31 May 2009


I think it is great when public houses offer specials on drinks, whether real ale or otherwise. I wanted cold drinks and the temperature of real ale in public houses does not come close to the coldness I require today. I was happy to enjoy three WKD (different flavours) for £5 this burning afternoon. I did not release before now that percentages of these drinks differ slightly. That iron brew is 5% but both the red and the blue originals are 4.5%. I just had to take advantage of such a deal. I was not much tempted by the Stella or the Budweiser. It was probably put my taste buds in shock.

30 May 2009

Family Friendly Festivals

I expect over the next day or two that my posts shall refer directly to the Stockport Beer Festival, at the risk of sounding one-dimensional. Of course, one does not need to live around the Stockport area to relate to what I write. It has implications for the other beer festivals as well as wider topics.

Yesterday, I attended the Friday afternoon session or what I have dubbed the family session. It is free on entry, starts early, and finishes early. I was surprised at how many of my friends had taken the day off work to attend that particular session. In some cases, they were deliberately attempting to avoid the higher fee of the Friday evening session as well as the crowds that come out on Friday evenings, whether to that session or not.

Also, I met Curmudgeon in there. We debated for around twenty minutes. We certainly did not agree on every issue. We did agree that debate is useful to produce a higher level of consensus and that the medium of blogging helps attain that. I shall leave aside areas of disagreement for another time. It was interesting to speak to the chap nonetheless and we would have credibly spoken for longer if we did not have other people to appease at the time.

Perry lists

I am enjoying the Stockport Beer Festival. I have attended two sessions so far. It would be pointless to make a list of the beers I have consumed. So I am not going to do that. I was pleased to find that the beers I expected to be on sale (as per the festival website) are actually on sale.

When it comes to ciders and perry, the Stockport Beer Festival website only lists brand names. It does not list product names, as it does with the beers. One might understand this when it comes to perry. I say this because a perry product can vary widely from batch to batch. Cider, however, is more consistent. Nonetheless, if you want a list of both then simply attend the festival as lists are available at the cider and perry stall.

27 May 2009

Festive Beers for Stockport Friday Lunch Session

Mild: Marble's Mild of the Times @ 3.60%

Bitter: Summer Wine's Helios @ 4.00%

Premium Bitter: Dunham Massey's Cheshire IPA @ 4.70%

Special Beers: Brew Dog's 77 Lager @ 5.00%, Cellar Rat's Rosie Rat @ 5.80%, and Marble's Woolpack Festival @ 4.90%

Stouts and Porters: Fullers' London Porter @ 5.40%, Pennine's Pitch Porter @ 5.00%, and Sierra Nevada's Porter @ 5.50%

Old Ales: Oakham's Oblivion @ 5.70% and Thornbridge's Jaipur IPA @ 5.90%

26 May 2009

Mysterious emails from the Ignorant

Sometimes I wonder just how much revenue a public house loses by not keeping its information up to date on a pub directory, such as, myPUBGUIDE.com. The main website receives over a thousand unique human visitors per day, not from Google Adsense but from real high street British companies. It is a free resource, wholly funded by advertising. So there is nothing for publicans to pay.

We receive emails from users, i.e., prospective punters, who think that our email address is that of some pub or other. We get requests for menus, questions about whether we have an open fire, etc. We even receive CVs. I just do not understand people at times. Fair enough that someone must have a radically underdeveloped sense of reality to mistake our contact details for that of a pub house. However, in these days when pub owners are crying poverty, I would expect that they take every opportunity to promote their business. I do not understand people at times.

25 May 2009

21 May 2009

Blackpool Trip

Click here to search for pubs in Blackpool

We went to Blackpool. Not everything went according to plan. Of the four public houses on my original list, I visited one: The Pump and Truncheon. Nevertheless, I did still stick with four public houses. There is far too much to do in Blackpool to sit around pubs all day.

The Pump and Truncheon was not the only public house that we found that serves real ale. There was one more: Uncle Peter Websters. It is, however, difficult to find real ale pubs in Blackpool. I did keep my eyes open too. The only other public houses we entered were the Counting House and the Hop. These were chosen out of convenience at the time.

The determining factor of whether we had any refreshments at any establishment was largely over if it was child-friendly. Impressively, Uncle Peter Websters advertises that it is child-friendly until 9pm. The Counting House allows children if parents buy meals. The Hop does not normally allow children. It was early so the barmaid made us welcome. Sadly, the Hop does not serve real ale on draught. This did not prevent me from drinking Strongbow, Guinness, and Green King IPA (smooth). These were sold at shockingly low prices.

18 May 2009

Plan for Blackpool

Click here to search for pubs in Blackpool

Stockport can become a bit tiresome. I always find that the best value for money pubs are in the Hillgate-Churchgate area. However, there is more to life than Stockport. When I visit Blackpool, I intend to try the following public houses: The Auctioneer, Churchills Bar, The Pump and Truncheon, and The Saddle Inn. These four pubs serve real ale. It is a mixed selection though. I will judge these pubs for friendliness toward children as well as the usual.

14 May 2009

Strongbow: The best a man can get

Life is full of surprises. I left work early for an appointment with a GP. Apparently, both my cholesterol and blood pressure are fine. This comes as no surprise really when I consider my diet of freshly prepared food and proper beers when I when get the chance to drink. So I wanted to celebrate slightly, starting with the chippy. Then I headed home, passing several public houses and off-licenses in the Offerton area of Stockport. I kept thinking to myself that I have tried all those places and none were too spectacular, as I had tried those establishments before. I thought, I would save my efforts for the off-licence nearest my house, as none of these sell proper beer. I did entirely that, only to find that the off-licence just around the corner no longer serves beer. In fact, the shopkeeper informed me that even the John Smith’s goes out of date. Previously, I had bought some of the finest Three Rivers from there. I ended-up with a bottle of Strongbow and a few other items. It was £3.29. Are such places really likely to put proper beer pubs out of business? I wonder if the chippy I went to complains to his customers when they tell him that they buy oven chips from the supermarket.

11 May 2009

Is the Stockport Beer Festival less than three weeks away?

I have already booked off Friday 29th May for the Stockport Beer Festival. Usually I wake up around 5am. Therefore, I might be ready for a drink on the lunchtime session. The admission is free (to non-Camra members too). It runs from 11.30am - 3.30pm. It has no entertainment, which for me is a bit of a bonus. I confess that I do not mind folk music. However, I am not a fan of those often cheesy bands that play at beer festivals. The entertainment manager asserted that this year, there is entertainment for everyone. Whether this is the case or not, I am not coming back for the evening session. I have a child to look after. I may take him to a Saturday session. He seems to enjoy playing with Lego at these often peaceful events.

10 May 2009

Free Ale but No Thanks

The Stockport Heritage Trust have teamed up with Robinson's brewery to exclude children from one of their events. Actually, I am only kidding. The free Lantern Show at Staircase House on Friday 15 May 2009 is for adults only. Here adults get to sample cheeses and Robbie's beer at the end of the event. I would have appreciated the opportunity to trot down there. However, I may not attend, as I need to look after my son on that very evening. For those of you who are lucky enough to grace the place, I hope you enjoy yourselves. Just watch out for the ghost of Robert Owten.

Token Schemes

One might guess from the previous post that overall, I enjoyed the Macclesfield festival. However, the use of tokens strikes me as odd. This offered a disincentive for me as unused tokens would not be refunded. Indeed, as no cash exchanged hands beyond the reception area, I only bought two lots of tokens, at £5 each. I might be able to accurately predict the number of drinks that I may buy; or maybe not. In any case, I cannot easily know presciently the number of soft drink or sandwiches that my son may request. I have attended quite a few festivals in my lifetime. It just seems strange that I have never encountered such a scheme before. It feels almost dishonest, especially considering the historical use of non-convertible token schemes.

My Macclesfield Festival Selection

These are drinks that I selected from the Macclesfield festival list. Needless to say, I did not drink a pint of each. I make my preferences quiet clear in the following descriptions:

Allendale’s Wolf: an excellent hoppy beer but no apparent trace of blackcurrant
Beartown’s Ginger Beer: an amazingly refreshing and noticeably gingery beer
Dunham Massey’s Chocolate Cherry Mild: a semblance of chocolate porter mouthwash with a hint of cherry and an aftertaste of dog breath
Hammerpot’s Madgwick Gold: an unpleasantly indistinctive and sweaty oral experience
Milestone’s Raspberry Wheat Beer: an exceptionally uplifting wheat beer with an overpowering taste of raspberry essence
Prospect’s Big Adventure: a clean and magically hoppy floral beer with a most pleasant resonance
Saltaire’s Hazelnut Coffee Porter: an easy nutty coffee roast porter
Traditional Scottish Ales’ Highland Fling: a non-distinct clammy beer

Hecks’ Blackeney Red Perry: a remarkable and refreshingly sweet strong perry

Westons’ Old Rosie: a heart warming and strong cider

9 May 2009

Macclesfield Beer Festival

It is the weekend of the Macclesfield beer festival at the rugby club. I am running late this morning. So I had better keep this short.

There are two session today, with the first being 1200 to 1530. I have opted for this because I can happily take my son along and it is free. For the other sessions, tickets are needed, which are incidentally not free.

Walking and bus from for Macclesfield Rail Station to SK10 4AF:

Walk from Macclesfield Rail Station to Lord Street (Corner) (on Park Street) to catch Bus 4. This goes to Fallibroome High School (Opposite) (on Priory Lane). It is less than a minute walk from there.

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