All roads lead to Chesterfield. Actually no they don't, but that's what the locals say. Actually they say that all roads lead out of Chesterfield but, for the sake of literary licence, let's pretend otherwise. Chesterfield is the birthplace of such luminaries as Barbara Castle, Sir John Hurt, Spycatcher author Peter Wright and, erm, Princess Di's rock, Paul Burrell. Well you can't win them all.

For our purposes it's fame mainly rests on the Brampton Mile. As the name suggests; this is a mile stretch running on or near to Chatsworth Road that boasts a dozen or so pubs. Of course many towns at one time or another could boast of something similar-locally we had the Rammy Mile-but these are few and far between now. Indeed, according to the locals, the Brampton Mile at one time stretched to 24 pubs but it is still pretty well-endowed. As is Chesterfield as a whole, actually.

Chesterfield was, for some reason, one of the few recommended pub crawls unknown to yours tr…

Cloudwater Brewery Tap

Was it only three years ago that Manchester was gripped by Cloudwater inaugural fever? It seems a lot longer. Ah I remember it well. How innocent we all were. How young we all were. How thirsty we all were. But in the words of that great prophet Robert Zimmerman: "the times they are a-changin'. Indeed they are. Cloudwater-to no one's great surprise-are now firmly established in the top rank of UK craft brewing with a reputation that encompasses Trumpland.

But where can you regularly drink this delightful Manchester nectar? Until recently the answer would have been their Barrel Store underneath the Piccadilly arches. While some may have enthused about its cosiness, truth be told, it wasn't the best showcase for Cloudwater's beers. A brewery with the standing and ambition that they have needed a more suitable outlet. Something, say, like a proper brewery tap.

And so it came to pass. The brewery tap is located, logically enough, next to the brewery at unit 9 of the P…

Tuesday's Dead

"Whoa, where do you go?  When you don't want no one to know? Who told tomorrow Tuesday's dead" (Tuesday's Dead: Cat Stevens) 
When I was a wee pup: back in ye olden days of Middle-earth, when Gandalf was just starting out, I learnt of the Tuesday Night Test. These were the days of pubs on every street corner (or so it seemed) and pubs selling gallons of Mild etc. Quality though, as ever, was an issue. And although you got to know where the best pints were to be had, the real test was what was the beer like on a Tuesday night? Any pub that could deliver on what was traditionally the quietest day was probably going to be a safe bet anytime.

Fast forward to the internet age and whilst quality may still be an issue, despite the falling number of outlets, what you can't fault is the choice. Or so the theory goes. A Tuesday afternoon stroll round Manchester therefore should be a piece of the proverbial cake. No problem at the first stop, the Pilcrow, where both the Ri…

That Friday Feeling

It's Friday. You've got that Friday feeling. The sun, as always, is shining down on the great metropolis of Mancunia. Time for an afternoon aperitif or two. So it was that the clarion call for drinking compadres went out. And was duly answered. Now I'm not one to gossip but one thing I have observed is that some of those CAMRA members do like a bit of the old imbibing. And who am I to disappoint them?

Being proudly au fait with the Manchester drinking scene, you can forget that some poor devils are not quite as up to date as they should be. Having heard of, but never having been to, GRUB; the first stop was obvious. A now almost iconic Manchester street food outfit, they have come out of their winter hideaway (it can be cold and wet in Manchester, sometimes) and are now back outside at the Mayfield on Baring St.

If you can, go to one of their plant powered Sunday events as they are tremendous. However, if you can't make that, the Friday/Saturday events aren't too s…

The Thirsty Fish

Bury's first, but hopefully not the last, micropub opened on Thursday at 3pm. Situated on the edge of the Millgate shopping precinct, right by the bus station, it is handily placed to catch shoppers just passing by and the drinkers wanting a last hooray before catching their bus.

It's a small corner unit with natural light flooding in through the large glass panels that make up its exterior. There is a mix of high and low tables with the bar cleverly wedged at the back to maximise space. The handpumps are along the side wall while a blackboard displays the current offerings.

There are eight real ales on offer alongside cider, German beer and the odd crafty keg. There's also bottled beer for those who like that sort of thing. Behind the bar you may recognise Petr who until recently was at the Rose and Crown and don't be surprised to see a few familiar faces in front of the bar as well.

This being the opening day, there were plenty of Bury's glittering crafteratti on…

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Camba Coffee Porter

Dark mornings and dark evenings. Time to go to the dark side. Well here we are. You like coffee in the morning. You like beer in the morning-after all, who doesn't? So theoretically, this could be the perfect combination.
Yet again it's from those crafty German brewers, Camba. It's a 330ml bottle and weighs in at 5.4%. It poured jet black with a healthy-sized mocha coloured head. A very powerful aroma gave strong notes of coffee, dark chocolate, caramel and a slight smokiness.
Mouthfeel was quite light. You don't really get the full alcohol effect but rather a pleasant warming after the first mouthful or two. Perhaps surprisingly the coffee isn't as dominant as the aroma might suggest. Rather it's more like a filter coffee with chocolate sprinkled on top. Balance seems to be the key here.
Tyson says: Well-balanced, you get sweet notes offset by the bitterness of the hops. Not bad, if you go for this sort of thing.

Christmas Eve Breakfast Beer Tasting Camba Hop Gun

Top Gun, eh? Now there was a film. 1986, Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis etc. Ah, happy days. Actually this beer has absolutely nothing to do with that film but looks worth drinking anyway. After all, it's Christmas Eve and you need to start the festivities somewhere.
It's from those crafty German lads again and of course comes in a 330ml bottle and is 6.4%. It poured chestnut in colour with good carbonation and a two-finger tan foam topping. The aroma was punchy: lots of cherry, figs, raisins along with caramel and some classic citrus notes.
The taste was also rich. Yes, some fruity bitterness and a bit of pine, but also a lot of sweetness. There's toffee and caramel and a slight biscuit twang along with a hint of pepper. It comes together but the hop notes are somewhat lost in the other flavours that end in a bitter-sweet finish.
Tyson says: A little disappointed with this, given the name and the promise of US hops. Too many characteristics of a red ale to really satisfy the …