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Focus on Three New Stockport and South Manchester Breweries

Courtesy of John Clarke, Stockport and South Manchester CAMRA branch chair and long-time editor of SSM CAMRA magazine Opening Times, here’s an overview of the three newest breweries established south of the city centre.

Take it away, John:


Cryptic Ales (to follow) |  @CrypticAles on Twitter |  Facebook

Cryptic Ales LogoWith its 10 barrel capacity brewhouse Cryptic will be Stockport’s second biggest brewer (Robinsons occupy the number one slot of course) so it’s a start-up that’s aiming high.

The brewery is based in a unit on Carrington Field Street at the very end of Higher Hillgate and came about from a conversation at a beer festival. The team is Brian Smith, Jon Dean, Andy Screen, David Boulton and Anne Boulton. They’ve all known each other for ages and have been taking part in the Thursday quiz at the Crown on Heaton Lane for about 10 years (hence the origin of “Cryptic”).

“We could set up a brewery,” went the conversation, “Let’s do a budget.” Things sort of snowballed from there, as they are wont to do.

Brian has a background in financial services so arranged for some professional costings and worked out a budget for the project. Wind forward 12 months or so and a 10 barrel brewery is delivered and installed by Porter Brewery Installations. The brewing is in the hands of keen home-brewer Jon and beer enthusiast Andy, neither of whom will be giving up their day jobs as train driver and actuarial assistant respectively.

The core range will comprise four standard beers – an IPA at about 5%, a bitter, a blond/golden ale and a stout/porter – which will be supplemented by seasonal beers. In addition there is a one barrel experimental plant which will be used for making less mainstream beers such as a double IPA, imperial Stout, saisons and sour beers.

Brewing was planned to start in early November but unfortunately Cryptic was burgled. Among the items taken was the experimental kit, the hops, the cask keystones and the van! It almost sounds like it was stolen to order. Luckily everything was well insured but this set-back does mean that Cryptic Ale might not appear before Christmas…


Thirst Class Ale |  @ThirstClassAle on Twitter

Thirst Class Ale logoRichard Conway’s Thirst Class Ale should now be brewing in a unit on Mottram Street, just off Hillgate near Stockport town centre. We caught up with CAMRA member Richard for a pint and a chat in the Magnet.

In common with many new-wave brewers Richard has a keen home-brewing background where he has been making his full mash ales for two years now. In fact he’s an award-winning home brewer, having last year won an IPA competition organised by Manchester’s Beermoth beer shop. The prize was a commercial brew of the beer, Elephant Hawk IPA, made by Richard at Stockport’s Quantum Brewery. This was followed by a second place in the IPA class for the same beer in last year’s national home-brewing competition; this year he gained a second place in the wheat beer class for a Hefeweizen and first in the speciality class for a Treacle Imperial Stout. That’s a good track record.

He will be brewing on a self-assembled two-barrel kit and after getting HMRC clearance was planning to be in production by the end of November. For the time being it will be a part-time operation and Richard will be keeping the day job at an IT manager. Beers will be available in cask, key-keg and bottle with the launch beers planned to be an American IPA, an Oatmeal Stout, a Pale Ale and a California Common Beer..

For the time being Richard will be using the flexibility of the small kit to experiment and see what beer are well received and which aren’t. More news when the beer is out – in the meantime check out the brewery website at


Tweed Brewing Co. |  @TweedBrewCo on Twitter |  Facebook

Winter Tweed clipHyde has its first brewery for 84 years with the launch of Tweed Brewing.

Based on Newton Business Park, Tweed Brewing is the project of father and son team Dave and Sam Ward and like Cryptic Ales this is a brewery that began life with a conversation over a few beers. Dave is an ex-fireman while son Sam already runs the Tuck Shop in Denton and wanted to branch out in another direction; they are both cask ale fans and so Tweed Brewing Co was born.

The six barrel brewery was acquired from Pureweld in Mirfield and was delivered and installed in October. While Dave and Sam will have some involvement in the brewing operations they have employed a full time brewer in the form of Anthony Lewis who arrives from Denton’s Hornbeam Brewery.

The theme is “a new take on an old tradition” and the plan is to brew beers with a wide appeal. Tweed is also working with Manchester University where 60 students will be taking part in market research for them.

The first beer is the seasonal Winter Tweed (4.1%), which will be an dark amber beer in the altbier style, and which is out now.

You can contact Tweed on 0161 368 8608 or email at They are also on Facebook ( and Twitter (@TweedBrewCo).

Thank you very much indeed John!

The above information was first published in the pages of Opening Times the monthly Stockport and South Manchester CAMRA branch magazine. Freely available throughout the branch and Manchester City Centre, it’s essential reading for all Greater Manchester-based beer lovers. Pick up a copy at your local pub or beer shop stockist, next time you’re in for an ale.