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It's been a quiet week if you forget the budget and most beer drinkers would like to I suppose. I haven't said anything about it, but funnily enough I agree with most of what Cookie said in his blog; though tongue in cheek it had some merit to my mind, though I suspect his tough love approach won't meet with universal approval. I don't much agree with his views on small producers however, as I assume it is to give them a chance to compete and grow - and why not? Competition is good and all that.

On Wednesday I encountered a rather nice smooth beer. Yes, honestly. I don't know who brews it (anyone know?) but Mann's Chestnut Mild, especially as it warmed up, was rather good for a 3% beer and adds weight to my thoughts that dark beers react better to nitrogen than others do. It was a night for odd beers with Webster's Yorkshire Bitter (smooth) also being available. Poignantly this was in the Woolworth Social Club, the only remnant of a thriving distribution network which now lies nearby and empty. One thing about clubs is that you keep seeing odd beers that you thought had disappeared.

Last night an old work colleague came to stay so I took him to Rochdale. The Baum had a good choice on, but my eye was immediately attracted to a Mallinsons pump clip. Murray-Darling is 3.8%, pale and hoppy and very drinkable. Tara, the brewster has Northern tastes down to a "T" and one of her beers is never enough. The Baum is starting to get Mallinsons more often and in my view, that's a very good thing. The barman told me an even nicer one had been on before ( I think it might have been Grand Canyon) but I had no complaints. This brewery just gets better and better, with an eclectic output of one offs which are usually pale, hoppy and bitter. Highly recommended.

Our final couple of pints were in the Regal Moon. Elland Argus was a heftier choice at 4.6% but delivered a dry, bitter and hoppy expereince. I finished on another favourite brewery Hawkshead Organic Stout was roasty, bitter and smooth from the touch of oats in the brew and the perfect last pint.

So there you have it. Three recommended breweries and nothing brown and boring. Listen to your Uncle Tanders. He'll put you on the right track.