Showing posts from May, 2010

So Lonely

A very hot day in Manchester. And a very hot day inside the new Marble bar on Thomas St. Is this why I had the place to myself? Unless you were directly in front of the fan, it was uncomfortably warm. And, unfortunately, the cooling system couldn't cope with a near empty barrel. Result=flat, warm, beer. And having both beers weigh in at over 5% when a session strength beer is called for, probably wasn't the wisest move either. These are teething problems that hopefully will be addressed before the (supposedly) hot summer hits us.
Meanwhile the Angel has opened its, er, beer garden. With its barbed wire fence, it has more of the look of a transit camp than a traditional English garden, but beggars can't be choosers. And the beer was good.

Chains Of Love

They say all publicity is good publicity, but one Bury pub manager forgot to mention one crucial detail when selling this story to the News of the World. Namely the name of his pub. For the record, and for any autograph hounds out there, Mr Garvey is manager of the J.D.Wethserspoons owned Art Picture House on Haymarket Street.

I Was Young When I Left Home

Well it’s over. The country’s biggest pub festival at the Hare & Hounds came to a frenetic end on Sunday. Yet another excellent marathon slurping session organised by Andy & Lynne and their staff. Frequented by the usual mix of local and national drunkards, it took its toll on many. I even vaguely recall Tandleman calling in. As usual, on the new beer front, there were a few good ones, several indifferent and some downright dodgy brews.
Beer of the festival: Pictish Columbus. This beautifully hopped little number didn’t last long on the pumps.
Confirmation of what you already know: Tower, whatever the colour of their beers, are poor. Their golden ales just tasted of burnt malt and nothing else. Northumberland-Hoof Harted (ha ha) etc were all wooden. Spinning Dog-yuk.
Best new brewery: Brentwood. All of theirs were quite palatable, with the 6.5% Chockwork Orange proving an interesting old ale brewed with oranges. And fair play to the lass I saw knocking back pints of it.
Worst ne…

You Shouldn't Laugh...But

Susan Edwards, 28, earns a living as an “Alcohol Awareness Counsellor.” That is, she warns people of the dangers of booze. She also runs courses for youths to try and teach them to respect alcohol and avoid getting into trouble because of it.

She was recently fined £335 at Kingston magistrates’ court and banned from driving for a year. Her crime? She was found guilty of drink driving after an evening knocking back wine and vodka.

Calls herself an expert in alcohol awareness? The kids could have told her that wine and vodka don’t mix.

Anyone For the Sunday Club?

I can see Sunday becoming very popular in some circles.

Who Ate All the Nuts?

For once the discussion in the Dogs this weekend wasn’t about beer, birds or soccer, but that other very important pub subject: pies.

Ramsbottom is home to a number of delicatessens and shops specialising in local produce. For example it’s a good place to acquire the legendary Lancashire Sauce. What’s that, I hear you Southern belles squeak? It’s a spiced, vinegar based, condiment that the good folk of Lancashire use in place of salt, pepper etc.

However, what had the locals chattering into their cloth caps were local pie makers Pots & Pies. They started out two years ago and have steadily built a reputation for excellent pies using traditional recipes.

You can choose from such delights as wild boar & chestnut, pheasant, leek & mushroom and pigeon and pea. However, it’s their squirrel pie that has captured the media interest and they are struggling to keep up with demand.

Joint proprietor, John Thornton, was quick to point out some of the difficulties in making squirrel …

Odd Beer Of The Week

Green Mill Wheat. Tasted just like American Cream Soda. And not a trace of wheat.

Rip Off Of The Week

£3.30 for a pint of beer served in a plastic glass at the upstairs bar of the Flying Horse, Rochdale.

Beer Of The Week

Pictish Columbus at the Hare & Hounds. A lip-smacking hop delight.

Gig Of The Week

Paul Heaton at the Flying Horse, Rochdale.

What You Looking At?

A woman has spoken of her shock after opening a tin of pears only to find that one slice looked like a demonic face. Easily shocked New Zealander, Wendy McMahon, who was feeling "a bit peckish", when she opened the tin, was stunned by the scary fruit staring back at her.
It appeared to have two slits for eyes, a nose, and a mouth containing buck teeth. Mrs McMahon, who has now posted photos of the pear slice on the internet, said: "I thought, Oh my God, is that a face?"
Answers on a postcard...

Round & Round

There’s an interesting snapshot of British drinking habits with the publication of OnePoll’s latest survey. The rounds system is a time honoured British institution, but, according to the survey, the privilege doesn’t come cheap. The survey of 2,000 18-65 year olds throws up some interesting figures.

First and foremost is £39, 480. That’s what the estimated lifetime spend on buying rounds will cost you. The average person spends £840 a year buying beer for others which, it is claimed, equates to £30 billion nationally.

The average round costs £13, with two rounds each being the norm for a night out. The Irish pay the most for a round-£17, whilst the Geordies squeeze in at just £12.80. Going out three times a month is considered the average, but 25% are hitting the pumps twice a week and buying drinks in groups of five.

The biggest sin? Ordering more expensive drinks when it wasn’t your round. Some 70% of people claimed to be infuriated by this and found it unacceptable behaviour. Qui…

The Wisdom Of The Ages

“I've lived here for 70 years and I'll tell you something. Selling us out to Europe was the worst thing Gordon Brown ever did. I’m not voting for anyone who let’s all the illegals in. They should all be sent to the Shetland Isles and made to eat Kellogs Corn Flakes. And you know he’s Scottish as well?”

(A pissed pensioner in Wetherspoons)

Smoke And Mirrors

Today we welcome Paul Taylor, of Blackwood, Gwent, back to the land of reality. He has been away with the fairies in the land of the misguided pro-smoking lobby. It must be a shock when you finally realise that strongly believing in something doesn’t make it a fact and that the truth is actually the opposite of that belief. In this case; it’s the smoking ban.
Mr Taylor, licensee of the Rock public house, is running as an independent candidate in the Welsh constituency of Islwyn. Part of his manifesto pledge is a relaxation of the current ban. Having blamed the smoking ban for the record number of pub closures, he naturally assumed others were of the same opinion and that they would welcome such a relaxation.

However, after a tour of 30 pubs in his area, he has changed his views. His plan to allow some pubs to be designated “smoking pubs” had very little support. “The consensus was that people didn’t want smoking pubs, they are happy to go outside,” he said. “It was a real eye opener.…

Who's Going To The Dogs?

Well, holidays have been booked, sickies will be pulled and at least one holiday has been cancelled. Yes it’s time again for the country’s biggest pub fest at the Hare & Hounds in Holcombe Brook.

Festivities kick off on Thursday and over the next ten days there will be plenty of beer to be tried-both old favourites and new concoctions. All served as Vishnu intended: on sparkled handpump and cellar cooled.

There is a slight competitive edge this time around as I have an email from a ticker who has pledged to scoop more than me. Bring it on.

Beer List

1 Acorn Blonde 4.0%

2 Acorn Cascade IPA 5.0%

3 Acorn Darkness Mild 4.2%

4 Acorn Lightness Mild 3.6%

5 Acorn New IPA 5.0%

6 Arkwright's Run of the Mill 4.0%

7 Arkwright's Trouble at mill 4.1%

8 Bank Top Bank Top Blonde 5.0%

9 Bank Top Dark Mild 4.0%

10 Bank Top Old slapper 4.2%

11 Bank Top Sweeny's 3.8%

12 Banks & Taylor's Dunstable Giant 4.4%

13 Banks & Taylor's Edwin Taylor's Extra Stout 4…

They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!

Just when you thought it was too late for April Fool...A bunch of nutters posing as a “children’s protection” group are pressing for an alcohol license to stop adults buying booze for kids. I was all for this-I think the little ankle-biters should buy their own, but no, it’s not as sensible as that.

Fair Play For Children (that’s them) want all adults to carry a swipe card which they would use when buying alcohol from shops or pubs. The theory being that if any kiddies are caught with booze, the purchase can be traced back to the cardholder. And on committing such an offence or indeed, any other alcohol related offence, your right to buy booze would be suspended.

Blimey, this idea has more holes in it than that piece of Emmental I found at the back of the fridge last night. Who’s going to pay for all this? Why should I have to carry yet another piece of ID around with me? What’s to stop under the counter purchases? What about when someone claims “Sorry, Your Honour, the little bastard…

And Also

Whilst on safari in Manchester I noticed (1) that the Angel has gained some patio doors sine my last visit.
And (2) this lovely example of a contemporary inner city beer garden. Not much of a view, but plenty of beer by the look of it.


There’s a new kid on the block. Marble have opened a little brother in the city centre to complement their well established Rochdale Road outlet. Little being the operative word as the bar, at 57 Thomas St, is indeed tiny. Style is of the Post-Industrial Chic and somewhat reminiscent of what’s happened in Leeds which has overtaken Manchester in terms of innovative bars. So it’s good to see Manchester landing a blow for the Red Rose side.
The small room is dominated by the bench seating that runs parallel to the bar. It won’t take many to fill this up on a Friday/Saturday night. In keeping with the uber modern look, beer is dispensed by an innovative gravity dispense system that uses cold water to keep the casks cool. They could probably have put them under the counter and used handpumps, but having them on the bar makes a certain statement.
The plan is to normally have two on at a time and two settling, but this being the opening weekend, there were actually three on. Ginger, Dobber, a…