Winter wonders 3

WWW 2012, part 3: Didsbury

Well, I say Didsbury. Rusholme, Fallowfield, Withington, Didsbury and Parrs Wood, to be more precise. It’s a crawl down the 42 bus route, basically.

I started in Rusholme at the Ford Madox Brown; a Spoons, and – like all the other Spoons in my recent experience – rather lacking in dark beer. I had a Greene King Abbot Reserve, which was a lot better than it might have been.

On the bus to Fallowfield and the Sir Joseph Whitworth, a Hyde’s pub serving nothing on handpull except cider: a veritable Pub With No Beer. (I went back another time and had a half of Last Drop, of which more anon.)

Just down the road is the Friendship, which (on this particular Saturday afternoon) was absolutely, totally, incontrovertibly rammed. It seems to get busier every time I go in there; this time it was standing room only, and not much of that. And it’s a huge pub, too. Hyde’s are definitely doing something right with this one. I had a half of Winter Cheer, which I’d class as a seasonal bitter more than an old ale. (And as such not really a qualifying beer, at only 4.4%, but who’s counting?) I might have warmed to it more if it hadn’t been on the turn – I guess they can’t have sold enough of it. Whatever all those people were drinking, it can’t have been that.

Back on the bus for Withington and the Vic, which was also full but not insanely so. Nothing dark here and nothing over 4.5% apart from Hyde’s Last Drop, which was… OK. Well, it was just about OK. Malty, grainy blandness with a slight tannic edge – like a best bitter but not so interesting. I’d love to like Hyde’s beers more than I do, but they never seem to hit the spot with me. At least they don’t brew Anvil any more.

Then ho forth to Didsbury. I started at the far end, with the Gateway. They had Saltaire‘s Winter Ale on: a perfectly nice, flavoursome but not particularly memorable BB.

Back in Didsbury proper, I headed for the Royal Oak. The Royal Oak was probably the first pub I ever went to in Manchester, and I’ve got glowing memories of what it was like in its 1980s prime. (They served a terrific pint of Marston’s dark mild, I remember. And that was before I’d even discovered the cheese.) Well, the 1980s left town some time ago, and the Royal Oak isn’t what it was. It’s a perfectly serviceable high-street boozer, though; if I lived in Didsbury and liked Pedigree I’d probably go there myself. The choice on this occasion was Marston’s bitter, Pedigree and Banks’s Fine Fettle (or should I say “Banks’s”). The barmaid was a bit disorganised – no sign of a sticker, and she dealt with a request for Fine Fettle by pulling a pint of Bitter, then (when her mistake was pointed out) explaining that the FF was off and turning the clip round. Nothing wrong with that, except that she pulled a pint of FF for the next person who ordered it…

I’ve said good things about the Fletcher Moss here before, and it is rather a nice pub, architecturally at least. Can’t say much for the beer selection, though. Another half of Last Drop. I know it’s historic and everything, but I can’t say I’ll be sorry when it runs out.

Last Drop, Pedigree, a winter ale that wasn’t quite, a seasonal that turned out to be a best bitter… by now I was positively jonesing for a dark beer. No such luck. The closest thing I could find to a qualifier at the Milson Rhodes was Bateman’s Rosey Nosey, yet another variation on the theme of “something vaguely winter-y with a novelty pump clip”. It was fine. The best thing on the bar was Hawkshead NZPA, so I had a half of that as well. That was excellent – but, of course, not a ‘winter warmer’. But then, neither was anything else.

This area Total
Old ale / Barley wine 0 3
Porter / stout 0 6
Vaguely Christmassy beer 3 4
A.N. Other Beer at 4.5% or over 5 8

Eight pubs; zero old ales; zero porters or stouts. I’m looking forward to Stockport.


One Comment

  1. Posted 10 January, 2013 at 11:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Did City happen to be playing on this particular Saturday afternoon? Only thing I know that gets (some) pubs rammed at that time of the week.

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