On Tuesday I did some pub surveys for the Good Beer Guide and then, the car having been dumped, Graham and I went to my home town Middleton for a few pints of Lees. If you don't drink Lees in Midd, basically, you have to get out of town.
Thus, Lees having been done to death, in hope more than expectation, we went to the local JDW. This has all the faults of the worst of JDW with little of the aspirational or redeeming stuff. Two guests were on offer. The Deuchar's IPA was chosen. Yes. Boring I know but the other was Nethergate Old Growler, so we thought we'd try the weaker beer first. It was off. A few tugs of the handpull gave only a few spits of froth. Why didn't the bar staff know? Well, see above. I told you it was at the bottom end of the JDW spectrum.
The Old Growler was surprisingly good. In top condition, dark, chocolatey, malty with balancing bitter hops. It was very moreish. Incidentally there's a beer name that could be looked at by the pumpclip police or, conversely, sold in the sort of stripper joint frequented by certain other bloggers!
However it was not this that caught my attention, but a sign proclaiming "Pricewatch at JDW". This is alleged to show how much cheaper JDW is for the same drinks bought in nearby establishments. Now in this rundown pub in a suburb of Rochdale, the comparison was with a number of destination pubs in Manchester City Centre, five and a half miles away. Do you think this is reasonable? That's the trouble with JDW. It aims for high standards but the reality is so very different. In this case I would say, as my old boss said elsewhere more famously, they are being at best, "economical with the truth".
Sorry for the grainy photo. the third comparison (not shown) was with Kro Bar in Piccadilly Gardens.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
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