Having followed the yellow brick road to Stockport last week, the logical next step was to go one stop further on the train and explore Macclesfield. Well, ok, there was nothing logical about it, engineering works had put paid to our original destination and the planning committee’s denouement was Macclesfield. After all, we had enjoyed a good afternoon there nearly a year ago. But would history repeat itself?
First stop had to be the Waters Green near to the station. It keeps funny hours (closes at 3 on Sat) but has been consistent over the years in serving a well kept pint. Today was no different with Allgates California and Oakham Inferno proving excellent choices. A quick trip over to the other side of the railway tracks brought us to another long-standing Good Beer Guide entry: the Baths Hotel.
However, things are afoot here. It’s undergoing a makeover and is now firmly in the contemporary camp with wooden flooring and large screen televisions. Whilst it’s always a shame to see a pub knocked about, if it does give it a new lease of life and bring the punters in, all good and well. The most important thing is that it’s still a freehouse, although you’ll always find local brewery
Storm on the bar.
Next up was the Wharf on Brook St. This is another Macc favourite that offers a pleasant little drinking area round the back. Last time we called, the Marble had just ran out, but this time there was no such problem and we were soon sat enjoying a rare al fresco pint. It was down the side streets and backstreets, making sure we didn’t lose Uncle Albert on the way, to our next port of call, the Macc.
The Macc was once a moribund Holts pub before the people behind Manchester’s Knott took it under their wing. Again it now has a pleasant, contemporary feel and has blossomed with the introduction of a wide range of cask and keg beers. Pictish Apollo was tried here before a breakaway faction made for the fish and chip shop across the street. Here the fish was adjudged to be more likely Catfish than Cod.
A new one for us all was the Park Tavern. This is owned by the Bollington brewery who have furnished it comfortably, but have maintained a traditional layout with the bar on the right as you walk in. There’s a good selection of their own beers-all in good order-plus the odd guest beer/cider. But time and beer wait for no man, so it was a stroll into town for our final stop, the Treacle Tap.
The TT is yet another Macc favourite. Basically a narrow one-roomed bar, anyone familiar with the Pi chain will recognise the format. Very much at the heart of things, it’s the kind of bar that Bury town centre could do with. Although, could the Yates wine lodge crew handle it? Anyway, there was something of a split here, with some opting for a finale of 7% Stout.
Except, of course, it wasn’t the finale. We couldn’t come to Macc without making a detour to the historic Castle on Church St. This is a real cracker, splendidly described here. It was sad to see such a gem completely empty on a Saturday night, although the Merlin Avalon we had was perfectly fine.
It was most definitely train time by now and then, with Don Ricardo crying off in more need of curry than further beer; it was left to the rump to make the pilgrimage to Port Street Beer House for some Brodies Kiwi and Oakham Scarlet Macaw.
The Macclesfield triangle, as it’s known, has plenty of good pubs on offer and, at only 20 minutes from Manchester, is ideally placed for a crawl. And, if you’re lucky, the conductor won’t bother you on the journey.