The Out Inn CHESHIRE magazine is now available in your local pub or online. Issue 72 was published December 2016
Britain's original number-one, independent guide to good beer and good pubs. Reserve your copy now at CAMRA Shop
Besides Macclesfield, our branch includes Congleton, Holmes Chapel, Knutsford, Wilmslow and surrounding areas. Postcodes covered are CW12, CW4, WA16, SK9, SK10 & SK11 (in Cheshire).
Macclesfield Town Centre Real Ale Trail
The branch has recently published a useful guide to the centre of Macclesfield detailing 9 real ale outlets and listing all of the 13 others. It includes a map showing the location of the 9 pubs with short descriptions of each. Featured are the Castle, Waters Green Tavern, Treacle Tap, Snow Goose and Jolly Sailor around the area of the railway station together with the Wharf, Dolphin, Macc and Park Tavern a little further out. The Guide which is sponsored by the town's two brewers, RedWillow and Storm, can be downloaded by clicking here
The Albion Pub in Macclesfield has now been sold by Robinsons but they have removed and stored for safe keeping the historic vestibule half window. They hope to relocate in another pub in Macclesfield.
Autumn Pub of the Season: The Queen's Head Congleton
Our pub of the season is The Queens Head, Park Lane, Congleton – first pub off the train for visitors to the town. This pub has been on the fringe of greatness for a number of years, but the significant investment by owner Alan Tristan in the fabric of the pub and the accommodation ( for those who can stay over) and his recruitment of Linda as the manager has lifted the pub’s performance to a new level. The beer range is both steady (Joules, Bass, Green King, Black Sheep)and innovative (Front Row, Cottage, Tatton). Real cider is also served. The food offerings are good , as demonstrated by the hospitality on our presentation evening. This is a traditional pub where you can talk and debate on anything including politics and religion without fear of causing offence - well maybe a bit but with humour and genuine conviviality. The staff work hard and know their stuff. Competition is tough in the town but this pub is responding and continues to get better. it is a pub of yore and today and has earned our support. The picture shows Colin Bodimeade giving the award to Linda on the presentation evening of 2nd October.
Featured Pub: The Crown Goostry
The Crown at Goostrey re-opened its doors in September after a refurb and is now a free house though the building is still owned by Marstons. The pub is managed by Chris Jennings, formerly of the Church House, Bollington. Fears that a revamp would destroy the country pub atmosphere have not been realised but there have been subtle interior changes. The tap room has been partially opened up so that the pub is now actually one very large room, though there are subdivisions to retain some segregation. The old bar and lounge areas are little changed, but two notable improvements are the reinstatement of a real fire in the lounge and the exposing of the brick paved original flooring between bar and dining areas. Food is a vital selling point for the Crown and the pub is now open all day with food service from noon until 9pm (8pm Sundays). This does not destroy its potential for a casual drink and interestingly the management will only reserve dining seats for parties of six or more, thereby avoiding the daunting sight of almost every table saying reserved.
The welcome to non-diners is reinforced by six beers, five of them permanent and one monthly guest. Local breweries are at present represented by two Weetwood beers, and the intention is that future guest ales will also be from a Cheshire micro. Another local micro is featured in disguise with Bridgwood Bitter, a house beer from Mobberley Fine Ales named in tribute to long time former licensee Gerry Bridgwood, who died suddenly earlier this year. Concluding the beer summary, we would dare to mention that even the lager fonts feature unusual brands rather than the usual Stellas and Carlsbergs.
Any pub stands or falls by the quality of its staff, and the welcome received on a recent visit was warm and helpful from what is essentially a very young team. Even such old fashioned niceties as “straight glass or handle?” were observed by the bar staff. We wish them well and feel sure that the reinvigorated Crown will quickly become a jewel.
Featured Pub: Bulls Head Broken Cross
The Bulls Head, Broken Cross
is a traditional English pub rooted in the community. Licensees Judy and Martine took the pub over in December 2006 and since then have improved the facilities whilst retaining the warmth and character of a pub that appeals to a varied clientele of all ages. Over the years they have enhanced the look of the pub by introducing signage in keeping with the pub’s history, installing new windows, and developing a cosy beer garden.
There is a seating area adjacent to the bar, a larger quieter area that was originally a separate room, boasting a real fire in winter, and a small tap room with dartboard. The beer garden is furnished with picnic tables and attractive floral displays. The front facade is also decorated with floral baskets, currently planted with eye-catching red white and blue flowers for the Jubilee.
It is a Punch pub and holds the Cask Marque. Judy and Martine pick from Punch’s finest cask rotation list and the SIBA list of beers from local brewers, often taking advice from customers on which to choose. This ensures there is always a good selection of beers available from the three handpumps. Currently they don’t provide food
Apart from usual pub games such as dominoes and darts, locals can take advantage of the Book Swap facility, join the “Knit, Stitch and Bitch” group, held fortnightly on Tuesdays, or stretch their minds with the weekly Thursday Quiz Night. Or just enjoy a quiet pint and indulge in the traditional pub activity of putting the world to right with the regulars.
Opening hours are 4-12 weekdays (4-11 Tues and Wed), 12-12 Sat and 12-11 Sun.
Featured Pub: Robin Hood, Rainow
The threat to our rural pubs iswell known - closure by pub companies as ‘not viable’ (often then leading to change of use), then conversion to housing or the land sold, or pubs standing barred and empty, leaving village communities without a local. Using transport links in towns is comparatively easy with a bit of planning but many rural communities, even those close to towns, are poorly served by bus services,often cut due to ‘lack of use’. This means a pub in the village, especially for those who have no access to a car, is a vital link.
Rainow, only three miles from Macclesfield on the Whaley Bridge road, has only an hourly bus service at best, with a larger gap in the afternoons, even fewer on Sundays and nothing after 6.30pm at all. In recent memory the village had two pubs (the Rising Sun, the Robin Hood) and another in the hills above (the Highwayman). Sadly, only one of these is now a going concern. The Robin Hood has had several tenants in the last few years, who have all tried various strategies and changes to help sustain the pub (more food, accommodation etc). The latest manager (it is owned by a pub company) manages a small string of pubs (including the Piper in Chester) and has put the chef, Steve, in charge of the day to day running.
The main development during the last year is in the beer range, There are now 6 handpumps available, one regular (Black Sheep), two more from the pub company’s guest list (often some unusual and interesting beers), and three local beers- recently featuring Redwillow and Storm - all scoring well on recent visits. The accommodation (in a Barn Conversion across from the pub) has been refurbished and there is a wide range of good food available. There are occasional theme nights, bands and quizzes- all in all, Barry (the manager) and Steve and team are doing all they can to make the pub successful again.
One sunny afternoon (we do get them sometimes!) why not catch the bus from Macclesfield to Rainow, drop in on the Robin, then walk across the tops to the Poachers, or along Kerridge Ridge to the Vale (and try any other of the many Bollington pubs) and then catch the bus back to Macclesfield? Keep our rural pubs alive!
Use it or lose it !
WhatPub - the on-line pub guide for you
CAMRA, has launched its first ever national online pub guide – whatpub.com - to help the public
find the best pubs to suit their needs across Britain.
Following an extensive two year project by thousands of CAMRA volunteers, whatpub.com features 47,000 pubs, around 36,000 of which serve real ale – making the site the most definitive online guide to real ale in the UK.
Whatpub.com, automatically optimises for use on laptops, tablets and mobile devices, and offers over thirty different search fields ranging from dog friendly pubs to those that offer newspapers or live music, so you can customise the search for your own preferences.
Andy Shaw, CAMRA Director said “CAMRA has developed WhatPub to be the ultimate online pub guide for all pub-goers. It may even help encourage people who have stopped using pubs regularly, since WhatPub will help them find the ideal pub to suit their needs.”
WhatPub entries are written by local CAMRA members and approved by dedicated volunteers. A full entry offers a description and pictures of the pub, the address, opening hours, who owns it, lists the regular real ales they stock, states whether the pub offers Guest Beers, highlights the main features e.g. availability of food, gives a map of where the pub can be located, sat nav reference, OS reference and highlights local transport. Helpfully, of the 35,800 real ale pubs featured, around 22,000 have details of the real ales being served – taking the guess work out of a visit for real ale lovers.
WhatPub also allows CAMRA members to score the quality of the real ales served in the pub which helps CAMRA select entries for a number of local and national publications.
Mr Shaw commented on the entries, “WhatPub differs from many other pub web-sites which are based on details provided by the person who owns the pub, who may be a little biased!I would like to thank the thousands of CAMRA volunteers for their time and effort in submitting these entries. It is this process that makes WhatPub totally independent.” Mr Shaw concluded, “WhatPub has plenty more planned developments but we are very
proud of the web-site and CAMRA hopes everybody will enjoy using it.”
Also see the year event diary. Non-CAMRA events in italics. Confirmed events in bold. read more ...
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