A Friday night pub crawl in the Stockport rain has few cultural equals, even without the frisson of excitement that comes with a venture into the wild suburbs.
Another night in Stockport, another new hotel too, with the southern Premier Inn scoring highly on cheery staff, less well on Wi-Fi, and providing a view of more underrated Stocky architecture, in the form of St.Georges;
The March Stagger takes in the pubs round Stockport Market Place, and therefore you get this iconic view on the way to Pub No. 1.
Oddly, I’d never had a beer in the Spoons before, and Eggs Benedict with coffee doesn’t allow you to tick a pub off, whatever BRAPA rules might say.
A lot of pints being poured in the Calverts Court, with just two weeks before the Wetherspoons vouchers run out. As you’ll have guessed, I’d left mine back in the hotel (six left !), so just had a half of the Lancaster Black. That’s weird logic really, it was only £2.30 odd a pint, but there you go.
One of the joys of a Stagger is the comparison of NBSS scores. I won’t spoil the excitement by revealing the group
think view on the Lancaster, that’ll be in the next Opening Times, but it scored highly on my table (NBSS 3.5 for me). An unremarkable building, but top-notch beer for a change.
The most consistent beer, however, continues to be the reliable “Available Soon” (NBSS 0). The old ones are the best.
Stockport CAMRA are no slouches, 30 minutes per pub including travelling allowance, and a fair few
foolhardy brave folk were already on the pints, a decision no doubt they’d come to regret when they tried to find their way back to Levenshulme later.
Next up was the pub I’d been wanting to visit since it opened late last year. The Petersgate Tap managed to be shut the first three times I walked past the door, though admittedly one of those was 8am on a Sunday.
I’d also got it down as having quite a conservative beer range (i.e. breweries I’ve heard of), but that turns out to be it’s strength with an offer including Hawkshead, more Lancaster and Blackjack, whose classic pale scored NBSS 4 with me. Some of Stockport’s hardier fellows were on the Torrside (8.5%), sensibly sold in halves only.
Even more importantly than the beer, the Petersgate was attracting a good range of drinkers, though the CAMRA contingent probably upped the average age by a decade or two. It reminded me of the newer Middlesbrough self-styled “micros”, and impressed me very much. So much so I stayed for an extended chat about Manchester metro extensions rather than follow the pack to the Boar’s Head.
Because the Great Pub Curmudgeon may never be seen from the front, here’s an attractive side-on view. Note the proper pub seating.
I finished off my own mini-Stagger in another relatively recent opening.
But their 3.8% Stout was almost as good as the Blackjack, again served at perfect temperature and with a tight head. An even younger crowd here, with as good a range of craft keg as I’ve seen in the town centre, and some artwork that Mark Crilley may enjoy.
So slow was I drinking by now, that a fair few of Stockport CAMRA actually caught up with me now, on their 5th pub. Credit to them, but surely news of the new Government Drinking Guidelines will eventually reach Hazel Grove and scupper excess such as these, so enjoy it while you can.
There you go, 3 pubs not (yet) in the Beer Guide, 3 superb beers and some great pub atmosphere. As I’ve said before, the finest pub town on the planet.