My cultural day on Saturday did eventually turn into a bit of a booze up, but not before admiring the various attractions of Rochdale Parish Church, with its defaced (literally) figures, vandalised by scandalised Cromwellians as "false idols" during the English Civil War and of course the extract from the parish register of the birth of one Gracie Fields.
The Pioneers Museum was a touching and humbling tribute to the far sightedness of the founders of the Co-op movement who were appalled by the way the poor were cheated by suppliers of adulterated and short measure food and were determined to do something about it. The displays were interesting and the young curator informative. I made a mental note to do more of my shopping in the Co-op from now on, remembering as a child, going to buy things for my Mum and always of course, quoting our "divvy" number. Anyone of my generation will remember theirs as I do ours I'll bet.
But man does not live by culture (or indeed nostalgia) alone, so we slipped next door into the Baum, the only other building still standing on Toad Lane. There are now six handpumps, but my eye was immediately caught by Phoenix Arizona, particularly as Simon the owner mentioned it was a new cask. This pale, straw coloured beer was clear as a bell and was cask ale on top form. We all savoured its divine bitter hoppiness and full malt base. So much so that we stuck with it for the next couple of hours, before a quick visit to the Regal Moon where a number of top form hoppy Elland Brewery beers sent us home rejoicing.
There are those who are calling for pale "summer" beers to be replaced as autumn approaches with mellower, fruitier beers. Replace Phoenix and Elland? Ignore such siren calls. Beers like these are always in demand.
The photo is the beer garden in the Baum. Not bad eh?
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.
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.
Read my information and links and then decide for yourself. You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes.
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