Saturday was the annual barbecue at Phoenix Brewery, Heywood. In addition to the staff and some customers, a few of us CAMRA soaks are invited by Tony Allen, the owner and brewer, to partake of various delights from the grill and curry pot and of course Phoenix beers.
As you can see if you click on the photo, the brewery commenced brewing in 1898 and continued to do so until going into liquidation in 1937. Cornbrook Brewery then stepped in buying up all the existing assets (and the pubs) unfortunately with no intention of keeping the business going. You can still see the Phoenix emblem on a few local pubs.
Tony has been there since 1991, having moved the business from Ellesmere Port. He now brews well in excess of a million pints a year. Having a strong interest in all things historical, he has taken to restoring Phoenix to its original form. The building is a more or less complete example of a late Victorian Tower Brewery and despite years of neglect, the buildings are slowly being renovated, initially concentrating on the building fabric. The cobbled yard is splendid and in warm sunshine, despite the rainy forecast, made a great backdrop to Phoenix Hopsack and White Tornado. The brewery itself is in the original malt store and maltings. The Hopsack was hoppy, pale, resinous and distinctive and the White Tornado, quenching, fruity and wonderfully moreish, though I didn't get any more, as it ran out!
Many pints later, we tottered off back to the bus stop, looking back down Green Lane where the brewery tower dominates as it has done for the last 110 years.
For those who are interested, Tyson the Beer Hound was also there and in good heart.
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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