Sunday 24th January 2016
Marple is a small town that nestles just under the moors of the High Peak that is about five miles east of Stockport. It was historically in Cheshire, although right on the border with Derbyshire, now part of Greater Manchester.
Its initial prosperity was based on cotton mills. These were further developed with the arrival of the Peak Forest Canal and later with the arrival of the railway.
In fact this small town possessed two stations, one on the west side (Rose Hill, now Rose Hill Marple) and the other on the east in the valley of the River Goyt (Marple). They are on different lines and both are still open although trains now terminate at Rose Hill rather than continuing to Macclesfield via Bollington.
The town is now a dormitory town of Manchester that has touristic attractions, mainly based on the canal.
Beer Traders is to be found at the top (east) end of Stockport Road, the town’s main street. This pub, if I can call it that, is one of a new trend that combines pub with off-licence.
Actually the concept has been around for some time in a slightly different form as there have always been off-licences that sell draught beer, but the major difference between then and now is that then you couldn’t drink it on the premises.
These pubs certainly fill a gap as they parallel with the growth in draught “craft”, which for no known reason always seems to be expensive keg products. Yet along with that, there has been a move away from pub drinking towards home consumption. To see how important this is, you only need to look at the number of classic beers from Europe and the rest of the world that are offered in the major supermarkets.
So the scene is set and the demand is there. So what these pubs do is to cover all bases. They serve those who want to sit down and drink draught beer, be it cask or keg. They serve bottled beer to drink in or take away. The packaged beers range from those bottle-conditioned from British brewers to the international classics and some more from more unusual brewers and unusual countries.
Beer Traders opened its door to the public at 16.00 on Friday 4th December so here we were, Linda and myself, around six weeks after that auspicious date, having a pint and half. The décor is minimalist as can be seen in the photographs. Lots of light floods in, even on this winter day, as the front windows are very large.
The man behind this pub is Matt Fairhurst and the rebuilding of what was the former premises of Fab Floors was undertaken by his brother-in-law John Marley. Ironically, bearing in mind the former function of the shop, it is amusing to find that one of his biggest jobs was replacing the floor. I would say that the main room was of medium size (for a micropub).
The furniture is small varnished light wood table with stools. There are shelves for upright drinking at several locations around the room.
The bar counter is in the left corner and the end of it contains a fridge for cold bottled beers and there are shelves containing other bottles of beers that are best suited to serving at ambient temperatures.
There were three cask beers offered and these were: Cryptic Ales (Stockport) 1049 (4.9%), a strong mild sold at a very good price; Tudor (Abertillery, Wales) IPA (4.0%) and Ludlow Brewery (Ludlow, Herefordshire) Gold (4.2%).
The two ciders were Lilley’s (Frome, Somerset) Merry Monkey (4.5%) and Weston’s Twist (4.0%), a cider / raspberry concoction. They also sell five different keg “craft” beers that cost around £1 or more per pint than similar strength cask ales.
Since we visited they now do a pie and a pint offer. It’s well worth coming to Marple to visit this pub to sample the cask beers and the ciders. Even more so inasmuch that another micropub is intending to open up in the town by the end of February 2016.
Beer Traders, 113 Stockport Road, Marple SK6 6AF. Tel: 0161 427 0667
Hours: Monday-Thursday 15.00-22.00; Friday 14.00-23.00;
Saturday 12.00-23.00; Sunday 12.00-22.00
As said before, this pub is located between two stations with Rose Hill Marple probably being the nearest. That station has a service from Manchester Piccadilly via Guide Bridge and Hyde Central twice an hour for most of the day from Monday to Saturday, no service on Sunday. Marple has a similar twice an hour service from Manchester Piccadilly which runs via Brinnington, every two hours on Sundays.
Marple is served with a good bus service from Stockport Bus Station. Routes 383 and 384 operated a circular route. 383 goes direct to Marple and takes just over 20 minutes. 384 runs via Romiley and takes around 30 minutes. This route is useful as it serves the Stockport Market Place are on its way in and out of Stockport.
Monday to Friday both routes operated every 15 minutes till 19.00, every 30 minutes later. On Saturdays they run every 15 minutes to about 16.00, then every 20 minutes until around 18.30, every 30 minutes thereafter. On Sundays both routes are every 30 minutes.
Route 358 also runs from Stockport direct to Marple on Mondays to Sundays approximately every hour.