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Some of the best real ale pubs in...
Near Manchester, UK

January 2010


Owen Ogletree and his Beer Wench found themselves in downtown Manchester on January 3, 2010. Just after noon, we felt the urge to enjoy a pint of cask ale, but realized all the downtown pubs seemed to be closed. A nice police-lady gave us a strange look as she said, "Love, don't you know Manchester United is playing Leeds today? The pubs are closed for safety - the fans can get dangerous after the game." Undaunted, we pulled out our Good Beer Guide, hopped on a bus and made the 15 minute trip to the Manchester suburb of Stockport where we found quaint, pleasant pubs stocking wonderful real ale. Look below for reports on our top six.

Photos and notes by Owen Ogletree - Posted January 2010

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23 Millgate

This pub won the award for CAMRA's branch Pub of the Year in 2009. A beautiful and historic pub with pleasing, attractive atmosphere and a dedicated owner, Arden Arms should not be missed. Cask ales from the local Robinson's brewery are offered.

31 Shaw Heath

Local pub with local flare, and all the Robinson's ales on hand-pull. CAMRA branch Pub of the Year runner-up in 2007.

154 Heaton Lane

The very best pub in Stockport for a wide-range of cask ales, Crown offers a central bar area directly through the main doors and many side rooms and lounges in which to enjoy your pint. We'd suggest getting half pints of several of the different UK craft ales - just as a delightful tasting experience.

159 Heaton Lane

One of our favorite old pubs in Stockport, the Pineapple is another Robinson's pub featuring a friendly owner and locals along with four real ales in top form. Just around the corner from the Crown, the Pineapple is a very quiet, relaxing place for conversation.

1 Avenue Street

Railway won the CAMRA branch Pub of the Year in 2007 and offers 11 cask ales from the Pennine Brewery. A craft cider is usually available as well, along with a fine range of European bottled beers.

8 Tiviot Dale

This pub contains three rooms and is located near the Stockport town center. A couple of Robinson's ales are offered on hand-pump, and Old Tom strong ale was being served by gravity tap straight from a cask sitting on the bar on the day we visited.

Just what is cask ale (or real ale)?  Why is it so important?

From London's Independent Real Ale Guide... "Real ale or cask-conditioned beer is a natural, living product. At the end of the production process - using the finest malted barley, hops, yeast and pure water - the beer if not filtered, pasteurised or artificially carbonated. It's placed into casks (called firkins), often with extra hops for aroma, and delivered in unfinished form to pubs. Here the beer enjoys a secondary fermentation in cask that creates a full, mature  flavour. In UK pubs, when the yeast has settled, the beer is drawn by the familiar hand-pump attached to a suction pump known as a beer engine. Some pubs without cellars still serve beer straight from the cask using a simple gravity tap."
Don't think of visiting the UK without a guidebook to find the best cask ale pubs.

With detailed descriptions of the very best real ale pubs in England, CAMRA's Good Beer Guide serves as the premier resource for the serious pub crawler. Search for a copy on or the Campaign for Real Ale's online store...

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