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OIC 44_18-32


									                               NORTH CHESHIRE
     Covers Warrington and Vale Royal, including Frodsham, Lymm and Northwich.
     Halton has its own active Branch, covering Runcorn and Widnes
     Meetings are usually held in the Warrington/Northwich area, with regular surveys of outlying areas.
     Beer Festivals are held every year, at Northwich
                    New members and formerly inactive members are especially welcome.
     Branch contacts; Nick Bosley       01925 837538 or
                       Gary Chester 07976 268353 or
     Out Inn Cheshire articles or adverts: Jeff Bouch, 01925 654905 or
            If anything of remotest interest is happening in your local, let these guys know!
           Visit our North Cheshire CAMRA web-site
                                    CAMRA DIARY
                       Feel free to call us for more information.
                   Events start at 8 pm unless specified otherwise.
     Mon 7 December;        Branch meeting, Lower Angel, Warrington
     Fri 11 – Sun 13 Dec; Branch Christmas Social Trip
                                   to Köln and Düsseldorf
     Thu 7 – Sat 9 January; Frodsham Winter Beer Festival *
                            Helter Skelter, Frodsham
     Tues 12 Jan;           Good Beer Guide Selection Meeting, Albion,
                            Warrington. CAMRA members only.
     Sat 16 Jan;            Regional Meeting and SIBA NW Beer Festival –
                            Scarisbrick Hotel, Southport 1pm
18   Wed 20 – Sat 23 Jan; National Winter Ales Festival, Manchester
     Sat 23 Jan;            Branch social to NWAF
                            with Northern Quarter pubs crawl to follow.
     Tues 26 Jan;           Social/Survey of Stretton. Meet Cat & Lion at 8pm.
     Fri 29 – Sat 30 Jan;   Tarporley Beer Festival (non-CAMRA)
     Mon 1 Feb;             Out Inn Cheshire Management Committee AGM,
                            Bellhouse Club, Grappenhall, 8pm. All Cheshire branches invited to attend/send representation.
     Tuesday 2 February; Branch Meeting, Saracens Head, Warrington
     Sat 13 Feb;            Branch social; City Walls Pubs Crawl of Chester
     Tues 23 Feb;           Second Good Beer Guide Selection Meeting, joint with Halton Branch. Venue TBC.
                            CAMRA members only.
     * = supported by but not run by CAMRA

     September brought the launch of the 2010 GBG and as usual the first thing I do is to look for new pubs
     in areas where I like to drink.
     North Cheshire sees the return of two of the stalwarts of real ale in the area; namely the Lower Angel in
     Warrington and Helter Skelter in Frodsham. The Angel has seen many changes over the last few years
     (including being shut for about 4 months) and will hopefully now see some
     stability. The Helter Skelter has seen less upheaval with only one change in
     licensee, and has managed to further the cask beer cause.
     Their first attempt at a beer festival on August Bank Holiday was a success
     and they have stepped in to rescue next January’s Frodsham Winter Ales
     festival, as the regular venue is not available.
     Other new additions to the guide are the Cherry Tree in Culcheth (as
     featured in LocAle). This pub shows the way ahead for smoking areas with
     a large wooden structure to the front of the building. The tree that was there
     was not cut down – instead the structure was built around it with it growing
     out of the top of the roof.
     Our final new entry wasn’t even serving real ale 18 months ago. Porters in
     Warrington started safe with the likes of Tetley Bitter, then experimented
     with two rotating guest beers. And now it has 6 hand pumps and a beer
     festival expected in January.
     Well done to the new entries and all the others who have made it into the
A Brewery visit without a Brewery!
 Forty “eager to learn gentlemen (and ladies)” assembled at the Ex-Servicemen’s club in
 Grappenhall on Wednesday 28th October for a “meet the brewer” evening.
 Our lecturer, Mark Tetlow was Chief Brewer of Everards Brewery, a learned gentleman
 with many years experience in the brewing trade. Also from the brewery was Dave who
 acted as our serving wench. At the front of the room were an overhead projector and
 various goodies to be given out during the evening.
 Mark introduced himself, his career to date in the brewing world, and set about a brief
 insight into the history of brewing. Following this was an in depth narrative of the process
 of brewing, using the projector as an aid to his presentation. On the tables around us
 were spice jars containing various hops, malts and barleys used in the brewing process,
 we were able to taste, touch and feel these from the jars. One particular jar contained
 finings, a smelly cloudy liquid that smelt of off fish, not very pleasant.
 During the presentation Dave the serving wench kept all our glasses topped up with
 beer from the five polypins brought by Mark. Available to drink were Everards Tiger,
 Sunchaser, Beacon, Equinox and Original. All in fine form. The banter between Mark
 and his audience became somewhat lively as the evening wore on!
After the presentation, Mark held a “have you been listening to what I’ve been saying?” quiz, throwing
the aforementioned goodies out to persons who answered the question correctly. T-shirts, cuff-links,
playing cards, beer mats etc were flying across the room. The last question posed was “how many pints
of beer did Everards brew last year?” We were given time to think about the answer over a piping hot
bowl of delicious hot-pot provided by Paul, the licensee of the club. After much deliberation and more
beer I came up with an answer of half a million pints. We wrote our guess on the back of the entrance
ticket and handed them to Mark. Needless to say I was miles away; the figure was over seven million          19
pints…!!! A goodie pack winged its way across our heads to the winner.
An excellent evening was had by all, entertaining, amusing, informative, enlightening and well presented.
Lots of beer, a hot-pot supper and good banter, what more could you ask for the £2.50 entrance ticket?
A great way to introduce people to the whole process of brewing beer, I would suggest more clubs
should organise a “meet the brewer” evening.
The next issue of Out Inn Cheshire should contain a report from the “Mature Footballers” Trans-Pennine
Rail Ale Trail. Watch this space.                                                     PAUL FOSTER

Out Inn Cheshire Under Threat                                   The Crown Inn
If you read Out Inn Cheshire, or any similar news-
letter, you’re likely to be a responsible drinker who
enjoys the odd glass of well kept cask ale.
Some politicians, of no particular party, believe
that by reading this magazine you’re threatening
your health and contributing to teenage yobbish
behaviour. They plan to ban alcohol advertising.
That would mean the end of CAMRA publications
as they’re paid for by advertising, largely by pubs                                                GOOD
or breweries, and could not survive the passing of                     Crown Lane
such a law.                                                       Lower Peover, Knutsford          GUIDE
So, what can you do if you enjoy the magazine?
When the parties come round canvassing for the              Come try our excellent freshly cooked
coming general election remind your candidates              food and good range of fine cask ales.
that the odd pint or two of good honest ale, being
drunk in a controlled manner in your local pub,                        Varied specials menu
doesn’t do anybody any harm.                                           Food served every day
 Banning alcohol advertising in our CAMRA free
                                                              12 – 2 and 6.30 – 9.15 (12 – 7 Sundays)
 sheets or CAMRA national publications won’t do                Thursday Quiz (9 pm)
 anything to control underage drinking in the                                                     e Season
 streets. They do encourage moderate drinking of               tel. 01565 – 722074       Pub of th 2005
                                                                                           Autu mn
 cask ale in the most wonderful community centres
– our local pubs.
     Dining Out Inn CHESHIRE - Hartford Hall Hotel, Hartford
     A very impressive-looking hotel situated very close to the main A556, Hartford Hall has been around
     since the 17th century, initially built as a nunnery and then used as a manor house. Legends persist of
     a secret tunnel linking the nunnery to Vale Royal Abbey! Nowadays it is a friendly hotel run by
     Marston's but it is open to non-residents who want a meal or just a
     Tonight the visit was to enjoy the dining experience (and of course
     sample some real ale). The beers are all from the Marstons’ range,
     and my choice tonight was Jennings Little Gem – very good condition
     and a delightfully tasty beer. A good choice.
     There are a variety of areas in which to dine here, from small rooms
     to what feels like a corridor, so choose your table with care to get the
     atmosphere you would most like. The menu is extensive, although
     not unique to the pub. Starters range from £2.75 to £3.95, lite bites
     between £5.25 and £5.95 and main courses from £7.25 to £10.75.
     All reasonably priced, but also available are selected items from the
     main menu priced at £10 for two main meals, available all day every
     day. On this select menu there are 10 items, and on our visit this included rump steak!
     For starter, we opted for the Classic Combo at £7.50 (for two), and this contained potato skins, chicken
     wings, breaded mushrooms, battered onion rings, garlic bread and dips of garlic mayonnaise and
     barbeque sauce. This was a good choice for a starter – the portion sizes were good and the food tasty.
     Main course tempted me with the Chicken Melt, described as chicken breast topped with bacon and
20   melted cheese served with jacket potato and side salad at £8.45. Although jacket potato was suggested,
     you could swap the potato for new potato, mashed potato, chips, rice or garlic bread. I chose the chips.
     Similarly the side salad could be swapped for seasonal vegetables. I also ordered some sides of
     mushrooms (£1.75) and onion rings (£1.45). The food was good and reasonably sized. I would have
     preferred the option of some barbeque sauce or similar over the chicken which was a little on the dry
     side, and the chips were a little formulaic. The side order of sautéed mushrooms was excellent and all
     in all the meal was most enjoyable.
     Good value for money here certainly – and definitely if you had the £10 for two special menu. My only
     question would be do budget meals really have a place at a historic hotel?              Gary Chester


                                                                    COACH HOUSE
                                                                 BREWING COMPANY Ltd.
                                                                        Suppliers of prize-winning
                                                                          cask conditioned beers
                                                                   Order your seasonal beers now!
                                                                   Not forgetting our standard range -
          Good, home cooked food served every day                Coachman’s Best Bitter (3.7% ABV)
                      from 12.00 to 7.30.                          Squire’s Gold Spring Ale (4.2%)
                Bed & Magnificent Breakfast                      Innkeeper’s Special Reserve (4.5%)
                 Beer Garden and Pets Corner                       Ostler’s Summer Pale Ale (3.8%)
                      Ample car parking                            Post Horn Premium Bitter (5.0%)
                  Marquee for special events                        Gunpowder Strong Mild (3.8%)
     Victor & staff welcome you to                                        Dick Turpin (4.2%)
              458 Warrington Road, Glazebury                           Flintlock Pale Ale (4.4%)
                     Cheshire WA3 5NX                                 Order direct; 01925-232800
                 01942 677742 07811 456193                                   Fax; 01925-232700
Appleton Thorn Village Hall
Friday 30 October 2009 saw yet another
award to this fantastic club as Ian Garner,
our Regional Director, came along to
present stewards Derek and Alison Massey
with a certificate confirming their status as
the premier club in Cheshire, Merseyside
and North Wales.
A fine achievement following on from the
award of Branch Club of the Year and
Branch Cider Pub of the Year earlier in
They now go forward to the super regional
and national part of the competition and we wish them the best of luck as they attempt to win the title
National Club of the year for an unprecedented fourth time.
                                                           The presentation took place during their
                                                           annual beer festival which featured no fewer
                                                           than 25 different beers and 11 ciders and
                                                           perries. In what must be a unique gesture in
                                                           this day and age, due to the generosity of the
                                                           festival sponsors, they were able to offer the
                                                           beer at lower prices than the 2008 festival!     21
                                                           Needless to say for a Regional Club of the
                                                           Year, all of the beers were in excellent
                                                           condition and the small hall was full almost
                                                           to bursting.
                                                           Live jazz music was provided by the excellent
                                                           Braggin Hands and hot & cold food was also
                                                                                            Gary Chester

     Around Lymm and Thelwall
     Apologies for the non appearance of this column in the last edition of OIC. Hopefully, this will whet your
     appetite for the beer in the pubs in this area, although apart from the obvious candidates, there is still a
     long way to go to get more LocAle beers stocked.
     The flagship for cask beer choice in the Lymm area, the
     Barn Owl at Agden Wharf, (pictured) continues to field a
     varied array of beers and a seventh hand pump has now
     been installed. Three of the hand pumps serve beers
     from the Marston’s portfolio (Bitter and Pedigree along
     with, appropriately in May, Merry Monk Mild).
     The other four pumps serve a variety of guest beers from
     Phoenix, Pictish, Sharps, Blue Bear, Bank Top, Ossett,
     Beartown, Exmoor, Roosters, Hornbeam, Wychwood and
     Salamander, to name but a few; several of these are from
     local breweries.
     There are some changes of licensee to report.
     Olivia Holmes took on the licence for the Jolly Thresher
     in April, assisted by her uncles, Mark and Jonathan Wrigley. Hyde's bitter is accompanied by a seasonal
     beer (Sacré Bleu and Golden Find on recent visits), plus occasional guests. The pub has undergone a
     minor refurbishment, with new furniture. Peter Nye has been in the Green Dragon since Easter.
     Thwaites Original and Lancaster Bomber are normally on, but the pub is now offered a better range of
     guests than previously from the M & B list.
     The Farmer’s Arms usually offers Landlord and Jennings' Cumberland.
22   The Little Manor has now undergone its minor refurbishment following a change of lease holder and
     has four beers; Deuchars, Spitfire and Cumberland, with a changing guest, which was Greene King IPA
     (one has to ask why?) on one visit and Pedigree on another. The lease for the Pickering Arms is still
     for sale, but the pub continues to function under Austin Woolvine’s leadership, with Theakston's Best,
     Tetley’s or Bombardier generally on.
     In the village, the Golden Fleece is now serving Taylor Landlord and Bombardier, with the Bull’s Head
     and Spread Eagle selling Hyde’s and Lees Bitter and seasonals respectively. . The licensee of the
     Spread, Dave, left in October and a replacement is awaited. Sadler’s had its usual three bitters on –
     Lees, Marston’s and Thwaites.No sign of a guest again; pity really, as this free house could really shine
     if a wider beer range were on offer.                                    Continued on next page >>>>

The Wheatsheaf at Agden continues to offer guests (often from Allgates) or seasonals alongside the
Hyde’s mild and Bitter, whilst the Crown seems to be limited to the Greene King range, but is usually
quite busy, with a popular menu on offer. The Church Green continues with Deuchar’s and Old
Speckled Hen, but two spare hand pumps may start offering something from the S&N list. This pub
is now very food orientated with chef Aidan Byrne running the restaurant. The Crown still offers the
standards from the Greene King range, but the hand pulls now appear to be electrically operated.
In Statham, the Star still has just one cask beer on offer, Courage Best.                       Nick T

During the summer my family, comprising my sister, her husband, my niece, and myself, travelled by
Arriva Trains Wales on a group travel discount ticket to follow the Baker Way to the edge of Delamere
forest and then the Sandstone Trail to Frodsham, a walk of around 16 miles cross country from Chester
to Frodsham railway stations.
After working up a thirst we stopped at Ashton Hayes' Golden Lion for lunch (delicious food in generous
portions, such as battered haddock and chips and steak and ale pie.). Friendly bar staff and a comforta-
ble, modern interior were complimented by four real ales on tap - Deuchars IPA, Black Sheep, Old
Speckled Hen and Youngs IPA. We were very happy with the smooth, unassuming Youngs, but didn't
try any of the ubiquitous other three.
After trekking up the Sandstone Trail we arrived at the
Bull’s Head in Frodsham. Here we tried Coach House's
Ostlers Summer PA and Weetwood's Oast House Gold.
The Coach House was light and satisfying though we
thought the Weetwood was rather citric and sharp.
Later at Frodsham's bustling Helter Skelter the round
included Weetwood's Ambush and Best Bitter. Best
Bitter is my favourite, though the refreshingly fruity
Ambush is not far behind. My brother-in-law stuck to
Hunts traditional cider, which, given a swig, wasn't too
bad. Following all this fresh air and exercise, we voted
Weetwood's Ambush as best ale of the day and trekked
back to the station for our homeward journey.
A Good day had by all.

                                       “Real food,
                                       Cask Ales
                                       and no bullshit….”
                                       Matthew Mooney
     Welcome Return for                                    Playing Out Inn CHESHIRE -
     the Black Greyhound                                   Boules
                                                           What is a French
     From being one of the premier destination pubs in
                                                           game doing in a
     the area, the Black Greyhound (or the Black Dog
                                                           Cheshire magazine
     as it was affectionately known) underwent an
                                                           you may ask?
     extended period in the doldrums, with much of
                                                           The answer is that
     the focus from the owners being on the Bengal
                                                           this game is played
     Dynasty restaurant to the rear of the pub.
                                                           in some our Cheshire pubs, notably at the
     I am pleased to report that the pub has now           Ring o’ Bells in Lower Stretton.
     apparently turned a corner with a clean-up and
                                                           “Boule” is the name given to a number of French
     a new food offering as well as a most welcome
                                                            games played with a metal ball. The game played
     return to real ale.
                                                            in Cheshire is more properly called Pétanque.
     Just one hand pump at the time of writing – a          The game has some similarities to green bowling
     sensible move as it will take some time to build up    in that the aim is to get your boule as close as
     the trade again, but they have plans to increase       possible to the jack. Unlike Bowls where the ball
     the range as demand grows. A particularly              is rolled along the ground, in pétanque it is thrown.
     interesting innovation is the blackboard showing       Thus it needs much less space than green bowl-
     not just the name of the beer on offer, but also       ing and can be played on a gravel or dirt surface.
     useful information including:
                                                           After the toss of a coin, the first team throws the
       Ÿ The date the beer was tapped and vented
                                                           jack and then throws the first boule aiming to get
       Ÿ The date the cask was broached
                                                           it as close as possible to the jack. The opposing
       Ÿ The best before date of the cask
                                                           team then makes a throw. Play continues with
24   CAMRA supports giving consumers’ choice and           the team furthest from the jack throwing until
     information, and this goes right to the heart of      either they land a ball closer than their opponents
     what we’re about. Some people may prefer a            to the jack or they run out of boules (each team
     young (green) beer, others beer that has been         usually has three ). A point is scored for each
     allowed to mature in the cask and develop             boule closer to the jack than your opponent.
     different flavour characteristics.                    A circle is drawn in the ground after throwing the
     This information allows people to make that           jack, and all subsequent throws have to be
     choice – wouldn’t it be good if you had that          thrown from within the circle with both feet on the
     information in every pub?            Gary Chester     ground. Zut alors!
                                                                                             Gary Chester

                                                   The Bulls Head
                                                       Overton, Frodsham, Freehouse

                                                      Hostelry for the astute
                                  Six fine, constantly changing real ales
                                Top quality fresh food at pub food prices
          Superb traditional Sunday lunches. Monthly changing menu. Specials Board
                           Food served Tues-Sat 12-2 & 5.30-7.30 Sun 12-5
                                  Booking required. Tel: 01928 733761
                                                 WA6 6BS
Grappenhall Beer Festival
Mid May saw the thirteenth Grappenhall Beer Festival take place in the Olde Barn at the Bellhouse Club,
part of the Grappenhall Community Centre. And thirteen turned out to be a lucky number as
record numbers of customers visited the festival, indeed both evening sessions were sold out.
Thirty-three casks of Real Ale, collected from all parts of the country, were consumed over
the three sessions. Included was a unique beer, Prospect’s Bellhouse Golden Nugget,
especially brewed just for the festival. A choice of 6 ciders and 5 wines were also available
for non-beer drinkers.
Hot food was laid on to compliment the ales, with a range of pies and baked potatoes on
offer, many of which were consumed very late in the evening just prior to the trip home!
Visitors, some of whom had travelled some distance to join us, were entertained on
Friday evening by the popular Mandrills group, and Saturday night saw the welcome
return of the Fat Man’s Corner band. Both nights saw a very appreciative audience
calling for more! The quieter Saturday lunchtime session, only introduced last year, proved
extremely popular with families with a much larger turnout this year.
The success of the weekend was made possible by the hard work of members of the
Social Committee both before and during the event. We hope everyone enjoyed
themselves and look forward to greeting many of them again next year.

LocAle North Cheshire
And then there were seven.
CAMRA North Cheshire branch recently accredited the
Cherry Tree at Culcheth. This new entry into the 2010
Good Beer Guide has for quite a while offered a range of                                                     25
5 beers usually from big Regional/National brewers.
However over the last year a visit usually finds at least one but often two local brews. Beers from
Northern/Blakemere, Beartown, Coach House, Allgates and George Wright are regularly seen at the bar.
This Orchid pub still has Tetley bitter and Greene King Abbot on regularly but an added bonus recently
has been the availability of the excellent Ossett products. Good to see interesting beers, including milds
and stouts, opening up the range in the North Warrington area.
Culcheth can be reached by Warrington Borough Transport (WBT) services 19 and 28 (28A at night).

                              The Barn Owl
                                         Agden Wharf
                                        Warrington Lane
                                       Lymm, WA13 0SW
                                         01925 752020

                                  Seven Hand Pulls
                 (Marston's, Marston's Pedigree & 5 ever changing guests)
                     Prestige selection of rare bottled European beers
                                        Fine Wines
              Home Cooked Food using the finest locally sourced ingredients
            New Outside Event Catering - Bar and Food - any occasion catered for

                             Senior Citizens’ 2 course menu £6.95
                              Set alongside the Bridgewater Canal
                     Featured in CAMRA Good Beer Guide for many years
     Wassail! October is Cider Month
     So you thought that CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale) was just about beer? Well you’d be wrong.
     Since the late seventies, CAMRA has had a branch of the organisation called APPLE dedicated to pro-
     moting real cider and perry (for the record, there is no such thing as “pear cider”. Cider is from apples,
     perry is from pears. End of.) The annual commercial apple harvest falls in October, so CAMRA have
     designated October as Cider and Perry Month.
     Our mission at North Cheshire Branch was to hire a mini bus and seek out as many real ciders and per-
     rys as possible in the Branch area. Hard work I know, but someone has to do it. Now one other thing to
     note is that we are talking real ciders and perry here. Not Strongbow, nor Magners. Not even Baby-
     cham (remember that pretend perry?). No, the real McCoy has bags of flavour, isn’t full of artificial gas
     and packs quite a punch with many of them weighing in over 6% ABV.
     We started at the Friar Penketh in Warrinton where we were able to
     enjoy Westons Old Rosie and Westons Marcle Hill. Then it was off to
     the Chetwode Arms in Lower Whitley for another Westons Old Rosie,
     before moving on to the Penny Black in Northwich for once again
     Westons Old Rosie and Westons Marcle Hill.
     Onward to the Bulls Head in Davenham (pictured), where Westons
     Traditional Scrumpy was on offer. Our next port of call was in
     Frodsham at the Helter Skelter, a long-time supporter of real cider
     where we were able to try Crones Cider and Gwynt y Draig Cider.
     Our local Branch Cider Pub of the Year was next Appleton Thorn
     Village Hall, and you quickly see why it holds this accolade – Moles
26   Black Rat, Olivers Cider, Solway Whisky Barrel, Westons Old Rosie,
     Westons Organic Vintage Perry and Gwynt y Driag Two Trees Perry
     were all on offer! Our final stop of the day was the Albion in
     Warrington where we were able to enjoy the Cider of the Festival
     from Northwich Beer Festival, Janet’s Jungle Juice as well as
     Westcroft Cider and Old Bristonian.

     So in all, we managed to find seven different pubs selling 13 different varieties of the real stuff. Just a
     shame that nowhere to be seen was real cider from Cheshire, produced at Eddisbury Fruit Farm near
     Kelsall.                                                                                   Gary Chester

                 Three Real Ales
                                                                   The Freemasons Arms
                     Real Chips
                   Real Landlord
                                                                             Chester Road
                      Real Pub                                                  Castle
         “Does life get any better than this?”                                     Northwich
         – Out Inn CHESHIRE, March 2007                                     The Freemasons might not be the
                                                                          largest pub in Castle but if you want
                                                                              any or all of the following :-

                                                                                GREAT REAL ALE
                                                                               CONVIVIAL AND
                                                                GUIDE     GOOD COMPANY
                                                                             this is the place to be seen.
         The Hanging Gate Inn                                  Les has a frequent change of excellent guest ales and
                    Weaverham                                       knows how to keep them in top condition.
                  Tel: 01606 852146                                              TRY IT AND SEE.
Bents Garden and Home Centre, located in Glazebury, Warrington, was established in 1937. Since
then, it has grown considerably and now, as their web site says, ‘focuses on providing a fantastic service
in relaxing surroundings’ selling ‘exclusive, innovative and quality products’. So much so that the centre
was voted the Garden Centre Association’s (GCA) North West Best Garden Centre 2009, and they fol-
lowed this up by being chosen GCA’s UK Best Garden Centre 2009, a most prestigious accolade indeed.
During 2008, word started spreading that Bents were selling Real Ale in a Bottle (RAIB). After receiving
many reports from CAMRA members and friends, CAMRA North Cheshire Branch went to investigate and
found a treasure trove of RAIB. A large display featured bottles of Real Ale from three local breweries
(Dunham Massey, Frodsham (aka Station House) and Woodlands) and bottles from Three Bs brewery
near Blackburn. Part of the display can be seen in the background of the picture taken at the presentation.
In September, Bents received an unexpected
award when North Cheshire CAMRA made
them their RAIB Retailer of the Year 2009.
Presenting the certificate, CAMRA Branch Vice
Chairman Mike Thomson said how pleasing it
was to see Bents supporting the local micro-
breweries, enabling them to sell their products
in the local area, a job they find quite difficult
with the big Pub Groups owning most local pubs
and preferring to sell national brand beers.
So many congratulations to the Bents team.
Bents is well worth a visit, not just for the RAIB,
but also for your entire garden and home needs.                                                               27
Browse around, enjoy the restaurant and buy
your RAIB.
A word of warning though, the marvellous Christ-
mas display has reduced the shelf space for
specialist items such as RAIB.

                             Bents MD, Matthew Bent (right), receiving the 2009 RAIB Retailer of the Year
                                   certificate from North Cheshire Branch Vice Chairman, Mike Thomson.
     Helter Skelter Beer Festival                           Dining Out Inn CHESHIRE
     2009 saw the welcome return of the Helter Skelter      Stanley Arms, Anderton
     in Frodsham to the Good Beer Guide. Some of
     you may remember this pub in its former guise as       Known locally as the “Tip”, the Stanley Arms is
     Rowland’s Bar, but whatever its name it has long       slightly off the beaten track but the closest pub to
     been a bastion of real ale in the Frodsham area.       the Anderton Boat Lift, once described as one of
     This pub is going from strength to strength, with      the wonders of the modern world, now fully re-
     Oswald’s restaurant now open on the first floor,       stored and lifting & lowering boats between the
     a perennial provider of real cider as well as six      River Weaver and Trent & Mersey Canal.
     hand pumps serving great ale, and one of the first     Beer in here was John Smiths Bitter and Greene
     pubs in the Branch area to be awarded LocAle           King IPA both served very well, with the John
     accreditation for their support of beers from local    Smiths just having the edge over the Greene King
     breweries. Weetwood Best Bitter is always              (I never thought I’d hear myself saying that!).
     available at this pub, the rest change regularly and
     you can always see what is currently on and what       The pub has a large dining area to the rear with a
     is coming soon by looking at their website             lounge to the front of the pub and a public bar to .                     the right. There is an extensive beer garden with
                                                            excellent views of the Brunner Mond (old ICI)
     On August Bank Holiday                                 works!
     weekend, they took it to a
     whole new level, with the first                        For starter, I had the Black Pudding with a creamy
     beer festival for the new team;                        garlic mustard mayonnaise and salad at £3.95.
     a resounding success with                              This was very tasty, although the black pudding
     no less than 12 hand pumps                             was perhaps slightly overcooked (a common mis-
     being brought into action over                         take with this item in my
28   the weekend to serve an ever                           experience).
     changing selection of beer in                          Main course was battered fish, chips and mushy
     excellent condition. Such was                          peas at £6.95. A great British favourite. Very
     the success of this festival that                      tasty again, good wholesome food at a no-non-
     the local charity Frodsham Care Winter Beer            sense price. You will find better in other pubs, but
     Festival (not a CAMRA-run festival) that usually       generally pay twice the money for it, and in these
     takes place in the Church Hall will next year be       days of the credit crunch, the Stanley Arms
     taking place in the Helter Skelter from 7 to 9         makes eating out affordable once again.
     January 2010.                         Gary Chester                                            Gary Chester
About 5 years ago, if asked “Where is the best place to drink in Warrington?”, quite often the response
was Manchester, Liverpool or even Wigan!! How things have changed.
Leading the way clearly is Cheshire’s own Champion Pub, the Albion. Two years ago, when Mark and
Gillian Yates took on the pub words like “potential” were bandied about. How realistic was it to think of
the success it has achieved? From serving ice cold John Smiths cask (if you were lucky) prior to them
moving in; the cask range slowly developed over the first three- six months with work on the beer lines
and temperature control. Now you can expect to find five ever-changing beers plus a cider when you
visit. All we need now is the brewery to open.
Prior to the Albion, Church Street had been the place to
drink over the last decade. Whilst the range at the Bulls
Head has reduced from its peak, in its place has come the
Ring o’Bells. Recently awarded Cask Marque this pub now
serves five cask beers but unfortunately Trust Inns don’t
seem keen to promote LocAles in their pubs. Having said
that there are usually one or two interesting options as
guests making a trip there well worthwhile.
The Tavern on Church Street, up to about 6 months ago
offered an ever-changing range of 5 beers. This has now
increased to 8 and also offers very competitive pricing.
The beer range has, with the extra pumps, given more
opportunities for darker beers such as porter or stouts as well as pleasing ‘tickers’ with new beers.
Heading back into town the much mentioned Porters Ale House (see OIC 42 and 43) now has 6 beers             29
on hand pump often featuring local beers from Dunham Massey and beer prices well under £2 a pint.
There is quite often an interesting range of beers from further afield especially Oakham and Ossett.
Finally the Lower Angel, the original guest beer pub in Warrington now have 8 cask beers from a mix of
regional down to micro-brewers; especially good when beers from Thornbridge are on!!
So five pubs with up to 32 beers plus an improvement being seen in Friar Penketh (Wetherspoons) we
could have over 40 from 6.
Don’t think I’ll be heading north out of Bank Quay railway station in the near future!!

       The Ring o’ Bells Inn
             Northwich Road
                                                                REAL ALE
              Lower Stretton
                                                                     Is BACK!
                WA4 4NZ                                         Pool • Darts • Sports TV
             Junction 10, M56
                   North Cheshire
                   Pub Of the Year
            John and Sharlene                GUIDE

              welcome you
                 to their                                         RED LION
         Traditional Country Pub                                        Frodsham
                                                                    Tel: 01928 734419
                                                            CHAMPION PUB OF CHESHIRE
                                                            In the last Out Inn Cheshire we highlighted the
                                                            magnificent seven pubs nominated for this award.
                                                            In this issue we are pleased to announce the
                                                            winner is the Albion in Warrington.
                                                           When Mark, Gill and Kevin Yates arrived in
                                                           December 2007 much work was needed.
                                                           Cask beer was only occasionally available prior
                                                           to them moving in, but was so cold no taste could
                                                           be detected.
                                                           The first three to six months involved changing all
                                                           the beer lines and getting better
                                                           control of temperature but at least there were three
                                                           real ales now available.
                                                           Real cider was also introduced at an early stage
                                                           and has stayed ever since.
     The next stage was to move the pool room to the room next to the bar and the space vacated was
     converted into a reading room. Whilst creating a quiet zone the pub also increased its activities with
     live music on Saturday nights and on every second Wednesday of the month ‘Sons of the Desert’,
     the official international Laurel and Hardy appreciation society.
     As well as that the pub is a community focus for the Scott
     Street Carnival held every August.
30   Food hasn’t been forgotten with a good value range served
     Tuesday to Friday, all day breakfast Saturday (see food
     review) and its renowned Sunday roasts.
     Recent developments also include a visit by CityTalk FM and a
     web-site where you can see what beers
     are the bar and in the cellar. The Albion has also achieved
     LocAle accreditation and serves up to 5 real ales and a cider
     on hand pump.
     The long awaited brewery is also due soon with an official                      Toby the pub cat
     opening in January 2010.     >>>>
 >>> A special mention should also be given to         AND THE WINNER IS………!!
the runner-up, the Bull at Shocklach, again with
its own web-site .            Go in any pub, and the successful ones always
This pub, as well as offering an extensive range       seem to have a display of trophies for darts,
of good food, has made itself the centre of activity   dominoes, pub football teams etc.
for the village. In a time when many villages of       Imagine the surprise then one Tuesday night on
similar size of Shocklach no longer have a pub,        walking into the Tavern, the sight of a large
Jon and Lindsay Cox should be congratulated on         gleaming trophy to the back of the pub; the
reversing an unfortunate ever growing trend.           Rugby League Challenge Cup was on display.
                                                       Usually pessimistic
Add to that the other finalists; Harker’s in Ches-     Warrington fans
ter; the Borough at Crewe; Harrington Arms,            might have expected
Gawsworth; Plough at Houghton Green and                this to be the only
Weaver Weston Point and it confirms many pubs          sighting for the next
are in good hands. Make 2010 a year you visit all      20 years or so based
of these.                                              on recent history!!
The clocks have gone back,                              However on August
the nights are drawing in……..                           Bank Holiday week-
how do you fancy a bit of crumpet by the fire?!         end Warrington was
                                                        deserted as it
Tuesday night is toasting night at                      appeared that most
the Hare and Hounds in Crowton.                         of the population was
                                                        at Wembley.
The fires are lit, the beer’s good,                    The reason was the
the natives friendly……….                                final between
see you Tuesday just after 8?                          Warrington and
(Toast and fork provided – see Sheila at the bar).      Huddersfield;
                                                        one thing in common
                                                       - both good beer-
Dining Out Inn CHESHIRE -                               drinking towns.
                                                        One thing not in
The Albion, Warrington                                  common – the Cup
 Only available on a Saturday, the famous Albion        came back here!!!
“All Day” Almighty Breakfast had me intrigued.
 Not least because an advert said of the 10 am to
 5 pm availability “Ok, we know its not quite all                A new shop in Northwich
 day”. Still the 10 am start means that you can
                                                          specialising in beer and wine making.
 line your stomach with a good breakfast before
 embarking on a day of serious drinking, shopping            We offer advice and guidance
 or anything else for that matter.                                to help you get started
 Almighty is what it says. Two sausages, two            in this fascinating and absorbing hobby.
 rashers of bacon, black pudding, two eggs (fried
 or scrambled), hash brown, mushrooms and                Drop some hints to Father Christmas,
 beans or tomatoes. All supplied with a refilling             and he may just bring you
 toast rack and a mug of tea or coffee for just
                                                                 one of our starter kits.
 £4.35. And in case you don’t think that will be
 quite enough food to keep you going until lunch,        Everything you need in order to learn
 you can super size any of the menu items for just       more about the art of the brewer and
 45p, an offer of which I didn’t avail myself.           produce great tasting beers at home.
 Newspapers are available, together with an
 abundance of other reading material.
 Being a free house, there is always a great range
 of real ales on offer too if you’d rather have a
 beer than a tea or coffee. As it happens I decid-          Market Hall, Apple Market Street,
 ed to have an apple juice to get me started.                Northwich Cheshire. CW9 5BB
 Thoughtfully, someone had fermented it first –
                                                                  Tel. 07962 969494
 does this count as one of my five a day?
 A hearty and enjoyable breakfast – I didn’t need           or email
 to eat again until the evening. A recommended                  Open from 9am until 4pm
 start to a busy Saturday.        Gary Chester               Tuesday, Friday and Saturday
     CAMRA DIARY                                                      Trips; Andy Jameson, 01928 575175
     Sat 12 December; Christmas social, Central & East
     Manchester. Meeting at 12pm Marble Arch, Manchester. Branch info; Dave Gray 01925 727787

     CAMRA Members Investment Club
     It can be safely assumed that if you are reading Out Inn Cheshire that you like real ale (possibly love it!).
     But have you considered taking your interest a little further by actually owning the brewery whose
     product(s) you enjoy?
     The CAMRA Members Investment Club is the opportunity for you to put your money where your mouth
     is to achieve this ambition. The conditions are you must be a member of CAMRA and be willing to
     invest a minimum of £5 per month and a maximum £1000 per annum.
     Members subscriptions are invested in a wide range of breweries, some being
     quoted companies like Young's, and some unquoted like Black Sheep.
     The investments are managed by a democratically selected committee who
     meet every 3 months to review the portfolio and make changes as they
     consider appropriate. During the last 2 years they have met more often
     because of the financial turbulence in the markets. The portfolio is valued
     every month.
     If you wish to stop paying your subscription but leave in your investments –
     you can. If you want to withdraw your investment you can, based on the
     valuation at the previous month end.
     The whole portfolio was valued at the end of October at £8.4M. Remember
     your investment can go down as well as up.
     If you are interested in finding out more visit the web site

                           Award Winning Brewery and Shop

              Lady Heyes Craft Centre                         Wots @ the shop?
                                                              ·    Beer in bottles
                  Kingsley Road                               ·    Mini-casks
                   FRODSHAM                                   ·    Personalised bottles
                    WA6 6SU                                   ·    Brewery tours
                                                              ·    T shirts and glasses
                  01928 787917                                ·    Dispensers and stillage hire
                    for parties, weddings, etc
                       ·    Chats with the brewer
                                                              ·    And lots, lots more

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