I make myself known and am immediately offered a beer. Which is a very good sign. The event itself is taking place downstairs in the cellar. It’s, er, cosy. I can understand why attendance has been limited to just over a dozen.
On one table stand all the beers we’ll be trying. I’m dead impressed with the effort they’ve gone to. Some lovely adaptations of genuine William Younger labels. Appropriate as many of the beers were originally brewed by William Younger.
Rather than send out random recipes, I’ve sent the people taking part in the Macbeth project sets of themed recipes. For Macclesfield, that was Shilling Ales. The recipes are a mix of 1847 and 1868 William Younger and 1894 Thomas Usher. They’ve brewed the 1847 Younger beers, plus 80/- and 100/- from both breweries.
There’s no projector, which means everyone will have to look at the slides on my laptop screen. Not ideal but, as I said, it is quite cosy down here.
While we’re waiting for a few latecomers to toodle up, I chat with the club members. At 13:15 we decide to kick off, despite not everyone being there. It’s actually not that clear a break between the chat and the talk. Not that that bothers me.
This is my first go with this particular talk. It’s got rather more slides – 60 - than my usual 45-minute jobs. I wonder how long it will take. I’m aiming for around an hour. Which turns out to be hopelessly optimistic.
At several points we break to try the beers. Gives my voice a rest and slakes my thirst. And doubtless relieves the boredom of hearing me drone on and on.
The beers are pretty good, though a couple are a bit on the fizzy side. All are dangerously drinkable, despite their strength. Even Dolores likes them and she’s quite choosy. And not usually that keen on the strong stuff.
After just three hours, I’m done. I’ve noticed Dolores fidgeting and tapping her watch for about the last two hours. Do you think she’s been trying to tell me something.
Once we’re all packed up, Mike Gaskell, who organised everything, and a couple of club members take me and Dolores for a few beers and a bite to eat in the town. Go on. If you twist my arm I’ll drink some beer.
Rather than trad pubs, we head for a couple of newer-style drinking establishments. First, it’s the Treacle Tap, a narrow long bar that has a bit of the look of a café. But obviously a much better beer selection. It’s got handpulls, which pleases Dolores. She has her usual pint of Bitter.
We both eat pies, which are really dead good. Best pie I’ve had in a while. The kids would love that. Though somehow I doubt they will ever be in Macclesfield. But you never know.
Next stop is RedWillow, which also has its own brewery. It’s a much roomier place than Treacle Tap. Evidently it used to be a furniture shop. They’ve quite an array of their own beer, which is nice. Especially as they have handpulls as well as keg taps. Dolores would strangle me if I took her somewhere with only evil keg.
We’re at the bottom of the hill, thankfully. It’s a leisurely and flat walk back to the station.
Everyone else on the train seems to be going for a night out in Manchester. Two young lads are necking some spirit and cola combination from a pop bottle. While a group of young lasses in sparkly miniskirts pass around a bottle of wine. I wonder what state they’ll be in on the way home?
As a special treat, here’s one of the beers that was brewed for the event:
|1868 William Younger 100/-|
|pale malt||17.75 lb||100.00%|
|Cluster 90 min||2.00 oz|
|Saaz 60 min||2.00 oz|
|Saaz 20 min||2.00 oz|
|Mash at||154º F|
|Sparge at||185º F|
|Boil time||105 minutes|
|pitching temp||57º F|
|Yeast||WLP028 Edinburgh Ale|
8 Market Pl,
Macclesfield SK10 1EX.
The Treacle Tap
43 Sunderland Street
Mon-Thurs : 16:00 - 23:00
Fri - Sat : 12:00 - 00:00
Sun: 12:00 - 23:00
32a Park Green,
Cheshire, SK11 7NA
Tue - Thur 16:00 - 23:00
Fri - Sat 12:00 - 24:00
Sun 12:00 - 22:30
Buy my new Scottish book.