You can't but fail to know that Manchester is one of the best cities for pubs and drinking in the UK. It gets a fair old lot of praise from many writers who tend to just dip in, have a few beers in a renowned watering hole and then bugger off back to where they came from, singing its praises and returning the their main and desired theme of how good London is beer wise, even though it isn't as good as is alleged really. Up here we know how good Manchester is beer wise, but of course that can vary a little too.
New openings though do keep everyone on their toes - or at least should if the incumbents have any sense - and we've had one or two. I rather like the Smithfield Market Tavern in its new Blackjack Brewery Tap get up, though it was of course a very famous but down- at-heel pub back in the day, but got exceedingly tattier (it was always tatty) as the years rolled on. At least I could always be assured of a late drink there as I was one of those - rather a large number it must be said - who could knock on the side door and be admitted. It was taken over not that long ago and money spent on it, but it wasn't a great success, mainly as standards were poor and the beer was usually shite or off. Now it is clean, popular and booming in the hands of people who know what they are doing and who have turned a failure into what seems to be a roaring success.
Other notables are the much awaited Cafe Beermoth in Spring Gardens, described by my good friend Tyson here which I visited during the Christmas period. It was trading well and was enjoyable as much for the varied and pleasant clientèle, as for the excellent range of beers, sensible pricing, great service and the general feel of the place. It needs to settle in, and I would have liked to see more cask and less keg, but I liked it nonetheless and it will likely be a sure place to visit when I'm in town. Also praised and described by Tyson (and by Stonch no less) is a place that is certainly is at the other end of the spectrum. Albert's Schloss is an astonishing and expensive conversion of a grand old building on Peter St, just a few doors down from the gloomy BrewDog. This is a breathtakingly cheeky pastiche of a German Beer Hall, complete with a mostly German menu, an in house bakery, German beers and the biggest draw of all, to this
writer, Tankovna Pilsner Urquell. It is big - on a grand scale in fact - brash, cheerful, expensive and attracting a mixed crowd. It will be interesting to see how well this will trade in future, but I fancy it will do well enough.
So what's all this got to do with the title of this blog post? Well, in comparison to these new places, into each life a little rain must fall. I have heard tales that some of the more "established" places - and these aren't that old - have dropped their guard more than somewhat and are losing their lustre by changing what worked before and not for the better. Three at least have had their fair share of complaints about them and I know many who are now giving them a miss. Name names I hear you say. Well not on this occasion, but you can take a good guess I'm sure if you know Manchester.
The point though is this. In the pub game and in a place like Manchester with so much competition, you have to keep at the top of your game. As always, "It's the offer Stupid."
I'm looking forward to trying the German food at Albert's Schloss. In house bakery sounds good too. Have to say the Urquell was lovely, but at a fiver a go, it should be.
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.
This blog mentions specifics; pubs and beer, good and bad. The opinions will be forthright, but you can always disagree, just don't be offended. Comments from those mentioned are particularly welcome and a right of reply is hereby offered.
Read my information and links and then decide for yourself. You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes.
If you wish to email me you can do so by using this address: tandleman[at]yahoo.co.uk
These are the life blood of any blog. Please feel free to comment. I do not practice censorship if you stick to the point, but personal insults are frowned upon and may result in deletion. Anonymous entries may have the piss taken out of them or be deleted.
Beer samples are welcome, but I cannot guarantee a good review. You, the brewer, on the other hand can.
I do not currently accept adverts on this site, but if you feel so inclined, make me an offer. If you wish me to wear your brewery stuff, great. XXL please
The contents of this blog represent the personal views of the author only. They do not represent CAMRA policy in any way whatsoever.
The contents of this site and individual articles may not be reproduced in whole without the express permission of the author and will require an appropriate credit. Extracts may be reproduced with a credit to the author.