Kegs with legs (a ReDux)….


A little light [beer] relief in a week we find our nation yet again in a state of flux, one consistent beverage we can all rely on is a fine craft ale.

The recent phenomena and the dearth of micro brewers and privately / co-op managed ale houses is a good thing in my mind. The seasonality and historical regional flavours offers any visitor to the area an option to choose something made locally, with care, love and attention to hand made recipes.

With the thousands of imaginatively named IPAs, stouts, amber ales and porters to choose from in many areas of the country, it is often a challenge to find something that sticks out for the duration of the time at the bar or in a local bottle shop.

This also is a good thing, hopefully lining up for the removal of bland, insipid mass production brown liquid, offering only the guarantee of a hang-over from hell the next day, mainly due to all the additives and preservatives. Thankfully no more terrible TV ads for hooligan Lager full of clichés and less than clever macho strap lines.

Living in the convergence of both Manchester and Sheffield’s commuter belt, bordering the Peak District National Park, one would be happy to know we have a healthy and happy collection of local brewers hard at work each day making and mashing their delectable brews.


Having a small brewery on one’s doorstep is yet another reason to support local businesses that serve us with something so much more than the ambivalence we expect from many of the inner city hipster bars.

It is quite evident that these stalwarts of single mindedness, mavericks, revolutionaries and masters of individuality are the future of our enviable brewing industry and with the current shenanigans in Westminster, exporting our wares will start to prop up the economy as much as our fading bars. One observation of the growing number of Bottle Shops and Tap Rooms opening up across the Iberian Peninsula, with growth felt across Barcelona, Madrid and Malaga this year, many of our European cousins have seen just how important small and Micro pubs are to our consolidated communities.

If you find yourself in the Peak District this year, make time to enjoy the new line of ales from Whaley Bridge Brewery, the innovative methods Mike (Master Brewer extraordinaire) explores with the finest hops and the excellent clear waters of the Peak District combine to produce a very irresistible result.

You will be first attracted by the creatively designed packaging and labels, a nod to a much more contemporary rather than hairy eared trad design. Each beer is named after an area of this historical town and visible landmarks form the high hills around us, and each offer a completely different flavour and gravity.

The two new ones to the growing collection are Crow Hill and Mount Famine. Crow Hill being a very fine American Amber Ale, offering an explosion of caramel maltiness, refreshing citrus fruits and the bitterness from the excellent hops Mike doesn’t scrimp on. So if its the hell or high watermelon you like in a lovingly crafted beer, using a combination of alchemy, science and experience, this newcomer to the market is for you. This ale is one for a lazy summer evening, swallows darting over head, enjoying the fading summer sun after a great day on the hill.


Mount Famine is a totally different brew – a little more lively ale that offers an instant hit of Tropical Fruits – including Passion Fruit (how he does this is beyond a laymen such as I) and more robust bitter notes, this triple hopped beer offers an excellent session ale for any occasion. I found to my delight it was a fine accompaniment to some Stilton and a borderline offensively ripe Brie.

They join the WBB family and will be found on tap or in 1 pint bottles when Mike and his Wife Jill manage to get through the painfully long planning process with our local Borough Council. Any of you that has been at the painful end of the whipping stick all Borough Councils own, you will understand and sympathise with them both. Not to mention the hundreds of people who are waiting for this place to open.

Recently, Mikes’s ales could be found in a growing number of ale houses and pubs in the region.

For those of you lucky enough these past 12 months to have visited the National Trust’s Eyam Hall courtyard, The Eyam Real Ale Company, right next door to the Hartington Cheese Shop, to anyone living in the area and knowing the latter – a perfect match I am sure you will agree.

Goyt Wines in Whaley Bridge, The Tickled Trout, Barlow near Chesterfield, the Beer Dock in Crewe and Barley Hops in Congleton, Cheshire; the newest ale shop to populate the High Peak, Beer District in Buxton (4a Colonnade, Buxton), starring amongst others, the four Whaley Bridge Beers. They now offer a growing number of excellent beers, ciders and spirits to discerning locals and visitors to the Spa Town.

Your involvement and ability to share will of course speed up the process and bring us all closer to opening a very worthy community hub and as it has been over 100 years since Whaley Bridge has had a micro enterprise such as this, a well over due addition to the high street of this small rural town I am sure you will agree.

This is where you can make a difference. Support, like and then share with all your friends, as the delay in Council processes has put them back from the initial launch date but nonetheless it will happen, however not without community assistance. Please do what you can by spreading the good word. Sharing costs nothing and brings Mike and his family closer to expanding their brewery business. You will be part of a happy future and an important social hub to our growing town.

Please click non the site below, support and share:

Remember, it is people like Mike that make the world a better place, a happier place, and for every pint of Carling or Fosters not sold this week, we can all applaud those who get up at the crack of sparrows each day to pint-by-pint remove this despicable drink from our pubs and replace it with something made from simple ingredients, not stakeholder pension plans.

Life is far too short to drink cheap flavourless beer.


Drink responsibly.


Author: Ian F Simpson

Company Director, Land Rover custodian, Coppicer of trees, Bee Keeper, Pie eater