon themselves to establish a chapel as a centre of worship for the area. For the first time baptisms, weddings and funerals could be held in the local community.
The chapel was built near the present Chorlton Green in the half-timbered style which was popular at the time. The front of the nearby Horse & Jockey pub is in the same style and is also believed to date back to 1512. With the church and the pub linked by a shared location and history, the pub's own Bootleg Brewery has created the special beer which has been named Parish'D (D being the Roman Numeral for 500). The main celebrations of the 500th anniversary will see the modern St Clements hold a number of events around Chorlton in September, but the beer will be launched on 6th July as the 8th Chorlton Beer and Cider festival opens at St Clements Church.
The original Chorlton Chapel remained in use until 1779 when a new brick building was constructed. Although there are no conclusive records to prove it was built on the site of the original chapel, the fact that graves dating back to 1708 exist in the church yard which still exists between the Green and the Bowling Green pub on Brookburn Road suggest that the two chapels shared the same site. The picturesque lych-gate to the old church at the south of Chorlton Green is one of the area’s most famous landmarks.
Despite expansion of the old church circa 1837, by 1860 a new larger building to accommodate the growing and increasingly prosperous Chorlton community was proposed. Although Lord Egerton of Tatton provided land a short distance from the existing church, there was resistance to the move from many in the parish. Although construction was completed in 1866, the new church of St Clements on the corner of what is now St Clements Road and Edge Lane was not consecrated for a further 30 years and did not become the parish church until 1940, with the old church was finally being demolished in 1949.
The modern St Clements has gone through a number of changes over the years, the most significant being an internal reworking in 1976 which saw the altar relocated and part of the nave converted into the two large halls and other meeting rooms which are now valuable community meeting places. The lower hall acts as the beer hall for the now annual beer festival.
Parish'D is a heavily hopped India Pale Ale brewed at 5.00% ABV with pronounced citrus flavours and a dry finish. Bootleg Brewery brewster (female brewer) Erin Guy said “I’m really pleased with how the beer has turned out, with a couple of weeks maturing in the cask I think it’s going to be a lovely pint.”
It is not the first time the brewery has created a special beer for St Clements - in 2011 Erin brewed "Stout Clement" for the festival. This beer proved so popular that it has been brewed a number of times since, renamed "Black Widow" for sale in the pub. However, Parish'D will be the last special brew by Erin for a while as the festival coincides with Erin beginning maternity leave from the brewery. She added “It is a nice coincidence that my leave begins as the festival starts. I’ll be heading down to the festival after my last shift to see some people before I go, although not drinking of course.”
Chorlton Beer and Cider Festival opens 5pm -10.30pm on Friday 6th July and then from 2pm on Saturday 7th. St Clements Church, Edge Lane, Chorlton. For more details see www.thcamra.org.uk/chorlton