Sunday 27th January 2013
Costello's is the brewery tap of the Dunham Massey brewery. The brewery was the brainchild of John Costello who worked for many years at the Tetley-Walker brewery in Warrington. It was some time after that brewery closed that his long-held ambition started to come to fruition. He had long looked for suitable premises to start a micro-brewery. In 2006 he was offered a barn on the Dunham Massey estate by the National Trust. The hall and the surrounding property were donated by the last Earl of Stamford (and Warrington) in 1976 upon his death. The barn had remained unused for seven years before John took it on.
He moved in on 1st August 2007 and set about the task of installing a brewery. In October that year the first beers came out, and he hasn't looked back since. He uses only English ingredients and says his beers are to the North Western style. Of course, there are several variations to this, as fruit and other adjuncts are often used. There is a shop at the brewery and it is located at 100 Oldfield Lane, Dunham Massey, Altrincham. WA14 4PE. You'll find the shop open Monday to Friday: 10.00-17.00; Saturday and Sunday: 11.00-16.00. Although Altrincham is in the address it is about two miles (3 kms) away from that town.
John was becoming frustrated that he couldn't get his beers sold in Altrincham and decided to do something about it so he opened his own bar, Costello's, obviously. Its first day was 9th December 2010 and appears to be very popular. It's a modern building situated in a historic part of the town and until you enter and spot the bank of seven hand pumps, you would think it was just another identikit café-bar. In fact it is very comfortable and we took a seat near the window and perused the beer menu that lists all 23 of the brewery's range of beers.
I was with wife Linda and she was disappointed that one of her all-time favourites, Chocolate Cherry Mild, wasn't available. Not withstanding that, we were still offered a great selection of Big Tree Bitter (3.9%); Little Bollington Bitter (3.7%); Obelisk Golden Ale (3.9%); Dunham Dark Mild (3.8%); Dunham Porter (5.2%); Winter Warmer (6.6%) and Costello's Altrincham Pilsner (4.8%) and the range sold in the bar is continually changing.
Linda has always liked the beers from this brewery, ever since the CAMRA Winter Ales Festival 2010 in Manchester, if not before that. I came to them a bit later, after tasting some of their traditional milds. In fact the best recommendation comes from Stewart Main, Senior Brewer at the Shepherd Neame in Faversham, Kent, who often visits Costello's at weekends whilst visiting family in the area. He rates their beers very highly and he was a former brewer at the Burtonwood brewery in the northern part of Cheshire, quite close by.
It was CAMRA Trafford & Hulme Branch's Pub of the Year in 2012. This branch is huge, extending from the Manchester / Cheshire border near Dunham Massey to Manchester City Centre itself, so this award is very significant when you put it into context, considering the choice available. In addition to that, this bar must have the best range of Dunham Massey beers you can find, and it is also highly recommended for its quality and service, so you end up with a winner.
Costello's Bar, 18 Goose Green, Altrincham WA14 1D. Tel: 061 929 0903
Open: Monday to Thursday 12.00-23.00; Friday and Saturday 12.00-24.00;
Altrincham station is served frequently by Metrolink trams from the city centre.
It is also served by trains operated by Northern Rail and they come from
Manchester Piccadilly via Stockport and continue to Chester.
Frequency is hourly Monday to Saturday and every two hours on Sunday.
From the station is about five minutes to Costello's. Cross the car park and turn left into Stamford New Road, cross over first intersection with Cross Street. When you see Regent Street on the right, turn left and the bar is on the right.