It was the best of times
It was the worst of times
But that’s enough about the football-for now. A full day to prepare for the big event, but how to spend it? The lace curtains need washing, and the flags could do with hosing, but today’s not the day for the mundane. Manchester and beer beckon once again. It kicked off with a little light lunch with Selfridges Girl-the Portobello Mushrooms stuffed with Dolcelatte and a Basil & Lime Cremeolate were particularly good. All washed down with a bottle of the rather excellent Ropiteau L'Emage Sauvignon Blanc. This French white was full of gooseberries with a lovely dry finish. So good in fact that another bottle was quickly proffered.
But man does not live by wine alone, and having some time to kill before settling down for the footie, I went in search of beer and adventure. I found both at the Paramount on Oxford Road. This is yet another JDW, set in the heart of student land. As the name suggests, this was once a cinema, and now comprises of a ground floor bar and a small upstairs drinking area. Unusually, and thankfully, the toilets are also on the ground floor. This is regarded as the best JDW in town, and it didn’t disappoint today with a good selection on display. I settled for Hanby Cascade (4%) followed by Slater’s Top Totty (4%) whilst enjoying the friendly football banter.
The Hanby, like a lot of their beers, was a bit of a disappointment. Although pale, with some hop bite, it lacked the fruitiness and zest that I’ve experienced before-yet another brewery that needs to get its act together? Now, I know Tandleman likes a bit of Top Totty-well, who doesn’t-and this was in pretty good form. Some nice hop notes and a pleasant dryish finish. But time was moving on and I had a job to do: secure prime seats for football viewing. So I secured a table at the Smithfield and awaited reinforcements. These duly arrived and we spent a rather nerve racking evening in the company of the landlord and several other unashamedly biased punters. Beer wise there was little to choose between Durham Citrus Pale and Ossett Maypole. Both were 4.2% pale beers, with thirst quenching amounts of hops. As to be expected, the Durham lent towards the citrus side, whilst the Ossett had more of a hop bitter bite, which just put it ahead for my palate.
With the Red Devils once more crowned kings of Europe, we set out to join the celebrations. A great night was had by all, with only one minor hiccup. We called in at the Waterhouse, which had served me so well yesterday. I was at the bar-it was my round-with my compatriots behind me. When I ordered 3 pints the barman informed me that he wouldn’t serve the guy on the floor. Quite right I thought, but what’s that got to do with the price of bread? I reiterated my order, only to be given the same speech along with a rider about taking the piss. All became clear when it was pointed out to me that one of my companions had done a Del Boy and leant against an imaginary shelf. And amazingly it wasn’t Don Ricardo! I quickly distanced myself from him, but the barman had had enough-he refused to serve us all. When I (very nicely), queried this, the manager, a large, boorish individual came over and proceeded to lecture us. On asking (as advised) about taking a photo, we were promptly shown the door. Just what have JDW got to hide? Never fear, like General MacArthur, I shall return.
A very enjoyable day and a long, enjoyable, night.