Mrs RM and I will be setting off for Manchester on Friday, with a To Do list that includes Bundobust, the Stretford Sip Club and the Manchester Beer Fest. No doubt Mrs RM will spend a third of the trip looking in estate agents and wool shops. Or for courgettes.
On a slightly smaller scale to MBF, I popped in to a very local pub beer fest, on one of those days when I wasn’t allowed to leave the county. I ought to get an award or something.
It was a decent afternoon to walk round Milton’s Country Park, the sole village gem (apart from the barber that doesn’t chat about holidays).
The White Horse is Cambridge CAMRA’s rural Community Pub of the Year, which is overdue reward for some of the hardest working licensees I’ve seen. I’d compare it to Stockport’s Railway (A6), a friendly place that looks a bit ordinary but appeals to everyone apart from the ticker.
Almost as importantly, it’s in the Beer Guide for the first time. Pints of Good Old Boy, JHB and, yes, Doom Bar in there have all been excellent. If it was further away, I’d visit it more, if you know what I mean.
To be honest, I only walked up the A10 to see if the rumours about Beavertown on tap were true. If the White Horse has gone craft we know things are changing. Actually, they had cans. Cans of Lupuloid are nice enough, but psychologically they’re just not the same as draft beer.
The real ale range was great though;
Some unfamiliar names for the average drinker, but six beers from reliable brewers (and six on the bar). In a week where the focus was on the quality and future of cask, I had a beer of the month contender in that Lancaster Black (NBSS 4). Someone here knows how to serve beer at the right temperature.
Those barrels are quite a feature, but the Festival certainly doesn’t dominate the pub.
As it often seems to be, both public and lounge were packed out with a good mix of drinkers and diners, so getting a good spot to read my Cass Elliot biography was tough.
As I left, two members of staff said “Thanks” and meant it. That counts as much as the beer.
I’m delighted to see such a strong focus on the family brewers at MBF. The acid test of a CAMRA Fest is how good the beers you know are, so I’ll be mixing the Lees and Batemans with the Brass Castle and Brewsmith, last year’s stars.