A cold, but dry Sunday. The perfect time for long, invigorating, country walks. A time for reflection and ponderation. Or throwing some beer down your neck. A repeat of the successful Rammy Ramble was planned, but prospective imbibers were falling faster than sterling. Hangovers, poverty, work tomorrow and pissing blood (I’ll allow that), were all given as excuses. Things were looking grim and then they got worse-Eddie, the eager, legal beagle was available. Seems the Manx Minx was busy sewing buttons on his tweed underpants. Apparently it’s an Olympic sport on the Isle of Man.
So, without the burden of dead weight, we decided to take a stroll across the great metropolis of Manchester. After the Tuesday night test, the second best day to gauge a pub’s mettle is Sunday. Like a backstreet hooker, it can be eager to please on a Saturday night, but how does it fare in the cold light of a Sunday afternoon? Rather predictably we started at the Marble Arch. All pumps in use, but far too many strong beers on-5.9%, 6.2% and not one, but two Porters on. Hmmm. Unable to decide on a guest beer, we went for their own Pint, which was nice and crisp. When in doubt, go by brewery and with Durham being the best on the bar, our next beer was Durham Wenceslas. This was a strong golden ale, with quite a fizz on the tongue.
Moving on, we took a look at the Angel, only to find it closed. As it was a new year, we decided to give Bar Fringe another chance. We found Tandleman’s favourite barperson in attendance, but nothing worth drinking. Ditto at the Crown & Kettle. A walk past the deserted Castle took us to the Unicorn. This was busy, with a heavy proportion of slightly tipsy older drinkers. Bass and two Copper Dragon beers were on the bar and we were soon nestling in a corner with some excellent Golden Pippin. There was nothing to tempt us at the Bank, or in the Waterhouse, but the City Arms had a reasonable selection. Here we had Arundel Sussex Gold, which was just on the acceptable side of cloying.
The Paramount disappointed with our chosen beer dying after less than a pint’s pull. The Pevril was closed as, surprisingly, was the Rain Bar. Lees are missing out on a busy Sunday trade judging by the numbers in the nearby Britons. Although its clientele may be too discerning to rough it with Middleton’s finest brewer. Settled by a welcoming fire, we enjoyed the rather summery Dizzy Blonde. Moving up Oxford Road, there was nothing in the Thirsty Scholar, but some rather fine Golden Pippin at Font. Further on still, Odd also delivered with more Pippin and we had a chat with Tim and Paulette from the New Oxford.
Hunger was rearing its ugly head by now and with the last tram departing at 1030, we decided to treat ourselves to a curry at Hunters. But when we got there, we had an unpleasant shock. Hunters was shut. Hunters is never closed, but it was. And the world kept on turning. Stunned, but still hungry, we had to seek sustenance elsewhere. A small cafe near the tram stop was our salvation. Sunday roast not being an option, I settled for a chip muffin. Then it was back to Bury where Eddie hurried off to try his newly rebuttoned undercrackers. The tram ride having made me thirsty I popped in the Trackside for a nightcap. Or two...