Tuesday 21st January 2014
Broadbottom is old industrial village to the east of Manchester. Before the local government boundaries were altered in 1974, and Greater Manchester came into being, Broadbottom was in Cheshire. Actually, this is a very confusing area as four counties, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cheshire and Derbyshire used to meet around this locality.
The village was built on cotton weaving, like so many in the area, and there were many mills. It was badly affected during the American Civil War, when very little raw cotton was exported from the USA and its population more than halved between 1861 and 1866. The Harewood Arms is just one of two pubs left in the village; many have closed.
The pub was built around 1846 as the Griffin. I believe it was renamed to its present title relatively recently to acknowledge the former local major landowner, who naturally made his fortune from cotton.
Despite research, I cannot trace the brewery that built it, nor who owned and operated it in the long years before it was transported to Enterprise Inns after the infamous Beer Orders.
What is known is that Enterprise sold it to the owners of the Green Mill Brewery in October 2013 and this has sparked its renaissance. Within the same month the new owners had moved in and were operating the pub.
The brewery was moved into the cellar and it wasn't long until beers were being created on it. It was moved from the Cask & Feathers in Rochdale. It started its life in the Queensway Snooker Club, also in Rochdale, during 2007 and moved to the Cask & Feathers in 2010.
On the evening of this visit I was with Linda, Stewart, Mike and Mike Robinson, who was our leader for this evening tour of his local pubs. Luckily he was friendly with owner Phil who was on hand that evening and it wasn't long before an impromptu brewery visit was arranged. So, after a quick gulp I was following Phil down the steep steps to the cellar. To be honest, it wasn't as cramped as some I have visited in pub cellars. I didn't note it at the time yet, from the photographs, it looks as if it is a 4 or 5 barrel plant.
What is most important it that Phil produces extremely good beers and there were a four of them on the bar that evening: Smokey Joe (4.4%); Summit Dark Bitter (4.9%); Citrus Snap (4.2%) and Northern Lights (4.5%). Either in a pint or just a sip, I tried them all. Although they were of many contrasting styles there wasn't a bad one amongst them.
There was also a guest beer in the shape of Titanic (Burslem, Staffordshire) Lifeboat (4.0%). There were also two ciders: Weston's (Much Marcle, Herefordshire) Old Rosie (7.3%) and Broadoak (Clutton, Somerset) Moonshine (7.5%).
The pub itself is very pleasant and there was a nice coal fire doing its business in the left fireplace when we entered. The pub is open-plan but it is obvious that there were once several rooms, possibly three or four. There is actually quite a lot of space which ends with a games area at the rear on a slightly higher level.
If you use the train this pub is very easy to get to from Manchester Piccadilly station. It is well worth the short journey from the city centre.
The Harewood Arms, 2 Market Street, Broadbottom, Greater Manchester SK14 6AX
Tel: 01457 762500
Open: Monday-Thursday 15.00-23.00; Friday 15.00-24.00;
Saturday 14.00-24.00; Sunday 14.00-23.00
Broadbottom station is 20 minutes away from Manchester Piccadilly station, the frequency is every 30 minutes, more trains in peak periods. It is on the line to Glossop and Hadfield.
If arriving from the Manchester direction exit the station, turn right and walk through the car park to the Community Centre at the end. Go left into and join Mottram Road. Turn right along it and it soon becomes Market Street. You will find the pub on the right. It will take around five minutes.