Back In Map?

For those heading across to Macclesfield for beer related shenanigans that are not familiar with the area, my good mate @Tegteggers has produced this handy map which should give you a rough idea. If not, there should be plenty of folk to grab and follow about.

So that’s it, no more to be said, but please arrive and drink tasty beer!

*Saturday 13th September 2014*

Treacle Tap – 11am- 12:45

RedWillow Brewery – 12:50-14:45

Wharf 15 -17:15

RedWillow Bar 17-30 – 20:00

20:01 Feel free to circulate and do it all again..

The Wharf Macc Hardcore’s You

Last but by no means least in my round hop of what’s on for the BackInMacc tour tomorrow (Sat 13th September 2014), is one of my favourite pubs anywhere. Friendly local, music venue, community pub, beer geek heaven, it manages to pull them all off at one time or another, making it a must visit.


Chris in action at last years Twissup

As usual Chris Stairmand has pulled a series of extremely rat-arsed rabbits out of the hat, a tres continental sounding one at that in terms of what he has lined up for our drinking pleasure.

We have our new brewer in residence, James Bendall from Wrexham based Axiom Brewing, with his first beer to market New Dawn. A fine offering to start a commercial brewing career it is too and can quite easily stand alone, but to add to the intrigue tomorrow it’s planned to be served via a randall stuffed with hops yet to be revealed. A Welsh rarebit..


Mancunian with a southern hemispheric hint up next we have the delicious collaboration beer from Marble’s Matthew Howgate and New Zealander ex-pat James Kemp, who’ s collective talents created Howgate & Kemp New Zealand Pale Ale. Full-Product-Range-HowgateKemp

Continuing our transcontinental tour-de-biers we go all Soviet, via Nottingham’s Flipside Brewery, going dark and mysterious with their SIBA award-winning stout Russian Rouble, Da!RussianRoublePumpClip

Onward weary traveller to Europe, where we are set to meet some exceptionally special beers featuring brewers from Scotland, Denmark and of course Belgium. Beers that need no explanation to delight and amaze so I won’t bother, apart from to say, feast your eyes on these bad boys!!

T1_8438b5580d1ec292a9f2a5e9bd145515_84530pannepeutBoth will be available on keg of course rather than in bottles, with the Pannepeut being the 2013 Vintage rather than the version shown.

A truly knockout selection, with more on offer across the bar too. Step three of our beer adventure, The Wharf…

Another reminder to please like the Facebook page and if possible show you are coming along. If not for Twitter users you can tweet myself @filrd, @redwillowmacc, @thetreacletap, @thewharfmacc, or @tobymckenzie, or why not all of us at once. If none of that is your thing, like the post or comment below. But most of all, please share with your friends and come along for the day, all are welcome to join, itinerary again below with a little slack for walking etc.

The itinerary too for those who have missed it…

*Saturday 13th September 2014*

Treacle Tap – 11am- 12:45

RedWillow Brewery – 12:50-14:45

Wharf 15 -17:15

RedWillow Bar 17-30 – 20:00

20:01 Feel free to circulate and do it all again..

BackInMacc visit to RedWillow Brewery

No beer tour worth its salt doesn’t involve a brewery tour and as one of driving forces behind the event, Toby and Caroline agreed to host us again for a repeat of what was an excellent few hours last year.

None of the amazing pulled pork this time though I’m afraid, far too much to do in the brewery at the moment to allow time for a few hours of gentle pork massage.. ;)

ba937758522e76d4353df95ecb07e606_400x400But fear not, your need to soak up the beverages with some scrumptious nosh will be sated in most excellent fashion. We (well they actually), are firing up the barby. On that fiery cremater of all fine meats will be burgers from none other than @frostybutcher, aka Lee Horsley Frost of W H Frost and Sons, Chorlton. To house these delicious hunks of meaty goodness, we also have brioche rolls from Macclesfield’s own wonderful bakers Flour Water Salt, good enough to eat on their own. All topped, provided Toby has time to deconstruct his carrot and cabbage, delicious home made slaw. Deee-lish!!

fws_logoTo wash this down, of course we need some fine and tasty beer, something interesting to intrigue those taste buds and bring out their delightfully flavoursome secrets. In a weird stroke of luck, we have just that..

79f86de366a048bdab23bd882975c5bcFor a special one-off, never to sampled again treat, we have Andy Parker’s “Elusive Brewing”, who bring us their “Aged Pomegranate Lambic”, not to be missed.

Also getting its first ever outing is RedWillow’s own, “Rioja Barrel Aged Rhubarb Sour”, which has been maturing nicely, making it really smooth and fruity.

Don’t worry, there will be something a little less challenging for non-sour lovers too, this is to be decided yet, so fret not, you are catered for.

Basic CMYKIf the rain keeps off, this looks to be another really good session, informal brewery tours will be available for those who want them but generally its more of a welcome, come in wander around and have a beer approach, which was great fun last year.

All we need now is you, so a reminder to please like the Facebook page and if possible show you are coming along. If not for Twitter users you can tweet myself @filrd, @redwillowmacc, @thetreacletap, @thewharfmacc, or @tobymckenzie, or why not all of us at once. If none of that is your thing, like the post or comment below. But most of all, please share with your friends and come along for the day, all are welcome to join, itinerary again below with a little slack for walking etc.

*Saturday 13th September 2014*

Treacle Tap – 11am- 12:45

RedWillow Brewery – 12:50-14:45

Wharf 15 -17:15

RedWillow Bar 17-30 – 20:00

20:01 Feel free to circulate and do it all again..


RedWillow Bar announces beer list for #BackInMacc

P1020651Remember the name of the bar above, write it down on a piece of paper along with “get me home instructions” and shove it in your pants as an emergency reminder, as you may not recall even who you are after sampling this tippedy-top collection of beers put together by Toby & Caroline Mckenzie and their fine team at RedWillow Bar in Macclesfield for this weekends “Back-In-Macc” #Twissup event.

Hot off the presses this very afternoon, they promise a full tap list featuring one-off brews, limited editions and cask specials that even the trendiest of trendy central London bar dwellers would kill for. It’s as you would say, “Totes Craft”

We also hope to have brewers in attendance from Summer Wine, Cheshire Brewhouse, Five Oh Brew, Wharfebank, Quantum, OffBeat, Otherton, Axiom, Weird Beard, plus of course the RedWillow gang (maybe more), all milling about for a chat, IF you can drag them away from the bar…


Wild Beer Co/Burning Sky/Good George Brewing – Schnoodlepip, 6.5% Sour/Wild Ale  (Pink Pepper + Barrels + Passion Fruit + Hibiscus)

Buxton – Red Raspberry Rye, 4.9% Berliner Weisse with Raspberries

RedWillow – Gin & Tonic Saison, 4.2% Saison with Lemon Grass and Juniper berries (unfined)

Roosters – Baby Faced Assassin 6.0% IPA loaded with the American Citra hop

Quantum – Black IPA

RedWillow – Faithless 35, 4.9% continuously hopped with Cascade, it’s seriously hoppy but nicely balanced

Five Oh Brew Co – Hibiscus IPA *Exclusive brew for BackInMacc (one keg only)

Otherton Ales – East Indianman

Summer Wine – Mauna Kea IPA, 6.2% Hawaiian IPA Citra/Sorachi/Mosaic & 100kg of tropical fruits

Cheshire Brew House – B.A Govinda IPA, 6.8% English IPA made with Pale Malt and East Kent Goldings, White Wine barrel aged *Exclusive one-keg edition for BackInMacc 

RedWillow – Homeless

Camden – Unfiltered Hells Lager, 4.6% Hells Lager (that’s unfiltered)

Marble/Beermoth IPA, 7.2% A big and bold American style IPA  with a distinctive U.S hop character provided by a generous volume of Simcoe, supported by Columbus and Centennial hops.

Broad Oak – Vintage Cider (for one of your five a day)

Prosecco – (Non beery option)


RedWillow – Thoughtless Imperial Stout  9.4% Rich coffee with a hint of smoke and a long lasting bitterness, surprisingly drinkable. Note: One of only three casks anywhere, one is at the brewery ageing, the other is destined for a northern beery outlet..

Burning Sky – Devils Rest IPA, 7.0% Huge amounts of Simcoe & Centennial hops find their way into the kettle, with even more sneaking in post fermentation for a ‘proper’ IPA flavour.

RedWillow – Faithless 34, 4.2% Raspberry and Ginger Saison

Wharfebank/Broadford Brewer – Ro Sham Bo IPA, *Tri-brewer collab for BackInMacc

RedWillow – Headless, 3.9% Pale Ale

Rioja cask matured cider


This will be our final stop of the days events and I’m sure you’d agree, makes a suitable grand finale. More news on The Wharf, RedWillow Brewery visit, plus a full beer rundown and directions in the next 48 hours…..keep em peeled

Basic CMYKRedWillow Bar Macclesfield

Monday Closed
Tuesday 16:00 – 23:00
Wednesday 16:00 – 23:00
Thursday 16:00 – 23:00
Friday 12:00 – 24:00
Saturday 12:00 – 24:00
Sunday 12:00 – 22:30

15 Keg Lines, 5 Cask Lines, 50 Gins and some great food

32a Park Green, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK11 7NA

Runaway Brewery Treacle Tap Takeover

RB_smallAs you may recall me mentioning, one of this years BackInMacc aspirations was to try and get some of the newer start-up breweries involved, giving them an opportunity to show us what they can do, and of course for us a chance to taste something new. Runaway fit that bill perfectly having only being brewing commercially from June this year.

As a one-off special, the guys at the Treacle Tap are giving over all of their keg fonts to Runaway and are hosting a mini, “meet-the-breweresque” style event to kick off the days festivities in style. Nothing too formal, just a good selection of beers and a chance for a few words and after chat with at least one of the brewers.

Speaking of which, I asked co-owner Mark Welsby to pull me together a little snapshot of how things came to be to date, which is attached warts and all further below.

Beers available from Runaway on the day will be:

Runaway Pale Ale (4.7%)
Runaway IPA (5.5%)
Runaway Smoked Porter (6.0%)
(Plus maybe a few bottles of American Brown to sample too)
 Over to Mark:
“We’ve only been brewing commercially since June this year, but the beer on at the weekend will give people a good indication of the sort of thing we’re interested in brewing (and drinking) at the moment. Our Pale Ale and IPA are, I suppose, our interpretation of the American influenced style that a heap of breweries are brewing and, judging by our sales, are becoming pretty popular. Although both are based on bold hop flavours and aromas – the thinking behind them was to create two distinctly different beers. The Pale is intended to be crisp, citrus and refreshing, whilst the IPA more tropical and with a definite malt character to balance the hops to a degree. The Smoked Porter and American Brown Ale are the beers that excited us personally when coming up with our initial recipes, as both wannabe brewers and seasoned drinkers, plus both are influenced by our travels in the US and Germany. Although our beer is influenced by foreign styles, we brew it on a traditional real ale 5.5 barrel kit – and the way we brew comes very much from British brewing tradition. So we like to think the beer we’re making is modern and British in style.”
Runaway-Brewery-Group“As a quick potted history, The Runaway Brewery is two old school friends, myself and my old mate Darren. He and I both gave up our day jobs last year to set out on our little adventure (hence Runaway) to get away from the rat race and do something we could really get excited about, making beer! We’ve both been into beer for a long time, but had never brewed anything of note prior to taking the leap into microbrewing. We bought our kit second-hand from Bespoke Brewery down in the Forest of Dean (they were up-sizing) which we had adapted to allow us to make the sort of beer we wanted to make. We then set about designing and building a brewery around it, and ended up in a railway arch on the north side of Manchester city centre, dead close to a couple of other breweries (Marble and Blackjack) which has proved to be a big help to us.
So far, we’ve focused on brewing keg conditioned and bottle conditioned beer, as that’s what we enjoy brewing and drinking most at the moment. We’re excited by the diversity of flavours that keg beer enables us to play with as brewers, as well as the technical challenges it presents. That said we love cask beer too, it’s where our interest in beer stems from, so it’s certainly something we’ll think about brewing in future.”
Sounds good to me, more news to come, so keep em peeled, share the love and see you Saturday.

*Saturday 13th September 2014*

Treacle Tap – 11am- 12:50

RedWillow Brewery – 12:45-14:45

Wharf 15 -17:15

RedWillow Bar 17-30 – 20:00

20:01 Circulate and do it all again..

Hopping mad Shane Warns of the aged and fresh – #BackInMacc

Oooh, that title…(hides)

Just a little teaser of a couple of brews from Cheshire Brewhouse appearing at BackInMacc. One will be completely new, launched on the day, the other old and exclusive as the only kegged version available anywhere.

The first will be “John Barleycorn’s Green Hop Temptress” a fresh green hopped pale ale, fresh being the optimum word here, launched at Treacle Tap. The other is Shane’s Govinda 6.8% IPA, aged in white wine barrels, which will grace Toby Mckenzies RedWillow Bar.

Both paragraphs below are direct from Mr Swindells himself, who will be in attendance on the day at both venues, read on…

John Barleycorns Green Hop Temptress

10472593_681283431961182_1507826716037814613_nHarvest time is almost upon us with the hop bines bursting with fantastic British hops. I have decided that we have to release John Barleycorn’s Green Hop Temptress again in early September. This is a green hop beer, made with fresh English hops (Usually Golding’s) from Herefordshire. I will be collecting them, then driving straight back to the brewery and making this beer within 24 hours of them being picked. Therefore we promise a pale refreshing and unique beery experience, giving you the chance to try fresh green hop flavours in a beer that is only available for a few weeks each year.

We will be launching John Barleycorn’s Green Hop Temptress at The Treacle Tap at 11am on Saturday 13th September as part of the #BackInMacc Twissup

Govinda Brewed for Wood Ageing


Following the success of our Gyle 100 release of Govinda IPA, our homage to the classic and only true IPA style of beer, the “British (English) IPA”. I have brewed it again, (Gyle 145) but will be ageing over 1/2 of the batch in oak casks that I bought from the last Master Cooper in England, Alastair Simms of The White Rose Cooperage in Wetherby Yorkshire.

800 bottles of this very special English IPA made only with Pale English Malt and the Finest whole Flower East Kent Golding hops will be released at the end of November 2014 to a select few independent bottled conditioned real ale outlets in Cheshire and wider in the UK.


 It’s all sounding rather good, plenty more to come too, spread the word

Cheers all

“The East Indiaman Story” a guest post by David Shipman for #BackInMacc

IMG_20140728_163229327If I look back on the stories I have, or could have, told over the last two years or so, I’d probably have to start all of them along the lines of “It started over a beer”.  This is no exception.  It’s a story in its own right, but really its just a chapter in a longer story that isn’t yet complete.  But it is becoming a significant chapter.  Enough though of the self-serving prelude.  Let’s get this tale on to the Friday night in the first half of 2014 where this actually begins.

It started over a beer.  A beer in a brewery as it happens, but that isn’t entirely relevant.  A beer in a brewery one Friday night, where I was enjoying the rare pleasure of chatting with Phil Hardy.  I should point out that the pleasure is rare because we don’t cross paths often enough, not because Phil is only occasionally a pleasure to chat with.  I’m digressing.  You may need to get used to it.

Roll back the clock further to June 2013 and I was otherwise engaged when what started innocently as the now [surely] infamous “Macc Twissup” took place.  The simple concept of a bunch of tweeters and bloggers  meeting for drinks in a given town, and enjoying a few establishments of note, was taken to a new level.  The effort Phil, and those who supported him, put in to creating a day with treat after treat for the faithful was by all reports a massively well-received and successful event.  Don’t trust me on that – I wasn’t there – but seek out the reports of others who were…

Back to that Friday night in 2014 and Phil was beginning to tell me all about his plans for the  sequel.  By this stage in the tale I must have been onto about my third pint, and I expect anyone reading this is too, either that or they’ve given up already.  But we’ve only just begun, and so had he.  Rather than it just having been a one-off twissup, the plan was to make this a regular event.  Annual perhaps.  And why not?  Unfortunately by this stage the timing was such that the start of June was out, and the rest of that month, plus July and August, were pretty well sewn up with a glut of rather notable events.  September presented a chance to sneak something in though, and so that was the plan.

The date wasn’t the only change on the cards though.  Even despite the added extras Phil managed to coordinate last year, the idea of “just” having another twissup wasn’t enough, and to be fair wasn’t going to make this anything more unique than other events happening round and about, other twissups locally and further afield.  So Phil told me of his plans for “Back in Macc”.

At that early stage it was still a concept.  But a great concept.  Especially, it seemed, for me.  A showcase for new and upcoming breweries.  Talented homebrewers.  New startups.  Fresh shining brewing stars.  And, what, sorry?  Me?  You want to include me?  Well flattery gets you everywhere.  But why me?  Maybe some background is in order.

"I've brewed for a few years now" - The evidence

“I’ve brewed for years now” – The evidence

I’ve brewed for a few years now.  Not as often as I’d like, but as often as I can.  I’ve made some beers I like.  I’ve made quite a few more that other people like far more than me, but I’m a perfectionist.  I can fault most of them in one way or another, even those I like.  But the feedback has always been good and pretty positive in almost every case.  Obviously there have been some disasters, that is all part of the development process, but the number of beers to be rapidly recycled through the waste water services of Severn Trent are actually minimal.  Only one full batch has ever gone that way so far, along with a few iffy bottles.  More recently, opportunities have arisen which have allowed me to play at brewing on a wider stage.  I’ve been incredibly blessed by contacts in the brewing world through my small involvement in a certain Beer Bash in an equally alliterative Midlands city.

Dave in his more familiar guise as "Grand Master of the Bash"

Dave in his more familiar guise as “Grand Master of the Bash”

As a result I got the opportunity to visit Blackjack in Manchester in the autumn of 2013 to re-brew what I think was a moderately successful American Pale Ale recipe that I home-brewed earlier that year.  And so came about the first commercial collaboration brew I can lay claim to.  This was followed in December by a second brewery collaboration that brings me full circle back to where I was standing talking to Phil.  Or rather listening to him being much less long-winded than I am currently.

bjb-web-593x363So, I needed a beer (well, it was a long-winded conversation after all!) but more importantly I needed to brew one, not just drink it.  In time for a September event.  Homebrewing probably wasn’t enough, it felt like it really needed to be commercially available at the time.  I can’t for the life of me remember right now if Rob, from Blackjack, was standing with me at the time or if I pitched the idea to him later, but somehow an agreement was reached that I’d return to Manchester to brew, and this wasn’t just a collaboration that boosted the ego of a two-bit home brewer, but a genuine cuckoo brew.

The idea gained momentum, in my mind at least.  What to brew?  Dust off the APA again?  No, it needed to be something new.  What about another homebrew I’ve been pleased with?  Hmm, nothing is jumping out at me. I’ll tell you what.  Let’s take the same concept of the last beer I brewed at home, the one that got infected and was an unmitigated disaster.  One that I therefore have so far not managed to get any reliable track record for (for the purposes of discussion I count having done it once successfully as having a reliable track record).  Let’s take that concept, go back to the basics of what I want to come up with, and rock up at the brewery one morning without a complete plan how it is actually going to be achieved.

IMAG0083What of the concept then?  I wanted an IPA that had plenty of character but managed to achieve it with all-English hops.  A robust body with a strong hop presence.  Not lip-curlingly bitter; I wanted the hops to be all about the finish rather than punching you in the face before you start.  As I walked into Blackjack on the brewday I had a few thoughts on what malts and hops might work, and an idea of the sort of strength to aim for, but that was it.  The plan evolved – malts had to be decided on before we could get down to mashing-in, obviously, but the hopping could, and did, follow after.  Just-in-time brewing I guess!  So, the grist developed quickly, with a good dose of pale malt supplemented by something darker to get towards the deeper copper colour I was looking for, and to impart some extra flavours; this was achieved by a fairly small amount of dark crystal malt, balanced by wheat and cara malts to provide extra body.

I already had two hops in mind – First Gold and Admiral – which both feature high in the list for intensity amongst the English varieties.  Keeping an open mind though a rustle through the hop store brought Summit to my attention.  There was an appealing fruity aroma which fitted perfectly and so the decision was made to use a combination of all three.  A bit of Admiral at the start of the boil to get the desired bittering, and a goodly quantity of all three combined late on – half 5 minutes before the end of the boil and half 10 minutes later.  The hop selection seemed to be well vindicated judging by the sample taken during the transfer to the fermenter with a good fruity aroma and flavour showing through.  And that’s how I had to leave it.  It’s slightly strange leaving your beer in someone else’s care like that but needs must.  The next time I was going to see it, it would be handed to me across a bar!

It was about three weeks later that the moment finally arrived.  The beer had been at the Craven Arms in Birmingham for a week or so, but I managed to time walking in with the freshly collected pump-clip down to perfection, as I was handed a sample glass that had quite literally just been drawn through.  Time for the first taste!  It was a pleasingly robust colour, and the solid body I had intended to achieve was all there.  Enough bitterness to enjoy without being overwhelmed, and yes, as planned a nice fruit finish, a little subdued but very definite.

Since then I’ve followed East Indiaman to a number of other pubs and festivals, and it has been an interesting experience to learn how different cellaring techniques and timings have affected a single batch of one beer.  It has given me good appreciation of what care and attention the beer most benefits from, at least while young.  It will be interesting to see how some of the casks which will have had the benefit of much longer conditioning in the brewery fare as well.  And to see how the kegs compare.

c57c9518db1e2b00c6b01940013c9149So, when this batch has all gone, what next?  Well there’s some discussion been had about brewing a further batch, and while I want to make some tweaks I am generally quite happy with where this recipe has ended up.  In the meantime another rather exciting offer has landed that could see a turn to something slightly more continental, making best use of facilities geared up to kegging.  Beer number two is definitely on the cards for Otherton in the coming months!

For now, here we are (nearly) Back in Macc and this first batch of East Indiaman gets one of only three outings in keg.  I’ll get what is almost certainly my first sample in that format, and I’m naturally hoping it works out.  I’m pretty sure I’ll get some direct feedback regardless!  So come along to what promises to be a marvelous event, say hi, have a taste, and be gentle!  See you there!!