A pub created during the pandemic has risen, in just three years, to be named Greater Manchester’s CAMRA pub of the year.
Chris Riley, of the Fox and Pine (left) receives the award from Ralph Warrington (regional director, CAMRA)
The first months of trading at Oldham’s Fox and Pine were disrupted by restrictions. But owner Chris Riley has an extensive history of running pubs across the area, including the Welcome Inn in Ordsall and the Apple and Pear, Middleton. The business was able to ride the storm.
His previous pub was the huge Regal Moon, in Rochdale town centre,before he looked to create his own venue. Together with wife Michelle, he set up Oldham Beer Company and found empty premises on Greaves Street, Oldham.
Remarkably, the Fox and Pine follows close on their other bar, the Cob and Coal, inside Tommyfield Market Hall, winning the same CAMRA award in 2021!
Ten handpumps serve a rotating choice of beers, with many drawn from breweries within a 25-mile radius. Recent weeks have seen brews from Pictish, Marble, Small World, We Are Wolf, and Kirkby Lonsdale. One handpump is dedicated to draught Bass, a particular favourite of Chris — and his dad!
Cider lovers are well catered for with a choice from producers Hecks and Harry’s. Chris also offers craft beer lovers a choice of five keg fonts with the best of local and national brews, and even an ABK lager from the 700 year-old Bavarian brewery.
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Judges praised the pub’s support of the local community with several local charities supported. The pub is the headquarters of Yeds, Oldham Rugby League Club’s supporter group.
“We’ve come a long way in a short time, and we’ve been supported by great staff and lots of lovely customers,” said Chris. “It’s humbling to receive this award from CAMRA. There’s a lot of competition out there — plenty of great pubs — but they all need your support. Get out and enjoy them, forget about buying beer from supermarkets!”
CAMRA’s regional director, Ralph Warrington, who presented the award, said: “We are blessed to have many excellent pubs and breweries in Greater Manchester. To to be judged the best reflects the hard work of publicans.
“Chris and Michelle have clearly found a winning combination of real ale and a warm welcome, blending the traditional and modern. Cheers to the Fox and Pine!”