I found an excellent little shop in Elm Road, Leigh. On the outside it appears to be just a shop selling wine and a few beers, but it has a  little courtyard out the back. The selection is small but excellent. They stock a couple of American beers, most of the Samuel Smith range and a few interesting Belgian beers such as Orval, Trappistes Rochefort, Triple Karmeliet and St. Bernadus. Pretty rare in this area.

I actually discovered this little gem as I went to the Leigh Beer Festival, in the town hall opposite. Unfortunately they didn’t post a beer list online and when I arrived they didn’t have a single beer I require for my mission. As I was by myself I decided not to stay but noticed the Orval through the window of Blossom’s which drew me in. Luckily they had a few from my list including two I hadn’t tried yet.

Samuel Smith’s Taddy Porter is a vegan beer which is very dark with a custard head. Created by John Smiths nephew in Tadcaster which is why it has such an interesting name, it is creamy and fudgy but quite thin. A nice beer but not in the Porter hall of fame for me.

Liberty Ale is a bit of a trend setter. It was one of the first beers to feature Cascade hops which is know pretty synonymous with American Craft Beer. First created as a Christmas Ale is dry and orangey. I found it wasn’t as punchy as many dry hopped beers I have tried though.

In the week we popped in to Mangetout as I had heard they sell Kozel. Interestingly they had a very nice selection of draught beers. They have Goose Island, Brooklyn, Kozel and something very well respected starting with Tong which escapes me at the moment. Whats interesting though is for this diverse selection they have hardly any bottled beers, I think they are missing a trick. I think a good selection of American bottles and cans, similar but wider than that of Henry’s Burgers, could really go down well. Anyway we were only there for one thing.

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Velkopopovicky Kozel is a beautiful Czech lager. In fact Michelle described it as the best lager she has ever drunk. It’s currently the best selling beer abroad and it’s easy to see (or taste) why. It smells creamy and has the taste of Ice cream flavoured jaw breakers if you can remember such a thing? There is no aftertaste but leaves you with an enjoyable subtle sweetness.

When we got back I grabbed a beer from my collection…

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One of the first lager producers this brewery has an interesting story since its founding in 1846. Unfortunately I didn’t find it’s best selling and the regions most popular beer Perla Chmielowa quite as interesting. Pleasant enough but it didn’t really have anything to lift it above the millions of other lagers in the world. Especially after I had had Kozel previously that evening

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