I’ve still got a handful of this year’s Cheshire Beer Guide entries to do, so my trip to Knutsford last night wasn’t just for the pleasure of John Clarke‘s tutored beer tasting at Dexter & Jones, but that event certainly helped get Mrs RM involved. I enjoyed John’s session on IPAs at the Manchester Beer Fest, and Belgian beers need little excuse.

Knutsford itself was also a draw.  I’ve been there a few times, but it still felt unexplored.  Mrs RM will tell about our first trip there in 1992, the month before our wedding, when we bought a DIY loudspeaker kit.  Her ability to rustle up a working pair of KEFs in a week was a key part of our enduring marriage agreement (they were quickly replaced by NAIM SBLs though).

That trip took in the Industrial Estate; Knutsford itself is rather prettier, and impressed me both for the quaint little alleys between the main streets, and some superb heathland right on the edge of the town centre.

Not many great pubs though. Lord Eldon and the Cross Keys are the only two to have graced the Guide in many years, and both are attractive allrounders I wouldn’t rush back to. Nearby Mobberley, the village that goes on forever, is a much better bet.

Dexter & Jones won’t be getting in the Beer Guide either (no cask), but it’s an excellent venue with one of the best bottled selections I’ve seen in the UK, and a decent keg selection on tap. Even better, no Prosecco, but an enterprising gin selection rather made up for that in Mrs RM’s eyes. Leaving the other offies to flog wine to Premiership footballers seems a good plan.

Quality set-up at Dexter & Jones

As you’ll know, it’s best to work up the strengths, so we warmed up with the 9% Cloudwater IPA. I’m sure the Cloudwater fad will die soon, but not while they make beer as good as this.

We really enjoyed John’s exploration of Belgian beer styles, which took in Brugges Zot, De la Senne, Orval, Oud Beersel, a St Feuillien Saison and a St Bernadus 12 to finish off Mrs RM.  I’m not very beery, I’d only seen the Zot and Orval before. The rest of the group seemed similarly novice-like, though the chap to my left staked an early claim to any undrunk St Bernadus at the start of the evening.

There were sixteen of us, and it was a good social, with more chat about pubs in Everton and Marouane Fellaini’s new haircut (may be connected) than beer if I’m honest. But there were plenty of good questions, none about Stella.

John explain the appeal of Saisons to an Everton fan

Personally I drank in moderation, but did finish off the Saison for the rest of the group, which divided opinion. Leaving beer, or the excellent cheese and ham buffet, is a crime I’m not willing to be associated with.


  1. Hmm, apart from Sam Smith’s Bird in Hand and the Railway (nice cat, shame about the beer) there’s not much to detain the pub lover in Mobberley nowadays. Chapel House is shut, Roebuck has become a restaurant, and the Bull’s Head, Church, Frozen Mop and Plough & Flail are all very gastro.


    1. Shows how quickly things change. I scored Bull’s Head, Roebuck and, particularly, Railway highly for beer, in an area where I’ve never rated beer highly. At least 5 years ago though, and apart from Railway they were foody. Pleasant village mind.


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