After a three year break because of Covid, Stockport Beer and Cider Festival kicked off at Edgeley Park football ground with a trade session yesterday afternoon.
A couple of things had changed since my last visit to the home of the Hatters back in the summer of 2019: Stockport County are now a Football League club again, and the Cheadle End where the festival is held has been redeveloped, although the concourse under the stand where the bars are wasn't as different as I'd expected.
I drank mostly darker, stronger beers - Kirkstall X Mild, based on a recipe from 1885, Redwillow Heritage Porter and Stockport Stock Porter - as well as Kerala IPA from the former Howard Town, now Distant Hills Brewery, in Glossop. I also popped to the bottled beer bar in one of the function rooms at the top of the stand, whose temporary licence now allows off sales, and picked up a couple of my favourite smoked German lager Schlenkerla.
On the way back to the station we popped into the Olde Vic, somewhere else I hadn't been to for a few years, and had a pint in the beer garden there. One of Stockport's first freehouses and a longtime Good Beer Guide pub, it seemed to be doing a decent post-festival trade.