My Love of Holt’s Pubs

Subtitle: Oh great, if my grammar wasn’t bad enough I’m going to struggle with possessive apostrophes.

Search Holt’s Pubs

Only 12 Holt’s pubs are Cask Marque apparently.  Good, ignoring those chancers is one of my fanciful whimsies I get when I go drinking.

I don’t treat Holt’s pubs the way that some would a Hard Rock Cafe, then again if each pub did their own pin badge then I might consider the pilgrimage to every one, I’ve already got their “bee glass” and my Untappd history seems to suggest I’ve had every beer they’ve done (give or take).  Make it happen Joey.

Now I can’t say I’ve been in a vast range of Holt’s pubs and as my previous post alluded to, the city centre pubs, like The Old Monkey and Ape and Apple just don’t do it for me, not because of the pub itself but because of the location.

If you want a list of my main visitations then it would be:

Tamar (Leigh), Mort Arms (Tyldesley), Atherton Arms (er, Atherton, pronounced a-THE-er-tun), Cart & Horses (Astley), Rosehill Tavern (Daisy Hill), Edington Arms (Hindley), The Crown (Horwich) and a few others more out of the way (i.e. not a simple bus/train ride).

I used to go in The Park in Monton, replete with fish tank and bench seating.  Then they gutted it and made it a mimic of the micro bars that sprung up in “the new Chorlton,” way back when every little enclave just outside of Manchester was “the new Chorlton.”

Now I could bang on about another of my whimsy annoyances which is purely of Holt’s own making and that is their pricing.

They are cheap as chips across the board for all their wares but don’t expect a menu saying 4.5 or 3.0 as a price guide, just some well trained bar monkey going £2.57 or £9.52 all together.

Yep, you’ll be coming home with pockets bulging of coppers to stick in your empty, over sized Bell’s whisky bottle.  Unless you wish to tip the weird amounts “no, you keep the 8p, luv.”

The beer isn’t half bad either but this isn’t about the beer it is about the pubs. “Always a warm and friendly welcome;” carpets, except around the bar area, strategic coat hooks (or full on hangers/stands), bench seating, the right temperature, nice toilets, very well trained staff, TVs at the right volume that can still be easily ignored if need be, cubbyholes, etched glass, etc.

You get the picture.

To conclude this post, I’ll finish with two quotes which sum up with brevity what I’ve drawn out to pass the time; one from Martin:

A TOAST TO SIR HUMPHREY IN THE BLUE BELL

Sam Smiths pubs most easily convey that sense of peace and contentment that justify getting out of your sofa to visit pubs…”

Except at Holt’s you can still use your electronic devices, should you so wish.

The second from my mum:

“If you’re old and can’t afford the heating, just go and sit in the Athy Arms.  You wouldn’t really have to buy anything and you’ll be as alone or as talkative as you want.”

 

Thanks for reading.

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Not Tired of Life, Just Tired of Manchester (pubs)

I’ve never liked crowds; or being honest, people in general, the thronging masses of homo sapiens and their need to get wherever they are going and quickly as they can and fuck everyone else. Or the opposite of this, who toddle along or stop and chat on stairs or outside doors and are a general nuisance to everyone trying to get somewhere. Misanthropy can make you view things in extremes but all I see it common sense not being that common.

When I stopped working in Manchester I stopped having to commute through Manchester and I stopped having to go to pubs there to console my time wasted as another train or bus home was late, delayed or cancelled.

I started working and therefore drinking, in earnest, in Manchester some 15 years ago, not long in the scheme of things but a lot has changed in those years and I suspect a lot of people who communicate about beer probably weren’t old enough to drink back then either. For a point of reference it was a time before Port Street Beer House existed, then during, when it opened and became excellent and then further down the line, when it went on to become arrogant and shit.

During the past few weeks I’ve drunk in many towns and cities on extended holidays, especially in London, a place I have also seen change over the past decade or so I’ve made regular trips down there for drinks and the purposes of entertainment and relaxation (get your mind out of the gutter).

I note how the first stop is the Euston Tap and they just seem to be coasting along, resting on their laurels and the captive audience they have but at least that place was deserving of a pedestal at one time, unlike its Manchester Piccadilly counterpart which has always been a hollow shell.

I entertained finally going to the Bermondsey beer mile, if only to indulge my love of Kernel Brewery beers but they don’t open apart from to sell bottles and seeing as very few of the micro (call them craft if you so wish) London breweries are actually much cop (Weird Beard being one rare exception), it wouldn’t be worth my time or money. Full marks to Kernel for not being a slave to trends which now seems to have convinced people that drinking in industrial units under heavy neon lights surrounded by a bit of art is tip-top entertainment. I like Fox’s Biscuits and Heinz Beans but you wouldn’t see me clamouring to get to the a taste of those wares in the factories at Batley and Kitt Green, far better to consume them at home, in the warmth, away from notice-me-wankers (and probably Greg(g) Wallace).

London as a whole has changed, always a heaving metropolis, the description that opens this piece fits it best, though I’ve always respected the seeming fact that London centre pubs are treated as iconic and as necessary furnishments to the economy, something that Manchester, in its clamour to look exactly like London spectacularly loves to ignore and destroy. The personal epiphany though was that all the pubs in London I went in to were havens from the gaggling hordes, something I can’t say for Manchester.

That my opening gambit in every pub and bar I went into was “do you still take cash?” and only once was the answer a “no” still heartens me.

I thought it was just city drinking I was dulled to however not only tolerating but actually enjoying recent trips to Leeds, York, Edinburgh and Sheffield and a whole host of small towns coupled with the London excursion showed that maybe its a case that familiarity breeds contempt and it is well possible because every time I’ve been back to Manchester it has just been a bit meh.

I speak for me, this is my “Rekall moment,” and not to slight the pubs, old and new that are there or the drinks that are on offer.  I am fully aware I’m the factor here.

This piece seems to be acting as a nice intro into another small bit I’m working on called “My Love of Holt’s Pubs” which will be published, when I can be bothered.

 

I’m Linus van Pelt and pubs, except for those in the centre of Manchester are my security blanket.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Oh, of note in London pubs.  Cask beer was significantly improve over recent years (I don’t take my own thermometer though).  Sam Smith’s pubs vary in whether they bother in enforcing their “no mobiles” rule or not.

Woke Siba and the Heretic Hunting Crafties

Last week I went and got the brewery mail and low there was a new copy of the SIBA journal.

I don’t read it, no one reads it here, I doubt many read it who actually get it delivered but then again this blog is probably going to make as many spurious claims as SIBA themselves regularly do.

It stays in it plastic (eco scum) wrap until I take it home and unpack it to put it in the paper recycling, as I like the false feeling of altruism when get when you put anything into recycling.

Numerous thought went through my head on seeing the cover and the first was to “have to check twitter” and the first was confirmed when I noticed they were pushing it to buggery.

And then the good old “we’ve got so many requests, we’re giving it away online”

File under – didn’t happen.  This is SIBA, you have to be slightly idiotic to give money to them in the first place let alone heed or read anything the belch out by many requests they probably mean the people that wrote the articles pushed it too and SIBA’s notifications were lit like never before (and never again).

So, just like those businesses that during Pride month go all rainbow flag crazy only to dump them come the 1st of July it is unsurprising to see another SIBA follow this trend.

My main query is why stick all these stories together into one magazine?

I can imagine the brainstorming session that went into this issue:

SIBA Exec 1: “We’ve got a lot of women, dykes, nignogs and wrong cocks who are getting into beer these days, how can we raise our profile?”

SIBA Exec 2: “How about a special issue in or around that fag pride month they do, we can get some representatives for each relevant tribe to write pieces about there difficulties in beer.”

SIBA Exec 1: “I like the sound of that.  It seems June is the month of the bumders so if we do it for our summer issue we don’t need to cover it again for a whole 12 months.”

SIBA Exec 2: “Great, we wouldn’t want to normalise these kinds of behaviors by having stories crop up in our regular issues,  best just cram them into one place and then the rest of our issues we can devote to proper, normal beer people.”

**High Fives All Round**

What sums up this bullshit best is the intro to this issue:

“When I started writing about beer and pubs back in the mid-1990s I was often struck by how few women, and even fewer people of colour and representatives of the LGBTQ community there were at industry events and gatherings.  I was quite frankly often the only woman in the room, a room that is predominantly filled with middle-aged white British men.”

Census data from 1991 says that 94.1% of Britain was ethnic white.  Etc., etc., et-fucking-cetera.

I see your agenda Caroline, I also see your woke racism and sexism, the good kind of sexism and racism.

In the way that beer twitter moves I was led down the rabbit hole to this tweet…

The replies to this tweet and the original quoted tweet are a joy to behold.  Such progressive thinking.  Such wide and open minds behind the closed fists.

Yes, free speech and free thought do not mean you have a right to an audience but it must be wonderful to be building up those walls of your bubbles so, so high.

And if “TERFS are scum” as everyone’s favourite fat, narcissist cunt claims then it would be interesting to know what Amber and the other plonker that favourited this opinion think of people who plead guilty and are duly convicted of criminal damage and assault are.

Woke scum I suppose, the good kind of scum.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

The Dishonest Opening Times of Micro Pubs

I think most of us have long been aware and made angry comment about the unreliability of micro pub and micro bar opening hours.  I suppose if you’ve planned a crawl or just a visit and find yourself with suddenly two extra hours to mooch about because one micro wasn’t opened at its stated time then it would be annoying.

Indeed, but I suppose you could at least go and drink/eat/wanderlust elsewhere until said new opening time rolls around.

But what about the dray people out there.  The deliverers of the beer.

Those who plan a route and can be doing 100s of miles a day, all of which can only be planned out by stated opening times of the pubs of that days itinerary.

That twattery greeted me today.  It has done a few times in the past, people running late being the main one but I can deal with the odd quarter of an hour provided it is (and usually is) accompanied by an apology.

Said micro that has inspired this rant is a good one, even I will say that, I won’t go as far as the local CAMRA branch who willingly fellate themselves and all concerned with it, but it is a good bar.

It’s Facebook page says it opens at 14.00 on a Thursday.

It’s own website says it opens at 12.00 on a Thursday.

WhatPub splits the difference and says it opens at 13.00 on a Thursday.

So getting there just after 2pm, to be on the safe side and you find yourself with this staring back at you.  Empty casks at your feet expecting to be picked up.

 

It is fantastic that you know you’ve got ever warming cask beer in your van and you now have to drive another round trip of 70+ miles to have to come back when they feel like opening.

Another few hours on to your day driving through the flooded back waters of Cheshire in order to be greeted by the pot smoking and all ready pissed locals of this gaff that are probably angry they aren’t middle class enough to live in Horwich but thankful they don’t live in the shit hole that is Daubhill (that’s pronounced Dob-ull) and are just desperate for a cold drink from the bottle fridge because all the other beer isn’t cold enough.

Enjoy my slightly compromised cask you fuckers.

But it’s all OK, they’ll be voted pub of the year again in the cycle of pubs that local CAMRA branches have when it comes to awards.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

*Note: September 9th 2019 – I will not post the comment from the owner of this bar.  This was not meant to identify the owner or the establishment, just a wry aside on the perils that face all in the beer world and i’m well aware of the juggling done in running a business and a family.  There were no hard feelings in writing this and hopefully none are reciprocated.*

Beer People Are…Fans of Assault

Turns out I was wrong and that the guy behind @themadbrewery twitter handle is the guy who “milkshaked” Farage.

It’s amazing how hair loss can change the appearance of a person.

So not only is he now a convicted criminal, unemployed, fat and unnecessarily ugly* he is also losing his hair, and all at 32.  Brian Epstein, Bruce Lee and Mama Cass never achieved this much before they died.

But yeah, political violence…whoo.

When I first saw the news that the guy had pleaded guilty to assault and criminal damage I went in search of his account to find he had locked it again but as per my duff old phone, it allowed me to see all the replies to him and quite a few caught my eye as I recognised their names.

One in particular a Mr. Matthew Curtis

What a total prat.  The kind of bloke, or close approximation*, who hides behind the bully going “yeah!”

Then I noted a fundraiser had been started for the assailant to cover his costs and fines.

Oh…who’s that again…

Now granted you can add any name you want to these things, what is more shocking is the lowly fiver donation, perhaps the beer grift doesn’t pay that well after all, or maybe it is someone pretending to be him (or honestly has the same name).

 

Reading through twitter and the comments on the fund raiser you do have to laugh at the mental gymnastics of it all, especially from the prick that set it up.

How everyone detests Farage so this kind of violence is acceptable.

Detests? Hmmm, a synonym of detests is hate.

And throwing things at people is a crime.

Oh god, these people are justifying a “hate crime.”

 

“He shouldn’t have to face further punishment because he has already lost his job.”

Because only one of either the law courts or an accused employers should be responsible for the sentencing of a criminal.  Shit, if only Ian Huntley was sacked from his job as a caretaker then he needn’t have been convicted of life imprisonment for the murder of two children, really the legal system is all backwards.

It’ll be fun, when part of your future employment is to have your financial transactions combed through.

“Let’s see, it says here Mr. Curtis you like to donate a fair bit to crowd funding sites.”

“Yes, I like to support people within the brewing industry.”

“Can you give us some examples, please?”

“Certainly, apart from my presence as a social media influencer I’ve also donated to getting new equipment for a whole manner of breweries in order that they may expand the out put and also to start ups.”

“Excellent; very commendable, who is this Paul Crowther you’ve donated to, was he the owner of a start up brewery?”

“He was a home brewer who was also convicted of criminal damage and assault.”

“Right.  Thank you for your time.”

 

Lets get this straight.  What anyone does with their own money is up to them but don’t be even so much as questioning someone else’s morals or political persuasions or thought or speech if you’re willing giving your money over to anyone who is a stranger and a criminal.

You may as well donate your money to the Nigerian generals that send you spam requests if that’s your view in life.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

*Red Dwarf, Season Five, Episode 1 – Holoship.

Any Pump Clip You Want – As Long as its Plain

There is a logical fallacy known as slippery slope, thin end of the wedge, or domino theory.  Only when it comes to public health it seems to be playing out exactly as predicted.

Start with banning smoking in public.  Then hiding cigarettes.  Then making the packaging not look to appealing to anyone who has the misfortune to lay their eyes on it and have a such weak and feeble mind as to be convinced there and then to tack up the habit.

And then when we start “saving lives” but losing tax revenue it’ll be time to find something else to blame to keep the coffers full.

Salt was a big thing a few years ago but the sudden push on sugar in foods, with soft drinks being the first industry to be heavily punished with levies which subsequently led manufacturers to change their recipes so they now taste shit because of all the artificial sweeteners used to replace sugar.

I went into my local the other day and as I was with a designated driver they were on the soft drinks.  All options were; light, diet, sugar free or “max” – a water was ordered, well done pub you’ve just cost yourself some cash because you didn’t give adults the option of a full and free choice.

The populace is being conditioned (nudged) to be use to the nanny state looking out for the best interests so much so that it was only a matter of time till this happened.

Call for plain packaging for unhealthy drinks and snacks to combat preventable disease

Beer will be next.

Articles with a clear anti-alcohol bias have been around for ages but the temperance movement, emboldened by the nanny state have gone into overdrive, much like this article

Girl and Tonic blogger: ‘Giving up booze helped me buy my house’

The more truthful and sensible headline would be “Idiot realises that saving cash will help in future purchases” but instead we have to get a feature on a lifestyle twat and their stunning and brave decisions.

Nothing is more aesthetically unpleasing as walking into a bar and seeing a hand written pump clip, well perhaps jaggedly cut fluorescent flashes for drinks promotions but nothing puts me off buying a beer more than a lack of pump clip.

Then again pump clips are expensive, so sending out hand written paper clips would help with the margins, meh, get the bar to do it themselves and save even more cash.

This reminded me of the clash between Tiny Rebel and the Portman group over the design of one of their cans.

Just think how much money Tiny Rebel would save if their new cans were just had plain.

 

In fact all breweries may get in on this.  It could be a good thing in the long run for all micro breweries.  What a sight it could be when the shelves of independent beer shops could look like this.

It’ll be a brave new world

 

Writing this I thought of “Any Colour You Like” by Pink Floyd and then in popped another song of Dark Side of the Moon and stayed there all day.

 

Thanks for reading.

Big Beer – Keep On Punching

I don’t watch much television these days but I did catch the latest beer advert by Foster’s.

As it is advertising alcohol you may well have to sign in to view it, a stick that our nanny betters in government beat us with regardless of our age or how big the multinational behind the campaign is, as we are all equally worthless in the eyes of our masters.

Anyway, having seen this advert I was reminded about a post by Steve at Beer Nouveau about the “Dilly Dilly” adverts that Bud-Lite ran (and still are) and whereas I understand the point(s) he makes I think it is a general symptom of the love of victim hood that smaller brewers feel.

A mentality that moves less from the brewers; who are just doing a job, but more from the movers and shakers, the influencers, the high-profile bloggers and authors who didn’t yet land cushy jobs at bigger end craft breweries.  This then permeates other similar artisan producers; the over priced food hawkers, the impressively expensive coffee houses (of which McDonald’s, a company I still boycott, beautifully trolled), the fiercely independent beer shops, etcetera

Individuality is lost and the herd takes over and it is us versus the big guns and a sense of humour and reason is lost.

 

Eventually it metastasises into the type of straw man group think that is bread and butter to a cynical blog like this.

 

So; to anyone, keep on punching, with words only obviously, at anyone and everyone.  Take the piss and fuck them if they can’t take a joke.

 

Thanks for reading.