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”

Acceptable in the 1990s: An A to Z of the Decade’s Popular Culture

A slightly irreverent look at a decade which spawned the internet, Cones Hotline and Gladiators

In the 1980s, local and national radio stations’ Golden Hour/Solid Gold Hour/whatever type of Golden Oldies slot would have focused on the 1950s and 1960s. Which was 20 – 30 years ago. Fast forwarding to 2013, the music of 20 – 30 years ago would include early Take That, the Pet Shop Boys, Bananarama and Duran Duran. The people who were nostalgic for Manfred Mann or The Beatles in 1983 may well have been in their 20s – 30s. Today they would have children who have flown the nest. Today’s twenty to thirty somethings may well be similarly nostalgic over the Shamen, East 17, and Boyzone.

Continue reading “Acceptable in the 1990s: An A to Z of the Decade’s Popular Culture”

Top Beer: 2. Thornbridge Brewery’s Jaipur

Top Beer on Thornbridge’s strong India Pale Ale

Until recently, Bakewell was famous for two things: its puddings and its open market. In the last decade, ale has become the Derbyshire market town’s other export, thanks to Thornbridge Brewery. The company has ten regular cask ales including the one featured here. A further twelve bottled ales form part of their portfolio, and they’ve even upset some of the traditionalists with a dozen keg beers. Continue reading “Top Beer: 2. Thornbridge Brewery’s Jaipur”

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”

Another Take Out: Alternative Fast Food Outlets to the Totalitarian Multinational Offerings

Other eateries are available – and lovingly recommended by Feast of the M60

20 to 30 years ago, a trip to McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken or Wimpy would have been quite a novelty. The then big three of the 1980s would soon become two, as Wimpy lost town centre branches. By the start of the noughties, the new third force in take out food became Subway. Continue reading “Another Take Out: Alternative Fast Food Outlets to the Totalitarian Multinational Offerings”

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 Multi-Coloured Lost Pop Shop: The Not So Perfect Ten

Lost fizzy drinks of the last fifty years

Tab Clear
Much Hype, Little Impact: TaB Clear was a short lived drink on our shores. It was a clear version of Diet Coke launched in 1993. Photograph of American cans by Kevin Trotman (Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Non-Derivatives License)

If you go to the supermarket today, you will find that most of the shelf space in the fizzy drinks section is taken up by Pepsico, the Coca Cola Company and own brand products. At one time, each region would also have its local favourites, or a home delivery service. Then came SodaStream and the relentless march of the multinational colas onto our local Morrisons/TESCO/ASDA/Mainstop/Fine Fare/Co-op/VG stores over the last thirty years. The joys of Category Management and greater demands by today’s chains (this time, mainly Morrisons, ASDA, TESCO and Sainsburys). Mr Alpine/Hague/A&A later didn’t get a look in. Continue reading “The Multi-Coloured Lost Pop Shop: The Not So Perfect Ten”

Trans-Pennine Real Ale Pubs: The Not So Perfect Ten

Ten real ale pubs across the Pennines, coast to coast

Whitby ... 'THE BLACK HORSE'.
The Black Horse pub sign, Whitby. Photograph by BazzaDaRambler (Creative Commons Some Rights Reserved License).

Somewhere in the mists of time, East of the M60 wrote a post entitled ‘Silence, Tea and Sky’, a Trans-Pennine trail of desirable tea shops along railway routes. Today, our return leg from Scarborough has had us searching for something stronger, often served in a much bigger drinking vessel. Continue reading “Trans-Pennine Real Ale Pubs: The Not So Perfect Ten”