Yesterday saw my mate Graham and me attending the organising meeting for CAMRA's forthcoming National Winter Ales Festival and thus making a comparatively rare foray into the City of Salford. Nestling cheek by jowl with Manchester, it has its own character and beery attractions. The best area for pubs is only five or so miles from my place. Our meeting was held in one of them, the Crescent, a current GBG entry. Now although this free house is a bit of a legend, I have never cared for it that much. It is a bit down at heel and just never seems that vibrant. I did feel though that it is on the up. The beer range was good with some seven or so cask ales and included some interesting foreign beers in bottle and on tap. I thoroughly enjoyed Acorn Legend, a 4.1% light brown beer with good body and hop and a pint of Rooster's something or other (I forgot to note it) confirmed to me that there was a discernible improvement in these legendary beers, which have seemed to me to have been thin and flat of late. I couldn't resist a half of Liefman's Kriek given that the brewery's future is in doubt and wasn't disappointed. The rich cherry taste and aroma with a full luscious body was a reward in itself. I do hope they are rescued.
Then a five minute walk to a relatively recent addition to the beer scene, the New Oxford, passing on the way, a couple of burned out pubs, which seem a particular Salfordian attraction. The New Oxford is an ex Vaux pub, neatly tucked away by the Magistrates Court and is clean, light and airy. It sells a good range of beers including some for the tickers. Gazza Prescott from Scoopergen rates it as his best new "scooping" pub of 2007. I rate (most of) Gazza's opinions very highly, so praise indeed! My choice was Copper Dragon Black Gold, which was delicious, roasty and rich.
Graham was hoping to catch the Liverpool game on the telly, so we only had time for a quick visit to the King's Arms, the last of the three. This gave us a decent pint of Bazen's Flatbac and a chance to eavesdrop on the barmaid's mobile phone row with her boyfriend, conducted less than discreetly from a cubby hole behind the bar. This is a dark and somewhat strange pub I feel and while the beer was good on this visit, I haven't always found it so. Finally for the football, the Edgerton Arms had overly sweet Holts. What the hell has happened to this beer, once described as "uncompromisingly bitter"? It was a travesty of its former self and ended the evening on a low note.
The Crescent; 20 The Crescent, Salford, Manchester, M5 4PF
The New Oxford; 11 Bexley Square, Chapel Street, Salford, Manchester, M3 6DB
The Kings Arms; 11, Bloom St, Salford, Manchester, M3 6AN
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