Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution

Forgive me the indulgence, but it was a quiet Monday night revisiting a good friend and an important place in my personal story. When you’ve been in Manchester at an important time in your life, I can assure you Manchester gets into you. Its history, its culture… come to think of it, Cardiff has a big lesson to learn, albeit far too late… that the places where people get together to share tall tales and fabulous ales don’t necessarily need to succumb to the persuasion of the bulldozer!

Tommy Ducks may have justifiably been buried under the foundations of the Bridgewater Hall, but Peveril of the Peak can still offer a good pint of Timothy Taylor’s Landlord, amongst other fine beers, where Wilsons beers used to bring cheer.

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And while you’re in the vicinity The Britons Protection offers local north-west beers, before you jump on the tram in the background, though it prides itself on its whiskey collection…

the-britons-protection

Portland Street offers a couple of interesting, if small hostelries. The Grey Horse Inn is the first of my Hydes Anvil Ales recommendations…

grey-horse-inn

If you’re looking for something a little cramped try the Circus Tavern. Proudly declaring itself the smallest bar in Europe with the warmest welcome. It advertises Tetleys beers, not the first of stops that take you down memory lane to beers that no longer exist!

circus-tavern

Take a minor detour around to Charles Street, just off Oxford Road, and you must pay a visit to the famous Lass O’ Gowrie. Try not to be put off by the incursion of southern beer from Greene King, as this historic boozer also showcases local micro breweries.

lass-o-gowrie-1

And, talking about ‘paying a visit’, check out the sign on the side of the pub facing over the small adjoining canal. If you’ve been sampling the wares of each of the pubs so far you are certainly ready to ‘pay a visit’…

lass-o-gowrie-3

Just around the corner I’m reminded of a ‘back in the day’ moment, as I stumble across The Garratt on Princess Street. Strange what time does, it used to be ‘The Old Garratt‘ in my dim distant memory… somehow, as time passes by, the ‘Old’ gets dropped! It also used to be home to Boddingtons beers, another name that passes into the supping history memory banks.

the-garratt

Heading north on Princess Street towards the magnificent Manchester Town Hall (and taking a right and a left at the appropriate places) you are presented with three pubs in a row. You are now on Kennedy Street and I’ll spare you the agony of choice… go for the middle option, The City Arms. Amongst the local beers was the option of a Stoke-on-Trent import, but keep your eyes peeled for a Titanic Iceberg!

city-arms-kennedy-street

But if t’s a taste of history you want, why not join the lawyers and modern day industrialists in Mr Thomas’s Chop House on Cross Street? Food might be the order of the day here, but if you are looking for northern sourced liquids, Holts, Thwaites, Robinsons or Black Sheep beers might just quench your thirst…

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The revolution has recently given rise to a Northern Quarter, so if you are in the vicinity of Oldham Street why not try the local brew of J.W. Lees at Gullivers

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Then you simply cross the road to grace the Castle Hotel, where the well-established Robinsons Ales from Stockport are now joined by a wider range in which to imbibe…

castle-hotel-oldham-street

The Northern Quarter is heavily populated with ‘bars’, but it is not difficult to find Port Street for a Moorhouse’s White Witch (that’s a beer by the way, from Burnley) in the Crown & Anchor

crown-anchor-port-street

Looking for something unusual, knowledgeable, and maybe a bit expensive if you’re not taking notice? But you need to arrive after 4.00pm to sample the thirds, halves or pints of what the Port Street Beer House has to offer. We did the evening before the following shot was taken, and I can assure you the beer menu goes on forever. Check the chalkboard sign top left at the bar for ‘Growlers’, you’ll have to ask Dave about those!

port-street-beer-house

However, for me there is only one place to end a long nostalgic trip down memory lane (or is that Ducie Street?).

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It’s not for the feint-hearted, and maybe some of the locals don’t actually have a home to go to…

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But the welcome is warm…

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And at this time of a pub crawl you just need to look over your shoulder and whisper a somewhat slurred goodnight…

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Well, what did you expect? Being an industrialised revolutionary was thirsty work you know! There is plenty of space in Manchester for the range of modern day ‘bars’, but they haven’t swept away the good old fashioned pub. So until we speak again, may all of your crawls be nostalgic, and don’t forget to finish off with some of Bella’s advice and check out the water!

water-2

 

A White Witch at Christmas

It’s that time of year when raucous party going crowds cram into garishly lit and decorated venues to indulge in over-consumption. So, here is the antidote, with a warmly seasonal scene… a Burnley brew (Moorhouse’s White Witch) found in a quiet corner of Carlisle.

the-griffin

Meanwhile, Bella could always be distracted by the thought of a Duck in the vicinity…

duck-in-carlislerear-view

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until we speak again, enjoy your Christmas festivities, raucous or otherwise.

Death in the Sun

Is it the sun or is it the moon? How am I supposed to know, after all this is Lancaster, and I am merely a cat from Cardiff!

sun-at-night-sign

A view from a different perspective confirms it is the sun, but not as astronomical scholars know it. This is Lancaster, a place of history, sandstone architecture; and it’s cold and dark so time to find out what else this historical place has to offer travelling cats.

sun-at-night-outside-view

What will greet the inquisitive traveller to this promised source of light and heat? Why, death of course!

Dead cow

sirloin-steak

Dead pig

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Dead lamb

lamb-steak

Vegetarian deadly options are available, but this being the north of England, a mere southerner cat from Wales would hardly want to invite a scourge of ridicule by even enquiring of such things. This is a place where Lancaster Blondes are apparently smooth and tasty temptations for the unsuspecting weary traveller…

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When daylight dawns there really is an abundance of old sandstone to navigate and cast an architectural eye over.

The good folk of Yorkshire might well lay claim to their county town of York being far better known; but the rival Lancashire has a county town well worth exploring, full of interesting knocks and crannies.

Until we speak again I can fondly remember a couple of ex-cats who would have gratefully ignored any architectural indulgence in favour of exploring death in a bowl! Juno and Bella always wore an indignant look when it came to food choice!

cat-matecall-this-food

Making craft lager

[Set up a mobile brewing facility] Take a group of men, any ordinary men, say a group like this…

Scary scrum

[Source desired ingredients] Direct them towards a pub with some good beer; we’re talking proper ale here. A good hoppy pale ale like this normally brings them back for more…

Tastes like it looks

[Processing and storage] Good ale is converted into lager by a natural rapid fermentation method, encased within a human frame. But, it needs close proximity storage, before the onward distribution to preferred lager outlets (i.e. other places not frequented by those who like good beer). The Hopbunker in Cardiff has perfected the storage solution…

Making lager

Water [2]

[Distribution] Until we speak again, just don’t ask where the above storage units are subsequently distributed to! I think I’m going to be a little more cautious about what I drink.

A night on the Toon

When you’ve seen a bunch of bridges by day, the next question is “what has Newcastle got for visiting cats to fill the evening?” It seems that it has a bunch of bridges by night!

Tyne Bridge at night

Underside of Tyne Bridge at night

Thirsty work, all of this bridge watching, so I’m unreliably told. But, in Newcastle, who needs an umbrella when even the pub comes with its own shelter?

Bridge Tavern and Bridge at night

So, the so-called business trip turns out to be something else altogether! The aptly named Bridge Tavern (formerly Newcastle Arms) provides an excellent watering hole, if you can’t bear to be too far from your precious bridges. With brewing at the back end of the bar, and a great range of regionally sourced beers, this could be a pub crawl without needing to move from your bar stool!

Bridge Tavern [1]

Bridge Tavern [2]

Bridge Tavern [3]

All tastes catered for, so an Allensdale Cardinal pale ale was swiftly followed by a sample of a Cloudwater stout:

Pint of Allendale Cardinal A pint in Bridge Tavern

 

 

 

 

Newcastle isn’t all about beer. If you’re looking for some culture the Theatre Royal is sure to satisfy…

Theatre Royal at night

But, I should have known, if I send my old soak on tour, resistance to a Rolling Stones reference will soon turn things back to beer…

Pleased to Meet You at night [1]

A pint in Pleased to Meet You [2]

And it seems wherever you are in this city reference to the bridges will always be close by…

A pint in Pleased to Meet You [1]

Sleeping cat

 

Until we speak again it’s enough to give a cat a headache.

Food history

Call this food!So, what are my credentials for talking to you about the history of food? After all, as a true cat I appoint others to do the hard graft for me!

Blue Anchor [9]

 

 

The President of my predecessor’s (Juno) fan club was recently celebrating a birthday, the number of which sounds to me like like something out of history. It’s one of those numbers where you people can easily tend to get lost; who knows where she is going here? Are the loos down there? Or is this a subterranean dining experience going on?

Blue Anchor [1]I digress, the thing here is about how history and food came together… at least in my mind anyway. This train of thought came together when my ‘appointed food taster’ said they were off to a Blue Anchor, or somewhere nautical that is actually miles from the sea (strange ideas happen when it comes to naming pubs, inns, restaurants).

Blue Anchor [2]

 

 

 

But this one is old, very old, 1380 old! And it seems from reading a brief history about the place like it has always been an inn, always into the beer and food groove. So I guess they must have learned to do some things right by now. It’s a cold and bleak winter’s day, so you need something to take the chill away, and this place certainly oozes that cozy old inn vibe…

Blue Anchor [3]

Blue Anchor [4]

Apparently the Blue Anchor is well known amongst the beer aficionados for its small but well-kept range of the amber and pale nectar. And I’m told the lotion more than adequately complemented the nosh. As for the eating, where do you start? Ham Hock sounded like some ancient vittles, but I’m informed it was a thick and tasty starter, though who knows what the green stuff was up to hiding under the

Blue Anchor [5]

This being a Sunday, my instructions were to go for the traditional roasts, and my compliant diners duly obliged…

Blue Anchor [6]

Whilst these Yorkshire puddings take up space the beef (and those going for lamb) reported a very tasty meal. The real test is the vegetables, and they came through as lightly cooked and crunchy… “just right” I said. So my local fans have found another place well worth re-visiting; and being around since 1380 this place isn’t going away anytime soon. The place is East Aberthaw in the Vale of Glamorgan, and until we speak again I’m Bella, and my advice is ignore history, go now!

Degrees of difficulty

Seems that the good burghers of Grangetown in Cardiff don’t hold out the warmest of welcomes for posh people!

Grange [2]

But revenge looks sweet, as the owners are no doubt members of the landed gentry; and my guess is they decided if we are not getting in then nobody is getting in!

Grange [3]

Call this food!

 

Until we speak again this Bella hopes that all of your preferred lotion is accessible!