After 4 years of The Independent Salford Beer Festival, a number of us came together as a group of like minded friends. We meet up regularly and occasionally go on days out.
Always with good beer in mind. That and the good times that are the natural consequence of being with truly good people.
Ordinarily, I organise these things. But, a couple of months ago, James (aka Barbara) put his head above the parapet to organise one. (I will never tell him to his face, but…) James has good taste and wanted to highlight some of his favourite haunts from South of the city.
(Due to the brevity of each visit, venue descriptions are brief. Sorry!)
Let’s see how we get on….
The “organiser” had arranged – kindly – to start at Treacle Tap (close to Macclesfield Station), but a splinter group fancied an earlier start. I (along with Steve) thought this involved a proper schlep up to Redwillow brewery for their tap room (pic above), fortunately, I met someone (John) who knew where he was going.
Unlike Steve – who “enjoyed” a brisk walk.
Redwillow Tap – 32a, Park Green, Macclesfield, SK11 7NA (Come out of Macclesfield stn, turn left along Sunderland Street and walk about 150 yards – turning right onto Park Green)
. THIS was a nice surprise. I’d expected (as previously stated) to briskly walk to the brewery….
Lovely frontage into a large open room, loads of wood, lots of comfy seating and a beautiful bar furnished with lashings of Redwillow beers – and some interesting guests both on keg and cask.
The roominess astonished me as I thought it would be more of a Micro Pub, but this is truly a lovely place to come for a beer
A pint of NZ hopped Effortless was just right for a traveller in need of refreshing. Sessionable, light and fragrant of hop. Displaying a delicacy and lightness of touch that seemed in sync with the venue.
I could spend hours here. And be happy doing it. A lovely showcase for Redwillow’s impressive beers.
With another Steve and Chris & Shaun having joined us, we needed to see the others. And bid farewell to Redwillow….
Leaving the bar, turn left and left back up Sunderland Street, approximately 75 yards up the street on the left side….
Treacle Tap – 43, Sunderland Street, Macclesfield, SK11 6JL
Now THIS is a Micro Pub! I confess, this was my first visit to Macclesfield in over 35 years – and certainly the first time in any pub or bar. After an excellent start in Redwillow, this just enhanced the experience.
An excellent pint of Mercy by Great Heck in hand, the group was almost complete and pretty much filled this small and very attractive bar.
Fairly narrow and single-roomed, yet maximising space with plenty of seating leading up to the slightly raised bar. A proper Micro Pub indeed, packing so much into a small space.
The conversation was flowing. The Canine Supermodel (now firmly embedded in my predictive text) was attracting his usual level of adoration – at least one couple joined us having been “Stan Fans” first – and there were some lovely Great North Pies behind served up.
Like I said, this bar packs a lot in.
Impressive. So much so that one of our group started talking of coming back to Macclesfield for a day trip of its own. Absolutely.
It was at this venue that the “herding of cats” commenced. Cue Barbara (and the start of the barracking….. “SIT!”)
James herded the assembled felines off to the next stop whilst myself and a couple of others stayed on to finish food etc and wait for further arrivals. The Fantasma by Magic Rock helped that process beautifully (surprisingly, never tasted before).
Thanking the Tap owners, we headed off the all of 100 yards to the train station. And Poynton.
Out of Poynton station, turn left and head towards the centre along Chester Road, 7 or 8 minutes walk, at the junction, on the left….
Vinehop – 5, Fountain Place, Poynton, SK12 1QX
Barbara’s local. I can see why.
Again, full. With others here too adding to the atmosphere and fun. With us being the late arrivals, just managed to squeeze in to a seat.
Again, single-roomed Micro Pub, nice and bright with the accent being on beer, but with a healthy wine presence too (as you might expect given the name)
Again, an excellent beer selection with accent on local, with Torrside, Tickety Brew and Rivington alongside the likes of Wiper & True.
I went for the “house” beer “What’s The Poynton” (ha!), brewed by the Vinehop guys at Tickety Brew. It was bloody gorgeous. Zingy and fresh. I tasted the Tickety Brew beer Houblen Dobbelen (at 8.5%!) which was also lovely – and dangerously drinkable – before settling for an all too swift old flame in Torrside’s I’m Spartacus (predictive text works again!). Which was predictably excellent. And again witnessed “cat herding” in full effect…
I failed to take advantage of the pizzas being baked out at the back of the premises, but they looked lovely. Also to note that the mighty Jimmy of Nasi Lemak regularly cooks here – not to be missed.
Small, friendly, packed with good beer and wine. What else do you want?
So, back 7 or 8 minutes to Poynton Stn and in the Manchester train but one stop. Bramhall
From the station turn left onto Bramhall Lane South, had into the centre – about 5 mins walk to the roundabout. There, across the road to the left is…
The Mounting Stone – 8, Woodford Road, Bramhall, Stockport, SK7 2JJ
Busy. Well, any Micro Pub would be when an additional 25 customers turn up!
Long narrow bar, again with plenty of seating, quick friendly service and another excellent local beer selection. Pomona Island, Squawk, Tatton, Summer Wine, Black Jack all available.
Squawk Pica. Oatmeal Pale. Luscious. Smooth fruity and hoppy.
Then, the nice surprise. Given how rightly busy it was upstairs…
Sub ground, a large drinking space alongside the cellarage. Nicely done and laid out. You could even hear the pints being pulled from upstairs…
It’s easy to see how this bar has gained an excellent reputation. Again, it’s the simple things. Done well. Nice environment, friendly staff. Good beer sells. But only when looked after.
I’ll be back.
Leaving the bar, reverse route back along Bramhall Lane South to the train station. Catch the hourly train to Mcr again. One stop to Cheadle Hulme.
On exiting the train, the next venue is visible across the road…..
The Chiverton Tap – 8, Mellor Road, Cheadle Hulme, SK8 5AU
Sister pub to The Mounting Stone, with a different feel. Almost a little more traditional as a bar. And none the worse the it.
One large open room with a slight raised area at the end of the bar. Plenty of seating and another excellent selection of beers from Northern Micro Breweries. Marble, Brass Castle, Vocation, Shindigger.
Personal prejudices catered for.
Service again being fast and friendly, I settled down with possibly the beer of the day. Bad Kitty by Brass Castle. Lusciously smooth, dark and roasty with a nicely judged vanilla hit. A lightness of touch not achieved by many with that potent spice.
I don’t know how they did it, but the upturned bottles as light shades above the bar were a cute touch.
Another lovely venue. It would’ve been rude not to sneak an extra half. “Love & Hate” by Vocation. Been a while since I last had a Vocation on draught. Juicy, smooth and fruity. Nice stuff.
Saying goodbye to the friendly staff, it was back to the train. One more stop (these “swift halves” were taking their toll!)
Five Berks. No. THE Five Berks. Really.
So. Back to Cheadle Hulme. And one stop to Stockport. To the only venue of the day that is already been to. And eagerly anticipated a return….
From the platforms, head in the other direction – away from the ticket office – exit the station, walk up the slope and turn right. Then cross the road and walk another hundred yards along King Street West.
Ye Olde Vic – 1, Chatham Street, Stockport, SK3 9ED
An award winning Stockport classic. Stockport is a town worthy of a crawl all of its own, with pubs classic and modern (with beers to match) for all tastes. There is certainly an argument that – for pubs of character – Manchester is bested by this town.
With this pub right up there.
With the fresh lick of paint on the outside, I was slightly worried about what awaited inside. I needn’t have. It’s Ye Olde Vic.
The Vic has a character all of its own and can always be relied upon to deliver excellent quality cask conditioned beer. For me, that was Mallinsons Chinook, with the Queens of single hopped pales not disappointing. Sharp, fruity and all the bitterness I want.
Others went for Otters Tears by Thornbridge. I heard no grumbles there either.
The Vic is roughened around the edges inside, the lighting is low, that is part of its charm, a charm all of its own
It’s a pub with that quality I crave. It has more soul than James Brown. And I love it. And given that many on this tour wouldn’t have been, it was an excellent final stop. For me at least.
Some went on to The Magnet, but this was the end of the line for me. I was headed back into the City. To The Peer Hat, The Marble Arch & The Brink.
This was a fabulous way to spend a day. I could see new friendships being made, it was a pleasure to see.
The venues were well judged, all superb and all worthy of further visits in the own rights. Most were new to me and all were impressive and some work had been done by James to prepare the venues for the numbers.
I’ll be going back to each. Repeatedly. They are ALL that good.
James did a fabulous job. It was a great day. Just don’t tell her I said so. Barbara would never let me hear the end of it!