The Macc Lads

Saturday dawned bright and early and saw a large group of thirsty imbibers launch a full scale raid over the border into Cheshire. Macclesfield and Bollington and all lands in-between, to be precise.

First stop was the Egerton Arms in Chelford. This was originally built as a 16th century coaching inn and formed part of Lord Egerton’s estate. The family sold it and it eventually became part of the Chef & Brewer chain before returning to private ownership in 2009. It’s the local CAMRA branch Pub of the Year and stocks a number of local ales alongside Bombardier and Golden Pippin.

Egerton Arms
Next up we had three hours to try and do justice to Macclesfield. Macc has long had a reputation for its density of pubs. However, in recent times, as elsewhere, both pub companies and family brewers alike have streamlined their estates. But here, unlike most places elsewhere, this has led to the vacant pubs being snapped up and transformed into free houses by keen individuals. This has totally changed the town’s drinking dynamics from just a few years ago.

 With nearly 20 pubs to potentially drink in, hard choices had to be made. The Waters Green is an old favourite and long established Good Beer Guide entry. Fitting, therefore, that an old and long established CAMRA narrow boat enthusiast should already be propping up the bar when I arrived. Buxton Moor Top was the pick in here. Some later arrivals made the mistake of trying the Happy Valley beer, despite bad experiences with it in the previous pub. Once bitten, twice shy etc
Wharf Inn
Waters Green

After the Waters Green, there is a good stretch of pubs along Sunderland Street. The Treacle Tap, a small bar converted from a saddlery, is particularly impressive with an ever changing list of local beers and a friendly welcome. In fact, all the new pubs visited were good and offered some excellent beers.

The Wharf on Brook St offered us al fresco drinking and some heavy hitters: Marble, Fyne and Magic Rock. Not too shabby at all. Our Goostrey correspondent has apparently drunk the Macc dry of Marble, but they still had a very good selection on (Moor Top for me) and some of that new fangled keg stuff. Some Nogne Citra was procured but sadly this was plainly the bottom of the barrel. Or keg in this case.

The Baths Hotel on Green Street isn’t a new kid on the block but it is under new management. A nice little corner-terrace boozer, it’s now a free house offering various guest beers and a sunny beer backyard. After exhaustive (or is that exhausting) research on the Macclesfield pub scene, it was time to push on to our last two destinations.

Vale Inn
Sutton Hall in Sutton is simply stunning. It’s a 400 year old manor house set in its own grounds and is close to the Macclesfield canal. It was refurbished by the Brunning & Price pubco and won the 2010 CAMRA National Pub Design Refurbishment award. The sight of candle-free lighting and hot running water left many Oldham members agog.

The final stop was the Bollington brewery tap: the Vale Inn. This is a single-roomed, family-run free house dating from the 1860s. It boasts a plethora of Bollington beers alongside a couple of guest beers. The White Nancy and Long Hop seemed to go down particularly well here. A nice finale to a very enjoyable day.


Ed said…
Beer, beer, we want more beer!
Cooking Lager said…

Twenty pints of Boddington's every Friday night

Twenty pints of Boddington's, then we're outside for a fight
Real Ale said…
Enlightening tour pal.Always enjoy the read.
John Clarke said…
Tyson - did you all make a decision not to go to the Satuarday afternoon session at Macc Beer Fest - or did you not realise it was on?
Tyson said…

It was decided that the time would be better spent in the pubs. A pub crawl, particularly with new ones, trumps a beer festival. Except Stockport, of course:)
Sue said…
Ah, but there were loads of new beers and breweries at Macc Beer Fest - and with it shutting so early there was still chance to take in the Macc, Wharf, Treacle Tap and Snowgoose before getting the train home.
Tyson said…
Ah, but there are new beers to be had everyday. Not so the chance to visit new pubs.

Personally I'm more interested in good beers than new beers, anyway. But it is possible to combine both with pub visits.

However, the law of beer capacity means that if you do a festival justice, as it looked like you two had on Sat, then you pub capacity is reduced.
Sue said…
Nope. 6 halves each was all we had at the festival. No time for more as we wanted to avail of the minibus shuttle service which finished at 3.15.
Pete said…
Wow. That's a long way to go for 3 pints!

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