Millstone Brewery isn't in a mill, it's in a converted laundry in Mossley, but an eager crew led by Stopwatch Sid gathered there on Thursday for an Oldham Beer Festival Winner award ceremony. It was good to listen to the enthusiastic owners and to sup some ale, though on this occasion, due to space restrictions, it was re-racked. Unfortunately the limitations of this style of presentation were evident in a lack of condition in what was otherwise very good beer. Afterwards we zoomed off to Stalybridge to the Railway Buffet. This is a great example of the "station bar" genre and it was busy too. We stood on the platform until it became too cold to do so and then enjoyed the bustling and cheery atmosphere inside until Sid called time. Beer of the night for me was Yorkshireman from Elland. Not golden this time, but distinctive and hoppy and brewed to celebrate Yorkshire Day*. You rarely get a beer from that lot that is anything other than good.
A contrast on Saturday. In the time honoured manner, we met for a drink before going for a piss up in a brewery. Who else other than Brits would do that we pondered shamelessly? More Elland for me, this time Jollification and a decent pint too of Daleside Pride of England.
Green Mill Brewery is underneath a snooker club in guess what? An old mill. Green Mill in fact. A father and son operation, the beers are brewed on a Dave Porter plant and pretty good they were too. I stuck mostly with Northern Lights, a light brown beer with a distinct hoppy finish, but others tore into Chief and Big Chief. Somehow I missed out on the Big Chief, but its slightly weaker sibling was a good beer too, with a lovely hoppy finish and good body. It was good to talk to the owners too, over an excellent barby in the brewery yard, on what turned out to be the only sunny day of the week. They are holding their heads above water and the beers are getting out and about too. They've also picked up the odd award, which pleases them greatly. Don't believe that these awards mean nothing to brewers. They do. It helps them sell beers and keeps them optimistic, though in my experience all brewers are optimists. And most are really nice guys too.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, CAMRA Chairman and (local) activist, beer author, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010 and 2011. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
This blog mentions specifics; pubs and beer, good and bad. The opinions will be forthright, but you can always disagree, just don't be offended. Comments from those mentioned are particularly welcome and a right of reply is hereby offered.
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