Coming up to the half-way point in our meander around England we are back in the North West and the historic border county of Cheshire. With Wales to the west the Romans set up a fortification to control the area with the name of Deva Victrix. Later Chester became part of Mercia and set up with a church to become a religious centre and the walls were extended to keep the Danes at bay. It was one of the last cities to fall to the Normans who on eventually succeeding built a castle to dominate the city and the Welsh borders. It remains one of the best preserved walled cities in England. Chester, whilst remaining as the county town is not the largest in the county, which is Warrington. Other settlements of size are Crew, Runcorn, Widnes and Ellesmere Port.
The northern towns of Cheshire are known for Chemicals production plus salt extraction, the rest of Cheshire is mostly clay and red sandstone soils so is more agricultural. The East of the county is Peak District which falls down to the Cheshire gap and the River Dee. It becomes hillier again inland along the Welsh border.
On Ratebeer we have 59 Breweries listed in total. 34 of these are currently active whilst 24 are now closed. 7 of the total are Client / Commissioner companies.
The oldest Brewery we have is the Thomas Hardy Burtonwood Brewery of Warrington (Est 1837). We have discussed breweries with mysterious and chequered pasts in these pages but this one takes the biscuit I would imagine. While the business was being built they also became involved in other family breweries, Higson’s, Tetley Walker and Hook Norton to name just a few, building up and cashing in on the sales of many of them. They themselves suffered from another arrangement with Eldridge Pope who owned the brand Thomas Hardy Brewers after Allied Brewers was broken up. Burtonwood acquired many pubs during the acquisition but the business became overstretched and the pubs sold to Wolverhampton & Dudley. Finally in 2015 the remnants of the company, including the brewery were bought by Molson Coors who subsequently announced the forthcoming closure of Burtonwood later in 2021.
The Brewery with the largest range we have for Cheshire is RedWillow Brewery of Macclesfield (Est 2010) with 176 beers.
The Ratebeer award of Best Brewery in Cheshire for 2021 is RedWillow Brewery, whilst The Best Beer award went to Mobberley Brewery for their Playback. No award was made for new Brewery.
The Top 10 Beers for Cheshire are –
- Redwillow Thoughtless
- Redwillow Restless
- Mobberley Batch #1000
- Redwillow Soulless
- Redwillow Remorseless R
- Redwillow Faithless X1 R
- Mobberley Beast Mode
- Cheshire Brewhouse Gibraltar Porter
- Redwillow Shameless IPA
- Redwillow Ageless
The Top Pubs / Bars in Cheshire are –
- Bhurtpore Inn, Aston – 83
- Brewery Tap (Spitting Feathers), Chester – 81
- Cellar, Chester – 81
- Redwillow Bar, Macclesfield – 81
- Pied Bull, Chester – 80
- Tavern (4T’s), Warrington – 80
There are also 2 highly rated bottle shops.
- Beer Emporium, Sanbach – 83
- Chester Beer and Wine, Chester – 83
The Top 5 Raters of Cheshire Beers are –
The Ratebeerian who resides in Cheshire with the most raings is –
@DJMonarch who seems to have dropped out in May 2020 unfortunately. I remember when he ruled the English ratings in the early years of Ratebeer.
The highest resident of Cheshire still rating is @MarcinG