Winter wonders 2

More Winter Warmer Wander.

Part 2: Chorlton

There are six Chorlton pubs on the Wander.

I don’t remember what I had with my WWW sticker at Pi, but it doesn’t really matter; I’ve had three or four porters or stouts there in the last few weeks, all of them good. Lately they’ve also had a few ‘winter’ beers, including the rather stellar Tatton Red Hot Poker – a proper old ale at 6%.

The night I hit the Marble Beerhouse with stickers in mind, they had Campbell & Stronge on, so I had a half of that. It’s a strong red ale, putting it well over on the dark side by Marble’s standards. I didn’t much like it, I have to say; there was quite a complex combination of flavours in there, but I wasn’t sure if they all worked together or even if they were all meant to be there. ‘Clean’ it wasn’t.

Then ho forth to the local JDW’s, the Sedge Lynn. Nothing dark or wintry there – mind you, this was mid-December (and the first night of the WWW), so they may have made good that omission since then. So I had a Wobbly Bob. You can’t go far wrong with a Wobbly when it’s in good condition, and this one was. I’m always slightly surprised not to see Wobbly Bob at other Spoons – it’s been a fixture on the bar at the Sedge Lynn for so long that I think of it as a house beer, like GK IPA. I rarely order it, though, so it was nice to have an excuse.

There was nothing cask-conditioned and dark and >4.4% at Electrik, and for a moment I was wondering about going for something unreal (they had Anchor Porter on keg). In the nick of time I remembered that qualifying beers only had to be dark or >4.4%, and went for a pint of their own Black Out XO. I sometimes feel a bit odd about cask stout, given that it’s essentially a style that’s come back from the dead within my drinking lifetime – are we drinking good cask stouts these days? how would we know? But such philosophical worries dissolve when faced with Black Out; my palate says it’s a very nice stout indeed, and I’m not arguing.

There was an even more recent revival at Horse and Jockey, where Conwy‘s Honey Porter called to me. Conwy do some extraordinary things in the darkish, sweetish, maltish line; a Honey Porter should be right up their street, and so indeed it was. I had a honey beer from them once before (Honey Fayre, aka Cwrw Mêl (the Welsh for ‘honey beer’, unimaginatively enough)) and found the honey a bit overpowering. Not so with the Honey Porter – a beautifully balanced beer. The Horse seemed to be doing all right, too. The previous time I’d been in the pub had been unusually full, and I’d seen one pump-clip after another turned round until only the Holt’s Bitter and IPA were left (I had the IPA). No such problems this time; guest beers and in-house brewery in full effect.

And finally, the Parlour. I haven’t really got the measure of the Parlour; it looks like a rather up-market gastro-pub until you get inside, when it turns into a welcoming and comfortable real ale bar. It certainly doesn’t feel like a pub – even to the same extent as the heavily dining-oriented Horse – but that’s not such a bad thing. The beer choice is generally excellent, anyway, and this visit was no exception. Old Tom, on cask, sparkled, and 20p a pint cheaper than the Castle (which is a Robinson’s house). Get (as I was saying earlier) in.

Scores on the doors:

This area Total
Old ale / Barley wine 2 3
Porter / stout 2 6
Vaguely Christmassy beer 0 1
A.N. Other Beer at 4.5% or over 2 3

Chorlton did the WWW proud – which is just as well, as the next area is a bit of a shocker.

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