Last Wednesday after attending the final Oldham Beer Festival Planning meeting in Oldham, I hot footed it to Rochdale to meet my chums as usual. Well I say hot footed - more cold footed really - as the inepts from First Manchester Buses skipped a bus on the half hourly 409 route, leaving me and many others in Ice Station Zebra for a further 40 minutes. (Oldham is at least two overcoats colder than most places.) Sorry for the digression, but a rant about these buggers always makes me feel better. See tweets passim for more such.
Our usual haunt, the Regal Moon is still being renovated after the floods, so our new temporary home is the Good Beer Guide listed Flying Horse nearby. It is rather a good pub, with nice staff and immaculate beer. No hardship to drink there at all and I joined my pals while nodding to other Regal Moon outcasts. We aren't the only ones in that boat. The company was excellent and once I thawed out I really enjoyed myself. It was jolly with banter, laughter and conversation and the beers, all of them, were at the peak of cask conditioning. It was a really good night and even the unheated 17 home didn't dampen my cheerful mood that much.
So, I had a fun night on the beer in the pub, what's the big deal? Well there isn't one, but I make this point. I do remember looking at the pumpclips of the six or more beers on offer, all from breweries I hadn't heard of and choosing my beers based on the colour samples that were in font of each handpump in little jars, or, the pumpclip description. I couldn't remember the names or breweries of any of the beers on the way home and reflected that I'd had four pints from three different breweries and just enjoyed them for what they were and the occasion for the company. The beer was kind of incidental.
Sometimes, and maybe the best times, is when beer is an accompaniment to fun rather than being the fun itself.
Boundary Park, Oldham FC's ground is often called Ice Station Zebra, but I think it applies to the town equally. It's a bloody cold place.
I discovered a photo on my phone from the night. So I might have been drinking Spike's Gold, but then again, maybe not. And yes, it was topped up.
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.
This blog mentions specifics; pubs and beer, good and bad. The opinions will be forthright, but you can always disagree, just don't be offended. Comments from those mentioned are particularly welcome and a right of reply is hereby offered.
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