15/12/11 – into the night. It’s all coming back to me now. Algy had heard that Oswestry microbrewer Stonehouse had a new ale out called Sunlander – a rare event as Stonehouse don’t churn out ales willy or indeed nilly like some brewers. In fact last time they brought an ale out was several years ago and as there’s only one pub in town that regularly serves Stonehouse beers, our next choice of venue was made easy. It was off down Eastgate st. to the Marlbororororough Arms (No. 56), previously visited back in early June. Although we left ‘the Vic’ in dribs and drabs, we all managed to get there – including Trevor and Jean, our new recruits. The Sunlander was fantastic and definitely enters the running for best beer of the CBP. We even had a group photo taken. I don’t have a copy and don’t even know who took it, but if it emerges, I’ll post it later. After ‘the Marlborororough’ some of our number had to get trains, so we headed towards the station. There was however just enough time for another swift one at, erm, Swifty’s or ‘the Cellar Bar’ (No. 45) to be precise. I can’t remember how many people we lost on the way. It was definitely er, some - but I can remember the ale when we got there. Most of us went for the frothingly retro Higson’s bitter – the famous olde scouse quaffing ale, now reincarnated under the Liverpool Organic label. Excellent it was too. One or two of the CBPers who are into nouvelle cuisine preferred the keg Köstritzer Schwarzbier though. Black lager. Indeed. I might suggest Mr. Mercer puts that on in ‘the Albion’ (No. 118) for ‘Christmas in the trenches’, his annual yuletide celebration which involves guests being bombarded by heavy artillery whilst wading round in waist deep freezing mud then contracting trenchfoot and frostbite. It’s not all gloom and doom though – far from it - they stop for a game of football and a singsong half way through the evening and eat tins of ‘bully beef’. Anyhow, back to ‘the Cellar bar’ and once again Swifty had an ace ‘turn’ on the bill. ‘The Spare Ribs’ are a sort of sister/brother nu-folk rock house punk type er combo or beat duo or summat. Anyhow they’re brilliant and put on a great show. The volume was perfect as well, as it was possible to enjoy the music and still have a conversation – albeit a very drunken conversation in our case. After a short while we had to split though. Some (like me) went home, some caught trains, some got lost and some went for an Indian (and more ale !). All in all it was a great night and a fitting end to the Chester Beer Project.
All that remains is for me to wish all of our followers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year - whoever you are ! We’ll be back in early January with some lists (I’ll explain) AND the eagerly awaited announcement of which boozer is to be awarded the coveted title of CBP PUB OF THE YEAR.
Please note that the landlord of the winning pub will be interviewed by former Chesterville MP and patron of the CBP, Gyles Brandreth on ‘the ONE show’.