County Stat Attack Week 31 - Greater Manchester

Created in the 1974 shuffle Greater Manchester is made up of Manchester, Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside, Wigan and Salford. It is the second most populous area in the UK. The area has been settled since the Iron Age with early signs of Celts and Brigantes. During the Middle Ages the area was known as Salfordshire, a division of the ancient county of Lancashire. Settlements quickly grew around cloth manufacture initially with home grown materials then more importantly the import of cotton. Massive growth was undertaken during the Industrial Revolution and the creation of the Manchester Ship Canal which took trade inland and away from Merseyside, creating an everlasting rivalry between the areas.
Greater Manchester continues to be an important area for manufacturing of many trades including the production of beers. It is the area that starts way up on the west side of the Pennines then falling to the Cheshire plain with the River Mersey being an important part of the areas development. Greater Manchester receives some of the highest rainfall levels in England. The area is important for sport and entertainment with many Football teams within the area and the Test Match ground of Old Trafford also many musical and Music Hall talents have come from the area over the years.

On Ratebeer we have a rather considerable 120 Breweries showing, 78 still active and 42 closed. 18 of these are Client / Commissioner breweries.

The oldest brewery we are showing is Strangeways Brewery of Manchester (Est 1785) which unfortunately closed in 2005. This was the home of Boddingtons, which took an all too familiar route of buy outs and cost reductions and is now produced on a small scale elsewhere. There are a number of well-established breweries in the area still going with J.W Lees of Middleton (Est 1828), Robinsons of Stockport (Est 1838), Joseph Holt of Manchester (Est 1849) and Hydes brewery of Salford (Est 1863).

In the 2020 Ratebeer awards the Best Brewery award went to Cloudwater Brew Co of Manchester (Est 2015). Their beer Cloudwater The Realest won Beer of the Year. There was an award for best New Brewery which went to Twisted Wheel Brew Co who have since moved out to Cheshire.

The Brewery with the largest range in the area is Cloudwater Brew Co. where we have 860 beers listed.

The Top 10 Beers for Greater Manchester are –

  1. Cloudwater My Continuous Improvement
  2. Cloudwater The Realest
  3. Cloudwater DIPA – v13 R
  4. Cloudwater NWDIPA Citra R
  5. Cludwater DIPA v3 R
  6. Cloudwater Birthday DIPA R
  7. Cloudwater NW DIPA Citra Amarillo R
  8. Cloudwater DDH IPA Citra R
  9. Cloudwater NW DIPA Ekuanot
  10. Cloudwater / Other Half Tremendous Ideas R
    The whole of the top 50 beers are Cloudwater which is remarkable given how many decent Breweries are in the area.

Top Bars and Pubs for Greater Manchester are –

  1. Port Street Beer House, Manchester – 97
  2. Beermoth, Manchester – 96
  3. Café Beermoth, Manchester – 95
  4. Marble Arch Inn, Manchester – 95
  5. Cloudwater Brew Co, Manchester – 93
  6. Cloudwater Unit 9 Taproom, Manchester – 91
  7. Magnet Freehouse, Stockport – 91

The Top 5 Raters of beers from Manchester are –

  1. @ManVsBeer
  2. @cgarvieuk
  3. @fonefan
  4. @mR_fr0g
  5. @Theydon_Bois

You will require a rather hefty 235 beers to get into the Top 50 for the area.

The Top Rater who resides in Greater Manchester is –
@Trolleo who happily is still rating with us.


Greater Manchester isn’t an area I have visited for beery reasons very often, and certainly not since joining RateBeer. Followed my football team to the region many, many times over the years and my only place review is on Dunham Massey Brewery which I have been to twice while on my way to games each time.

My 247 beer rates (2 are actually ciders) just get me onto the leader board, even though they are the 6th highest region in England for me total wise. 13 of those beers have a score of 4 or over, the region coming out with healthy 3.2 overall. I note that some people have had more beers from Cloudwater than I’ve had for the whole of Greater Manchester!

46 Breweries sampled, 7 of which are now closed.


Cloudwater 56 (@ 3.42, my highest scoring brewery in the area)
Robinsons 30
Dunham Massey 15
Marble 15

The reason Cloudwater is so far it front of the pack is because one of the regulars at the beer share I frequent with @minutemat always brings at least one new release from them every month. Cheers Paolo, he’s an untappd player, so doesn’t feature here.



I really don’t know Greater Manchester that well, particularly since Ratebeer took over my life. I have only had one visit since then and that was back in 2005, so it’s quite a blank spot for me. There has been lots of visits to many of the football grounds in the 70’s and 80’s with lots of memories of those from an FA Semi Final at Maine Road to some pretty good visits to Old Trafford but also Burnley, Blackburn and Bolton that I can remember, must dig out my programmes one day. I did visit a pub that is right on the edge of the region while I was doing my Pennine Way walk, it is one of the drearier and boggy parts of the walk and my review was somewhat downbeat to probably match my mood at the time.

Having said all this, I have had 608 beers from there currently, placing me in 13th place. Greater Manchester is my 7th highest county in terms of numbers which really suggests how available the beers are across the country. The beers are across 73 different breweries making me 5th in that particular list 23 of which have unfortunately closed now. The average score for the beers from the region is 3.21 bang on average for me.

The breweries I have had most beers from are –

  1. Robinsons Family Brewery – 56
  2. Cloudwater Brew Co – 49
  3. Hydes Brewery – 40
  4. Marble Beers – 33
  5. J.W Lees – 32

I have rated 20 beers at 4 or over, the best being –

  1. Pictish Alchemists Ale – 4.6
  2. Phoenix Spotland Gold – 4.3
    Then 13 beers on 4.2 from a number of breweries.

The Greater Manchester breweries with the highest average rating are –

  1. Millstone Brewery – 3.827
  2. Track Brewing – 3.671
  3. Cloudwater Brew Co – 3.545
  4. Outstanding Brewing Co. – 3.538
  5. First Chop Brewing Arm – 3.525

I have only reviewed 2 places in the region and neither merits a mention here. However I do have a planned visit for later this year to put things right.


153 beers sampled which is a lot for me (so it ranks 4th)
My top 6 confirms Cloudwater’s preeminence but Track and Marble do good stuff too.

But it is a sign of how the beer scene has changed that JW Lees and the cask ales are much lower down my scores. I remember back in the 70s when I was living in the NW, a friend who I thought knew his beer would choose a Boddington’s pub over others. And with friends at Man Uni we had a few beery nights several of which ended at a curry house that served its two dish menu (standard and killer curry) in metal dog bowls. As an epicure I had the standard curry always; it burned less on its return.
My recent visits have been fleeting but certainly the cooking has improved!


To celebrate RB Greater Manchester week I thought I’d break out a GM beer from my cellar. Was pleasantly surprised to find that no-one had reviewed it before !

That took my GM RB ratings up to a grand total of 30, from 15 breweries. Don’t laugh ! It’s my 7th most rated county.

My top rated Greater Manchester beers are

Marble Dobber 4.1
Robinsons Old Tom 4
Phoenix Wobbly Bob 3.8
Thirst Class Hexenhous 3.7
Robinsons Beardo 3.6
First Chop One Styrian Wolf 3.5
First Chop POD 3.5
Marble Berimbolo 3.4
Thirst Class Any Porter in a Storm 3.4
Thirst Class Red Velvet 3.4

Most rated breweries

Mable 4
Robinsons 4
Thirst Class 4
Donkeystone 3

Looking now at my own records, I see I have drunk 275 Greater Manchester beers from 62 breweries – that’s more like it !

Top breweries in terms of numbers

Marble 28
Cloudwater 21
Runaway 20
Phoenix 18
Robinsons 18
Hydes 15
Lees 11

In terms of places, I’ve only rated 4 – all in Stockport. While I’ve been to several places in Manchester itself, including Marble Arch and Port Street Ale House, it’s always seemed to me to be a bit too popular and crowded for its own good. I much prefer Stockport, which is a great drinking town. More traditional, but with some craft influence. I should also give honorary mentions to the Irwell Works brewery tap in Ramsbottom and the Stalybridge Station Buffet.

Never been to watch Crewe Alex in Manchester. My only visit to the Etihad was for a Bruce Springsteen concert. Been to a fair few other concerts in Manchester, Gary US Bonds, Ry Cooder and John Denver spring to mind.

Been to Old Trafford for the cricket a number of times, including seeing Gordon Greenidge score a record 167 in the Sunday league.

And am I the only person to be left completely cold by the Cloudwater hype ? Thought it might be because the styles of beers they mostly brew aren’t my cup of tea. So when they did their “Cloudwater Cask” range a couple of years ago, I tried them whenever I saw them. Decent enough beers – but nothing special.


I do love Manchester, although it has been a while since I’ve been able to visit. They are my 6th most rated county, but my meagre 164 rates are nowhere near enough to get on the top 50 leaderboard.

Surprisingly I’ve had 36 breweries but except for Cloudwater (52) I’ve not had any brewery in large numbers: Hydes (11) are second, followed by Marble (9), Blackjack and Robinsons (8 each). I’m working my way through a Pomona Island haul so they’ll have slightly more respectable numbers before long :slight_smile:

Cloudwater dominate in terms of quality and quantity. Top beers are:

I’ve rated 35 places in the county - not bad for a guy in the Midlands. Most of my Manchester & Stockport ratings are from day trips and passings through, although we had a surprisingly fun trip to Bolton in 2019 where I was able to pick off a few rates here and there across Bolton, Bury, Ramsbottom and Manchester itself.

Sad stat: :frowning: 2 out of my top 5 pubs are closed now (Knott Bar and Pilcrow). The best of the still-existing places are:

There’s still loads to see and do (& drink) in Manchester. One day soon, hopefully.


I have 38 rates for Greater Manchester making it my 8th highest rated county to date. This includes 12 breweries with the highest number coming from First Chop with 9.

I have 4 beers with 4+ rates being:

I think this proves I should stop buying so many cheap beers from breweries like First Chop and actually go for quality like Cloudwater!


Second highest county for me, at 920 rates, less than 40 behind Greater London. Two thirds of those are Cloudwater beers. I like CW a lot, and went across on the train to the Barrel Store every Sunday I could, and had some epic sessions there, some of which ended in a very blurry journey home. Since the new tap room opened though, the appeal waned somewhat. It doesn’t have the same atmosphere at all.

Other than CW I’ve visited a load of times (Manchester itself, that is) for beer, including pre the bombing in 96. It was an odd trip post then, and seeing how much things had changed.

Done a fair few other places pre RB chasing cask Robinson’s and Lees, and the like. Even rated a few places, the majority pretty highly.

Definitely due another jolly very soon.


My 6th most rated county! Interestingly, of my ten highest rated only two were consumed in the UK. (Bar Volo in Toronto brought over some Cloudwater for their Cask Days festivals, for example.)

No place ratings (I apparently didn’t bother to add The Spinning Jenny at the airport to the database) despite having made a detailed map of Manchester for our trip. We opted to take the train from Leeds directly to the airport vs making a few stops in Manchester which unfortunately meant we arrived at the airport before the check in was even open.

In hindsight possibly the wrong choice, but after sprinting to the gate to catch a flight a few years ago I tend to choose boredom at the airport because I am early vs. freaking out in a taxi trying to get there on time LOL Lugging a suitcase full of beer through town is also often not ideal :slight_smile:


Greater Manchester is my 5th highest county with 407 beers, just 1 higher than Derbyshire, and I have had 2 Cloudwater beers tonight.

Interestingly my top 3 beers are all from different breweries:

Beer Score
Wander Beyond La Adelita 4.7
Track / Verdant The Path Of Least Resistance 4.6
Cloudwater The Realest 4.6

My top rated Greater Manchester brewery of the 46 I have tried is also Wander Beyond.

I have had the most Greater Manchester beers from"

Brewery Count
Cloudwater 154
Wander Beyond 36
Pomona Island 22
Robinsons 22

Cloudwater is my 3rd most rate brewery behind BrewDog and To Øl (if I combine To Øl and To Øl CPH)

I seem to find beer from Greater Manchester all over the place at the moment


I’m really surprised Wander Beyond, Track or Pomona Island don’t appear in the list.

Not surprised myself … much less distribution than Cloudwater

I also think Wander and Pomona ‘were’ a bit ‘hype’ and never all that for me

Track way ahead of those two in my mind

@Theydon_Bois I agree with the top ten, but more surprised no one else made the top 50.

Ahh … see what you mean … yeah surprised someone else didn’t breech the Top 30/40

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Track is my Manchester #1 and I don’t even recall having heard of them before. (Had at Mother Kelly’s in London.)

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Have 152 Greater Manchester rates, my highest is Cloudwater The Realist at 4.4

There are 5 active cideries in Greater Manchester, with Red Bank Cider from Bolton having the most entries with 10 listed.

The top rates for Greater Manchester Cideries and Ciders are:

Greater ManchesterCider Ratings

Greater ManchesterCideries


122 beers from 23 breweries.

However it’s the Cloudwater show. They account for 59 of the rates and 9 out of my top 10 rated beers (alongside an offering from Marble).

I had to got to Preston for work so went up to Manchester the day before and met up with a mate. In the first pub he wanted to play pool so I had to explain that there was no time for that sort of thing when there were beers to be ticked.


Just the 4 rates for me, from 4 different breweries - none of which are Cloudwater (yet - 4 of them in the fridge, or are they BrewDog?? Collaboration stuff via Tesco). Was surprised at the low count, as many visits to Manchester and Stockport have occurred - alas these were all before I started rating on here more consistently: last trip was to the Rainy City in December 2019 and a great time was had, Cloudwater and Track taps were visited as were a few pubs/bars in the Northern Quarter. Have to say that Manchester is one my favourite days out and a trip up there soon is tentatively planned for August - for sure Beermoth and Piccadilly Tap will be on the crawl, and maybe the Peveril of the Peak for a bit of oldy world culture. Not going to mention sport too much, not my favourite part of the world for that kind of thing!


Big fan of Cloudwater and they’ve taken over from Kernel as my brewery with the most rates … 707 now … throw in 500+ more rates from other Greater Manchester brewers and it’s my 3rd highest region on RB behind Greater London and California.

Some of my more recent beery days out have been in Manchester … IMBC in October 2019 and the last festival I attended pre lockdown 1 … Cloudwater Family & Friends in February 2020.

Did some pubcrawls on these visits taking in the likes of the Marble Arch, Port Street, both Brewdog bars (the newer one is a separate brewery in its own right) and others.

It always rains but I’ve always liked gritty Manchester and have visited for football quite a bit in the past … not a bad record actually … my two away trips to Man City, 1 at Maine Road and 1 at Etihad yielded the maximum 6 points for Leicester … I’ve also seen us win at Old Trafford … 0-1 Tony Cottee in 97/98.

Back in the day I was always in the Hydes pub round the backstreets from Piccadilly … The Jolly Angler … rum old place with barkeep a Terry Christian - a - like (from the Word for those that don’t know him). In the days of £2.00-2.40 pints down south you could still bag a pint of Hydes bitter here in central Manchester for £1.25-1.35

One of Cloudwater’s Double IPA’s is in my top 10 highest rated beers … joint 3rd scoring 4.7

I will revisit some time sooner than later hopefully


When I was up there my mate, who’s far too sensible, went home at 21:00. The Jolly Angler was quite near my hotel so thought I’d head there to see if they had the Hydes tick I needed. Ended up staying 2 hours chatting to the landlord.