There are times when you just to have to say it. Last night at the Etihad was as good as it gets, whatever “it” is. So good that I won’t even ridicule the “tourists” who spent the first half looking for their seat and the second half visiting the (alcohol-free) bar, thereby missing what they seemed to have travelled several thousand miles to watch.
I’m only mildly embarrassed when I begin rail trips to Manchester from the home of temporarily beleaguered Stockport County, but frankly half of City’s support comes from Stopfordians these days.
I’ve found a new cheapish hotel with that all-important superfast WiFi too; the bizarrely named Trivelles Mayfair being ideally placed for Heaton Chapel. The water fountain means you can’t miss it on the A6.
The Trivelles is a Heaton Hop away from the UK’s No.1 town’s newest real ale gem, which I seem to have managed to avoid despite passing it on my last trip to the Heatons. It’s two minutes off the incomparable A6.
This won’t be the most unique looking micro/bottle shop I go in all year, but it is magical. That might come from that feeling you get in a cosy room of drinkers as dusk descends in November, from the morose City fans even less confident than me, or the frankly potent Track IPA that dulled my senses for the expected Messi onslaught.
But as with pretty much all micros, it’s the chat that makes it. You can’t escape it in Heaton Hops, whether it’s about train timetables from Heaton Chapel or the qualities of the Shindigger.
Wellington Road North was a virtual beer desert ten years ago; now I doubt there’s a better mile in the country for diversity of pubs and quality of beer. If only the Chinese takeaway offer was as good.
Stockport looked especially lovely last night, even if I did miss last orders at the Armoury.