Saturday, 11 June 2016

Cheshire and Salford revisited


       I got Wednesday off work in the hottest week of the year so far so me and Tash could accompany Wee Fatha to Tatton brewery to buy some bottled beers. Naturally, as a rambling sot, the only thing to do whilst undertaking this task was to visit some other pubs. As Tash has never been with us to Cheshire there are some repeated visits from last time, but it was well worth doing so.

About 2 hours after setting off we arrived, having come past Manchester Airport into the rural idyll of Ashley, in Mobberley. No getting lost this time, we passed the Railway where Matty and WF went last time and headed for the Church Inn. I understand that apart from the Railway the 3 or 4 other pubs in Mobberley are owned by the same firm. This is disappointing, as it could stifle competition, but to be absolutely honest, none of the three pubs we visited were bad.

The Church Inn is just across the road from, um..the church, and is a large rambling premises serving food and four real ales. We had halves of Tatton's Ale Glorious which I think is brewed for the pub (or rebadged), half a Wizard dark mild and a pint of Brightside Your Town pale ale for me. We sat in the garden admiring the views and deciding whether or not to get food - in the end we didn't as only Wee Fatha was going to and the starters were all sharing plates. The beer was well kept and unsurprisingly the Brightside was the highlight for me.

Further into the sprawling village we came to the Bulls Head and the Roebuck. The Bulls Head car park holds about 6 cars so its good the same firm owns the Roebuck where we parked. We also went in for a drink, since it had only reopened the weekend before. One thing that is slightly annoying about all 3 pubs is that someone greets you on the way in - this is to establish if you want to eat, or simply have a drink. I know some people like this kind of greeting but I would rather find the bar and wait to be served by a friendly barkeep. In this case, the bar is hardly that - so we would probably have talked to the guy anyway.

We had halves of Dunham Deer Beer and one from Tatton which I think was blonde. Having opened the gate to let WF climb less steps into the garden we got sat out in the sunshine and decided to get some food, starters of Ratatouille for WF and Dunham potato chips for me and Tash. Was the food pretentious? Yes. Was it tasty and reasonably priced? Yes. A decent place to stop, and to leave the car as we popped over the road.

The Bulls Head is a little older looking inside than the other two - am certain that much of the antiquity is imported but I like the tiled floor and the panelling, real or recent, in the pub. The bar had 6 beers on so we tried thirds of them all - this included a pale ale from Wincle, Wobberley Mobberley which I think is also brewed by Wincle, Cheshire Cat Pale Ale, Dunham Bulls Head Bitter, Weetwood Oregon Pale ale and Wizard (or Merlin?) Merlins gold. We supped them outside in the warm sunshine and enjoyed them all, especially the Weetwood.

From here we drove to Tatton brewery for WF to buy his bottles of beers, of which there were many, and then onto Lymm to visit the Old Post Office, or Lymm Brewery Tap. The beer range comprised Dunham Massey and Lymm brewery beers and we had halves of Dunham Stout, Cheshire IPA, and Lymm Dam. The later was 7.2% and a copper coloured strong ale, which was easy to drink, as was the Chesire IPA. We had free olives with the beers (even tempting WF to try a few) and bought some local pork scratchings. Always a good place to stop off, and playing some decent tracks including Mark Lanegan.

We drove out to Winnick and Burtonwood next to visit the Fiddle ith Bag Inn. There were three beers on including one which everyone went for but since WF and Tash were staying alcohol free I went for a North Blyth Seafarers Pale. I sat outside and soaked up more beautiful sunshine whilst Tash took a tour of the numerous artifacts inside.

Our next stop was the exccllent Grocers Micropub on Liverpool Road in Cadishead, run by Martin, AKA Dimpled Mug. We parked just down the road and entered to find the tiny pub busy, mainly with customers anticipating the quiz. I had two pints of the excellent Dunham Experimental #2 and Tash likely had some Wilson Potter, and we sat down in the right hand corner to soak up the atmosphere and listen to the buzz of conversation.

A steady stream of customers came, few went, and it was obvious that the quiz was a very popular event. The beer was on great form and it was good to catch up with Martin and to congratulate him on winning his local branch pub of the year. Really must try and get back there sometime when we have more time to sit down and have a proper sup!

Our penultimate stop was the Star at Higher Broughton. Am not sure if the pub is brewing anymore but they had First Chop AVA and Abbeydae Moonshine on so we all went for the first, apart from WF, now on J2o. The pub is still community owned and has a basic interior with three rooms, including one at the back which seems to have been brought more into use as a games room, and may have lost some original features as a result.

Our final stop was in Chorlton at Pi. Its somewhere that serves food til 22.0 and the pies are quite nice -  a simple meal to fill us up before the trip back to Sheffield. I had something locally brewed in here - I said that about Pi in Macc as well, but I wasn't after having much and enjoyed whatever we had. Tash really enjoyed her coffee as well. Pi is part of a chain as you may know and its an interesting if frustrating mix of hipster and trendy staff and ethos. However the beer seems well kept and its a good place to fill up when you are on a lengthy pub crawl.

Pub of the day was, clearly, the Grocers Micro Pub, but the Star and the Bulls Head were close runners up. A great day out, and a superb way to wrap numerous pub visits round visiting Tatton brewery fr 20 minutes.


Wee Beefy