Friday, 18 April 2008

One of Those Nights!

Now the Marble Arch is a very fine pub and brews its own beer as well as selling a wide variety of micro beers. That's good isn't it? After a very quiet week, it was time for a drink, so I met Graham there. I was early, so my first choice was the 3.8% Janine's One from Marble Brewery. This pale brew had some of the usual bitterness, but was tired and flabby, with a dying soapy head. Disappointing. Graham arrived and procured a pint of the ever reliable Spotland Gold from Phoenix. Unwisely I stuck with my Marble theme and had a pint of JP Best, currently Greater Manchester's beer of the year. Not on this form it wouldn't be. A bit chemical and again, slightly tired, it bore no resemblance to the beer I judged top at the Food and Drink Festival.

The next stop was the Crown and Kettle which didn't disappoint. The beer of choice was Oakham Inferno and while this wasn't served at the peak of condition, it was only a notch or two off, so we were happy with its taste and of course, its hoppiness. I first wrote about this beer here. Round the corner, over a very tricky to cross road, is the Fringe Bar which can be hit or miss. Tonight it was all miss. My first choice of Kelham Island Devil's Arcade went off as it was poured. I didn't fancy the Leeds Brewery Special and went without asking for a taste, for Oakham Oblivion. Now you can't get a bad Oakham beer can you? This was just awful. It was dark for a start which I wasn't expecting, had an unpleasant toilet cleaner harshness and a mess of conflicting tastes, all of them plain nasty. I was stunned. Tentatively I asked the barmaid if it was meant to taste like that. She replied that it had been hard to sell and that no-one who had tried a taste had bought a pint!! I am not surprised. I asked her to tip mine down the sink. £2.60 wasted. If anyone from Oakham reads this, I can't believe it was meant to be like that. Graham's Leeds Special tasted just like you'd expect a 3.5% bitter to taste - thin!

Next we crossed the road to the Smithfield though by now our hearts were no longer in it. We picked a safe bet, Durham Brewery White Velvet. This was hazy, verging on cloudy and clearly not fit for sale. It needed another day in the cellar. We left most of it, by now too dispirited to complain. While Graham walked home, I went back for the bus outside the Marble Arch. In the usual way of these things, 3 buses, all going the same way are timed within 5 minutes of each other. I had just missed them all. Sighing I went back to the MA and ordered a pint of Ginger Marble to perk me up. Sadly while the ginger zing was there, condition was not. I sipped it bleakly and went home. I had been looking forward to a few beers and felt badly let down by pubs which should do much better.


young camra collectiv said...

What a desperately sad tale!

On our visit to Manchester last year I was bowled over by the conditioning in all 3 of Fringe, C&K and, in particular, the Marble Arch. Made me keen to quit my southern abode and adorn a flat cap in favour of the north. Surely top notch is the norm and you were extremely unlucky, rather than the other way round?

Also Oakham Oblivion is outstanding when served properly. We drained the barrel straight from the stillage at a local pub festival last month. They're certainly not just a brewery for golden hoppy numbers. Never pass up a chance to try their Hawes Buckler stout.

Tandleman said...


It wasn't typical. I guess shite beer in (say) London is par for the course, even in Manchester, but sometimes that's the way it goes. Now if it becomes a trend..............