Honestly; never let it be said that I am not adventurous of spirit. This week I am a foot-weary traveller with a passport full of stamps; a hoary old wanderer with a knotted handkerchief tied up with memories of the new and exciting worlds that lie at the very edge of the limits of human experience. Yep: this week, I have been out of Didsbury, TWICE.
First, it was Chorlton. Then, last night, even further: Altrincham. And I didn't even have a MAP. There was of course a sterling reason for such unprecedented levels of adventuring derring-do: The Brew House, the specialist world beers bar and one of my most favourite places on the planet, is there rather than here. If you yourself are considering such a foray, here are the pros and cons of such a venture:
1. The Brew House is a gorgeously warm sort of a place for a chilly evening, like a welcoming red cavern lit only by flickering candlelight, the glint of bottles, and the wholesome love of beer that pervades the entire premises. True, they have painted over the Tin Tin pictures that used to adorn the walls since rebranding from the exclusively Belgian Le Trappiste, but I'll forgive them on the basis that they now sell a wider range of beers than they used to. And this is a good thing, because...
2. ...boys like beer, and when they are permitted to have beer, they become genial, and consider you to be the finest wife in the universe. This leaves you free to chat happily with female friends over a decent bottle of red from the wine list whilst they all discuss dull Man Things (one of the party had recently built a Man Cave in his garden, which obviously prompted much debate) and drink terrifyingly strong beer from test-tube-shaped glasses.
3. The music is amazing. Owner Martin clearly understands the joy inherent in a good mix tape, and chooses to play Buzzcocks, Squeeze (Up the Junction, to which I sang along in a loud and heartfelt manner, much to the delight of all other customers), Oasis and Happy Mondays - amongst others - to his grateful and discerning clientele.
4. Martin also knows everything there is to know about beer, and is happy to make recommendations and chat with geeky boys eager to learn more about the fine art of opening a bottle of something and pouring it down your throat. He even makes it sound poetic, describing a particularly malodorous beer as having the aroma of a Manchester bus shelter. And I suspect Mr Liz will be reminscing for years about "the night Mr Brew House showed me his cellar" - apparently it's, ahem, impressively well-stocked *pictures grandchildren looking bored and whispering "oh no...not this story again" to each other*
5. They now sell bar food that consists entirely of pies.
6. And if you don't fancy a pie (in which case you are probably reading this blog by accident anyway), you can always pop to curry house Dilli for tea. This is what we did, and I can't help thinking that next time I go for a curry and am NOT presented with a whole duck breast amid a sea of perfect sauce it's all going to be terribly disappointing. The duck breast was just one of the extraordinary dishes on the current fancy dan special menu for the Rajasthani Food Festival that runs till the end of March - don't forget to take along your Brew House receipt for a discount from your bill *money saving expert face*
7. Finally - and don't underestimate the importance of this one - if you give them a ring before you go they will let you reserve a table, meaning that you can wear your very best impractical Taxi Shoes secure in the knowledge that you won't have to stand uncomfortably all evening with a slightly sad, martyred expression on your face - much better for everyone.
1. It's located somewhere I do not live.
Verdict: case closed.
- The Brew House is at 18 Shaws Road, Altrincham WA14 1QU; tel 0161 941 1981
- Dilli is at 60 Stamford New Road, Altrincham WA14 1EE; tel 0161 929 7484 /0161 927 9219