Bull Winner (22/01/15)
We must admit that we nearly choked on our pints when we heard the announcement at the trade session of the Manchester Beer Festival that the
Pied Bull had won Champion Beer of the North West 2015. The Black Bull porter is certainly deserving of the accolade but it was still a surprise to hear that the Chester free house had beaten off competition from such highly regarded north-west brewers such as Hawkshead, Marble and Red Willow.
The 5.2% beer which is described as ‘a complex porter with a blend of
seven different malts with flavours of chocolate, coffee and liquorice’, is produced on the tiny plant in the
cllar of the pub. Brewing began in 2011 and it was only a year later that they scooped the Champion Beer of Cheshire award at the Chester Beer Festival. It is understood
e that there are plans to increase the capacity at the pub to cater for burgeoning demand for their products.
Anyone who is acquainted with the brewer Tom Sinclair, will be interested to know that he admits that hearing of the Champion Beer of the North West award was a rare occasion when he was rendered speechless. Well done to Tom and the team at the Pied Bull.
from Chester Standard: shows David Poynton (manager), Carl Scourfield
(owner) and Tom Sinclair (brewer))
of Two Pubs (01/02/15)
Separated by the river Gowy and approximately 1.8 miles of muddy lanes and footpaths on the Longster Trail, there’s quite a lot of symmetry between the
White Horse in Great Barrow and the Bird in Hand in Guilden Sutton. Both pubs over the years had become stagnant, uninviting places. In fairness to previous licensees, they had their excuses for a lack of incentive. Under the strictures of the nefarious Pub Cos there was minimal investment and opportunity for diversity and choice. And then followed the almost inevitable long periods of closure raising doubts as to whether they might open their doors again.
But happily, they also share the blessing that they’ve now both been sold into private ownership with the benefit that they are run as the landlord/lady sees fit provided they pay their dues. And what a difference those spring cleans, refurbishments, positive vibes and ambition make. Under Lance Warburton, it’s a pleasure to call in at the cosy, tucked away Bird in Hand whether you’re there for the food (including pie and steak nights), the Monday quiz, occasional live music or to watch the discreet TV sport. There’s been a similar transformation at the White Horse which will be a year old this March under the reins of Paula Richards and son James. Inside there’s been a lovely makeover which extends upstairs to new fully furnished guest rooms. You can enjoy home made stone-baked pizzas from Thursday to Sunday and there will be more pub grub soon care of a kitchen refit. It too hosts music nights and the thirsty local cricket club are grateful to have somewhere to go back to as well!
And finally, comes the beer bit which has, surprise surprise, improved immeasurably thanks to the right to buy stock as seen fit. Both pubs have changing micros that were simply unimaginable ten years ago. Well-kept ales from Brimstage, Marble, Peerless, Purple Moose plus local favourites too are selling well as reputation spreads.
And this just goes to show, you should fight tooth and claw against any pub closure. All it takes is a positive reversal of fortunes and the down-at-heel can soon be revolutionised.
Pub of the Season 2015 (12/12/14)
decided to have joint winners for the branch's Winter
Pub of the Season 2015 - one in Cheshire and one in
Wales. First congratulations go to Geraint & Esme at
the Colliers Arms in Ponciau who thoroughly
deserve this recognition for, not merely running a
smart, tidy, friendly local pub, but for the great
efforts that have been made in promoting cask ale in an
area where it's especially thin on the ground. These
include three handpumps, changing beers, loyalty cards
and even the introduction of John Smiths Cask to wean
the odd unenlightened regulars off Smooth!
more doffing of hats to the Wheatsheaf in
Nomansheath where Ant & Em are doing a splendid
job reviving this village pub. Amongst other things,
they've created a popular niche market in vegan food - a
policy extended to their beers in Facers North Star
Branch Awards >>
Branch Area Pub Guides
Whether you're on a three-day
anger management course in Chester, travelling to see your
beloved Braintree United play Wrexham or planning a stag-do in
Langollen wearing Bavarian lederhosen, you'll need to take a
peek at our area guides to find out where serves cask beer.
Pub Guides >>
Pubs Under Threat
common with the rest of the nation, locally there are plenty of pubs -
good, bad and indifferent - with uncertain futures. Closed, boarded up
or derelict, what fate awaits them? A new licensee in thrall to a
greedy pub co? Conversion to an Indian restaurant, coffee shop or private house?
Further years of abandonment, rot and decay? Demolition and
redevelopment? Or maybe, renaissance under wealthy new owners with
an entrepreneurial eye.
CAMRA's campaign to support the nation's community
pubs. Click on image to access.