We kicked off in the Trackside. Slater’s CRB (3.8%) was light and had a decent bitter kick for its modest volume. Deciding to spread our wings we headed up to the Hare & Hounds. Some interesting beers on including Hart-those of the terribly sexist pumpclips that make Eddie physically sick. Spurning their offering, and that of Purple Moose-despite their seasonal pumpclip, we settled for George Wright Three French Hens. This was exceedingly pale (0.5 on the colour scale) with very good condition and a pleasing fruity/bitter finish.
Next stop was the ever reliable Major. Here we sampled Hawkshead Red (4.2%) which like all their beers was very palatable. A traditional red bitter, it had just the right balance of bitter-sweet malt and spices, leading to a pleasing dry finish. A good winter beer I think. Over at the First Chop, we had a chat with Rick, the proprietor whilst we tackled some Wainwrights. Fancying a change we headed for the Royal Legion in expectation of some Hydes. But what’s this? Hydes has been replaced by that king of clubland-Lees. Yes, Tandleman’s favourite tipple has conquered another account in Ramsbottom. And to be fair, it wasn’t in bad nick-for Lees.
Our final stop was at the Good Sam. This was eerily quiet with not a soul in. And nobody came in the whole time we were there. Usually this doesn’t bode well for a pub, but the Sam continues to surprise with the beer in excellent form. Deuchars has replaced the poor selling Theakstons, but the big sellers remain Copper Dragon and...Lees. Blimey those Middleton brewers get everywhere. The landlord quickly exchanged Eddie’s pint after noticing it was cloudy, explaining that he had just put a fresh barrel on. It seemed a waste judging by the level of custom, but we weren’t complaining. The Golden Pippin was as good as I’ve had it, with plenty of tangy hop bitterness, and an exquisite dry finish. There was no shifting us then and all we had to do was await the last bus. Handily (when you’ve had a few), it stops right at the door, so for once getting home proved very easy.