About Me

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Manchester, United Kingdom
Tyson is a beer hound and cheese addict living in the beery metropolis paradise known as Manchester
If the people are buying tears, I'll be rich someday, Ma

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Breakfast Beer Tasting: CREW Republic Detox

Today we step off this great sceptred isle and head for sunny Munich. Yes, Germany. Now I will let you into a little secret. The Germans brew beer. Quite a lot of it, actually. I know; get out of here, right? No they honestly do. And some of it ain’t bad. Ok it will never replace quality stuff like John Smiths Smooth in the hearts of the British bulldogs. But if you’re ever over there, put down that pint of Guinness, get out of that Oirish pub and try some of the local brew in some of their splendid beer palaces.

To be fair, you’re probably not very likely to come across CREW Republic in too many places. The traditional nature of the German beer scene-the very thing that makes it so appealing-has somewhat stifled the microbrewing scene. Or rather it had. Recent years have seen an expansion, albeit it not on the scale of some other European countries. Mario Hanel and Timm Schnigula formed CREW Republic to be part of this new wave. And certainly their beers and general business approach has more in common with the American model rather than traditional German practices.
But is the beer any good? Well it’s a 330ml bottle and is 3.4%. It’s described thus: “Is it time to Detox? Detox is a Session India Pale Ale and boasts a big hop aroma that satisfies ones need for a hop fix!!! Our idea of a session beer means that it’s a lower alcohol version of one of our favorite beer styles without having to compromise on flavor. This unfiltered light gold colored elixir has a much lighter body and less bitterness than its big brother counterpart, however delivers the entire hop experience one expects from an IPA.The two main hops in this beer are Comet from the Hallertau and Galaxy from Australia. The fruity aromas in these two hops compliment one another very well and we even used a new hopping technique for the first time in Detox.The CREW enjoys drinking this one a lot all day and it’s our favorite beer as soon as someone fires up the grill”.

It poured a hazy light-orange with a large, creamy, white head. The aroma was very appealing. Very little malt but plenty of sweet citrus notes. I think the Chinook is probably responsible for the slight floral aspect whilst I’m guessing the Galaxy is more impacting the tropical side. Good use of the Pilsner malt means it’s very clean on the palate and tastes very fresh. Lots of tangerine and grapefruit along with a little sherbet lemon. The finish is a medium level mix of tart orange and lemon dryness.

Tyson says: Punches well above its weight. This is a bit of a wunderkind. Prost!

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Brewdog Vote Sepp

Today’s little aperitif is a special little number from those pesky little Brewdog fellas. Actually I’m feeling rather pleased with myself as a guy in the pub last night wanted to sell me a crate of these at a knock down rate. But I insisted on paying full price. You can’t catch me out like that, no sir. Anyway, apparently, this was Brewdog’s attempt to bribe Sepp Blatter into giving Scotland the 2022 World Cup. But the joke’s on them, isn’t it? As Sepp himself will tell you, his international reputation for integrity and honesty is second to none. You’re no more likely to find his hand in the till than you are to find a Russian athlete who’s a drug cheat.
The bottle is the usual 330ml and is 3.4%. On the back it states: “Vote Sepp, an incorruptible hibiscus wit beer in honour of our tireless football führer, Mr Blatter.  Best served from brown paper envelopes to aid drinking with greased palms, one sip of this beer and Sepp will be putty in our hands”. It was very lively and poured fairly (for Brewdog) clear amber with a pink tint and a large off-white head. Given the hibiscus, it’s not a surprise that the aroma is big on floral notes. There’s also some bread and red berries there as well but it doesn’t really hit you as a traditional Wit.

It’s easy on the palate, but once again you’re struck by the lack of Wit characteristics. There’s no bready-dough yeastiness and you have to really delve quite far down to get the wheat hit. Saying that, it’s not unpleasant and once you get over the fact that Brewdog have produced a mild beer, there is little to find offence with. With no real backbone to underpin it, the lasting impression is of a slightly fruity-cranberry, perhaps, beer with an ever so slight tart finish.

Tyson says: “Like the great man himself, this is an easy-going, well-balanced beer that no one could find much wrong with”. 

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Rudy's Pizza

Rudy’s hasn’t been open for long but has already carved out a name for itself for knocking out some of (for my money, the best) pizzas in Manchester city centre. For anyone who has followed the pop-up street food trend that has swept the city in recent years or perhaps attended some indie beer event, the name will be familiar. Started by Jim Morgan and Kate Wilson: the name refers to their young dog, in case you were wondering, with the aim of bringing the Neapolitan pizza experience to Manc land. Of course to do that, you need more than just Italian ingredients and a wood-fired oven. It all comes down to the dough; in this case it’s a 48-hour dough-making process in which it is double-proved and hand kneaded to retain air bubbles. The result is an exquisitely light pizza that makes you feel as if you could immediately eat another. And some people do exactly that. Although, obviously,  I don’t know anyone like that.
Ancoats is an up and coming spot on the Manchester hipster map and Rudy’s have landed at a prime location on Cotton St. The Fairbairn Building which hosts them overlooks Cutting Room Square and is positioned directly opposite Halle St Peters. The regeneration of the former mills in this part of town has really gathered pace and apartment developments are all the rage. Some of the signs of a hipster neighbourhood-artisan coffee and bread hangouts-are already in place and more are due to open. Sadly the much vaunted re-opening of the former Edinburgh Castle pub has fallen through meaning that there is still a gap in essential services. However, with the Seven Bro7hers brewery planning to move in and Port Street Beer House only five minutes away, it’s not a real hardship.

Rudy's is open Tues 17.00-22.00, Wed-Sat 12.00-22.00 and Sun 12.00-18.00. Kitchen closed 3pm-5pm everyday except Sunday. They also sell some excellent bottled beer by the likes of Runaway and Cloudwater. 

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Room For One More?

There has been barely contained excitement and a few raised eyebrows at the news that Bury town centre is to get a new pub. An empty shop on Haymarket St, last occupied by Betfred, has been acquired by Amber Taverns who have been granted a licence for the premises. Those with long memories will remember that it was once the Rayners Vaults. Dating from the latter part of the 19th century, the Rayners was once part of the Raven Hotel before becoming a destination in its own right. I recall it as having the ambience of a Wild West saloon and certainly some of the characters who frequented it would have felt right at home in Dodge City. It was the kind of place that if you went in and they saw you still possessed all your teeth, the locals knew you weren’t a regular.
But times change and despite, or perhaps because of, its small size, Bury has done well in recent times in terms of its pub stock. Unlike many other town centres, people do still come into the centre to enjoy a drink. There are two Wetherspoons, a well-known freehouse, a Holts pub and representation from the usual regional brewers and pubcos. The last opening; the Clarence, brought a brewpub and fine dining into the equation. So what will the new venture offer? A craft harem of whisky barrelled-aged, Brett infused Dandelion & Burdock Stout, perhaps? One of those new-fangled micrpubs? Somehow I doubt it.
If you look at Amber Taverns portfolio, it’s rather less than impressive. A lot of bottom-end pubs that they’ve bought up cheaply. Locally they do own Hogarths in Bolton which does offer real ale but generally it’s either not available or an afterthought in most of their estate. They’re not big on dining and seem unlikely to be able to compete on price with the likes of Wetherspoons. They do seem to be keen on sports but it’s hard to see where their target audience is coming from. With the shift in Bury’s shopping geography, the pubs in the centre are technically on the wrong side of town and tend to rely on a set pattern of clientele. It maybe that they have their hopes pinned solely on weekend trade but it seems most likely that it will end up like the ‘Oirish’ bar round the corner: full of tumbleweeds for most of their trading hours. However, I’d be happy to be proved wrong. 

Friday, 30 October 2015

Albert's Schloss

Albert’s Schloss is the latest big name addition to Manchester’s drinking/dining scene. Situated on Peter St, it occupies the slot once dominated by the late, unlamented, sticky-floored, Brannigans. Remember them? Anyway it’s had a major overhaul and some serious money spent on it by the folk who own the Trof empire to transform it into Manchester’s own version of a Bavarian beer hall. Well alpine retreat, more accurately, as this is no cheap German bier Keller pastiche. The clue’s in the name: Schloss, which translates as chateau. The Albert of the title is self-explanatory, being Queen Vic’s little German love machine and, of course, it is based on the ground floor of the Albert Hall.
So after two years of planning and six months of build, what do you get for your Deutschmark? Well a lot of wood, for a start. The place is dominated by a huge wraparound bar that must be one of the largest in the area. It’s claimed that 80% of the build materials are from reclaimed sources including doors from the former BBC premises on Oxford Road. There are alpinesque tables and chairs and traditional German drinking benches designed by Manchester designer Pete Masters. There are comfortable booths at the back and a “Gentleman’s snug” at the side complete with faux-wood fire.
With a nod to its location, there is a DJ gallery and a live music stage. With a nod to its inspiration, there is a large kitchen and on-site bakery to deliver fresh pretzels and other Germanic goodies to the hungry hordes. Examples of this are Schweinshaxe (crispy pork knuckle with apple, horseradish sauce, pickled red cabbage and gravy) for £13.50 and for the non-Neolithic carnivores, the German version of pizza: Flammkuchen.
Finally we come to the most important part, the drink selection
Did you spot the odd one out? No, not the cask beer. In a slight geographical diversion from the Fatherland, their USP is actually Czech. Pilsner Urquell Tank Beer or Tankova is unpasteurised and is delivered ASAP from the brewery to ensure the customer gets the freshest pint. Schloss has four of these 900 pint tanks and once opened they have to be emptied in seven days. A board counting down the days adds to the sense of occasion and if you have ever tried it, you will appreciate just how buttery and refreshing a Pilsner can be. There is also a range of bottled beer including, for some reason unfathomable to mortal men, non-alcoholic Jever.

Now how much will it cost you to sup at the lap of Teutonic goodness? Well, for example, for £5 you could have either Bitburger Pils (4.8%) or Hacker Pshorr Dunkel (5.5%). That’s for a pint or large glass as they seem to call them. I was told they don’t do halves, only schooners. Anything less would be very un-German, I guess. 

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Gypsy Inc Gyp Wit

Following the success of the last Gypsy Inc beer, it seemed only natural to try another of their delightful creations. They describe this one thus: “Gyp Wit is a bright and floral Witbier brewed with Flaked Wheat, Curaçao Orange Peel and Coriander. This array of fresh ingredients catalyze the citrus and fruity flavors from the American and European hops. A true thirst-quenching summer Wit. It’s perfectly refreshing after a long day of hard work”.
It’s the standard 33cl bottle and is-I’m seeing a pattern here-once again 4.7%. It poured a light golden yellow with a small, perfectly formed, white creamy head. The aroma was traditional wheat and spice with a heavy dose of orange citrus tones. It’s easy on the palate with a surprisingly light coriander presence. The immediate impression is of juicy sweet oranges with just enough of the wheat coming through to underline it. Any fruit sweetness quickly disappears to leave a dry and satisfying orange zest palate cleansing finish.

Tyson says: The lads done good again. Yet another winner. 

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Gypsy Inc Soft Focus

Bloody foreign beers. They come over here taking up our shelf space and stop honest-to-goodness beers brewed in the shadow of the Union Jack being sunk by British bulldog types. In the words of that legendary band Half A Shilling, we should: “send the buggers back, send the buggers back”. But you know, now that they’re here, we might as well drink them. I mean think of the environmental cost in shipping them all back home. The polar bears have nowhere to sit as it is.
Ok so this is a cheeky little number from Danish brewers Gypsy Inc. What do you mean; you’ve never heard of them? The clue is in their name and in fact this was brewed at De Proefbrouwerij. It’s a 33cl bottle, comes in at 4.7% and is described thus: “Soft Focus is a Wheat Ale crazed up with Amarillo and Tettnanger hops. Flowerful notes from the wheat create a harmonious blend with the hops and add aromas of freshly pressed citrus fruits and elderflowers. It is bright, beautiful and the perfect choice for a day at the beach.”

It poured a cloudy burnt orange with a large white head. The aroma was a little grassy, definite notes of wheat and malt with some orange citrus and a little spice in there as well. The body was light and from the start, refreshing on the palate. A light underbody of wheat and subtle floral note is matched by a lemon sorbet and orange peel zestiness that leads to a satisfyingly dry, citrus fruit driven finish.

Tyson says: Excellent. Don’t say: “Send the bugger back”. Do say: “Send it over here, old boy, it’s rather tasty”.