Something for all you Real Ale drinkers out there...

A mini-guide to several of our favourite beers at the moment, courtesy of Stefan, the manager at our Macclesfield and Marple Bridge branches.

Real Ale used to be the domain of old men with strange facial hair, but in the past few years it has gone through something of a transformation. Micro-breweries are popping up all over the place (with varied success), however we have found a few gems right on our doorstep which are leading the charge and going from strength to strength. We've picked out a selection of our favourites below and think they are well worth a look...

Red WillowRed Willow - Macclesfield based brewery that has been a raging success in its short history since 2010. This year they opened a stylish real ale bar in Macclesfield, conveniently close to the train station and well worth a visit for a sensibly priced pint of quality ale. As well as regular ales in their range such as Headless, Feckless and Directionless, they produce a great range of seasonal beers too.

WincleWincle Brewery - Located 5 miles into the Peak District from Macclesfield, this brewery produces a quirky range of real ales some of which are bottle conditioned. Characters from the village of Wincle and the surrounding areas lend their names to the beers. Watch out for Mr. Mullins, Sir Phillip and the lesser-spotted Peak District Wibbly Wallaby!

ThornbridgeThornbridge - In less than 10 years this Bakewell based brewer's production has grown from a few barrels to a manufacturing plant the size of a football pitch. The quality, variety and character of their beer seems to know no bounds and they supply pubs nationwide but especially either side of the peaks. A champion brand for Portland Wine!

BollingtonBollington Brewery - Known locally for their fantastic gastro-pubs and delightful range of brewed-on-site ales. Available in bottles we have summery, easy going beers like "White Nancy" and "Long Hop" along with their award winning "Bollingon Best Bitter". Also watch out for the savoury, satisfying "Oat Mill Stout" and the potent IPA "Eastern Nights" at 5.6%. Visit them at the Vale Inn (Bollington), the Park Tavern (Macclesfield) and the newest addition to the family, the Cask Tavern (Poynton).

We carry a selection of beers from the above breweries alongside a massive range of others in several of our stores. We try to vary the range as widely as possible and are always on the look out for new and exciting additions to keep things interesting! For more information on what is available near you, please contact your local store.