Jane Stuart – Writer

Writing about real life Up North: football, ale, food and mental health – with a good dash of humour.

Rochdale v Blackpool: Rochdale Pubs

A local match – yippee! I’m getting quite exhausted with all these long-distance virtual trips (fun though they are). It’s also considerably cheaper to travel around The North (i.e. nowhere near £100). My Off Peak Return from Blackpool North to Rochdale was £22.10. I board the 0903, change at Wigan North Western (hmm…plan forming for the journey home…) and land in Rochdale at 1050.

My first ever away game was Rochdale, back in December 1991, so I’ll always have a fondness for the place. And yet I have never properly explored it. On previous visits I have frequented a couple of pubs but have never really done the place justice. Dear reader, that ends today.

The Medicine Tap

I’m intrigued by this place, which is a Coffee House / Beer House / Cook House. It all sounds rather hipster.

There are eight cask beers on here. Recent Untappd checkins include:

  • Spaten Löwenbräu
  • Paulaner Weißbier
  • Strata Thalweg (APA)
  • Mighty Medicine Madchester Cream
  • Mighty Medicine Stunning Blonde
  • Mighty Medicine Ice Cream Stout

Hang on – they brew their own beer? I am, of course, all over the Ice Cream Stout – and also try a Madchester Cream. I sense this is going to be a very difficult place to leave.

There are many German beer – and bratwurst – offerings in the beer house, but I want to see what else this place has to offer in terms of food.

Ooh I feel like I’m at the German market…

I am expecting pizza and sourdough (do hipsters eat anything else?) and the menu of course includes these – but also a whole array of other items. There are full menus for breakfast, lunch, tapas, burgers, steaks, desserts – even afternoon tea. I love their ‘half pint’ menu for children. I really ought to be ordering from this menu, as I only have a small appetite.

As it’s breakfast time, I order from the appropriate menu. Someone in the stream (possibly in America) recently mentioned waffles, so I thought I’d give them a try, having never had them in a breakfast capacity before (only for tea with egg and beans).

After I’ve ordered, I peruse the dessert menu to see if there’s anything irresistible. Oh dear reader, there are many items! There’s creme brûlée on there…and also this:

I groan audibly, which attracts the attention of the man who served me.

‘Is everything ok?’

‘No…I don’t suppose I could change my order, could I? I really want the banoffee waffle.’

‘That’s no problem at all, madam.’

‘Oh, that’s wonderful – thank you so much. Don’t worry about the change.’

This – ahem – banoffle was quite exquisite and sent me bouncing out of The Medicine Tap with a huge smile on my face. I’m loving it here already.

The Pint Pot

I fall in love with this micropub as soon as I step through the door.

It takes me a while to make the short walk to the bar as I stop to admire the wall art. When I finally get there, I am greeted with these.

I know I shouldn’t eat pastry, but there is no way I can resist those!

Recent(ish) Untappd checkins include:

  • Serious Brewing Moonlight
  • Salopian Torque (golden)
  • Donkeystone Javanilla
  • Boss Brewing Amber Gambler
  • Pictish Alchemists Ale

I enjoy a Javanilla (coffee and vanilla stout) from Donkeystone Brewery in nearby Oldham.

The Old Post Office Ale House

‘A community pub, selling quality ales and wines. Dog friendly, No TV. Over 18s only.’ Yep, sounds perfect for me.

A dog and a fire. What’s not to love?

I have been waiting all day (it is now 4pm) for this place to open – and it doesn’t disappoint.

The most (not very) recent checkins on Untappd include:

  • Serious Brewing Goldrush
  • Durham Cosmic Blonde
  • Titanic Plum Porter
  • Lancaster Blonde
  • Pictish Brewers Gold
  • Serious Brewing Moonlight (oatmeal stout)

As I sup half a stout and half a porter and pet the local dogs, I enquire of the landlord about the local Pictish and Serious breweries.

Pictish Brewing Company

Beers currently available from their online shop are:

  • Brewers Gold
  • Blue Moon (IPA)
  • Alchemists Ale (pale)
  • Talisman IPA
  • Samhain Stout

Serious Brewing Company

Serious was founded in 2015 and their beers are:

  • Moonlight (stout)
  • Goldrush (golden pale)
  • Redsmith (IPA)
  • Summer (pale)
  • Kardinaal (ruby Belgian dubbel)
  • Viridian (Belgian pale)
  • Prime Endeavour (pale)
  • Resilience (amber)
  • Prisma Lager

The Baum

I’ve been here before – either around a match or when Hotpotting. However, it isn’t open today, as they are just opening Thursday-Sunday until they can fully reopen in May.

Beers actually recently checked in here since The Baum reopened are:

  • Vocation Hop Skip & Juice (NEPA)
  • SALT Citra NEIPA Jnr
  • Vocation Looking For Summer (raspberry, passion fruit & vanilla pale)
  • Brew York JARSA (IPA)
  • Brew York Rhubarbra Streisand
  • Brew York Life Is Peachy
  • Vocation Pride & Joy (pale)
  • Vocation Heart & Soul (IPA)
  • Pictish Citra
  • SQUAWK Crex (IPA)
  • SALT Seersucker (IPA)
  • Track Sonoma (pale)

As the weather has picked up considerably in recent weeks, I fancy a peach beer – and I have ice in it. This was a trick I learned a few years ago in Bury during that ridiculously hot summer (2018?). Fruit beer and ice is beautifully refreshing.

I don’t eat in here today (because I’m not here) but I rather fancy this on my next visit.

Needs gravy, obvs…

Bombay Brew

Craft beer and Indian street food. Yes please! Bombay Brew promises ‘Indian flavours with a Rochdale flair’ and I am intrigued to see what is on the menu here.

I order both of the above – not without asking the question about how many octopi there are in Rochdale. I am not massively keen on octopus, but I order this because it’s something different (and this is a virtual trip…). Plus a cheeky egg is one of those menu items I can never resist (like ginger or trifle). The chips obviously have to be tried as well: an Indian twist on the Canadian (not Rochdale) poutine. I note the comma between ‘mild’ and ‘sauce’ and really hope this dish has mild in it. That would surely be the Rochdale twist?

There’s beer here, too. I can’t see that they are open at the moment (they are taking bookings from 20th May) but the most recent beer checkins on Untappd are:

  • Saltaire Blonde
  • Budejovicky Budvat Pardal Czech Imported Lager
  • SALT Huckaback (NEIPA)
  • Saltaire Amarillo (golden)
  • Vocation Bombay Brew (pale)
  • Vocation Cooler Shaker (milkshake IPA)
  • ShinDigger Festiva (IPA)
  • Tiny Rebel Cali Pale
  • Brightside Maverick (IPA)

I have half of each of the Tiny Rebel and the Bombay Brew, the latter of which has been especially brewed for this place.

There’s a lovely review of Bombay Brew here, complete with a lovely image of a dog asleep in front of a fire in their pet-friendly lounge. There is no way I’m missing out on this place on my next visit to Rochdale.

Rochdale v Blackpool

But of course I am here for the match. It’s a bit odd, really, this virtual football. For me, the feelings are nowhere near as intense as they would be if I was actually going to matches and living the emotions, amplified by the crowd around me. Also, I am so used to matches taking up a whole day: checking the weather, dressing for them, travelling to them, arranging to meet friends, maybe staying over. Nowadays home and away games are the same and take up two hours of my afternoon or evening. Does that make me less attached to my club? Yes, I believe so. They are becoming less and less tangible.

I enjoy Rochdale’s pre-match playlist. This truly is the best music in League One.

We never really got out of the starting blocks tonight. I know when I find myself talking about cartoons and perfume during our livestream that the match either (a) isn’t holding my attention or (b) would cause stress if I was paying attention. This certainly was not an enjoyable watch. It was made all the more frustrating by the top two losing, meaning we would have gained ground, had we won. As it was, here’s what happened.

And here is the link to our livestream, in which I model my new hat from Fritidskläder and have a full-on rant at Sky Sports for ridiculing ‘little Blackpool’ and bigging up ‘Premier League’ Sunderland.

The lack of tangibility of my club means it is easier for me to switch off after a match. In the real world, I retire straight to bed with my book (Kingdom by Jo Nesbo). In the virtual world, however, the night is yet young…

I board the 2139 back to Wigan North Western and frantically check my connection time and departure board. Please please please let me have time for a flyer at Wigan Central. Yes! I have a 38-minute connection which, by my reckoning, allows me time for two quick drinks – and one for the train home. Boom!

Wigan Central

On the bar as I write are:

  • Fell Human Frequency (pale)
  • Blue Monkey BG Sips (pale)
  • Neptune Abyss (oatmeal stout)
  • Prospect Totem (pale)
  • Windermere Collie Wobbles (pale)
  • Serious Brewing Moonlight (oatmeal stout)
  • Deeply Vale Optimum (bitter)

I have a half of each of the oatmeal stouts and dip into the Beer Bible for my carry out:

  • Amundsen Dessert In A Can Marzipan Chocolate Shortbread

I board the 2301 at Wigan North Western and am woken by the train driver at Blackpool North at midnight.

What a trip that was! As always, it is so important to build other things into a matchday to make it enjoyable irrespective of the performance or the result. These days are all about making memories, making friends and having adventures. The football is just an excuse for these frivolities. At least on days like today…

UTMP.


NB Pics above are taken from the websites referenced, as this was a virtual trip. 


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