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Branch Event Reports

Reports on Branch Events including Pub Crawls, Brewerey and Festival Visits.

In September, a small posse of unlikely lads from Trafford & Hulme CAMRA branch set off from Manchester on the WitchWay bus to explore East Lancashire’s growing offer of micropubs. 

The Merry Band

Carefully synchronized to avoid the hoards descending upon Turf Moor for the Burnley v Bournemouth match, we arrived in Burnley just after 3pm and headed for New Brew- M. Disaster loomed when the expedition leader found the doors locked to the bar he’d only visited a few weeks previously. However, panic over when it was discovered that New Brew-M had just moved across the road to larger premises. The popular town centre micro is an outlet for the town’s Reedley Hallows brewery and the Pendleside and New Laud Dark were sampled, the former going down particularly well. The bar normally has a guest ale and also on offer was beer from Offilers Brewery in Derby.

Re-joining the excellent and regular X43 (group day-riders come at a value for money £19 for up to 5 people), we headed up to Colne where three micropubs are huddled together in a row. 

Three Micropubs

First up was the Tapsters Promise and a broad range was on offer here with Rammy Craft Trung Viet Coffee Stout possibly the pick of the bunch. Also sampled were Beer Brothers Session IPA and Wishbone Night Star Key Keg, the latter evidencing the trend for micropubs to be open to mixing cask and keg. This aptly provides the name of the third bar in the line Cask n’ Keg, where we had Theakston’s Barista keg stout and another offering from Reedley Hallows – Old Lawns Bitter. Squeezed in between was Boyce’s Bar

The Bar 

 where some found the beer slightly off form from a normally high standard. Upham’s Punter and Bosum’s Mocha Stout were tried here.

Following a traditional back street chippy tea, we started our journey back alighting in Haslingden to squeeze into the very popular and crowded Hop. . The group went for a variety of brews here including Half Moon’s F’Hops Sake, Brewsmith Bitter, Deeply Vale Hop Ale and Acorn Wolf IPA. This was followed by a short walk up to the equally popular brewpub Northern Whisper

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where there was a generally lukewarm reception from our ranks for Yammerhouse, Soft Mick, Small Talk and Blighty. Our final pitstop was an enjoyable one at Casked

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a ‘steamed-up’ micro where the beer was in good form including Irwell Valley’s Breadcrumbs and also Marshmallow Unicorn Milk Stout, and Brewsmiths IPA.

After a scrum to get to Casked’s sole loo, the intrepid crew sailed happily home on the X43 with worries that one of the branch’s stalwarts had hit the canned cider!

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Rest assured, it was only a bout of public-spirited litter picking duty.

It was an enjoyable day where we sampled a good range of micropubs proving that not all of the latest beer trends are the preserve of the big cities, nor are the cities the only places to sample good ale. Thank you East Lancs for your hospitality. We shall return.

Tim Field – T&H CAMRA

Our November tour was to Stalybridge. We arranged to meet at Piccadilly at midday with the intention of catching the 12:17 to Stalybridge. However, Transpennine had other ideas and we arrived on the concourse to find that our train had been cancelled and the next available being the ‘12:47. So to save wasting time the group decamped to the Piccadilly Tap for a ‘quick half’, after all why not? On returning to the station concourse we found another regular Tippler waiting for us so five became six.


Eventually we caught the 12:47 although that was 8 minutes late and off we went. First port of call, obviously, was the Stalybridge Buffet Bar for food & refreshment where at least two of us sampled one of the new cask ales from Cloudwater, the Brown Ale, and very good it was. On leaving the station we discovered that the weather had turned very inclement i.e. it was pouring with rain, so as quickly as we were able, we made our way down Market Street to the White House on Water Street.


This is an interesting Hydes house in the fact that as well as a good range of Hydes beers there were three other guests, Bradfield Brewery Famers Blonde & Belgian Blue along with Ahopcalypse. All the beers sampled were in fine form and were much enjoyed by our group. We also spent some quality time with the pub dog, Rosie, who was very friendly. Back out into the rain and off down Water Street to the Wharf Tavern, our next stop. Unfortunately, as our timings were awry due to the cancelled train, the pub was closed and we had missed the 12 – 2pm lunchtime opening session. So onward, still in the pouring rain, to the Society Rooms, a Wetherspoons establishment, which as is fairly usual for a Spoons, had a reasonable selection of cask ales available and all of the ones tried by our group were in pretty good condition. We also had a very genial conversation with the Manager who had picked up on social media that our group was on tour.


Our final port of call was Bridge Beers. This is where the organisers navigation and map reading skills went out of the window. We walked for fully 10 minutes, still in the rain, to locate this very fine little bar only to discover, as we reached the door that we were in fact less than 50 yards from our previous hostelry! I guess you’d have to call Bridge Beers a micro bar as the arrival of the six of us along with about eight existing customers just about filled the place. All the beers are stillaged on a purpose-built wooden stillage behind the bar and served by gravity. The stillage has room for eight firkins and on our visit three were available. The beers we tried were in such good form that several of us delayed our departure in order to sample yet another one.

So, finally, it was back to the station to catch yet another delayed train to Piccadilly. All in all, apart from the train delays and the inclement weather we had a very good outing and sampled some very good beer.

For anyone interested, we are holding a Tuesday Tipples in December on the 18th when we will be sampling the delights of Wigan. Full timings and itinerary can be found on the Trafford & Hulme website in the diary section.

 Social Secretary

The road or track to Rochdale as the case may be took us on a fine sunny day to the birthplace of the co-operative movement, although some of us went by train and one traveller took the tram we arrived at the same time this wasn’t planned it was pure coincidence.

First meet up was the Regal Moon the wetherspoons slap bang in the middle of town a quick snack and a dazzling array of heavyweight beers, Black Bee and Wobbly Bob both from Phoenix, award winning 1872 Porter from Elland and the standards Windermere Pale and Greene King IPA.

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Outside the Spoons and facing directly opposite is the Wellington formerly a club now re-opened as a bar/restaurant, on first entering you are greeted with a very up market interior part Georgian sitting room and grand dining hall in miniature, however the beer on offer was a well-balanced mixture. A rare sight anywhere is to see a bitter, blond and dark beer making up the three hand-pumps on the bar namely Donkey Stone Bray, Phoenix Arizona and Serious Moonlight. Chatting to the owner he says some people do stick their heads through the door and are intimidated by the fancy interior, no need to worry there was some fine beer to be had in pleasant and decorative surroundings.

Up through the shopping centre past the recently exposed River Roch to the famous Baum a former national Pub of the Year. We sat in the conservatory at the back enjoying the late summer sunshine with our 7 Brothers Peach , Blackjack poker face and another Serious Brewing Moonlight. Not many people around in the afternoon so easy to see the interior of the bar which is full of traditional knick knacks , the pub is in the heritage area which includes the Rochdale Pioneers Museum next door to the pub.

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A short trip back down alongside the ring road and through the cenotaph gardens, sitting opposite the magnificent Victorian Gothic Town hall is the Medicine Tap which is in the former general post office a concept familiar to the T&H branch but this one is on a much grander scale to our own Barking Dog in Urmston. A café/bar/restaurant which opens at 9am and serves beer around midday, there is plenty of the stuff on offer, two banks of 5 handpumps at opposite ends of the bar selling the same thing actually so five beers; Torrside Pale, Reedley Hallows Pendleside, Welsh Pride from Conwy and a Rammy Craft being among them. In the middle of the bar is an impressive keg row mounted on one of those brass tube arches or elongated ‘n’s, there’s probably a proper name for them which escapes me at the moment.

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Now another treat the regional POTY The Flying Horse Hotel, busy in the early evening Serious Brewing was once again evident and Pictish this time Brewers Gold. Ben, the landlord got wind we were from T&H branch and after a chat invited us on a tour of the cellar and very impressive it was covering the footprint of the building and is typical of a large cellar had a bewildering tangle of pipes and coolers alongside the many kegs and casks. This was our last port of call and I think we had definitely seen the best of Rochdale, a Friday social is on the cards for the rest of the branch.

Trafford and Hulme’s second midweek outing took us down the line to the town of Macclesfield famous as the Silk Town and also the Treacle Town, apparently a cartload of the gooey substance was once overturned in the street and the residents of the time came out in force to scoop it all up.

First stop had to be the Waters Green Tavern because a. it is a stones throw from the station b. it was open and c. it’s a damn fine pub, we were not disappointed, more hand pumps than you could shake a stick at, Barnsley Bitter and Salopian Oracle were our choices to go with our meals which were to be fair pricy but good.

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Cross the road and you enter the Old Millstone, not much to report here, a hasty half of black sheep and we were off up the hill to the vicinity of the town square. Here we found the Five Clouds Tap and Bottle a newer place in the now familiar ‘shop front’ type, one hand pump dispensing Track Sanoma and a number of keg lines of varying strengths and styles one of which was Thornbridge Hellas Lager sampled by one of our number.

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Setting of now down the hill past the splendid town hall from the Georgian era, 1823 to be exact, through the busy shopping district to the lower part of town and into the Jolly Sailor, a pub full of quirky artefacts we sat at a very shiny wooden table which seemed much too good for us to be putting our pint pots on. There was a good choice on the bar as well, Draught Bass, Harvest Pale and a couple from Storm Brewing, we stayed a while here and took in the surroundings. A curiosity on the windowsill next to us appeared to be Japanese in origin it looked like a soup or tea urn in the middle of two plate holders with small paraffin or candle heaters underneath them attached at either side. Scattered around the walls among the days gone by photos were musical instruments old and new, none of us are musical enough to play anything so we just admired them.

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Opposite now to the Snow Goose Cafe Bar multi roomed and multi layered run it seemed by two women with an eye for décor and furnishing which made every room different. Musical instruments hanging on the wall was again a feature but on this pleasant afternoon we sat in the back among old wooden casks and some interesting stone features. Beer once again featured Storm Brewing this time Hailstorm and Ale Force and a Moorhouses called Nick O Pendle a cycling reference I think

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No time really to visit anymore pubs and there are plenty, Macclesfield is very much a dormitory town and a lot of places didn’t open until 4pm so maybe next time or perhaps a Saturday trip to do the town justice.

The 24th of July saw the inaugural branch midweek trip to an out of town destination namely Chorley.

Of course midweek trips had been a regular thing for some time but this one was more inclusive to all members of the branch, members whose circumstances meant an afternoon trip on a weekday was possible. 

A good half dozen of us turned up and all managed to be on the same train but wouldn’t you know it after weeks of unbroken sunshine the rains finally came and we were met at our destination with a light drizzle, no matter the pubs we visited were all within a short walk of the station.

Passing various places we would be gracing with our presence later we homed in on the Bob Inn guided by Bev who had been on the previous ladies day trip, after claiming not to remember where it was she soon picked up the scent and zoomed straight there.