Out in Manchester the other day with my oldest friend, our first pint was in Sam's Chop House. There was a middle of the road selection available - think Black Sheep and Bombardier - but we both chose Taylor's Landlord. Mike raised his eyebrows as the barman announced "£8.40 please".
We repaired to the beer garden and welcome sunshine at the back and viewed the clientèle while checking out the beer. Customers were mostly "Ladies who lunch" or businessmen drinking Becks. It was a rather upmarket crowd and the pub itself could be described in similar terms, at least at lunchtime. The beer was average to good, but better on the second round when it had become a bit cooler, our pints obviously being the first through. Being used to London prices, I didn't really bat an eyelid at the cost and actually I enjoyed the experience, the ambience and indeed the beer, but tweeting without revealing the location, the cost seemed to shock some.
The price of beer is difficult to determine these days, as is the value for money. We discussed this over the next two pints in Holt's Ape and Apple where the cost of the round was five pounds odd instead of eight pounds odd. The quality of the beer in the Ape was way above that in Sam's and it had a good atmosphere too, though I'll deduct a point or two for the irritating music.
So three quid or so different, but two equally enjoyable experiences. You pays your money and you takes your choice? What do you reckon?
Holt's Mild was absolutely superb - I do love a top form mild - but best beer of the day was in the City Arms in the form of Brightside Odin. Lovely drop.
The beer was a bit clearer than it looks in the photo, but not pin bright by any means.
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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