Its days like this-when I have to be in Manchester for 10:30 am, that I DO think I may be getting too old for this game. What bright spark suggested such an early start? Ok, it was me. But that was when I was contemplating a quiet night and more than four hours sleep. Anyway, in the interest of science, I met up with Archimedes and Pythagoras at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry to view the Body Worlds 4. This is the controversial anatomical exhibition by Gunther von Hagens, who, I’m fairly certain, isn’t a full shilling. However, the exhibition is very interesting and educational, if not for the faint hearted. Apparently they are still accepting body donations, so if you fancy having your testicles mounted under glass, it’s not too late.
But, back to important matters-beer. All that education had made us thirsty, and I was in need of hair of the dog anyway. So it was a quick stop at Cask on Liverpool Road for a bit of Helles. Then, it was across the road to the Deansgate. This was once a Vaux pub called the Crown, and latterly was an “oirish” boozer, before reinventing itself as a posh watering hole. Early on it only had basic offerings; the likes of Theakstons and Directors. That wasn’t too appealing when faced with top whack prices. We’re talking £3-3.40 a pint here. However, nowadays the range is much better and can be a pleasant, if expensive, stop off.
I had Robinsons Old Stockport (3.5%) which, when on form, is a little belter. And today my luck was in, as it was in excellent condition. Forget Old Tom, this is the real jewel in Robinsons crown. For the technocrats out there, it has 26 units of colour and 24 units of bitterness. However, the real secret to its appeal (despite its low vol), is that it is dry hopped with Goldings. This, together with the Halcyon and Pipkin malts, produces a beautiful balance of malt and hops with a bitter-sweet finish that is very moreish. I could have happily stayed on that all afternoon. However, we moved onto the nearby Knott Bar for some lunch. Or more factually breakfast. Beer wise my first choice was Howard Town’s Dragons Nest (4.4%) which was disappointing. There was a cloying sweet malt taste which robbed it of any real appeal. My second choice was Pictish Admiral (4.5%) which was golden with lemon notes and some good hop aroma. Not the best Pictish I’ve ever had, but still very enjoyable, as all their beers tend to be.
With the WHB now keeping up the rear, we headed for the Britons Protection. My pint of Robinsons Dizzy Blonde (3.8%) was the end of the barrel and was obviously tired, sadly lacking any real zing. Over at the Paramount on Oxford Road, there was a nice selection of beers, all in very good nick. However, the Phoenix Spotland Gold (4.1%) was so crisp and bitter that plans to move elsewhere were shelved and we got stuck into that. After gorging on that delight it was back to Bury, where I headed for Wetherspoons (yet again) for an appointment with Saltaire Amarillo Gold. This 4.4% wheat beer was full of citrus fruit flavours and proved quite refreshing. Just time for a finale at the TS, and Saltaire Blackberry Cascade (4.8%). Which, as the name suggests, is a blend of Cascade (and Centennial) hops infused with blackberries. A very interesting end to a very enjoyable day out. Well not quite the end, as Pizza Pioneer once more produced a Parmesan infused culinary delight that sustained me until the boxing started.