The Trafford & Hulme Pub Of The Season for Spring 2015 is The Sedge Lynn, Chorlton-cum-Hardy.
Whilst possibly not having the trendy appeal of some of Chorlton's other bars, the Sedge Lynn sits quietly on Manchester Road selling vast quantities of quality real ales day in day out. Its 12 handpumps will typically feature 8 different real ales alongside two traditional ciders and have seen it become one of JD Wetherspoon's top selling real ale outlets, easily selling more real ale than most of it's competition.
Current manager Kirstin Downham took over 18 months ago having moved from The Kingfisher in Poynton. Local readers may also remember her from Didsbury's Milson Rhodes where she was the original manager in 2010. Since moving to Chorlton, Kirstin has continued the good work of her predecessor Leanne Kempthorne who boosted real ale sales at the pub with a more varied range and much improved quality, taking the pub into the Good Beer Guide in the process. In September last year, the pub was named the North West regional winner for Real Ale in Wetherspoons annual awards.
The Sedge Lynn is an impressive building with it's tall curved ceiling and ornate green and white frontage and coloured glass. The building was originally built in 1907 and is now Grade II listed. It was originally a Billiards Hall built by the Temperance Hall Billiard Company, one of several such halls built around Manchester intended to tempt young men away from playing billiards in pubs and succumbing to the 'demon drink. In the lovely ironic twist, it was converted to a pub by Wetherspoon in 1999. It is testament to Wetherspoon's designers that they recognised the beauty of the building and retained many of the original features including the long roof windows which were originally to let maximum light into the hall (on occasion windows have been damaged and the Pub Co has even commissioned replicas or the originals).
Wetherspoon house beers Greene King Ruddles & Abbot Ale are joined by two more local permanents in Phoenix Wobbly Bob & Moorhouses Blond Witch - the latter being a particular favourite of locals. Guests come from a wide range of local and regional breweries with Brightside, Hawkshead & Titanic being particular favourites - the pub has previously had both a golden ale and a mild ale brewed for them by Bury's Brightside Brewery. The two most central handpumps are dedicated to cider & perry, most usually from Westons or Gwynt Y Draig.
The pub has a loyal set of regulars who keep the pub busy day and night. During the week the majority of the customers come from the retired community and the way the staff at the pub treat their regulars like extended family is one of the many aspects that make the Sedge Lynn a class above your average Wetherspoon. With the range and quality of their cask ales being recognised and an increasing range of "craft beer" being offered, the pub is now regularly attracting a younger clientele with weekend evenings seeing the pub packed with all ages.
The pub regularly holds raffles, jumble sales & collections to raise money for cancer charity CLIC Sargent and in June this year, Kirstin and team member Jessie will be setting out to walk the 100km of the Great Wall of China followed by climbing Japan's Mount Fuji, all to raise money for the charity. You can contribute to the cause at https://www.justgiving.com/Kirstin-Jessie/
The Pub of The Season award is presented for a number of reasons including introducing real ale to new areas, significant increases in real ale sales or exceptional support to CAMRA. In the case of the Sedge Lynn the award represents recognition of the most basic criteria - on-going excellence in the quality of real ales (and ciders).
The presentation will take place on Thursday 16th April from 8pm. On the same night, the pub will be holding a "Battle Of The Brewers with Bury's Brightside brewery taking on Yorkshire's Elland Brewery. There will be three beers from each brewer available and customers will be asked to vote for their favourite. Staff from both breweries will be on hand on the evening. It promises to be a great night.