Warrington - June 2011 Free
The Coach House Brewing Company Warringtonâ€™s premier independent brewery rises from the ashes of Greenhalls
A Right Royal Racket
(Not so) Quiet Night In
Best Beer in town
Booze and Blues at home
The best pubs in town
Letter from the Landlord
Ciaran Raftery, Editor
Editor Ciaran Raftery Editor at large Ciaran Raftery Staff writers Ciaran Raftery Ciaran Raftery Ciaran Raftery Art Editor Ciaran Raftery Picture Editor Ciaran Raftery Researchers Ciaran Raftery Ciaran Raftery Website Editor Ciaran Raftery
Patrice Evra Publishing
Warrington - June 2011
The Coach House Brewing Company -Warrington’s Premier Brewery
Not tonight thanks, I’m staying in - Our guide to staying in
- One writer’s mission to find the town’s best pub
Best Beers in Town What’s Next?
- The Booze & Blues Calendar
A Right Royal Racket - The Kingsway talk BoozeandBlues.co.uk
Photography : Ciaran Raftery
elcome friends, to the first Warrington edition of Booze & Blues, your companion magazine to a community dedicated to real ale and real music. In these pages each month you can expect to find news and information to heighten your enjoyment for the finer things in life. So drink, be merry, turn the music up to 11 and Enjoy Booze
Yer Blues Ticking Teaser? Dear Booze & Blues, Last week i was in my local and to strangers walked in from and swiftly proceeded to sample our local wares and started studiously scribbling notes in their notebooks. I had never seen this before, but my mate said he’d seen a couple of people doing something similar once and apparently they call themselves ‘beer tickers’. This concept was new to me and I didn’t wan’t to sounds like a philistine so I just nodded and supped my pint. Tony
Dear Tony, Don’t worry about it Tony, its not uncommon to be completely oblivious to this phenomenon. BoozeandBlues.co.uk
Effectively beer ticking is like train-spotting for drinkers. There are a few simple rules, you can only record a drink if it is a real ale and you must drink at least half a pint of it. I hope this helps Tony
Which Amp? Dear Booze
I’ve been out of the game for a while now, but with the kids all grown up I’ve decided that I can start playing live music again. I sold all my equipment some around the time of the birth of my first, leaving myself with just my trusty telecaster and a practice amp. My Problem is this: I’ve got my first gig in a month and that means investing in a new amp and a head scratcher. Should I go for something big and powerful to deal
with gigging, would a 100W amp be powerful enough? Allan. Dear Allan, First off, it’s good to hear you’re back in the habit. To answer your question, Yes. 100W will be powerful enough. but more importantly it will be too powerful. I’m assuming you’ll be playing in pubs and clubs? For this purpose anything between 30W and 50W will be perfectly sufficient. Also it’s worth bearing in mind that most clubs and pubs that have bands on regularly are likely to have a PA system that will accommodate even the smallest practice amp and project it more than enough. Finally, when choosing make sure you take your own guitar with you, often times a shop will hand you an expensive guitar to try out an amp giving a inaccurate impression of the sound you will get at home. I hope this helps Allan.
The Coach House Brewing Company
20 years in t a snap shot of an award winning 3
hen the Greenhalls brewery in Warrington announced it was closing in 1990, there were a few nervous looks on employee’s faces, but not so David Bolton. The former cask and keg manager had a few offers to consider from a handful of other major brewers but with 20 years experience of the brewing trade under his belt David had tired of the bureaucracy of big breweries and decided to set out on an independent mission. A mission that 20 years on is looking very much like a success. Ciaran Raftery went to talk to Managing Director David Bolton to find out how and why.
t’s a relatively small operation but with a payroll of only nine permanent employees The Coach House Brewing Company have developed up a great reputation amongst pubs and brewers alike, a reputation that is built upon two things “Consistency and Service”, David Bolton is proud of the company he has worked hard for. “Consistency is key! The nature of brewing is such that the slightest change in conditions of the raw product or the equipment used can make a whole world of difference to the quality of the brew.” David insists on only the freshest, best quality materials when sourcing his ingredients for his award winning products, a common hurdle for smaller breweries and micro breweries to fall at. “There are lots of new brewers popping up all the time but the reason we survive is experience and technical knowledge, take our position for example, we could have set up anywhere in Warrington or further afield if we wanted but we chose this specific location for the water supply. We don’t need any additives in our water because the mixture of Dee and Vyrnwy water is perfect for brewing.”
Photography : Ciaran Raftery
quality of the brew really starts to suffer, if Its this kind of dedication to specifics that a beer isn’t good enough to sell out by then has made the brewery what it is perhaps a brewer should reconsider how today. good the drink is.” “As a smaller brewery we realise that With 12 permanent beers and a wide to attract and keep customers we need to range of seasonal and special occasion beers provide a great service, as well as combined with the proactive using the best raw materials we can lay our attitude of the sales staff, David is hands on, we always try to go the confident about The Coach House’s extra mile for our customers. Sometimes prospects despite the decline of pubs. I’ll have to send a couple of lads out on the “We’ve built our reputation road up to Yorkshire with a couple of barrels for a “Once tapped and vented a by word of mouth, even if are closing, people pub that’s sold out, but beer should be sold within pubs will always want to drink that’s what it takes.” five days, after then its good quality, interesting With the decline of the British pub often in the really not the beer that was ales.” This has proven to be the case as rather than news contrasting with a first brewed” having a detrimental effect recent Guardian article on business David says that that suggests real ale their volume has not is becoming more popular with younger decreased, and their turn-over is in fact people, I asked David how, and indeed if, on the rise. A fact that David insists is due these developments had effected to consistency and service that some less business. successful breweries just don’t have the “As a general rule, there has been a ‘knock capacity and range to produce. on effect’ which has been an The Quality of the beers produced at The increase.” The Coach House are very much Coach House is indisputable, part of what David calls ‘the guest beer as their ever growing collection of awards philosophy’, “Ale drinkers like to go into will attest. The Blueberry Classic Bitter pubs and find a drink that they haven’t had alone has won three awards in the last before, so its necessary to ring the changes, year including The Society of Independent we’re proactive in getting our beers into Brewers Association’s (SIBA)‘Best new places and rotating their availability specialist beer in the in pubs.” This guest beer philosophy is country’ as well as Gunpowder Mild which not only good for the choice available regularly wins prizes. to the customers at the pumps but also But what would the man himself most like advantageous for the quality of the beer. to drink after a hard day’s work? “Once tapped and vented a beer should be “Our own Cheshire Gold! Definitely, I was sold within five days, after then its really drinking it just the other night in my local, not the beer that was first brewed, after ten for me it really is the best ale we brew!” days the
Not tonight thanks, I’m staying in. T
ypical British summer drowning your spirits? Don’t fancy the walk? The taxi fare? Just feeling lazy? Relax put your feet up and enjoy the Booze &Blues guide to a good night in.
Photography : Ciaran Raftery
By Ciaran Raftery
hilst it’s hard to disagree that beer tastes best in a well pulled pint from the pump in your favourite watering hole and music sounds best when the visceral energy is live, there are times when you want to enjoy the finer things from your own home. Booze
recommends the best beers available in Warrington’s super markets to accompany the finest live albums to recreate perfect night out at home.
Coniston Brewing Company BlueBird Bitter & The Band The Last Waltz BoozeandBlues.co.uk
he Band, the last word in rustic American music live with The Last Waltz. With guest stars such as Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and The Staple Singers complimenting arguably the most musically accomplished band of the 20th century, there’s little here that doesn’t impress greatly. Levon Helm, the group’s driving force in this live instance, driving the performances deftly with equal parts soaring vocals and percussive bombast, whilst never overshadowing the rest of the band who all shine both musically and when taking lead vocals. Robbie Robertson (ironically the only member not blessed with a natural singing voice) has just released a new long player but here at Booze and Blues, I think we’ll be sticking with this landmark performance. Highlights: The Weight, Up On Cripple Creek, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down June 2011
he first thing that hits you about this record is the sparse, relatively thin sound, compared to some other live recordings. However despite this being detrimental to the recording, it is somehow the strongest point of the record. What this really brings to the fore is the song craft and musicianship of Bowie and his band. Ronson in particular was then and still is a revelation, his sound as stripped as his Les Paul, his technical ability really shines through both in terms of rhythm and lead playing. The Dame’s voice may not be on top form here, there are odd quivers and stretched notes but isn’t that what makes Bowie, Bowie? This record isn’t perfect ... but that’s what makes it great.
Joseph Holt Manchester Brown Ale & David Bowie - Live in Santa Monica ‘72
Highlights: Five years, Andy Warhol, Jean Genie.
Highlights: Photography : Ciaran Raftery
Robinsons - Old Tom Cat & Free - Live at the BBC
or a band often, unfairly, dismissed as being little more than their best known track ‘All Right Now’ Free really do amount to more than their (not inconsiderable) sum parts. Paul Rodgers leads by example with his raw soulful vocals, punctuated by yelps and howls, flowing effortlessly over Andy Fraiser’s elastic bass lines. Fraiser’s bass works almost as a rhythm guitar underscoring Paul Kossoff’s sumptuous lead work, almost saturated by his now legendary vibrato. This house of blues-rock majesty all built on Simon Kirke’s concrete rhythm foundations.
Woman, I’ll Be Creepin’, Be My Friend.
Best Beers in Town
With little interest in the Royal Wedding, one intrepid Booze Blues writer gather a team of like minded ale drinkers and one novice to find the best drinking establishment in Warrington. With a practically empty town centre we had a range of pubs on our doorstep this is what happened.....
By Ciaran Raftery
The atmosphere in The Friar Penketh was somewhat out of sorts, the usually relatively s is customary for our jaunts into quiet pub was bustling due to big screen town we gathered at The Friar wedding footage. Penketh, the more established of the After having had quite enough of watching town’s two Wetherspoon pubs. As usual the royal couple parade around London on and in true borderline OCD the projected screen and having suitably fashion I was first to arrive whetted our whistle, we decided to (nearly 20 minutes early) up sticks and make our way to the followed by old school friends Lower Angel. Gaz and Cartwright with Face The Lower Angel has garnered to join us later. a bad reputation in our circle of With a plethora of real ales friends, due to the tall tales of a on offer we friend who has fled these shores opted to eat in our first pub for Australia. Understandably to grant us time to enjoy the it divides opinion, with a small broader range on offer, of community of locals it can be the 10 on offer our personal an intimidating pub to walk into highlights were identified as for the first time. However any Brains Milkwood, chosen for misgivings are quickly dispelled the Dylan Thomas association, by the friendly staff who greeted us worked well with food, and helped Cartwright to reach his due it’s unassuming taste it decision of what beers to get for his The perils of thorough research complimented rather than over powered round. Being an fairly unimaginative chap, the food. Gaz, who was the novice of the he settled on three pints of Wychwood’s Hot group was conspicuously excited about Chocolate, looking for a beer that would his pint of Wainwright ale from Thwaits, taste like his beloved winter time hot drink In reality we should have seen this as a we were disappointed to find the speciality warning sign for his day ahead. beer to be very ordinary indeed, tasting more
Photography : Lewis Tayor
like a middle of the road stout than anything overtly chocolately. The touch screen jukebox by the bar was nicely stocked with plenty of music to cover a variety of tastes but mostly featured a brand of blues and rock that would please most readers, five classic tracks made our stay all the more enjoyable for a mere one pound Stirling. Moving on to the furthest pub from the town centre , we headed towards The Tavern ( formerly of “Wilkie’s” fame. Arguably the best pub on our route, The Tavern prides itself on its choice of ales as displayed on the side of the building. Black Swan Mild from the Vale Brewery of Buckinghamshire was a personal favourite in our third pub, and indeed possibly for the whole afternoon. The pubs friendly atmosphere really was top drawer, the bar staff offering advice on which of the wide range of ales to try after having enjoyed our first pint and also offering us the use of playing cards and dominoes to enhance our time spent in their company. Face joined our rabble whilst we
contemplated our pints of Bonnie Bunny from the 4T’s brewery who are linked to the pub itself. The pub’s reputation as a real ale pub was cemented in our minds at the arrival of two chaps who turned out to be beer tickers (as discussed in the letters page) and had travelled from Liverpool to sample the independent delights on offer. When our time came to leave The Tavern, knowledge that we were leaving a great pub was compounded further by moving across the road to the Borough Arms, the less said about this pub the better. As the afternoon went on and more pints were drained, a great time was had by all, maybe some more so than others. Gaz, as the member of of our group least inclined to drink , especially when real ale is involved was very much feeling the effects of the ale on his system. Porters Ale House was our penultimate venue on our trip , and provided exactly what we were after , a local beer from just down the road and potentially equally important , were the welcome brainteasers on the quiz machine. As we particularly costly losing streak our sorrows were eased by Coach House Brewing Company’s Inn Keeper ale. A really fine pub that built its reputation on providing great music (both live and on the stereo) and great ales. At this point our research mission became slightly more of a slack affair as discussion turned to topics you wouldn’t want your mother to hear, we carried on to find a good time in both the Looking Glass and The Barley Mow.
“Black Swan Mild was a personal favourite in our third pub, possibly the afternoon”
Pub of the Month
The Tavern 25 Church Street, Warrington, WA1 2SS 01925 577990
And what happened next? Well... ...if you know, we’d quite like to find out too. BoozeandBlues.co.uk
Whats on the Booze
Calendar in and around Warrington
Live Wire - AC/DC Tribute
The next best thing to the hard rock-
Parr Hall / Pyramid
Friends of Mine Festival
Three days of live music including: The Buzzcocks; The Charlatans: The Fall and more
Led Zeppelin Imitators give it their
Northwich Memorial Hall
What’s The Story?
Parr Hall / Pyramid
Performing Songwriter Contest
Jam Venue and Old Town House
Oasis Tribute act rock Warrington
Local budding musicians compete for prizes
The Clone Roses and Clint Boon
Parr Hall / Pyramid
The UK’s top Stone Roses Tribute act team up with scene veteran
Want your band’s next gig advertised here? Email :BoozeandBlues.co.uk
l-r: Wez, Tom Dan, Joe
A Right Ro T
he Kingsway are on the verge of something big, with their new demo circulating amongst labels, including Domino and a video in the pipeline. The future is looking bright for Warrington’s rock royalty. By Ciaran Raftery
ormed by school friends and family, The Kingsway have a tight foundation, reflected in their sound. Never afraid to wear their influences on their sleeve but always with one eye on the future, a recent demo proves they are a force to be reckoned with. 13
uitarist Tom Cummings and Bassist Dan Markie met at college and instantly bonded over a common love of what Dan calls “a good riff and a good session in town so the foundations were in place. When Tom brought Joe into the fold the chemistry was there straight away – all in synch with each others’ style of playing.” Joe Cummings (Tom’s younger brother) brought his military tight drumming into the mix, to provide a strong foundation to Tom’s powerful blend of lead and rhythm guitar, perfectly underscored by Dan’s dexterous bass playing. The line up is completed by singer Wez Dolphin, who as Dan’s notes was born to be a frontman, “Wez has got a lot about him and you never struggle to hear him chatting so what better than to test him in front of a mic.” Wez attributes the longevity of the band to their background, “We’ve all known each other inside and outside of the band so we all have respect for each other and BoozeandBlues.co.uk
always got time for what everyone’s got to say.” This mutual respect has done the band proud as they made the transition from being a young band to a band of young men. The transition came with an uncomfortable realisation, According to Tom, “There’s a big scene in terms of the number of bands that are about - I’d say there’s well over 30 bands in the town. But there’s no scene and hasn’t been one for a long time,” a problem that Booze & Blues is looking to combat. However there is one venue that holds a special place in the hearts of the band, “The Parr Hall is probably our favourite venue to play knowing the famousmusicians that have took to the same stage. Playing in front of minimum 1000 people always give you a buzz.”
Photography :Rick Turnerr
y al Racket Last year the lads supported the Clone Roses at The Parr Hall and will be doing so again this year, looking to debut some new material from their recordings done at Jaraf House in Wigan under the patronage of Starsailor Bassist James Stelfox. The new material looks to develop on the band’s established sound with the addition of what Tom describes as “a sort of ...Queens Of The Stoneage feel, a bit heavier than we’ve done before.” Dan has a clear vision of the band’s mission “We’re hoping to be able to play some gigs in the next six months in front of some industry professionals. Of course we want to get signed, we love playing music, but our aim is to sign with a label and get our tunes out there.” June 2011