Who says Camra can't organise a piss up in a brewery? Not me after a day out with the denizens of Trafford & Hulme (www.thcamra.org.uk/cms/) branch. The hardy folk of t'other side of Manchester were having an excursion to Elland (www.eandsbrewery.co.uk/ )Brewery, and luckily there was room for Tyson and some of his chums to come along.
Well, where to begin? Firstly, we had to endure the hardship of five hours imbibing various E&S concoctions. And very tasty they all were as well. All in all, 14 different beers were on offer, including some of the Gary Mitchell range. Elland Best Bitter (4%) was dry, bitter, and had a good mix of English and American hops. Nettlethrasher (4.4%) was copper coloured and is a complex mix of 6 different malts. Goldrush (4.6%) was golden in colour, and its mix of 3 malts and 4 hops gave it a spicy, floral aroma and a refreshing citrus taste. Demons Eye (5.2%) was a deep coppered coloured, powerful brew, with malt flavours giving way to a dry finish. Which was the best on offer? Well, a lot of people liked Gary Mitchell's Best Bitter (4%) which was straw coloured and had a delicate grapefruit mouthfeel. E&S Porter was also very good, with port overtures, and a complex coffee and bitter chocolate taste. But my favourite was Gary Mitchell's Eden (4.2%) which was a well conditioned, beautifully pale, session beer with in-your-face hops.
Needing a break from all that drinking, some of us ventured down to the GBG listed Barge & Barrel. This is basically a large, open plan, pub, split into separate drinking areas. An excellent range of 12 awaited our judgement. Springhead Bitter (4%) was a bit thin and lacked the hops we'd been feasting on. Abbeydale Moonshine (4.3%) was golden and had some hop kick, but the bittersweet finish was spoilt by a tang of diacetyl.
It was back to the brewery for some more punishment, before setting of to visit the 3 Pigeons in Halifax.