Last night I had a few pints in Manchester. I'll just list the highs, as this time, there were no lows at all. After a long visit to the Manchester Evening News Arena to discuss CAMRA business, we were thirsty. So it was up the hill to the Angel, formerly the Beer House where with our usual luck, all the beers were dark. Damn. Graham plumped for Titanic Lifeboat and when I saw how good it looked, so did I. We thoroughly enjoyed a classic full bodied dark bitter, with some roasty overtones and a good hopsmacking finish. Brilliant stuff and once again I was struck by the incredible courtesy and welcome here.
Next the short hoof to the newly redecorated Smithfield. Much better, though they could do with boarding up the open part of the kitchen in my view. This time we chose Durham Gem, a pale, deliciously hopped peach of a beer, which went off after our first pint. Glory be, a new cask was put on and it was even better than the first. I've thought Durham had lost an edge recently, but on this showing, it's back to stunningly good form. A short stride took us past the boycotted Bar Fringe to the Crown and Kettle where Phoenix Thirsty Moon awaited our verdict. Guilty of being dangerously drinkable, despite being 4.6%! The full body was luscious and the hop finish was sublime. Well done brewer Tony Allen!
Our last call was the Marble Arch where Graham was again seduced by Durham Gem. I went for JP Best and was rewarded with a pale, dry hopped beauty, in top condition, bursting with juicy malt and a wonderful lingering cascade hop finish. Organic too, should you be interested and so good I had to have another. My final beer of the evening was a modest half of Greenmill Treacle Toffee Stout. It didn't reach the heights of the others, but was by no means bad to my palate, still tingling with organic cascades!
So, later today its London where it is expected to be raining all weekend. What can I expect there? Dunno, but I'll let you know.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
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