Sunday, 25 February 2018

A bevvy in Levy

I went to Levenshulme last night for the presentation of Stockport and South Manchester CAMRA's Pub of the Year award to the Blue Bell Inn, and also popped into a new micropub, Station Hop, en route to it.

The Blue Bell and Station Hop are contrasting pubs in a numbers of ways: the latter a converted shop with dark, minimalist signage on the main Stockport Road through Levenshulme - I walked past it without spotting it at first - which extends a long way further back than you'd imagine from the narrow shop front through three sparsely decorated rooms lit with suspended filament bulbs and attracts a younger, middle-class crowd, and the former a solid redbrick building with a well-lit separate sign a few minutes walk from it on a large plot amid terraced housing (the original thatched inn was replaced by the current interwar incarnation sometime in the thirties, the only alterations since being the post-war repair of bomb damage) which has the classic multi-room arrangement of lounge, vault and snug and is patronised mainly by older, working-class drinkers; the only real similarity between the two is that each sell a limited number of well-kept cask beers (Old Brewery Bitter in the Blue Bell and two handpumps in the Station Hop) alongside a more extensive range of keg beers, the latter at average prices for a micropub close to the city centre and the former at the very reasonable ones you'd expect in a Sam Smith's house.

I finished the night on Sam Smith's Extra Stout, a smooth, coffeeish beer that reminds you of Guinness at its very best. Somehow though, I'm not sure it's the "quality keg" that those in the CAMRA leadership pushing the so-called Revalisation proposals  have in mind when they talk about embracing all well-brewed beers...




























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