Feb 1 2016
I had earned my “Brownie Points”. Chores, running around, you name it, I did it. I wanted Saturday left free. I wanted some fresh beers and to try something new. Just one more thing……
Fancy a Vegan Curry for tea? I played my Ace. Job done.
Heaton Hops – 7, School Lane, Heaton Chapel, Stockport.
My first visit to the City Life Pub of the Year 2015. Well, my first since it won that most deserved of accolades!
Those who pay any form of attention to my wibblings will know that I’ve been a big fan of Damian O’Shea’s businesses since his days on Castlefield Market as The Ale Man. He always did have an eye for great bottle beers. But when he and his partner Charlotte opened this little bar in Heaton Chapel, little did they know….
In this small space, there is a most excellent selection of bottled and canned beers from all over the UK. Of course, my predilections steer more to the North of the compass and I was here in particular, because Damian had held of bottle of Cheshire Brewhouse’s Govinda (Chevallier Edition) for me.
As I have said on this blog before, this is a small, but beautifully thought out space. With excellent beer. 2 on cask and 8 on keg, from the best of local and not so local breweries. The cask selection tends to be local, but today, he had on a cask of the luscious Milk Stout by Bristol Beer Factory. Atilla had one. I joined her. It was a creamy, slightly sweet and roasty delight. Atilla thought so too.
The bar seems to be doing brilliantly. No surprise given the location and what Damian & Charlotte offer. A cosy and comfortable bar with an excellent product for sale. Why was I here again?
Ah yes. THAT was why!
I could stay in this bar all day. But I had appointments elsewhere. I bade my farewells to Damian and we headed off, just as Charlotte and baby Harriet arrived…..
If you haven’t been before, it’s only 4 mins walk from Heaton Chapel train station and the 192 bus from Piccadilly drops you close too. So why not?
Browtons – 8 Fletcher Street, Ashton-Under-Lyne, OL6 6BY
Is that Simon himself, grinning, as I took my shot? That was a long drive. Good job that I know that this bottle shop is worth it!
Located in a semi-pedestrianised spot, opposite the famous Ashton Market, the first surprise was the cheap car parking just a couple of minutes walk away.
Simon Browton is a man of excellent taste and has a large, varied and wide ranging selection of bottled and canned beers from some of the best breweries around. Unlike the first time I turned up, he know has an “On” licence too, so you can buy a bottle (chilled or otherwise) and settle in a comfy chair and sip and chat to your hearts’ content.
Having has a BBF Milk Stout, we opted out of region again and had a nicely chilled bottle of Black Perle by Weird Beard and I just wallowed, puzzled by how full of flavour and full-bodied such a low alcohol beer could be! Beautifully smooth and creamy, with a nice nip of coffee. If there was a brewery that this Northern oik misses from the south, it’s Weird Beard. There! I said it.
Yup. You can even buy a change of clothing while you are here!
A nice chat with Simon revealed (I think?) possible plans to open a draught bar/bottle shop. If so, knowing Simon, this would be an enormous thing in Ashton. Just this shop is a classy place with friendly “regulars” who we had a chat with about Manchester pubs.
I also thank Simon enormously for his suggestion to drink the Torrside American Barleywine sooner rather than later! The man was SO right as you will see in the next bottle review! Why was I here again? Oh yes…..
Harvey Leonard’s – 22, Norfolk Street, Glossop, SK13 8BS
(Thanks to Steven for the pic!)
Then, another long drive. This time to Glossop, because the very nice folk at Harvey Leonard bar/shop had set aside an increrasingly difficult to find beer for me. A Cloudwater DIPA!
The bar was quite busy when we got there and, being unfamiliar with the feel of the place, photos were NOT an option, but this seemed like a nice friendly local bar with the accent on the wine at that moment. But, far from being shunted to one side, the beer selection was front and centre! And there was an excellent selection!
Thornbridge, Torrside, Buxton….The local Derbyshire breweries were well represented. Quite a bit of Cloudwater too. There was a wide selection from all over, with quite a lot of Northern stuff to tickle my fancy….But I was in a rush….I was hungry (as was Atilla)
The great news is that they’ve move since then to larger premises! 300 bottles (drink in or take-away), 4 key keg taps (rotating) I’m gonna have to come back I see! (And it’s JUST around the corner from Glossop Train Station too!)
Then, to The Globe. And the most ludicrously good value food you’re likely to get. Anywhere. We had a pint and a half of Porter (brewed on site), One Chickpea & Spinach Curry (with a Naan) and Vegan sausages, chips and onion gravy. Just. Over. £9.
Think about that when you go to Harvey Leonard’s!
It was Tryanuary. I had some new beery experiences doing this piece in both Browtons AND Harvey Leonard’s.
3 most excellent local independent beer businesses. Support them. They deserve it, because they’re good. And have soul. Unlike you local supermarket.
But, for all the hoopla last month, these places ALL deserve your custom 12 months of the year.
Because they are bloody good.