4 Trains, 3 Micro Pubs and a Canine Legend. 

I love drinking in Manchester. But sometimes, I just fancy something a bit different. Like yesterday.

I was at a loose end. Mrs BM was in Liverpool and I was in recovery from the fabulous Mallinsons wedding do the night before. I needed a “pick me up”. I had a System One County Card, a mobile phone and some cash. And fancied a little impromptu pub crawl. And – to be fair – a feasibility test for a more lengthy affair later this year.

So I let the train take the strain…..

Swizzles. New Mills’ greatest export.

But now – a beery sense, there is another good reason to catch the train.

Open for about a year, owner Russell has got himself a little gem here. Small – and I mean SMALL – but making fabulous use of the space he’s got, at peak, you can apparently get 60 in. And that would indeed be snug. But this is a sweet sweet space for a beer or 3 – abt 5 (energetic) minutes walk from New Mills Central Station. Yes. It has 2 stations. As devotees of Torrside Taps will know.

The beer selection was excellent and all spot on. Snap Decisions by Torrside was an obvious (and local) choice. Cracking Rye Pale with that little spice in the finish. Two Yorkshire beers too, from Brew York (Jarsa – Session Pale) and Wishbone (Divination APA) both on keg. Both superb.

I have friends in New Mills who come here regularly. I’m not surprised. It’s a great little bar. Friendly staff, friendly locals, with whom we chatted a bit.

Russell has done a great job.

Next, a walk to New Mills Newtown station and the Stockport line – give yourself an easy 20 minute stroll (or 12 for the more energetic…) and a couple of stops down the line to Hazel Grove. Then down Station Street, onto Davenport Road and right onto Hope Street to the A6. Where you’ll be facing….

The Grove Alehouse – London Road, Hazel Grove.

Sat on the main A6 out of Stockport, this Micro pub is a bit more spacious with more tables out front and some outside space to the rear. Again, a friendly welcome (This friendly stuff ain’t rocket science…) and four cask pumps to the fore.

Greenfield, Poynton & Titanic breweries here. I went dark. And was rewarded by excellent pints of Greenfield “Black Five” and Titanic “Cappuccino Stout”. In an area dominated by Robinsons, this place brings welcome choice. And seems to be doing quite well.

Well kept beer and a friendly welcome. Like I said, not rocket science. I’ll be back.

As it was, back to Hazel Grove station and the short run to Stockport. And another place new to me. From the station onto Station Rd, turn left onto the A6 then right onto St Petersgate….

The Petersgate Tap : St Petersgate, Stockport

Yeah. Could love this place. Not (quite) a Micro Pub, but you’ll have to forgive my artistic licence. I’ve needed to try this place for a while. It didn’t disappoint. And just about a five minute walk across Wellington Road from the station…

The bottom of that cask list had me. And I think I may have had the best pint of Lagonda I’ve ever had. Absolutely singing. Lightly tart and fruity, refreshing, full of flavour. All kinds of yum.

Pub on two levels, with upstairs really spacious. Plenty of seating and comfort downstairs. Knowledgeable and – dare I use the F Word again? – friendly staff, just add the excellent beer list. I loved this place.

All there was left to do was that Black Forest Imperial Stout from Thirst Class. Choccy. Cherry. Boozy. Right up my street. And only £3 a half. I know this won’t be universally accepted, but – for me – cask (properly kept) is the best way to dispense Imperial Stouts. So bite me.

Did I say I like this place? This will be on the extended route later this year.

After this – I’ll bypass the (Arch Nemesis suggested) misstep and say that we popped into two Stockport institutions. Not much in the way of words – according to the “lovely” daughter, I was doing a passable impersonation of Rowley Birkin QC – but the pictures will do the job….

The Crown – Heaton Lane (under the famous railway arches)

Just a beautiful multi roomed freehouse – but tonight, with an Abbeydale tap takeover….

Then onto everybody’s favourite pre-train watering hole.

Ye Olde Vic – Chatham Street.

And a surprise meeting with Manchester’s Brewtap Canine Superhero (and his rather dodgy handler…)