Some notes on another brief crawl I did in support of Mild Magic 2012, Stockport and Manchester CAMRA’s annual effort to promote mild. (Here’s the map again.)
This one didn’t quite go to plan, owing partly to the weather and partly to my misreading the map. I initially planned it as a stroll from Fallowfield to Didsbury, taking in Withington and West Didsbury on the way. In fact that route would only be strollable if you set aside a couple of hours (not including pub stops), and even then you’d need good weather. I resorted to the bus at one end of the route and cut it short at the other.
I hadn’t been in the Friendship in Fallowfield since last year’s MM, when I was there on a medium-quiet weekday lunch. Returning at 4.00 on a Friday (the joys of part-time work) I found the place buzzing, verging on heaving; I had to look quite hard to find somewhere to sit. There was even a darts match in progress. Rather a nice big square pub, with a decent range of beers, some of them startlingly cheap (my half of Hyde’s 1863 cost 96p). On the down side, I’ve never really been able to see the point of 1863 – it strikes me as not so much a light mild, more a bland bitter – and this wasn’t even the best half of 1863 I’d ever had. I’d have liked to stay longer and try something else, but hey, things to do, boxes to tick.
After taking one look at Wilmslow Road I decided that walking to Withington was a thoroughly bad idea, and got the bus; it left from outside the Friendship and stopped opposite the Victoria. Hyde’s Owd Oak was a recognisable dark mild, which at least is an advance on the 1863. Otherwise the Vic seemed unchanged since my last visit, i.e. it’s a nice pub with a good range of beer.
I walked to my next stop, the Railway on Lapwing Lane (which wasn’t in last year’s MM). This is a Holt’s house and a classic street corner boozer, albeit with XFM playing on the PA. Holt’s Mild was very nice, as was the IPA (I make a point of having the IPA whenever I’m in a Holt’s pub). Holt’s Mild always strikes me as a proper, no-frills, low-strength dark mild, and this half was no exception.
It was raining pretty hard by the time I got out, and it would have been a long walk to Didsbury, so at this point I knocked it on the head and made for home.