We kicked off with a couple in the Hare & Hounds at Holcombe Brook. Bollington Happy Valley (4%), so called after the locals' nickname for Bollington. Although not refreshing enough to be called a session beer, it wasn’t bad and reminded me I must pay the brewery tap a visit. Roosters YPA was, as expected, light and hoppy.
A walk up to the Major led to a surprising discovery. Tandleman had only mentioned Summer Wine Brewery that very day and there on the bar were two beers from said brewery. Elbow Grease (3.8%) was a golden ale, with the merest hint of diacetyl on the nose. Another beer that tasted stronger than its abv, it got better further down the pint and had a satisfyingly dry finish. Holmfirth IPA (4.2%) proved to be the better of the two, though. Pale amber in colour, it did what most IPAs only claim to do-taste like you would expect of this style. There was a good balance of fruit and hops in the mouthfeel and a moreish, dry finish. An impressive effort at a relatively low vol.
Across the road at the First Chop we had Bank Top Flat Cap, before moving on to the Grants Arms. Here it was Moorhouses Premier before a walk down to the Good Sam. Here we had a shock-it was closed. Simply a case of early closing, or something more significant, I know not yet. So it was back to the Grants. This does have the advantage that you can see the last bus go past and even if, as in this instance, it’s ten minutes early; you can dash across the road as it turns round at the terminus. However, very inconvenient if you’re anywhere else along the route. I can feel a complaint to First Bus coming on.