Delectable Dark Beers: A Top Beer Not So Perfect Ten

Ten of the finest dark beers – mainly milds, stouts, and porters

At this time of writing we are in the midst of Black Friday, an American import which marks the first shopping day after Thanksgiving Day. Thanks inevitably to the internet it has become an international phenomenon. In these parts, it is associated with people fighting over 62″ screen television sets at knockdown prices.

This year, the media seems to have focused on plush toy carrots instead of flatscreen televisions. I suppose it makes a nice change from Brexit, where our attempts at trying to leave the EU could drive us to drink.

This reminded me of Guinness’ Black Friday ad, stating that every Friday is a Black Friday. Pure genius. As dark beers go, Guinness isn’t the only one on the market; our latest Not So Perfect Ten looks at another ten great dark beers. Which have been sampled by yours truly over the last two decades. Let’s tap and vent our ten barrels.

Continue reading “Delectable Dark Beers: A Top Beer Not So Perfect Ten”

Ringway Brewery Cleared For Westminster

Reddish brewery’s bitter set for House of Commons bar

Another one of our local breweries is set to grace the Commons’ bar. This week, it will be the turn of Reddish’s Ringway Brewery. Continue reading “Ringway Brewery Cleared For Westminster”

Lancs Lagers Lost: A Top Beer Not So Perfect Ten

Lamented or not so lamented lost lagers of the last fifty years

If you are able to cast your mind back to the early 1960s, a certain Eddie Taylor was causing quite a stir in the pub scene. In 1961, he bought twelve English and Scottish breweries within a year. He formed a conglomerate known as Northern United Breweries, which later became Charrington United Breweries.

Continue reading “Lancs Lagers Lost: A Top Beer Not So Perfect Ten”

Time Called for Lager Loving Bugs Bunny Lookalikes

Lager and fancy dress ban imposed on Stalybridge Station Buffet Bar and other pubs on the Rail Ale Trail

Stalybridge Station Buffet Bar
‘…That’s All Folks…’ – if you’re dressed up as Bugs Bunny, Batman, Robin or Wonderwoman. I doubt as if the ‘I’ve come as a chauffeur’ excuse would wash either. And you can’t have a pint of lager, nor a double Laphroaig either.

The Rail Ale Trail was based on an idea by The Independent journalist Stephen O’Loughlin, in an article from 12 December 1988 entitled ‘Trains Pass So Close, Your Drink Rocks Gently in the Glass.

It was commercialised by Northern Rail in 2009, following a TV programme with Oz Clark and James May featuring Stalybridge Station Buffet Bar. It has resulted in footfall passing the million mark at Stalybridge railway station. As a consequence, it has made the Manchester Victoria to Huddersfield all stations service a big earner on Saturdays. Continue reading “Time Called for Lager Loving Bugs Bunny Lookalikes”

Top Beer #4: Robinsons Brewery’s Trooper

East of the M60 reviews another real ale, and unlike the last one, imbibed a little closer to home.

  • Beer: ‘Trooper’ (4.8%);
  • Type of Beer: Premium Bitter/Golden Ale;
  • Brewery: Robinsons, Stockport, Cheshire;
  • Quaffed at: The Arden Arms, Stockport.

Not so long ago, Robinsons Brewery launched a successful ale in cooperation with Bury band Elbow. This year, the front man from Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson emulated that feat with a strong bitter named after a Top 20 Hit of theirs from 1983.

Once more, not so long ago (well, around March of this year to be honest), East of the M60 mentioned this and – true to form – decided to sample the beer itself. Where else could you try their ale apart from in Stockport (and especially so in one of Robinsons’ most revered pubs, The Arden Arms no less)?

Continue reading “Top Beer #4: Robinsons Brewery’s Trooper”

Top Beer #3: Sixteen Miles for a Pint of Tea

East of the M60 reviews another real ale, this time in Huddersfield

  • Beer: ‘TEA’ (5.0%);
  • Type of Beer: India Pale Ale;
  • Brewery: First Chop, Ramsbottom, Lancashire;
  • Imbibed at: The Rat and Ratchet, Huddersfield.

Following a quick search for somewhere to go the following day last night, Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council’s website swayed my journey plans towards Huddersfield. I had originally intended to look around the Farmers’ Market on Armentieres Square, Stalybridge, following this up with a trip to Stalybridge Station Buffet Bar for one of their seminal sausage sandwiches. Continue reading “Top Beer #3: Sixteen Miles for a Pint of Tea”

Trooper Ale Storms Ahead for May Release

Iron Maiden vocalist launches bottled and cask ale inspired by popular album track

Hot off the heels of their successful venture with Elbow [‘Build a Rocket, Boys’ ale], Robinsons Brewery have commandeered the services of Bruce Dickinson for its latest limited edition. Entitled ‘The Trooper’, it will be a full bodied 4.8% ABV ale, available in cask conditioned and bottle conditioned forms. It gets its name from their June 1983 single. Continue reading “Trooper Ale Storms Ahead for May Release”

Top Beer: 1. Liverpool Organic Brewery’s Kitty Wilkinson

A Beer and an Imbiber: East of the M60’s new real ale feature

The United Kingdom’s most unique contribution to the food and drink world is its multiplicity of cask conditioned and bottle conditioned ales. Real ale is enjoying a rise in popularity, but the amount of beer (crappy keg lagers and bitters included) supped in licensed premises has fallen. Therefore, the same crappy keg beers are – increasingly – drank at home thanks to nasties like the Beer Tax Escalator which favours superstore chains over pubs. Continue reading “Top Beer: 1. Liverpool Organic Brewery’s Kitty Wilkinson”

The Wines and Spirits Counter of a Christmas Past

Beer at home means…

A generation ago, a fair number of supermarket wines and spirits counters were often separate from the main store. Discounts were less generous for off-licence booze than at present, much to the rancour of pub landlords and real ale fanatics today. Back then, off-licences offered more choice than the little serving hatch or counter in the local Tesco/Kwik Save/Victor Value store. Continue reading “The Wines and Spirits Counter of a Christmas Past”