Summer 2008 Pub of the Season is the Swan with Two Nicks –presentation date is Wed 16th July
In case you’ve ever wondered, no, the name of this pub in Little Bollington, Cheshire, doesn’t derive from some anatomical abnormality, but from the ancient practice of putting a nick in each side of the beak of the new seasons’ cygnets to identify them as not being the exclusive property of the Crown.
The marked birds belonged to the Vintners Company (importers of wine from Bordeaux) by Royal Gift in the 15th century.
The Vintners were the oldest Trade Guild in London and their symbol is the Swan with Two Nicks. Much of Little Bollington was destroyed by enemy action in December 1940, including some cotton weavers’cottages, built after the cutting of the nearby Bridgewater canal, which were directly opposite the pub. Fortunately, the Swan survived.
The present licensee, since 2005, is Ann Amphlett, whose philosophy is to keep the Swan as a traditional old country inn (no loud music or fruit machines) serving a range of interesting cask ales. Apart from customers who are using the large restaurant at the rear of the pub, added on about 20 years ago, about 70% are walkers or cyclists popping in for a drink whilst visiting the nearby Dunham Massey Hall and Deer Park owned by the National Trust. Ann has a family tradition as a publican and over the last 15 years has been licensee of several other pubs in the area, including the Church Inn (Mobberley) the Egerton Arms (Astbury).
The POTS award by the Trafford and Hulme Branch is in recognition of the range and quality of the beers, for which the Swan was voted into the current GBG for the first time. In particular, the Branch wishes to recognise Ann’s support for the nearby, newly-established Dunham Massey Brewery and its brewer John Costello. John’s Dunham Dark Mild has become a real favourite at the Swan and is now a permanent feature along with usually two of his other brews (Big Tree Bitter, Stamford Bitter, Dunham Deer Beer, Dunham Light Mild) on a rotational basis. Also permanently available is the old favourite Swan with Two Nicks house beer (brewed by Coach House in Warrington) together with Timothy Taylor’s Landlord and a stronger beer, typically Abbot Ale.
The Award will take place at the Swan on Wednesday 16th July at around 8-30 pm. All are welcome. Why the Trafford & Hulme Branch you might ask, when the Swan is in Cheshire? Well, it’s only a few yards over the border (the River Bollin) so historically, for convenience, it has been under the wing of T&H.