Tyson has already mentioned the crap bus service we get from First Bus who are rapidly becoming my bête noir. So yesterday was a mixed bag. Our route was one of a select few running, the bus turned up on time and my fare was waved away. His machine had jammed. Hooray. Of course this success merely helped redress a long balance, not in my favour. Our luck continued. One of the farmers picked us up and we had a bumpy but painless ride up the lane to our pub. There an odd scene greeted us. A motley collection of Second World War re-enactors and vehicles roamed around, somewhat like an explosion in the Battle of the Bulge Costume Department. My eagle eye soon spotted some unlikely combinations of German WW2 uniform. We fought our way in and found a corner at the bar, wedged between an Alpine Grenadier and an SS Sturmbahnfuhrer. Lees Dark was my preferred tipple at this point and proved to be smooth and moreish, so I had some more. The bitter once again hovered below par, but a new cask restored service to normal, though by then I'd moved on to Winter Warmer, a jet black, full bodied, liquoricey, chocolatey brew with a distinct East Kent Goldings finish. Very drinkable, but substantial for too much repitition.
The World War 2 mob disappeared to do whatever they do when not getting in the way in the pub and we settled into our table. The police called too, but this time not seeking drunk drivers, but interviewing witnesses to a glassing that had taken place elsewhere the night before. A frisson of alarm spread through some, no doubt due to the number of cars outside. Our lot had walked though, so immune to such things we carried on, by now back on bitter.
We walked down the lane in bitter cold, like the wise men of old, guided by a shining light that clearly seemed to be over Middleton. A second coming? I doubt it. Jupiter is VERY visible this time of year. It guided us to the Hopwood where I just had time for a pint of Theakstons Mild, which was excellent, before our expensive taxi home. The last bus had gone at around 16.45 so a taxi it had to be. Getting better is nicer than being ill, but a lot more expensive!
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. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
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