Flying Horse first past the post

(L to R) Landlord Ben Boothman, bar manager Jon Hudson and assistant bar manager Lucy Jones.

Twenty years of building a business has put a Rochdale pub in the winners’ enclosure as it is judged Greater Manchester’s Pub of the Year.

The Flying Horse adjacent to Rochdale’s magnificent Town Hall was in need of Ben Boothman’s vision when he took it over. Trade at the site started in 1691, but it endured a spell renamed as The Sports before he took the reins. Ben could see the potential to transform the town centre building to provide a destination for drinkers, diners and overnight visitors, as well as an ambition to become the town’s premier free live music establishment. But a long-term commitment to providing the very best real ales underscored his efforts.

Ben is well-known in amateur rugby league circles as he combined turning out in the green and gold colours of Rochdale Cobras alongside his work at the Flying Horse. It’s a real family success as mum Pat has supported Ben throughout, taking charge of the functions as well as finding time to run a popular outside catering business, Quirky Catering. The pub is also a vital supporter of town centre initiatives including Rochdale in Bloom and the recent Feel Good Festival.

Recognised by the Rochdale, Oldham & Bury branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) as its pub of the year for the last two years, the Flying Horse first made the Good Beer Guide in 2002. The pub’s growing success saw a doubling in size of its real ales to twelve handpumps, with traditional ciders, craft keg and a selection of foreign beers making it a drinkers’ delight.

CAMRA’s regional director Graham Donning said: “The Flying Horse represents all that a well-loved pub should be. It is supported by its regulars, and attracts visitors for its beer, food and accommodation offers. It has adapted to changing social patterns, but at its heart is a landlord whose commitment to real ale makes the Flying Horse a worthy winner.

“Last year, our regional winner was just pipped at the post, gaining runner-up in the national Pub of the Year. I’m not a betting man but I’m confident this pub will be neck and neck in the final strides!”

The Flyer, as locals call it, lined up against seven other exceptional pubs nominated by the Greater Manchester branches of CAMRA. An expert team of volunteer judges drawn from the 9,400 members in the region visited unannounced and evaluated the qualities of each. They scored the pubs on a variety of weighted features including quality of welcome, value for money, community focus and – most importantly – the quality of beers and ciders.

Regional judging coordinator for CAMRA, Caroline O’Donnell added: “Our judges gave points for the knowledgeable and welcoming service, condition of real ales and ciders, and the innovative use of a digital display board showing beers and tasting notes. Most commented on the building’s interesting features and the lively and friendly atmosphere. It’s great that The Flying Horse champions local breweries, especially the excellent brewers in Rochdale.”

Ben Boothman is thrilled with the award. He said: “This success is down to a fantastic team, headed by my bar manager Jon Hudson. We all share a belief that happy customers will tell everyone about their good experiences. And I’ve been helped by our suppliers and breweries who consistently provide customers with the best food and drink.

“I’m proud of our welcoming atmosphere and delighted the judges mentioned this in their assessments. Keeping and serving our traditional beers and cider in tip-top condition is a matter of personal pride, so it’s fantastic to be recognised as the regional winner.

“I’ve wanted to see Rochdale recognised as a great town for beer choice, and I’ve enjoyed strong support from the local CAMRA branch. There’s a lot of history associated with Rochdale but it has a great future too.”

CAMRA will be presenting the award to Ben at The Flying Horse on Thursday 23rd August at 7.30pm.

Notes

1. Each branch decides its pub of the year, and the regional winner is drawn from these. In 2018 the finalists were:

  • Wigan Central WN3 4DY (Wigan branch)
  • Blue Bell Inn, Levenshulme M19 3HF (Stockport & South Manchester branch)
  • The Brink M3 3BQ (Central Manchester branch)
  • The Flying Horse, Rochdale OL16 1NJ (Rochdale, Oldham & Bury branch)
  • Old Packet House, Altrincham WA14 1LW (Trafford & Hulme branch)
  • New Oxford M3 6DB (Salford branch)
  • The Beer School, Westhoughton BL5 3AZ (Bolton branch)
  • Queen Anne, Golbourne WA3 3PZ (South East Lancs branch)
    The High Peak, Tameside & NE Cheshire branch selected its pub of the year outside Greater Manchester.

PETERSGATE TAP IS YOUR BEST BET FOR CIDER

DIARY DATE: Presentation at Petersgate Tap SK1 1EB, 2.30pm, Sunday 5th August

Stockport’s modern take on a pub has scooped the title of Greater Manchester’s Cider Pub of the Year.

Opened in September 2016 on the site of a former betting shop, the Petersgate Tap has attracted rave reviews for its innovative range of traditionally-produced ciders alongside a stunning selection of beers and speciality gins. It was nominated by the local Stockport and South Manchester Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) branch for the first time. But despite a challenge from six of the best cider outlets across the region, an expert team of judges marked Petersgate Tap the Greater Manchester winner.

Although real ale takes pride of place on the bar with six handpumps, father and son Alan and Chris Gent were also determined to provide cider and perry drinkers with an excellent choice from the off. They dispense traditional favourites from award-winning producers with a choice of cellar or fridge cooling. Recent offerings include a pair of national gold medal winners from Somerset, Scrummage Cider from Harry’s and Nempnett’s Piglets Perry.

Alan, a long-time CAMRA member said: “Although we’ve won a couple of awards from the local branch, this is our first regional recognition. As well as national winning ciders and perrys from traditional orchards, we’re keen to champion local producers such as Dunham Press and have its organic Dabinett available at present.

“We’ve worked hard to gain a reputation for our ciders and perrys, and are proud to win this title.”

The Petersgate Tap has an active programme of events with accoustic bands, poetry evenings and takes part in Stockport’s Foodie Friday each month. Its commitment to cider is next on show as part of the forthcoming Stockport Beer Week. Charlotte Bulmer will be leading a tutored tasting of nine ciders and perrys on Sunday 30th September.

CAMRA’s regional cider coordinator Mike Gilroy said: “I’m delighted to see a new winner. This award recognises and rewards excellence in promoting and serving our traditional drinks, and encourages others to aim for high standards.

“Our judges were impressed with the welcoming environment, value for money and the quality of the cider on offer. Many mentioned the knowledge of bar staff about the ciders and perrys sold at the Tap, and the encouragement to try unfamiliar products.”

Mike and CAMRA stalwart Phil Moss will present Alan and Chris with the award at the Tap at 2.30pm on Sunday 5th August 2018.

The pub now goes forward to the next round of the competition, with the national Cider Pub of the Year expected to be announced in early October.

Notes:

In 2018 the finalists were:

  • Petersgate Tap, Stockport (Stockport and South Manchester branch)
  • Tap ‘N’ Barrel, Wigan (Wigan branch)
  • The Font, Chorlton (Trafford and Hulme branch)
  • New Oxford, Salford ( Salford branch)
  • Blackedge Brewery Tap, Horwich (Bolton branch)
  • Samuel Oldknow, Marple (High Peak, Tameside and NE Cheshire branch)
  • The Brink, Manchester (Central Manchester branch)

Flixton Conservative is CAMRA National Club Of The Year

Club Stewards Nigel & SharonThe Flixton Conservative Club in Manchester has won the prestigious Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Club of the Year award after a recent transformation has seen an even wider range of real ales and ciders brought in.

On top of a friendly atmosphere and good beer selection, the well maintained club runs a number of social events for the local community including brewery nights, quiz events and sports teams including snooker. There is even a walking group and a popular chess club that meets once a week in the club’s function room. Regular entertainment takes place over the weekend with music, bingo and Open the Box with the chance to win up to £1,000.

The club previously won the local CAMRA Club of the Year award but this is the first time it has made it through to the national round. It will be presented with a plaque to commemorate the award at an event open to the media on the 28th February 2018 at 6pm.

Continue reading “Flixton Conservative is CAMRA National Club Of The Year”

MBCF equipment sorting day 12/11/2017

We need to sort the equipment for Manchester Beer and Cider festival which is stored in  shipping containers at Broughton Cricket & Rugby Club,Yew street,Salford M7 2HL.

Can you spare a few hours from 10am on Sunday 12/11/17, the containers will need stripping out and repacking ready for shipment to Manchester Central in January for festival set up.

The Club Kitchen should be open to purchase breakfast/Tea/Coffee but bring your own if you want too.

 

Top Tory club makes Manchester great again

A Conservative club has achieved a remarkable hat trick as it is judged Greater Manchester’s Club of the Year.

Presentation Photo
Sharon and Nigel Porter receive the award from Regional Director Graham Donning

Flixton Conservative club at the corner of Chassen Road and Flixton Road is no stranger to awards, having been named top club by the local Trafford and Hulme Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) branch for a staggering five successive years. But despite a challenge from six of the best clubs across the region, an expert team of judges marked Flixton the Greater Manchester winner for the third year running.

Real Ale takes pride of place on the bar, with six handpumps dispensing a choice of beers. There are also two ciders or perry available.  Stewards Nigel and Sharon Porter have been encouraged by the club committee to promote beers from popular Greater Manchester breweries alongside beers from further afield. This spirit of adventure culminates on the last Friday of each month with a ‘Meet the Brewer’ event featuring ales from a specially-selected brewer. Continue reading “Top Tory club makes Manchester great again”

Wigan Central leaves the rest in its tracks

Wigan Central
Wigan Central

A Wigan pub opened less than three years ago has been crowned Greater Manchester’s Pub of the Year.

Wigan Central, the brainchild of the town’s Prospect Brewery has been impressing visitors since opening in the railway arch on Queen Street  adjacent to Wigan North Western station in December 2014. Owners Patsy and John Slevin saw the opportunity to provide drinkers with a rail-themed watering hole. Its success has seen a doubling in size as well as increasing its offer to include seven real ales, four craft ciders and an astonishing selection of beers from the UK, Europe and beyond.

Recognised by the Wigan branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) as its pub of the year, Wigan Central was pitted against eight other exceptional pubs nominated by other Greater Manchester branches. An expert team of volunteer judges drawn from the 9,000 members in the region visited unannounced and evaluated the qualities of each. They scored the pubs on a variety of weighted features including quality of welcome, value for money, community focus and – most importantly – the quality of beers and ciders. Continue reading “Wigan Central leaves the rest in its tracks”

MBCF 2018 Call for Volunteers

Manchester needs you! You probably know the Greater Manchester branches of CAMRA organise the magnificent Manchester Beer and Cider Festival and have done so since its inception four years ago. We have now found our new (and hopefully permanent) home in the centre of Manchester in the Manchester Central Convention centre – which you may know better as G-Mex – and are already planning for the 2018 (24th – 27th January) and the 2019 (23rd – 26th January) events.

While we have an excellent Organising Committee, there is always room for new blood and new and different skills. We want to give more members the opportunity to get involved in the festival and want to assure every CAMRA member in the region that we are by no means a closed shop. Can you help? Professional qualifications that would make our event better:

Do you hold a Security Industry Authority badge – or would you like to be trained to get an SIA badge? We have paid for several members to gain such qualifications that some have then used to gain a new form of employment or enhance their own employment opportunities. Are you already, or have been, employed in the pub or brewing industry? Do you have design skills? Event Management skills? Organisational skills? Or are you just willing to get involved to ensure that our event becomes better and better every year?

Beer knowledge – if you have visited the event as a customer you will be aware of how big the event has become and how modern the event has become. Are you interested in craft beer? We now sell craft beer in both keykeg and cask form. We also research and purchase foreign beers from all over Europe. Have you an interest in Cider and Perry? Mead? Fruit wines – then yes, we have bars that sell these. You could help us source and sell them. Customer care and ‘back room’ skills: Do you have customer care skills? Interface well with the public? Or are you a “back room” person? We have opportunities for anybody who wishes to stay in the background whether during or before the event.

We need help in designing posters, website work, designing beer mats, thinking up a logo, ordering polo and T shirts for sale. Are you interested in food? You could organise the food for the Volunteers from a local hostelry? Or organise many other things? You could get involved with selling VIP packages? You could meet and greet people coming to the event? You could help to serve beers to customers who have paid for tasting sessions? Know your way around websites and coding, or systems automation? We need you.

There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer for all aspects of the festival, both before and during it.

Many of you will have skills from your working life that we could use in the organisation of the event or during the event itself. To reassure you, many jobs in these days of electronic communications and the good old fashioned phone don’t involve a lot of time at meetings, so perhaps you could think of offering us a little of your time and helping the campaign at the same time? We’re also keen to recruit deputies – so you could work alongside more experienced members to get a feel of festival organisation. It’s not all one way There are benefits to helping organise a beer festival…

We reward all participants with free beer (or cider). Free Volunteers T-shirt. Commemorative Polo pr T-shirt at cost price Free food during set up and take down. Organised nights out during set up. Some travel and accommodation benefits. A volunteer party with food, drink and awards. The pride you’ll feel of putting on a nationally-recognised event that attracts more than 13,500 visitors and serves over 62,000 pints.

I promise you that you’ll be very welcome and you’ll make new friends for sure. You can do as little or much as you feel able. If this is for you, or you want to know more, just drop me an email or ring me at the number below, or go to http://mancbeerfest.uk/volunteer

Graham Donning Festival Organiser

Phone: 07961 886696 Email: Organiser (at) mancbeerfest.uk
Web: www.mancbeerfest.uk
Facebook: http://facebook.com/ManchesterBeerFestival
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MancBeerFest

Wednesday 24th Trade and CAMRA Members only 1630 – 2100.
Thursday 25th – Saturday 27th 2018 Manchester Central Albion Street M1 5LN

Manchester stakes claim as cask capital of Britain

Manchester Beer Week       

 

Manchester has emerged as the cask beer capital of Britain, following a major new study into the beer sold in the city’s pubs and bars.

The Manchester Beer Audit 2017 found 411 different cask ales on sale in venues throughout the Manchester City Council area, beating nearest rival Sheffield, which boasted 385 beers in its last survey, as well as Nottingham (334), York (281), Norwich (254), Derby (213), and Leeds (211).

The survey also confirmed that Manchester is leading other cities in kegged “craft” beers too, with 234 different beers on sale throughout the city, an increase in variety that has been sparked by the recent boom in craft brewing.

More than 80 independent breweries now operate across Greater Manchester and these breweries account for 38 per cent of all cask beers on sale and 36 per cent of craft keg beers.

“The figures confirm what Mancunians already know – this is one of the best beer cities in Britain and possibly the best place in the world to enjoy great cask beer,” said Connor Murphy, organiser of Manchester Beer Week.

“Manchester has a healthy respect for cask and not only is there a huge variety available but the quality of cask ale in this city is hard to beat. The growth of craft keg beer is also heartening and raises hope that our independent brewing scene can continue to thrive and grow.

“But venues could still do more to support the independent Mancunian brewing scene. Although variety remains important and it is great to try beers from across the world, the fact that less than 40 per cent of all available cask and craft keg beers are from Greater Manchester shows there is still room for improvement.”

CAMRA Regional director Graham Donning said: “Our volunteer members took little persuading to comb the city’s pubs and bars. The audit united branches, and confirmed Manchester as top of the cask league. With so much choice, I’d recommend drinkers use CAMRA’s Whatpub.com site to help find the city’s real ale offerings.”

The Manchester Beer Audit 2017 was organised by the Greater Manchester Branches of CAMRA (The Campaign For Real Ale) in association with Manchester Beer Week and saw 311 pubs and bars surveyed by more than 100 volunteers on one day in May

It found 824 handpumps and 1,957 keg fonts on bars across the city, with 72 per cent of all pubs and bars selling cask ale.

Guinness is the most common beer in the city, appearing in 50 per cent of all venues, while Sharp’s Doom Bar and Joseph Holt Bitter are the most common cask beers, found in 31 and 29 venues respectively.

However, Robinsons is the most prominent cask brewery, featuring in 36 venues, while Manchester’s own Shindigger topped the craft keg charts, featuring on the bar in 23 venues.

ENDS

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

The Manchester Beer Audit was carried out on Saturday May 20, 2017 from Noon to 5pm.

The survey covered all pubs and bars in the Manchester City Council area which were open during the survey period including the City Centre and suburbs from Wythenshaw to Chorlton, Gorton to Crumpsall.

About Manchester Beer Week

Manchester Beer Week is Manchester’s only city-wide beer festival, taking place between June 23 and July 2, 2017.

Unlike most beer festivals, which take place in one specific venue, Manchester Beer Week will include a series of different events at venues across the city, including pubs, bars, breweries and restaurants.

The aim is to raise awareness around good beer and promote Greater Manchester as one of the United Kingdom’s premier destinations for beer enthusiasts.

www.mcrbeerweek.co.uk

About CAMRA Greater Manchester

The Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) has 9 branches across the region with over 8000 members.

The consumer group organises the annual Manchester Beer & Cider Festival which will return to Manchester Central in January 2018 as well as local beer festivals across the region,

Media contacts

Connor Murphy, event organiser
Telephone: 07824 557 927
Email: manchesterbeerweek (at) gmail.com

David Rigby
Press Officer – CAMRA Greater Manchester
Telephone: 07538 702875
Email: press (at) mancbeerfest.uk