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A Tale Of Two Weekends

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The never ending tour of Manchester continues. With a lot of places either still closed completely or not opening early in the week, it's easier to do a direct comparison at weekends. So a week after my first visit, it was nose back to the grindstone as I hit the dusty trail once more. This Friday my colleagues in beer were to be the Whitefield Holts Bandit (remember him) and Lidl Paul. Fine upstanding gentlefolk. Or so they tell me. The first port of call was to be the Pilcrow. But finding ourselves arriving before opening time, it was decided to have an aperitif in the Crown & Anchor. This upmarket city centre Holts pub is ideally located for mopping up the shopping and city workers trade. Normally at this time it would already be buzzing but it was eerily quiet inside. A lot of staff are home working/still furloughed and the tram hadn't been packed with its usual throng of shoppers. However, there was something of a crowd spread outside enjoying the intermittent sun. The…

Friday Night In The Twilight Zone

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The remit was simple. Having taken that first hesitant step back to the pub last week, it was time to take it to the next level. Of course I'd been in pubs during the week, but only one pub per session. This was due to restricted openings locally and a general dearth of good beer. But there was an aching to do something more adventurous. So when I got the call to arms late on Friday afternoon, I was ready for action. Now Manchester city centre would generally be best avoided on a Friday night if crowded venues aren't your thing, but now...?

There were several purposes to the mission. Firstly to see if it was possible to do a pub crawl in the same way you would have done pre-lockdown. Secondly, to see how busy some popular places were and how they were adapting to the new norm. Thirdly, to seek out some decent beer and throw it down our necks. First stop was Cafe Beermoth right in the centre of the city. Basically a single room with a mixture of booths and tables, sensible measu…

Back to Life. Back to Reality: Super Saturday

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And so it came to pass. Super Saturday was finally upon us. After an unprecedented break in routine, that beacon of hope, that mainstay of British life; the public house was once more open. It had been a long, long wait. At the start of lockdown, the closing of pubs was met with a mixture of shock and sadness. But it would soon be over, wouldn't it? After all, how bad could it be? How little we really knew just how badly we would miss it. Because this time it was different. Previously any enforced absence was softened by the knowledge that it was there waiting for you. You were in charge. But not any longer. The doors were firmly shut and no one knew when they were likely to reopen.

Now lockdown did offer a lot of opportunities. There were languages to learn, models to build, fitness videos to follow, virtual wine tastings, Zoom quizzes etc etc. Obviously I didn't bother with any of that stuff. I bought a super size TV and gorged on biscuits (the chippy was shut) and beer. Lots…

Mallinsons Breakfast Beer Tasting: Nelson Sauvin

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All good things must come to an end. That is the nature of existence. What that means in the real world is that you come to the end of the beer box. Which means the last of our forays into Yorkshire's finest: Mallinsons. Yes, it's the end of the line but what better way to go out than with (hopefully) a blast of Nelson Sauvin hops. It's the usual 500ml bottle-conditioned, single-hopped, pale ale tipping the scales at a mere 3.9%. It's got a best before date of January 2021. It poured golden with a large white head. The aroma was quite sharp with some acidic notes and a large burst of grapefruit and lemon. Taste was more balanced than you might have expected from the nose. Gooseberry and grapefruit are nicely underscored by a light malt backbone. The hops really do their job in the dry fruity finish that leaves you wanting another slug.
The final Mallinsons of this run didn't disappoint and serve chilled will delight the summer palate.

Mallinsons Breakfast Beer Tasting: Cascade

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Now today we're going to do something totally different. Ha. Had you worried there, didn't I? Of course we're not. As we've established that we're on a roll, we're going to play on. Which means it must be Mallinsons time. Something of a classic today as Cascade is one of those ubiquitous hops that you can't really go wrong with. Or can you? So once again we have a single hopped, 500ml, bottle-conditioned pale ale that comes in at 4.1%. It poured pale gold with good carbonation and a large white, fluffy, head. On the nose there was some sweet citrus and some floral undertones. It was light on the palate with a gentle but refreshing mix of lemon and sweet citrus. The lemon comes into its own in the medium dry finish. Very easy to chug; so another tick for the Mallinsons crew.

Mallinsons Breakfast Beer Tasting: Summit

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You've got to roll with it as those Gallagher brothers might say. And as I'm not one to break up a winning formula, it's back to the Mallinsons today. They have a reputation for being one of the-some might say THE-best purveyors of bottle-conditioned beers. But we're only one bottle in, so it's all still to play for.
This is a 500ml, 4% single hop, pale ale that is best before January 2021. It poured light gold with a decent white head and good carbonation. On the nose there was bread, some citrus and a little spice. It was medium bodied with a smooth mouthfeel and an initial gentle burst of tangerine. This develops with the addition of spice in the second wave. A well-rounded dry finish completes yet another winner from the Huddersfield hopmeisters.

Mallinsons Breakfast Beer Tasting: Nikita

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After the success of reviving the Kernel tasting sessions, we look back once again into the archives for inspiration. Apparently it's 10 years since I first visited Mallinsons brewery and 9 years since a Mallinsons was had for breakfast. And what was that beer? 10 points if you can remember that it was the legendary Tandleman: I can't believe it's not Lees. Ah those were the days. So, suitably inspired, it's Mallinsons time once more.

This is a 4.4%, 500ml, bottle-conditioned beer that is late hopped with Centennial. It has a best before date of February 2021. It poured with a nice golden hue and a large white head. The aroma was floral/herbal with some citrus and sweet malt. It was smooth on the palate with a well-balanced malt profile and gentle citrus tones. It had a surprisingly dry finish which made for a very pleasant drink.