More of a question than a post – why is Sale so poor for pubs ? (or isn’t it ?).

On the tram back from Altrincham to Deansgate we had to make what I’ll call a “Comfort Break” i.e. a pub.  Where better than a Spoons in the Beer Guide.  Even though I’d had my remaining Spoons vouchers stolen, a crime the local constabulary had no interest in investigating.

Spot the Spoons
Café society

Quite a plain Spoons in the Cheshire shop conversion mode, but typically bustling early Saturday evening.

By their standards, quite a large range of guests (Weetwood, Titanic, Saltaire, Robbies).  For contrast, my regular coffee stop in St. Neots has been firmly on the Doom Bar/Ruddles/Abbot/Ghost Ship recently.

I sought advice at the bar, where a tall chap told me in passing he’d sung at Ely Cathedral (it helps if you’re tall in Ely so you can see over the hills).


The regulars all pointed to the Abbot Reserve with the same reverence that you might point to a bottle of Pliny the Elder.

It did the trick, a pint split between Mrs RM and myself in the usual 75/25 proportion drunk in 2 minutes.

I admired the artwork on the way up to the Gents.


I’m sure Mrs RM would have been persuaded to try another trendy Sale bar, but they didn’t jump out.   The only previous Guide entries nearby sold Holt Bitter, Unicorn and Pedigree, which sounds great to me but less so to Mrs “Craft Monster” RM.

Looking at WhatPub the other nearby delights were Bombardier, GK IPA and Wainwright.  Perhaps this is a last bastion of Boring Brown Bitter.  An anti-Chorlton, if you like.

I know Sale isn’t huge, but it’s got a “Rugby” team named after it, though then so have Leicester and Zebre, wherever that is.




21 thoughts on “SUDS IN SALE

  1. The unfamiliar name to me in that list was Unicorn, so I had to look it up and read about how it was formerly Robinson’s Best Bitter. Do you know when they made the name change? “Unicorn” definitely doesn’t have that old brewery sound to it; I imagine traditionalist beer drinkers saying, “It’s still Best Bitter to me, I’ll not call it Unicorn!”

    Loved the line “with the same reverence that you might point to a bottle of Pliny the Elder.”

    Liked by 1 person

      1. About fifteen years ago, I think. It was done at the same time Best Mild was rebranded as Hatters Mild. In an age when you’re competing for attention on a crowded bar, “Unicorn” is much easier to spot and order than “Robinsons Best”. Plus a Unicorn is the company logo. Still a lovely beer when on form.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Is it ? There’s such odd names I forget which ones I’ve had since the rebrand. That makes sense since 61 Deep is the one I’ve seen on keg and benefits from cooler dispense. Notable that they didn’t change the name of Pedigree or Old Empire (yet).

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Actually, having done a bit of digging, 61 Deep is a new pale beer which may be related to the previous Pedigree New World Pale Ale. Oyster Stout is now Pearl Jet.

        Confused? You will be!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I think it was a disastrous rebranding as it completely erased the previous identities of the beers – folk memory counts for a lot, especially for beers like Marston’s Bitter which are well under the craft radar.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “we had to make what I’ll call a “Comfort Break” i.e. a pub…
    pint split between Mrs RM and myself in the usual 75/25 proportion drunk in 2 minutes.
    I admired the artwork on the way up to the Gents.”

    I deduce from all of the above that it WAS a proper comfort break. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. One of the best Spoons in Greater Manchester, almost as good as the Rochdale one. Sale have one of the oldest rugby clubs in the country and only played in Stockport for nine years, previously playing in Sale for over 100 years. They still have a base in Sale, only the first team play in Salford.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Spoons have definitely gone down hill in terms of range – just seem to have the same unholy trinity in most places Doom, Abbot, Ruddles, often supplemented with ‘so called independent’ Wolverhampton and Dudley Brewery Group brands.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Voracious multiple takeovers of medium sized regional brewers, continuing to pass them off as independent and trading under the pseudonym of a respected regional medium sized brewer is pernicious and tantamount to the actions of ‘The Big Six’ in the late sixties and seventies. That chap in the pub last week told you that.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Abbott Reserve is GK’s best cask beer, the only I’d bother with, and always reliable in a Spoons. Amazing really that such a conservative brewery produces a 6.5% strong bitter all year round (I think).

    Liked by 1 person

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