Branch Social Events
We try to host a number of different social activities each year, with at least one thing every month.
The following table shows the recurring events we organize or participate in, but please refer to the Branch Diary for exact dates of future events,
A visit to a local brewery. Nearly 30 breweries in Cheshire and immediate surrounds, we try to do a different one each year.
A visit to a national, regional or other major brewery. Trips have included Hydes, Robinsons, Lees, Thwaites, Black Sheep, Theakston and Marstons.
City Pub Crawls Some of our best pubs are to be found in our great cities. Each year we run a guided tour of the top pubs in a chosen city. Travel is usually by public transport. Past trips have included Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, York, Preston, Lancaster, Huddersfield and Chester.
Heritage Pub Crawls Guided trips to some of the most fantastic unspoilt examples of unchanged heritage pubs. Travel is usually by public transport. Past trips have included Manchester, Liverpool, York, Eccles and Stockport.
Christmas Pub Crawl Something of a tradition now and a great opportunity to sample some of the wonderful winter beers on offer. Past trips have included Chester, Cologne & Dusseldorf, Amsterdam, Liverpool, Altrincham, Chorlton and Huddersfield.
Manchester Beer & Cider Festival Held in January each year at Manchester Central. We tend to visit as a group on Wednesday evening, CAMRA members night!
Great British Beer Festival Held in August each year in London at Olympia, we have staff who work every day at the festival and many more members who visit on at least one day. Travel is independently organised (it is possible to do this as a day-trip).
Cheshire Beer Festival Held in Chester in November each year.
Community Pubs Month Much of the fun here is in visiting selected Community-focussed pubs in the branch area to choose our Community Pub of the Year. If you fancy joining a judging team just let us know.
Mild Month Hot on the heels on Community Pubs Month, we will turn our attention to an endangered beer style, Mild. Once in nearly every pub in the branch area, it is now sold in just a handful of them. You can be sure that we will have a social activity to celebrate Mild in May.
Cider Month Never has cider been more popular and more widely available. We even have a cider producer in the branch area. We'll be doing our bit for real cider and perry in October.
Beer Matched Dinner After the sell-out success of our inaugural event in 2011 at our Pub of the Year the Helter Skelter in Frodsham. We have repeated this event every year in March.
Local Beer Festivals Although not CAMRA run, there are always groups of people going to many of the local beer festivals, including Appleton Thorn Village Hall, Barnton CC, Grappenhall Community Centre, and Davenham CC.
Branch Area Socials
Lymm Area Survey November 2017
On a blustery late November Saturday afternoon a group of North Cheshire CAMRA members visited Lymm to gather a few beer scores for the local pubs.
Our first port of call was the Crown a large pub on the Warrington side of town with something for everyone, sports TV, meals and a range of ales from the J.W. Lees stable, where the unanimous beer of choice was Lees Plum Pudding. We congregated round the day's first roaring open fire. You can't beat it, can you? And other Winter/Christmas themed ales were to follow! Lymm centre has several traditional pubs with a pleasant cosy atmospheres and all with the benefit of WIFI. GBG 2018 listed Bulls Head,with up to 5 pumps available selling from the Hydes and Beer Studio ranges. Golden Fleece, a Greene King house which is more of a locals pub that also serves guest beers sometimes locally sourced, and Saddlers a smaller quiet free of tie house with up to 3 ales available where a great atmosphere was created in front of the fire when our ten CAMRA members arrived.
The highlight of the trip was the GBG 2018 listed Brewery Tap which can be relied on to serve a wide range from Dunham Massey and and its own Lymm Brewery beers in excellent form. We were pleased to hook-up with some Trafford & Hulme CAMRA members here - not having met them before the ice-breaker was noticing the clever and subtle design of their branch T-shirts. The group photo shows James, Graham, Dan & Andy enjoying the opportunity to taste the full selection by taking advantage of the third of a pint paddles available. The renowned Lymm Dam Strong Ale at 7.2% served here was generally considered to be the beer of the day, closely followed by the new Winter Ale, 5.5% Chirotherium.
We then took a short bus ride which stops right outside the door of the recently refurbished Star at Statham but it's an easy pleasant walk of under a mile heading west on The Trans Pennine Trail. 3 real ales are usually available the regular Wainwright, a Coach House Beer and a changing guest.
Back on the bus towards Warrington for our final stop at Thelwall. First stop was the GBG 2018 Little Manor which is part of The Brunning and Price group. A large pub with quality fixtures and an enticing menu where you won't be embarrassed if you take someone you want to impress. As with all chains a lot depends on the local management but it's good here and there is a real commitment to well kept real ale and there is at least six on offer from a variety of breweries but Phoenix and Coach House usually feature. Prices are a little on the high side but this is definitely a place that justifies it.
Our final stop of the day was 100 yards down the road at the Pickering Arms. The concentration here is on food but 3 real ales were available from the Punch list. The Black Sheep Best Bitter was in good condition and brought the day to a close.
Early Xmas present at Davenham - Davenham Cricket Club Meet the Brewer evening - November 2017
At the end of November more than thirty people attended an event organised by North Cheshire CAMRA in conjunction with Davenham Cricket Club; a “Meet the Brewer Night”. Stars of stage and screen for the evening where two gentlemen behind the Tipsy Angel Brewery - Aiden Grannell and John Robinson. Sadly John Wilkinson of 4T’s Brewery who facilitates the brewing could not be present.
John Robinson commenced with a short history of two now-defunct local breweries and the people behind them - Walkers of Warrington and Shaws of Leigh. John stressed that his input was but a snapshot due to time constraints and his wish to leave more time for us to try the beers on offer – more of that later! Although brief, it was a thoroughly fascinating trip though the history of these two breweries including information about key family members and brewery personnel, brewing developments, brewery and pub architecture, links to other breweries and what has been lost. Aiden then talked us through his role as the brewer, originally brewing at the Lower Angel in Warrington towncentre before going to work at 4T’S. His interest began when he discovered records from Walkers from 1865 until 1965 including recipes for various beers and meeting John with similar interests. He then went on to develop his skills at another brewery before starting himself. Initially a major difficulty was having to reduce measurements meant for a 24 quarter brewery into a half barrel plant which was used for brewing at the Lower Angel. Currently he is brewing on a 100 litre kit that John Wilkinson started out with at 4T’s.
On arrival we were presented with two halves of different styles of beer to sample. The first was Taipur and owes its origin from the Indian subcontinent. Tasty, well balanced, light golden beer with southern hemisphere hops – very refreshing and lingered long on the palate.
The second was GSP aka George Shaw’s Premium – this is a quality old fashioned bitter using English malt and hops, gives a mouthful of quality, taste and texture – so good that you knew when others were first tasting by the comments you heard; (“OMG!”). The second OMG moment came when trying a beer Falstaff (aka Angel’s Folly) a flagship beer of Walkers.This pre-1961 version is a full bodied dark coloured old ale, full of complexity which we could still taste arriving home 45 minutes later! All three beers were in excellent condition and a credit to the brewer and the cellar staff at the cricket club – if you get chance to try any of these beers do so. You will not be disappointed no matter what your preferred beer style is!
This event was repeated in Warrington end February 2018 at the Tavern where it also served as New Members Event. Once again a great evening was had by all!
Champion Beer of Cheshire Hat Trick for North Cheshire
An excellent outcome for breweries in the North Cheshire branch area in the 2017 Champion Beer of Cheshire competition. Coachhouse Premium Mild, 4Ts Stout and Lymm Brewery Lymm Damm Strong Ale were all category winners in the competition held at Cheshire Beer Festival in November. The awards were presented by the beer festival Beer Manager, Joe Wright, and the achievement was celebrated with samples of the award winning beers and a buffet at the Tavern, Warrington. Thanks to the Tavern for hosting the event and congratulations to the brewers at the 3 breweries.
North Cheshire CAMRA 2017 Beer Matched Dinner - Helter Skelter, Frodsham
It is hard to believe this event has been going for 7 years now and remains a popular event in the North Cheshire CAMRA calendar. Slightly later this year than the usual March date it was held on 1st April. The event continues to be supported by both North Cheshire and Halton branches, not only because of the excellence of the beer and food but Frodsham is the most accessible location in the branch area in particular by public transport.
Once again Nick Broome excelled with his menu and beer matching (there is, of course, wine matched options for those not wanting to drink beer). Our appetites were whetted on arrival with a beer of our choice from the extensive range at the bar. We then embarked on the 3 course meal. First up was King Prawns and Crayfish in a Scented Cream Sauce with crusty bread accompanied by Bad Seed, Electric Hard Wired (5.1%). The main course was one of Nick’s signature dishes – Supreme of Chicken on a Moroccan Stew and a pint of the strongest beer on offer that evening, Blackjack BIPAS (6.8%). For the chocoholics a scrumptious dessert of Chocolate Brownie with Salted Caramel Sauce & Vanilla Ice Cream, or for the less sweet toothed a plate of cheese and biscuits, followed with Wild Beer, Millionaire (4.7%) to wash it down.
It was good to sample such a diverse set of beers from relatively newly established breweries from all over the country: Bad Seed brewery, established in 2013 is based in Malton, North Yorkshire. All of their beers are unfined and unfiltered, their Electric Hard Wired being a German wheat beer style beer loaded with hops and flavours of mandarin and zesty grapefruit. Blackjack brewery, established in 2012, is a Manchester based brewery and their BIPAS is an IPA fermented with a blend of Belgian and Saison yeasts, hopped with Rakau, Citra, Palisade and Centennial. Wild Beer brewery, established in 2012, is based in Evercreech, Somerset and a project is currently underway to build a crowdfunded new brewery. Their Millionaire beer is a chocolate and salted caramel milk stout. The selection of beers just goes to show how exciting the beer scene is these days.
We were pleased to welcome regular attendees as well as some new faces. A very sociable event!
The Helter Skelter is an excellent venue for the event. However, if you have any suggestions for an alternative venue please email: moc.liamg@cesrebmemcn:otliam. Venues need to be accessible by public transport with a restaurant of sufficient size to accommodate up to 40 people and with the capacity to serve a different, suitably matched beer (or wine) with each course.
We hope you are now sufficiently enthused to come and join us next year.