Interesting concept at the Crescent. A “There Isn’t a beer festival as originally planned,” beer festival. Basically, beers were made available from the cellar to complement the choice from the bar. Meaning a choice of about 22 beers-not bad for a wet Friday night.
I kicked off with York Peaches & Cream (3.9%) which was golden and pretty bland, with only a little fruit sweetness to distinguish it. Fearing the worst, I got Leyden Time & Tide (4.4%) out of the way next. Sure enough, this dark beer didn’t disappoint. Completely one-dimensional with the usual unpleasant Leyden tang. Talking of dodgy breweries, I was interested in trying Bazens Old Punch Ale as I had sampled it last week at the Castlefield Hotel. It was in a lot better nick in the Crescent and had lost some of that strange sharpness, but was still no great shakes.
3B’s Bee-jing (3.9%) was, surprise, surprise a sweet honey beer. Can’t see the point in them myself. Of the others tried, the best dark beer was probably Hornbeam Coral Stout (4.5%) which had plenty of flavour. Wentworth Rampant Gryphon (6.2%) was interesting. An unassuming amber beer, it was well balanced and hid its strength well. Yet again, though, the best beers were from proven breweries. Phoenix Ged’s Beer (4.5%) had plenty of hops but was surpassed by its stablemate, Irwell Gold (4.1%) which had a very pronounced bitter-hop kick and a nice dry finish. Close call between that and Leeds Samba (3.7%), which had a big, zesty, citrus kick to it.
The bus ride into the city centre was an adventure in itself. Scallies, the drunk, the soon-to-be-clubbing, all were getting out of Salford as fast the bus would allow them. Some entrepreneur was offering single ciggies for £2 to the back seat brigade, whilst one lass was arguing whether she was a slut or not. To prove the point she lowered her top and gave the lads at the back a flash of her assets. I never thought I would ever say this, but I was actually thinking put em’ away, luv. Not a pretty sight, believe me.
In the centre a quick toilet stop at the English Lounge revealed no cask, but a sign offering a bucket of beer for a £10. Full marks to the guy stood outside in a black sleeveless top, very tight white trousers, and a jaunty beret. Very circa 1970’s Shaft. Not many would have the balls to wear that on a dark, wet night in Manchester, but judging by the transparency of his crotch, he did.
Back on the tram to Bury, where more oddities abounded, and then a quickie in the Trackside. Robinsons Olympic Gold was obviously very green as it lacked any flavour whatsoever. Then it was last bus time and a nightcap of Golden Pippin in the Towler.