With a shortage of volunteers for a trip to Southport’s wine festival, I found myself at something of a loose end. Step forward Eddie, the young, eager, legal beagle. We decided to have a quick canter round Bury’s periphery, taking advantage of the nice weather. Oh how naive we were. Al fresco drinking is a gift that the Gods only rarely bestow., as we were about to find out.
Things started promisingly at the Dusty Miller. This is a tied Moorhouses pub and delivered an acceptable pint of Premier. And we even got to sit outside. This feat was repeated at the Help Me Thro’, where Wainwrights was the drink of choice. This, like most Thwaites beers, isn’t outstanding, but the Help Me Thro’ usually serves a very acceptable pint of it.
From there we hailed a hackney carriage to transport us to the Brown Cow. A near miss here. One of the handpumps was turned round, but luckily it proved to be an Allgates, so no tears shed there. The other beer on offer was Cottage Mallard IPA (4.1%) which wasn’t an IPA by anyone’s definition. Having said that, it was pleasantly tart and went down without any trouble. A cut through the park up to Walmersley Road took our luck a step too far and the heavens duly opened up and delivered a deluge.
Arriving at the Sundial drenched-well one of us being a real man hadn’t brought a brolly; we tried to dry out over a pint of Wainwrights. Yet again, we weren’t disappointed by the beer quality, although it’s always sad to see a tied brewery pub selling only one beer. Thwaites have done a good job with the refurb here and restored the original two room layout. Ok, it has a slightly generic look about it, but full marks to Thwaites for investing in a community local. The second room is somewhat of a wasted space as they’ve crammed the ubiquitous pool table in, at the expense of more seating. There was definitely a split in character between the two rooms, with a good mix (including some nice eye candy) in the lounge, whilst the pool room looked to be full of the estate scallies.
We braved the weather to march a little further up to the Hark to Towler. The Walmersley circuit isn’t one Eddie is too familiar with, but with his impending move he’ll be but a bus ride away, so it was time to broaden his education. The Towler, too, I noticed, had crammed a pool table in. It really looked out of place situated so close to the dining area, but hey, we’re only here for the beer. And luckily the Golden Pippin was on top form. So good, in fact, that we were forced to stay for three pints. Time was pressing now, but Eddie wanted to complete the circuit by visiting the Hark to Dandler.
A forced march took us to this J.W.Lees house which I had visited only last week. Once again Lees bitter was the only offering and was fine-as far as Lees goes! Not unexpectedly there weren’t many in on a damp, late Tuesday evening. The main attraction was a senior citizen raver, who was definitely up for a bit, despite (or maybe because of?), the presence of her rather lethargic other half. Apparently Eddie and the Dandler have some underage history between them. However, it was time to summon a taxi to take us homeward bound, spurning the opportunity for a lock in, and some quality time with the grey haired sexpot.
Quite a wide ranging tour, with decent beer at every stop.