Monday, 7 February 2011

Manchester's New Kid on the Block


There is much said in the blogosphere about the new wave of beer bars that are springing up here and there. I'm talking the like of the Euston Tap, Sheffield Tap etc. Well Manchester has one now and last Thursday I set out to see what it had to offer in the company of Tyson the Beerhound.

One thing our destination does offer is a latish four pm opening, so being of thirsty mind and body, we warmed up with few elsewhere. The Angel kicked us off well with some straightforward Pictish Alchemists Gold, while Tyson slurped down a Prospect Mild, but of course he'd been out the night before. Is it me or are both Brewer's Gold and Alchemist Ale a tad sweeter than of yore? Manchester also offers a range of new bars selling a mixed bag of beers. Some even sell cask. One such is Odd, handily placed on the way to our new destination. We struck more than lucky here, with perfect pints of Dark Star Hophead, very much enhanced by sparkling. We had two, so good was the beer and then a quick trip to Common, sister bar of our ultimate destination. Common is a bit grungy, but Tyson liked it well enough, though I reckon that's more from it being a handy late night venue for him than anything else. I was a bit less keen, maybe because my attempt to try Brew Dog's Zeitgeist was foiled, as it was "off."

And so to our destination Port Street Beer House, not more than a hop and skip from Piccadilly. On two drinking levels, with big ground floor windows looking out onto what is a pretty uninspiring back street view, this is a well appointed, modern, subtly lit, rather sophisticated bar, which was attracting a good mix of types. Handpumped and keg draught beers sit comfortably side by side and there are beer fridges with well chosen and interesting contents which are pretty reasonably priced if you pick and choose wisely. We immediately spotted Brew Dog's Alpha Dog on handpump, but were advised by the friendly barman to have a taste first. Good job we did, as its savouriness was severely off putting, as if a few beef stock cubes had been lobbed in the late boil, then a few more for good luck. Not great. Much better was Thornbridge Stout (it has a fancy name which I can't remember) and for comparison purposes, more Hophead.

Upstairs is a rather attractive room for more drinking and further up on the final level are the rather nice toilets. So any complaints? Only one, and that may just have been a one off. The place was cold, but it was a cold night. Nonetheless this is an excellent and very welcome addition to the Manchester beer scene. I'm impressed and looking forward to taking the lovely E there.

I'd like to say we sensibly finished up after a couple of beers and went home for a quiet Horlicks and an early night. But we didn't.

6 comments:

Cooking Lager said...

It's about going out and drinking neckable pong in pubs, this blog. Where is the review of the obscure bottle of 12% gagable pong that you can't buy anywhere? You'll never get to No1 with this malarky.

RedNev said...

"I'd like to say we sensibly finished up after a couple of beers and went home for a quiet Horlicks and an early night."

I'd never like to say that!

Tandleman said...

I know Cookie. I'm a fool to myself. And anyway, I never get sent any unbuyable pong, no matter how much I hint at it.

Tyson said...

For the record, it was Thornbridge Brock in Port St. At that point I can still recall what we were drinking. Unlike later...

Mark, Real-Ale-Reviews.com said...

Spent 36 hours in Manchester last week. Had a blast, good beers at Thomas St bistro, the Marble bar in Northern Quarter (why did no-one tell me about that?!) and Common.

Next time more pubs on the agenda and a fraction less media schmoozing

Mark said...

This place looks and sounds good. I like these new beer bars offering something a little different and somehow elevating beer a little from the boozer to the bar, making a bit more special for those who don't fancy a pub.