Winter wonders 1

I had high hopes of this year’s Winter Warmer Wander. Taking advantage of my current part-time status and the late end to the autumn school term, I was going to Do Chorlton, then Do Town, Do Fallowfield And Withington And All Those, and (saving the best till last) Do Stockport. 25 ticks would be the work of four or perhaps five days, and what fine days they would be.

Then a few things happened in quick succession. First, I remembered that I’d decided to get all my marking done before Christmas, so as not to have to do it in my own time over the break; in practice this meant doing some of it in my own time before the break, & hence eating into my WWW opportunities. No sooner had I got down to that than a cold which had been threatening to develop since mid-October decided to develop good and proper; I was working again within a couple of days, but it was a while before I was match-fit on the boozing front. When a day or two did become available, a look at the calendar sufficed to tell me that Christmas shopping was going to have to be the first priority. Then it was Christmas – and call me a hidebound traditionalist, but for all the many things Christmas is a Time For, I don’t believe it’s a Time For Dad To Bugger Off On A Pub Crawl. Not more than once, anyway.

So here we are in January, and I haven’t got my 25 ticks yet – haven’t even made it to Stockport. But here’s where I have been.

Part 1: Manchester City Centre

The Paramount and the Waterhouse. I group these two together because they’re both Spoons (although very different pubs) and because I haven’t got a clue what I had in either of them. This is rather embarrassing, so I won’t dwell on it. I think it was a stout at the Waterhouse and a 4.5ish seasonal bitter at the Paramount, but I wouldn’t swear to it.

At Joshua Brooks I had a half of Rooster‘s Liquorice Stout; it was clean and well-balanced and so on, but marred slightly by the fact that I don’t like liquorice. (What can I say, I thought I might have grown out of it.) JB’s is very much a student pub, although how they afford it I’m not sure – Old Tom aside, I think this was the single dearest beer I’ve had.

Moving along… At the Micro Bar I had a half of one of their permanent beers, Boggart Rum Porter. It was in good nick and very nice.

I’ve never seen anything dark at 57 Thomas St, and this visit was no exception. The Lagonda IPA was in surprisingly good condition – I’ve had very few well-conditioned beers on stillage, and plenty that weren’t. This was pretty good, though.

There had been rumours of Decadence on tap at the Marble Arch, but if it was on it had gone off by the time I got there. I had a half of Chocolate Marble and stood around like a spare part trying vainly to find somewhere to sit down. The Marble Arch genuinely is “deceptively spacious” – it looks a lot more spacious than it is. A less-than-satisfactory visit was rounded off when I parked my glass on a convenient bench while I visited the Gents, only to find when I got out that it had been cleared away. (There wasn’t much left in it, but still.)

Ah well, there’s always the Castle. What brewery is the Castle? Robinson’s. What do they have on permanently, at least while there’s an R in the month? Old Tom. I rest my case. Initially I thought I was out of luck – there was no sign of the usual pin on the bar – but when I asked it turned out that the Old Tom had just been put on, on handpump. Old Tom, from cask, sparkled. Get in.

Scores so far:

Old ale / Barley wine 1
Porter / stout 4
Vaguely Christmassy beer 1
A.N. Other Beer at 4.5% or over 1
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