I feel I have done a disservice to a good old friend of mine and it would be prudent to put that right when possible. You see, I recently wrote a blog post praising the opening of Beermoth in Manchester, I even wrote an e-mail to Beers of Europe giving them praise after they did me a particular favour. But I have neglected to give the required veneration to one particular shop that I probably frequent for beer more than any other.
For Christmas 2011 my Father bought me a bottle of Millstone Tiger Rut. This in itself may seem unimpressive to you, despite my praise of Millstone’s beers in various blogposts, however the significance of this purchase was not lost on me. Where the hell did he find it? Although Millstone are the most local of local breweries to me, I had never seen them in bottles. Mossley Organics he said he had found it and vowed we’d go up together soon.
Now, Mossley Organic Shop is less than 3 miles away from my house but, not visiting the town centre often myself, it was not somewhere I had visited prior to that Christmas. However, it was February 2012, after a dentist appointment that happens to be just around the corner from this shop, that I first got my chance to visit Mossley Organics. I expected a few Millstone beers and probably a selection from Greenfield Brewery in their small beer section. I had been unprepared for just how good it was going to be
I find it strange when I see other bloggers mentioning the good beer range in their local supermarkets. Some have mentioned BrewDog in Tesco, Oakham in Waitrose, any decent beer at all in Asda – either these people have “Bigged up” a very average assortment or they have a much bigger choice in their local brand supermarkets than I do. Because quite frankly, apart from a few measly offerings in Sainsbury’s, my local supermarkets have nothing worth bothering with.
So my local shop for food and beer has now become Mossley Organic & Fine Foods. The beer range, for a non-specialist shop, is particularly impressive. It only comprises of two shelving units, but a lot of quality is piled in. From my first visit they’ve always stocked the full core range from Buxton, Thornbridge and Red Willow. Mallinsons, Marble and Liverpool Organic have all joined in since, amongst many others, and on my last visit I was pleased to see the welcome addition of beers from the new (and local) TicketyBrew as well as OffBeat Brewery.
There is certainly a push towards local breweries here and no brewery further south than Crewe – or further north than Tadcaster (aside from North Yorkshire Brewing, stocked because of the 'Organic' label) – seems to make the shelf. This doesn’t bother me. I love that approach and am pleased to see the shop branch away from only those beers listed as “organic.” You may be unlikely to catch a Tsar Bomba or Pond Hopper here, but for very reasonably priced Axe Edge and Halcyon, I can think of nowhere better. They certainly do beers like that much cheaper than the specialist beer shops I’ve visited.
I do buy a lot of food here too, and my spice cupboard and cooking essentials are all the more improved since I came here. There are plenty of odd speciality foods and it is the first place I go to when trying a new recipe with ingredients that are either not in Tesco or that the big supermarkets feel is deserving of a ridiculous mark-up.
But for beer alone, this is definitely worth a visit if it’s accessible to you. Shop Local, as the WI frequently campaign, and I will whilst it's this impressive.