Having a bit of time to spare, and a willing driver, I decided that a trip to the Milnsbridge Socialist Club Beer and Pie festival would while away Thursday evening. The club is at the bottom of Bankwell Rd only a couple of minutes walk from Manchester Rd but for some odd reason it is somewhere I have never been before.
It is a small club, with a small bar area with 2 handpumps on, and for the festival a makeshift stillage had been erected in what I assume is their concert room. The festival promised 18 beers, all from outside the area and some interesting breweries as well. Unfortunately all were not available on the first night as some still had to clear but there were still a fair amount to sample so I settled down with a couple of halves of Truefitt, a Middlesbrough brewery new to me. One was a full flavoured stout, Ironopolis, and the other Mydlisburgh IPA. Both were decent beers in good nick. Next on the list was Hunters 'St Georges Dragon' a 4% beer with a subtle hop flavour and a honey background, but not quite to my taste.
There were a couple of Northumberland beers available but I bypassed them to sample Barley Bottom 'English Heritage Bitter'. I had tried their beers before at a festival and was less than impressed, and unfortunately this offering did nothing to change my opinion. My final beer came from the bar and was Nelsons 'Dragons Revenge', made with East Kent Goldings and had the taste of a typical English bitter, unsurprisingly.
On the pie front, all 15 selections were available, and were not, as I expected small pork pies, but slices from a larger meat pie. The ones I tried were excellent, although a bit expensive at £1.50 a slice. Choices ranged from turkey and cranberry, through ginger and chilli, and curry, to mustard or walnut. Certainly some different flavours to sample.
All in all, it was a good experience, with some decent and interesting beers and fascinating pies. The staff were friendly and knowledgable and the club is certainly somewhere to revisit, I always assumed Milnsbridge to be a beer desert, seems I was wrong. The club has a commitment to real ale, and hope in the future to increase their pumps from 2 to 4. I, for one, think they deserve to suceed.