Winter wonders 4

A quick update on WWW 2012.

Part 4: Salford

Only two pubs on the list in Salford, but they both delivered the goods.

I hadn’t been in the Mark Addy for quite a while. It’s had a relatively recent change of management, with an emphasis on food, and I’d heard awful rumours about £10 fish and chips and £5 scotch eggs. But I was there for the beer, and the choice on that front was excellent. I had a half of Rossendale Pitch Porter, which never disappoints – a big dark beast of a beer. A bit pricey at £3.50 a pint, but not insanely so. Then I noticed a Red Willow pump, offering a house beer – Fearless, or “Mark Addy is Fearless” to give it its full name (google ‘Mark Addy’ if you don’t get the reference). So I had a half of that, too, and it was superb – a pale, dry, smoky hop-fest, beautifully clean-tasting and with just a touch of sharpness before the bitter finish. The results are in and it’s official: there is nothing this brewery can’t do. All hail Toby McKenzie! Please give me free beer! (Sorry, didn’t mean to say that last bit out loud.)

What is there to say about the temple of beer that is the Oxford? What there is to say on this occasion is “what a very fine array of strong, sweet, full-bodied beers appropriate to this cold season you have, and what a shame they’re all in glass bottles”. The Oxford’s amazing range of Dutch and Belgian bottles was complemented by a range of draught beers that was as broad as you like, but not very heavy on the winter ales – with a couple of exceptions there didn’t seem to be anything dark or over 5%. I’m not really complaining, though, as one of the exceptions was Sarah Hughes’ Ruby Mild, a really outstanding beer which I’ve never seen on handpull before. It’s lovely stuff (and I suspect in a blind tasting it’d be quite hard to distinguish from a dark old ale).

So where does that leave us?

This area Total
Old ale / Barley wine 0 3
Porter / stout 1 7
Vaguely Christmassy beer 0 4
A.N. Other Beer at 4.5% or over 1 9

Next up: Stockport.


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