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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

Trafford & Hulme branch is one of several CAMRA branches participating a a trial of a Beer Quality Accreditation Scheme. Recognizing pubs consistently selling well-kept real ales is an important aspect of CAMRA’s campaigning to improve beer quality at the point of dispense and this new accreditation scheme is a means of recognizing quality. Pubs that gain accreditation can publicise the fact, including the display of the attached window sticker. The award is made based on scores entered into the National Beer Scoring Scheme by CAMRA members. CAMRA memberes are encouraged to score all real ale, cider and perry that they drink. For more information on this see the Beer Scoring page. 

Poster

The following pubs and clubs within the branch have currentlt achieved the requied standard and been awarded this accreditation. The scores will be reviewed on an regular basis, and additional pubs who attain the required standard will be added to the list.

Beer House (Chorlton-Cum-Hardy)
Cheshire Tap (Altrincham)
Chorlton Tap (Chorlton-Cum-Hardy)
Costello's Bar (Altrincham)
Dulcimer (Chorlton-Cum-Hardy)
Flixton Conservative Club (Urmston)
Font (Chorlton-Cum-Hardy)
Garricks Head (Urmston)
Hillary Step (Whalley Range)
J P Joule (Sale)
Jack In The Box (Altrincham)
Lord Nelson (Urmston)
Old Market Tavern (Altrincham)
Pi (Altrincham)
Pi (Chorlton-Cum-Hardy)
Prairie Schooner Taphouse (Urmston)
Railway (Sale)
Rustic (Altrincham)
Sedge Lynn (Chorlton-Cum-Hardy)
Sip Club (Stretford)
Swan with Two Nicks (Little Bollington)

 

 

Not long to Christmas, it will be here almost before you can say Winter Warmer. So if you cant't get out for the snow and need a present for a real ale or real cider fan consider buying them CAMRA Gift membership. 

http://www.camra.org.uk/gift-membership

To make it extra special you can include include a copy of the Good Beer Guide.

 

gbg19

Don't worry about getting it now. The membership year starts when they activate it so they won't miss out on a minute of membership.

 

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.

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