Pub of the Year 2021

As mentioned below,

Closely following on from our previous Pub of the Year, delayed due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Branch is pleased to announce our 2021 Pub of the Year is the Cob and Coal, Tommyfield Market, Oldham.

The award was presented to Michelle and Chris Riley at a presentation on Saturday 24th July.

A very enthusiastic crowd of members of  the local branch
of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) gathered in Oldham for their
first social event since Government restrictions were lifted. A visit to a
number of Oldham’s finest pubs was on the agenda, with the added bonus of the
opportunity to present the branch’s annual Pub of the Year Award to the
deserved winner, the Cob and Coal Tap in Oldham’s Tommyfield Market.

Presenting the framed certificate to landlady Michelle Riley,
Peter Alexander, Chairman of the Rochdale, Oldham and Bury branch remarked on
the pleasure of the occasion.  The award itself, he continued, is voted for
by our discerning members and is against very tough competition. Peter
continued “The Cob and Coal Tap is a relatively new venture, and it is to
Michelle’s credit that the micropub has shot to the top of the affection of not
only local CAMRA members, but real ale and cider drinkers in Oldham and far
beyond.  Our members voted overwhelmingly for the Cob and Coal and with
its fantastic range of well-kept real ales, a stunning  array of
traditional ciders and the very warm welcome to guests, showing that putting
real ale and cider at the forefront of your offer, is not only great for CAMRA
members and other local drinkers, but a sound business decision.” He hoped
others would note and emphasised that the award should be seen as a challenge
to all pubs in the Branch area as something to aspire to.   

The photo shows Michelle Riley and Branch Chairman Peter Alexander.

Source: Rochdale, Oldham & Bury Branch News

Pubs and Clubs Open from April

Member Jim Brunt has produced a very useful and welcome map showing you which pubs are open from April 17th. Click on the link to take you to the map. A few caveats – we arent yet aware of the status of some pubs, but we will update as soon as people tell us they are open, or members inform us a pub is open. Also some pubs are operating a booking system so its best to call them before you visit – you could be disappointed.

Many thanks to Jim for his hard work.

Source: Rochdale, Oldham & Bury Branch News

Good Beer Guide 2022

We have had notification from CAMRA HQ that it is intended to produce a Good Beer Guide for publication next year. As with this year the actual publication date will be put back until late October 2021. Whilst we appreciate it is a difficult time, particularly in Lockdown Mk2, it is important that we start the process now in order to meet the deadlines set by HQ.

This year, as per the branch constitution regarding GBG, no pub or club gets an automatic nomination and all pubs for consideration have to be nominated by a branch member. I am therefore asking all branch members to e mail me with nominations of any pub or club they think is worthy of inclusion in the next GBG. You can nominate as many pubs as you like but please note I may come back to you to complete a survey on that pub/club. I need the following details:

Name of Pub
Full Address
Your Name*
Your CAMRA membership number*

Closing date for nominations is 23:59 Sunday 6 December.

*Your nominations will not be considered without your name and membership number on the e mail.

Send your nominations to ku.gro.armac.bor@gbg

Out of necessity due to the ongoing pandemic, the process is likely to be very different this year

Full GBG surveys must be completed on each pub prior to the selection meeting.

Due to the lockdowns, completion of beer scoring has been very low in volume and a lot of pubs / clubs do not have a valid number of visits / scores. When the pubs do re-open I would encourage you to use beer scoring in every pub you visit, and certainly if you survey a pub.

As things stand, even with the announcement of a possible vaccine, it is very likely we may not be able to hold a selection meeting (due March 2021). The committee will be making contingency plans should this be the case, based on CAMRA guidelines.

Andy Cooper
GBG Co-ordinator

Source: Rochdale, Oldham & Bury Branch News

Flying Horse first past the post

(L to R) Landlord Ben Boothman, bar manager Jon Hudson and assistant bar manager Lucy Jones.

Twenty years of building a business has put a Rochdale pub in the winners’ enclosure as it is judged Greater Manchester’s Pub of the Year.

The Flying Horse adjacent to Rochdale’s magnificent Town Hall was in need of Ben Boothman’s vision when he took it over. Trade at the site started in 1691, but it endured a spell renamed as The Sports before he took the reins. Ben could see the potential to transform the town centre building to provide a destination for drinkers, diners and overnight visitors, as well as an ambition to become the town’s premier free live music establishment. But a long-term commitment to providing the very best real ales underscored his efforts.

Ben is well-known in amateur rugby league circles as he combined turning out in the green and gold colours of Rochdale Cobras alongside his work at the Flying Horse. It’s a real family success as mum Pat has supported Ben throughout, taking charge of the functions as well as finding time to run a popular outside catering business, Quirky Catering. The pub is also a vital supporter of town centre initiatives including Rochdale in Bloom and the recent Feel Good Festival.

Recognised by the Rochdale, Oldham & Bury branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) as its pub of the year for the last two years, the Flying Horse first made the Good Beer Guide in 2002. The pub’s growing success saw a doubling in size of its real ales to twelve handpumps, with traditional ciders, craft keg and a selection of foreign beers making it a drinkers’ delight.

CAMRA’s regional director Graham Donning said: “The Flying Horse represents all that a well-loved pub should be. It is supported by its regulars, and attracts visitors for its beer, food and accommodation offers. It has adapted to changing social patterns, but at its heart is a landlord whose commitment to real ale makes the Flying Horse a worthy winner.

“Last year, our regional winner was just pipped at the post, gaining runner-up in the national Pub of the Year. I’m not a betting man but I’m confident this pub will be neck and neck in the final strides!”

The Flyer, as locals call it, lined up against seven other exceptional pubs nominated by the Greater Manchester branches of CAMRA. An expert team of volunteer judges drawn from the 9,400 members in the region visited unannounced and evaluated the qualities of each. They scored the pubs on a variety of weighted features including quality of welcome, value for money, community focus and – most importantly – the quality of beers and ciders.

Regional judging coordinator for CAMRA, Caroline O’Donnell added: “Our judges gave points for the knowledgeable and welcoming service, condition of real ales and ciders, and the innovative use of a digital display board showing beers and tasting notes. Most commented on the building’s interesting features and the lively and friendly atmosphere. It’s great that The Flying Horse champions local breweries, especially the excellent brewers in Rochdale.”

Ben Boothman is thrilled with the award. He said: “This success is down to a fantastic team, headed by my bar manager Jon Hudson. We all share a belief that happy customers will tell everyone about their good experiences. And I’ve been helped by our suppliers and breweries who consistently provide customers with the best food and drink.

“I’m proud of our welcoming atmosphere and delighted the judges mentioned this in their assessments. Keeping and serving our traditional beers and cider in tip-top condition is a matter of personal pride, so it’s fantastic to be recognised as the regional winner.

“I’ve wanted to see Rochdale recognised as a great town for beer choice, and I’ve enjoyed strong support from the local CAMRA branch. There’s a lot of history associated with Rochdale but it has a great future too.”

CAMRA will be presenting the award to Ben at The Flying Horse on Thursday 23rd August at 7.30pm.


1. Each branch decides its pub of the year, and the regional winner is drawn from these. In 2018 the finalists were:

  • Wigan Central WN3 4DY (Wigan branch)
  • Blue Bell Inn, Levenshulme M19 3HF (Stockport & South Manchester branch)
  • The Brink M3 3BQ (Central Manchester branch)
  • The Flying Horse, Rochdale OL16 1NJ (Rochdale, Oldham & Bury branch)
  • Old Packet House, Altrincham WA14 1LW (Trafford & Hulme branch)
  • New Oxford M3 6DB (Salford branch)
  • The Beer School, Westhoughton BL5 3AZ (Bolton branch)
  • Queen Anne, Golbourne WA3 3PZ (South East Lancs branch)
    The High Peak, Tameside & NE Cheshire branch selected its pub of the year outside Greater Manchester.