Macc To Basics – Route and Timings #Twissupdate

twissupReeto! It is now officially Macclesfield Twissup Eve…

I’ve been up against it today time wise, so apologies that this is a little later than planned. Below is basically a rough timetable for the day, but as always nothing is carved in stone, especially this year. So expect a leisurely wander, to great places with lovely folk, drinking ace beer.

All timings are approximate and all beers listed as being on are subject to change; as beer sometimes can be unpredictable. This is a quick rundown, a snapshot if you will, of some of the beverages that await you…

*Saturday 22nd August 2015*

Our first stop, Treacle Tap is easy to find. Walking out of Macclesfield train station, turn left down the bank onto Sunderland Street (No 43), the bar is 2 minutes walk and is on the right hand side, walking away from the station as you look at it.

Treacle Tap – 11am-12:45

Marble Brewery tap takeover, informal meet the brewer session. Great North Pie Co “Breakfast Pie.

RedWillow Brewery – 12:45-14:45

Faithless XLV, a New Zealand Hopped Brett IPA mini-launch. Faithless 44 Dry Hopped Pilsner, Directionless (or Wreckless tbc). Toby Mckenzie cremating meat.

(Gunco Lane)

The Wharf 15-16:45

Cellar aged Cheshire Brewhouse “Smokehouse Porter” (12 months), and Anarchy Quiet Riot IPA (a little less). Further cask and keg offerings.

(107 Brook Street)

RedWillow Bar 17-00 – 19:00/till late

Roosters Baby Faced Assassin, Salopian Kashmir, Mikkeller Crooked Moon and many, many more…

(32a Park Green St)

Brewtique – Bottle Bar and Taphouse 11AM – 11PM (all day) then general wanderings from RWB roughly 19:00 onwards

Four keg taps, full bottle menu. Lots of SOURs, see here.

(8 Market Place)

To confirm this is not a ticketed event, anyone can come along. It would be great if you can join us for the whole day, but if not you should find us in the vicinity of the venues at the above times. Share the love using the #MaccToBasics hashtag on twitter, have fun.

See you at 11am in The Treacle Tap, I have a hot date with a breakfast pie..



Thursday was a bit of a milestone in my “Belgian Beer Challenge” mini-quest, to find all 100 beers as I reached beer number 60. This was Potteloereke by Huisbrouwerij Sint Canarus. I’d not come across this beer before nor any others from Sint Canarus and perhaps that’s not surprising considering the quote from their website:

“Homebrewery Sint Canarus, the biggest brewery between Deinze and Gent, is one of the smallest breweries in the world.The smallest brewery, but the greatest beers! Enter the world of Dr Canarus.”

First off, great label!

Potteloereke is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, when poured it is a deep rich redish auburn colour, with a thick creamy cappuccino head, minus the obligatory coffee bean stencilled in cacao powder.

The aroma is of fresh doughy bread, it draws you in like the smell as you pass a good bakery, some Christmas pudding fruitiness there too, that smell is gooood.

First mouthful of taste is warm doughy and very malt driven, a real full chewy mouthful, slightly syrupy in taste but not in texture. As the beer warms and opens up a little you get some sherry, dates, boozy soaked fruits with chocolate and toffee. Finally, the long warm finish really lets you savour the reassuring kick of booze at the back of the throat.

Although it’s a seriously malty beer, it does have sort earthy hop terroir if that makes sense. Nothing that hits you full on, it delicately mingles in the background to balance everything out nicely.

After having the usual Twitter chat about Potteloereke with a few Belgian beer enthusiasts it seems Sint Canarus have quite a few more beers in the portfolio, if this is anything to go by I’d say they are definitely worth the effort.

Thanks to Tomas Danko for the Ratebeer link below.

I am interested in the actual brewery though, has anybody been to visit?

If so drop me some photos (or comments) and I’ll add them in here as an update.!/TomasDanko/status/121159106303238144


Please sign the petition in support of #7POINT5 which unfairly targets high strength beers:

#7point5, what’s that all about?

Please sign the Government petition against unfair taxation on beers over 7.5% ABV, click HERE

Lymestone Brewery, Brown and Green on tour..

We were lucky enough to be invited to a tour of the Lymestone Brewery in Stone last night and boy was it was something special. Why you may ask, if you’ve seen one micro brewery you’ve seen them all?

Well it was all about the P’s, no not the Bees although they do feature, I’m talking about Pride, Passion and People.

The event was organised by the owners of local artisan food delicatessen, Brown & Green and by invitation I think totally through Twitter. Open though to anyone following them and who enjoys and embraces what they are trying to do. (Susie may put me right on that).

To tell you the little I learned on the journey to Lymeston, Brown and Green started as an add on to an existing Strawberry farm in Gloucester. Owners Susie and Euan wanted a small outlet in which to sell their produce, also to support other local producers in the immediate area. A small area was leased in a local garden centre and was very successful. From then they were encouraged to take a leap of faith and open another much larger store of their own on the Trentham Gardens estate, which then expanded to yet one more in the Derby area. All operating with the same ethos, of getting fantastic local produce available in one place. Enter Lymestone Brewery as a producer of local ethical ales..

Ian (Brad) Bradford is a brewer and he loves it, you can tell by watching him and listening to him speak. He was head brewer at another local brewery Titanic for some 18 years before he too took the leap of faith and decided along with wife Viv that he wanted a brewery of his own, where he made the decisions and succeeded or failed by them. So in July 2008 Lymestone Brewery was born.

On arrival at the brewery we were met enthusiastically by Brad and Viv and urged quickly to go straight into the bar room where three beers were on tap for us to try, Stone Faced, Stone Cutter and Lymestone Cowboy which was my personal favourite on the night. No service here (no complaints either), it was “there’s your glasses”, “there’s the pumps”, “get stuck in”!!

Now for anyone who has ever beer to an event where Twitter has played a major part, it was one of those awfully embarrassing periods in the beginning, where you realise that “I know that person”, but arrghhh I only know their Twitter name so you have to introduce yourself as @filrd etc as you are mingling. The beer helped particularly well at this stage….

First drink sorted, pleasantries exchanged and the evening began in earnest where sat in the cavernous brewhouse Euan was bravely nominated by Susie, to thank us for attending and tell us a little about who they were, what they are doing and their hopes for the future. He also explained how people like Brad & Viv and even the folks in attendance all play a significant part in them realising their dream for Brown and Green.

Up step Brad and Viv, who in similarly passionate style detail how and why they set up Lymestone, their story, the history of the brewery in this location dating back to 1889, what they hope to achieve and how both parties interact to realise similar ambitions by helping eachother. We were then treated to I would say the most detailed and heartfelt explanation of brewing I’ve had in my experience, Brad & Viv as I said earlier clearly love what they do and that really comes across as you watch them speak, there’s just an excited buzz about the whole thing. Second Drink Break.. 🙂

Second session was in the brewing room, where as you’d expect it was explained how everything works, timings, volumes etc. I won’t witter on about this too much except to say that you really should visit yourself to experience it, great people, loads of knowledge delivered in a fun and enjoyable style.

Tour over, questions asked but that wasn’t the end, next was another top up of course and then foodie heaven, a buffet of fantastic local foodie treats from Brown and Green had been laid on for us all .

Uber tasty morsels including Shropshire Blue and Aged Red Lecester cheeses, firecracker and venison salami, Hand made pork and chicken pies, scotch eggs, the biggest and the biggest, tastiest hand made sausage rolls you’ve ever seen to name but a few..

As you can probably imagine a good night was had by all and sadly long after our transport was due we said farewell to Lymestone.

Just to close, taking aside the generosity and hospitality of our hosts that is clearly evident and going back to the P’s, It was a real privilege and a true pleasure to spend a particularly pleasant evening with people positively passionate about their products..

A big thanks to Euan, Susie, Brad, Viv and Jules for a superb evening, great to meet you and everyone else that attended, here’s to the next, Cheers

P.S I’ve just realised that I mentioned Bees earlier in this post, that is because Lymestone has it’s very own apiary on the brewery’s roof consisting of 5 hives. From this Brad has created a honey beer called Stone Brood, made with Lymestone’s very own honey. I’ve bought a couple of bottles to try, they are available though at Brown & Green so go get some before they buzz off…

Stone Brood 4.4% ABVUp on the roof of the Lymestone Brewery, the Lymestone bees have been busy making the sweetest honey from local fields and gardens. Literally stung into action, Brad the Brewer has created this rich, dark beer from the Lymestone bees honey and the finest chocolate malt. Velvety chocolate gives way to a balanced bittersweet finish. Easy drinking and very moreish.

If you enjoyed reading this post then please spread the love, Facebook share it, RT on Twitter or send on by email. I’d love to hear your comments and shared experiences too in the comments section of this page. Cheers Phil

Gadds (Ramsgate Brewery) – Common Conspiracy

It’s been a bit of a lean time around old Burslem town recently in terms of me coming across anything new that really stood out beer wise. Yes there’s been the ever reliable favourites Oakham Citra, Thornbridge JaipurKipling and of course Burslems own Titanic Brewery range.

We’ve also had some really big heavyweights, with Coastal Brewery’s Erosion and Titanic Wreckage hitting the spot, but with both coming in at around the 8%ABV they are late night finishers generally rather than great session beers.

This changed last night when I sampled a new guest beer in The Bulls Head for the first time, it was Gadds or Ramsgate Brewery’s Common Conspiracy.

It’s described as a Californian style Pale Amber Ale at 4.8%ABV, further reading the morning after revealed that it is based upon a California Common Ale, something I have to confess I’ve not heard of before. If you want to read more about it, check out Ramsgate’s Head Brewer Eddie Gadds brewblog, where he explains the styles origin and how he recreated it here in the UK, by following this link.

The beer itself is amberish in colour and has a creamy foam head that lasts long into the pint. It has an aroma of malty caramel with light tropical fruit lingering in the background. The taste though sees a role reversal with the fruit in much more dominance, with sweet tropical fruit and tangerine, less of the caramel without losing it completely and gentle hops in the finish.

This is a really easy drinking beer with lots of flavour, I liked it so much that I had a night off from my normal flit around the guest section and stuck to this all night. That to me speaks volumes..

I’m popping back tonight in hope that there’s some left, if you’re in the area The Bulls Head is in the centre of town at 14 St Johns Square, Burslem, Stoke On Trent, ST6 3AJ.

For those less fortunate Gadds beers are available on the web via Ales By Mail, I’m not sure Common Conspiracy was bottled but at this standard there’s surely more worth trying.

De Halve Maan Brewery

An essential activity for any beer loving visitor to Brugge has to be the brewery tour of De Halve Maan, the only remaining family brewery in the city.

It’s a brilliant little tour and well worth the measly six Euros per person, which incidentally includes a free beer from the range at the end in the courtyard or cafe.

Still in it’s original building located in a quiet area of town but no more than five minutes from the main tourist drag, you could quite easily miss the brewery in it’s peaceful setting in a small cobbled square.

From the outside (at least from the street level), the only sign you’ll see is the half moon plaque on the wall next to a stone archway. Through that archway is a small courtyard with tables and chairs for alfresco drinking Belgian style, with a small outside bar too for warmer days.

The site is quite an amazing mix of old and new, on entering the visitor centre and brewery restaurant is bright and modern, with stylish menu’s and smartly dressed staff serving beer and quality Belgian (beer related) dishes.

It’s in the brewery itself though that the magic starts, you are led from the ground floor through a series of rooms where old meets new, the new brewing equipment being made to fit the existing building whilst still accommodating the historical parts for tourists.

Be aware though that this is definitely not for those with walking difficulties or folk scared of heights. The tour takes you up four floors on a series of varying staircases and extremely steep metal industrial type steps eventually emerging on the roof, here you have panoramic views of the city which is a sight to behold. Of course what goes up, also has to come down…

I must mention our guide Madeleine, at first I thought “what a miserable so & so” and “that this was going to a barrel of laughs”!

What a mistake, she was brilliant. I hope she wouldn’t mind me saying but Madeleine reminded me of a female Jack Dee, extremely knowledgeable and happy to answer questions, but delivering line after line of dead pan wit.

Of course the most important thing is, the beers great too…

Suke Quto Coffee IPA – The Kernel Brewery 6.5%

There has been a certain buzz about “The Kernel” for a while around the beer and beer blogging world, Tweets on Twitter, Facebookers posts etc, all singing the praises of a small craft brewery based somewhere in the arches of South East London.

I made contact with Evin the brewer a while back, asking who if anyone stocked his beer in the Midlands and further north and his answer was almost no one, not because of a desire to keep this for those lucky southerners only, purely down to the ability to meet demand. (There are a few exceptions, listed later)

So, before I go on to talk about the wonderful beer (as you can tell, I liked it), take a look at this short video, it’s short and simple but still manages to give you a clear insight into a true craft brewery. The love care and attention to detail involved in getting something special in your glass, even down to the hand stamped and placed labelling, in short someone passionate about what they produce.

The name Suke Quto Coffee IPA, is based a on coffee cooperative hailing from the Ethiopian district of Oromia, this beer being born out of a collaboration between The Kernel Brewery and Square Mile Coffee Roasters.

As a concept, coffee in an IPA is an interesting one and not something that I have come across personally before, coffee and beer together I’d normally expect being associated with stouts and porters. Nevertheless something about this idea intrigued me enough to choose this to be my first experience of ever tasting a Kernel beer..

Appearance wise, first off I love the bottle branding, it’s simple and instantly recognisable, I love it more after seeing how it is hand produced bottle by bottle..

When pouring the beer you get the first smell of the lovely hops to come, I personally did not get any real sense of coffee here although others before me have, in the glass it is a hazy orange brown with a lazy bubbling head. Taking another good sniff  the result again is all hops for me, like brushing past fresh nettles, a lovely spicy herb smell.

Tasting brings more surprises as the subtle coffee notes sneak up on you in three distinct stages..

The first mouthful, hmmm nice quality IPA as you’d expect but where’s the coffee, quick swirl around the mouth, oh there it is understated with hops battling for attention, then swallow and WHOOSH, you get the big roasted bitter coffee finish with length that leaves you with an aftertaste of expresso and spicy hops long after you’ve finished drinking.

Verdict, it’s subtle but complex too, in short, bloody marvellous, I can’t wait to try more…

You can get in touch or learn more about the other fantastic sounding beers currently in The Kernel Brewery range on their website, Facebook and Twitter pages:


The Kernel Brewery Facebook page

The Kernel Brewery Twitter

Finally, I sourced the Kernel beers from Beer Merchants (who also have Facebook and Twitter pages), they are also available at the brewery on Saturdays and at the variuos outlets here.