We aim to bring you a stand out pub
and a tempting beer or two every month.
Mainly they will be from the North West of England, North Wales or Shropshire and now and again Yorkshire. The pubs will always feature cask ales and the beers will generally be on cask, with occasional bottles or cans.
We launch this page while in the second English lockdown, so first bring you a short selection of beers available on draught or bottles from some of our favoured brewers. There’s a mixture of online, click & collect and direct delivery across Cheshire, Wirral, North Wales and Shropshire.
Peerless Oatmeal Stout (5%abv)
Peerless offers this comforting full-bodied black and easy drinking stout as a perfect antidote to a dark and stormy November lockdown night.
Lots of oats give a rich and smooth mouthfeel. Dark malts provide a deep backbone with toffee and caramel tones with sweetness to balance the bitterness from roast malts. The bottled version of this beer was judged SIBA Overall Champion Bottled Beer for the North West for 2015. Also awarded Gold (Best Stout) in the CAMRA Champion Beer of Britain, North West Regional heat. At a tasting session in the brewery, Roger Protz said: “There’s chocolate and coffee with molasses notes on the aroma and lovely expresso coffee notes in the mouth.” Simply gorgeous.
Big Hand Super Tidy Pale Ale (4.0%abv)
Big Hand ales have become known as easy-drinking, quaffable, ales around Cheshire and North Wales in the five years since launching in Wrexham. Brewer/owners Dave and Andy believe that beer imbibing should be fun with friends – so they have avoided the extreme, often very hoppy brews, favoured by some emerging brewers.
This light coloured brew fits that profile; good British style pale ale with pale malt and gentle hops at a drinkable, moderate, strength. There’s gentle sweet lemon and floral aromas before a light fruitiness in the mouth leading to a crisp and clean bitterness which lingers pleasantly, without knocking the taste-buds out for the evening.
Ends/ref: Big Hand Super Tidy
Stonehouse Zaffir (4%abv)
This beer from Stonehouse began life as Zephyr, but had to change due to an earlier trademark registration on the moniker by another brewer. Never mind, Stonehouse boss Shane Parr simply renamed it Zaffir, which sounded close. Another name for cobalt oxide – a blue colouring agent - the label is metallic blue, so there you are. Shane sought the help of the Yakima Valley to source newish US hops Pekko and Ekuanot for this one.
These are gentle floral and citrus style hops, so this is not mega-hoppy, in-your-face beer - not the Stonehouse style. It is a very smooth drinking tipple with delicate hints of citrus and light tropical fruits to bring a bit of sunshine into the lockdown gloom.
Spitting Feathers Empire IPA (5.2%)
Spitting Feathers, located on a working farm near Chester, was named for the northern idiom for ‘blinking thirsty’ - or similar- and has produced a raft of very drinkable ales since inception in 2005.
These days it can be quite hard to know what to expect from an IPA (India Pale Ale). The new wave craft brewers both in the US and UK have played around with the style so much there is now a cornucopia of versions, often interpretations of the newly emerged New England or West Coast IPAs.
Here though, the clue lies in the name; this is a British style brew that you may possibly imagine making its way to the exotic East under sail on a long and stormy sea journey, destined to refresh the taste-buds of our very blinking thirsty colonials.
With a delicate, slightly grassy hop aroma it is a light amber colour beneath a foamy, creamy, head which lingers enticingly down the glass. There’s gentle toffee and biscuit notes from the balancing malts against the hoppy, orangey, fruitiness - but not overt – moving quickly into a rounded, very moreish bitter finish. Very, very, drinkable, but ooh, do go steady.
Available by delivery direct from the brewery, see www.spittingfeathers.co.uk