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Showing posts from August, 2008

Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel

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Wednesday night, so it must be Manchester, again. That’s how it goes, you don’t drink there for awhile and then, suddenly, you’re back into the M groove. The excuse this time was the opportunity to show my one and t’other the revamped Angel. And to catch up with Eddie, the eager, legal beagle on his home turf before he quits it for pastures new. Yes, he will soon be giving up his Manchester eyrie for a motte and bailey castle in sunny Bury.
The first thing we noticed on entering the Angel was how busy it was. It was absolutely heaving, not bad for a midweek, tucked away boozer. Obviously the rave reviews have got diners flocking there. However, we weren’t there for grub, but the bread of life, beer. Once Eddie had sorted out the rather lackadaisical barmaid, we let our taste buds do the walking. Dunham Massey Cheshire IPA (4.7%) was being advertised as a new beer, so it had to be tried. A light copper coloured brew, it delivered crisp malt biscuitness, and a short dry finish. Not bad…

Groovin (On A Sunday Afternoon)

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Sunday is the new Thursday I was told some time ago. I can’t remember what that makes Thursday, but it’s a good excuse for a trip into Manchester. The WHB had decided to cut loose and, in that mood, only the city centre can hold him. As the new brolly hadn’t even survived the journey to the first pub yesterday, I had to venture out unsheltered. But, never mind, the weather was lovely in Bury, so no need to worry then.

What a difference 9 miles makes. It was absolutely pouring in the centre of Manchester. Needless to say, I got soaked. We met at the now very-vogue Angel, where only a handful of drinkers were taking advantage of Sunday imbibing. We tried both the Dunham Massey and Pictish Little Gem. The Pictish was a pale 4.5% beer brewed with Bramling Cross hops which imparted a the slightest of bitter finishes. Both were in good condition, with the Pictish being particularly lively.

Our next stop was, inevitably, the Marble Arch. Once here, it’s always difficult to shift the WHB. The c…

A Fine Romance

Traditionally, Friday night was lad’s night out, and Saturday was couples night. Yes this does beggar the question when is girls night out? Don’t ask me, I didn’t invent Northern rules. I just have to live by them. Actually, I did once ask an acquaintance when is girls night out, and got the rather obvious answer-anytime they want. Bu I digress. It’s good to see that some traditions are still respected, as witnessed by this snippet of conversation overheard on Saturday night.

“Do you fancy a bit tonight, luv?”
“What, tonight?”
“Yeah, it’s Saturday.”
“What, after Big Brother?”
“Yeah.”
“Have you washed your feet this week?”
“Yeah.”
“Alright then.”

If there’s one thing you can say about Bury folk, it’s that they’re sticklers for tradition.

Saturday Siesta

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So Saturday dawned, the day after the night before. I was feeling bloated, beered out, and my stomach was complaining about not having had a proper meal in days. The weather was uninspiring, with heavy bursts of rain, and it looked like being a quiet day. Luckily, by mid afternoon I had rallied, and made clear to my liver who was in charge.
So, equipped with my new, unused in London, brolly I journeyed round to the Hare & Hounds. A nice easy start, with Outlaw Amarillo (3.9%), an easy going golden session bitter that delivered a moderately bitter finish. This was quickly followed by Ossett’s Real Ale Revolution which was brimming with coriander and tangerine notes. Moving along the bar anti-clockwise, a new one on me was Clark’s Henry’s Heady Daze (3.6%), a golden, pleasantly fruity beer with a sweetish finish.
By the time I had gone half way round the bar, the pub, which had been fairly quiet, had started to fill up. The afternoon drinkers-a mix of families and the more mature dri…

London's Calling (Or Wot I Did At The GBBF)

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Sex, Drugs & Rock ‘N’ Roll. But that’s enough of what Tandleman gets up to in his lunch hour. What about the GBBF? A massive feat of logistics, it’s impossible to do it justice even over a couple of days. As the Wallsend Wonder says about working at ICI-if you can remember it, you weren’t there. However, I’ll try and summarise it from what I can recall.

The first thing to do was acclimatise. Like many a seasoned pro, I’d already decided that I’d mainly be concentrating on the foreign beer as the choice was impressive. However, I warmed up with a couple of cask offerings. Mauldon’s Silver Adder being the first. Well, technically, I’d warmed up with a couple in J.J.Moons, whilst waiting for the doors to open, but we won’t count them. From Bar Noveau I quite enjoyed Flowerpots Bitter, an easy drinking golden session Bitter. I knew I wasn’t going to enjoy the 11% Tsarina Extra and, sure enough, it was horrible. Barrel ageing had given it obvious notes of oak and vanilla-two flavours no…

Over The Hills And (Not So) Far Away

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We needed passports and inoculation jabs for yesterday’s trip. Yes, we were crossing over into Yorkshire. As we weren’t leaving till 1050, I realised valuable drinking time could be wasted. So I headed for breakfast at the Peel and a little aperitif. Butcombe Blonde and Wickwar Coopers set me up before the serious drinking began. Keeping our dictionaries handy, we set off for our first stop. This was the Cock O’ The North in Hipperholme, Halifax. This unusual boozer is home to the Halifax Steam Brewing Company. It’s basically a portakabin decked out in sub art deco style, and a long bar with a massive array of handpumps. There is a room at the side where the brewery can be viewed. I’ve only ever rated HSB as average, so it was interesting to sample their beers from the source.

Ramsden’s Lilly Fog (4%) was a pale beer that was pleasant enough, but lacked any real punch. Marilyn (4%) was another pale beer that had just that bit too much malt to make it quenching. Frankie, yet again 4%, w…

The Golden Compass

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A tale of two cities drinking. Or rather a town and a city. After the formalities, it was time to down a few pints of Holts. This led to a quick session on shorts, and then a little trip into Manchester. And who should be lurking round in the backstreets and alleys, but the WHB. We rendezvoused in the English Lounge for convenience. I’ve never spent any time in it during the day, my visits being nocturnal and it was interesting to see who frequents it during daylight. For a city centre venue it didn’t seem very busy, although it was past lunchtime, when presumably they do a fair trade. I always thought that this place doesn’t attract the clientele it was designed to. And looking round at the guys in vests and shorts, complete with bubblegum blondes, I was convinced I was right.

However, it’s all about the beer. And it seems that this is one of those venues that are better in the day. A good range was on, with a couple of Copper Dragon beers amongst them. I settled on Golden Pippin-very…

Life Ain't Always Beautiful

"Life aint always beautiful
Some days I miss your smile
I get tired of walkin' all these lonely miles
And I wish for just one minute I could see your pretty face
Guess I can dream, but life dont work that way."

I hate funerals.

Well I suppose everyone does. Except perhaps for funeral directors, and members of the clergy, who make a few bob out of them. What surprises me is what happens at the humanist, celebratory ones. I always figured I’d feel different at them. The idea of replacing the usual maudlin affair with a celebration of life is a great idea. But therein can lie the problem. There you are having a good old knees-up and, sooner or later, you speculate how much so and so would have loved it. And then it’s all too apparent that they’re not there. And then comes the anger at the bitter nature of fate. And if you’re angry, what can her family be thinking? What can you say to an 82 year old mother who’s seen her vibrant, intelligent daughter fade away in front of her? Wha…