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

Monday, 26 January 2009

They Think It's All Over-It Is Now

Well it’s all over. The inns and taverns of Manchester are once more free of marauding ale drinkers. A chap can safely leave his seat without fear that, on his return, it will have been snagged by a group of pot-bellied, bearded, sandal wearing, beer ticking weirdoes. Not surprisingly it was quiet around town today, with a depleted selection in many pubs as they take a bit of a breather. So, how was it for you?

Over at the main event in town-the NWAF, the view on the streets was that CAMRA had probably got it right with the awards. Oakham Attila isn’t bad, although personally I prefer the runner up-Elland 1872. As usual, plenty of punters were left frustrated at the lengthy queues and made do with the pub fests. Some even did both. I warmed up for the event with free fish & chips at the Metro Fish Bar-so popular that several selfish drivers parked on the pavement, even though there is a perfectly good car park. Where’s a traffic warden when you need one?

The scooping fraternity were left enthralled by the Smithfield’s tick fest. A case of never mind the quality, feel the quantity, in my view, but the line of scooping trolleys waiting to get certainly was a sight to behold. Over at the Crescent, things also could have been better. The place itself is looking really distressed now and there’s no excuse for chairs with no seats. Plus points for offering an evening menu though-very sensible during a beer festival, although obviously I didn’t take that easy option.

Beer wise, the Crescent does need to raise the quality threshold. Too many of the beers, particularly those straight from the cellar, lacked condition. Having said that, there was no excusing Hornbeam’s overhyped Blackcurrant (5.4%), which promised much but delivered little. Not being a Hornbeam fan, I held my tongue, but everyone was of the same opinion. It was like someone had poured Blackcurrant concentrate in a wheat beer. Hold on, they have-what a waste. It’s the first beer in a series to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Opening Times, a local CAMRA magazine. Let’s hope the others are a lot better. I was also struck by the poor quality of Leeds Resolution, the first bad one I’ve had from them. Coach House Cinnamon did what it said on the label, whilst Harviestoun Haggis Hunter proved surprisingly hoppy. Also good was Elgoods Wisbech Winter Ale, which was spicy and warming, a real gem for 3.8%.

Another surprise when Pictish Northern Dawn turned out to be rather bland, but Phoenix Spend Spend Spend redressed the balance. The New Oxford weighed in with its share of interesting brews, as well. The Phoenix Cheap as Chips was below par for them, as was Elland Silver Lining. However, Elland Northern Sky was crisp and hoppy and Wensleydale Sheep Rustlers Nut Brown Ale proved quite complex and satisfying. But man does not live by beer alone and, somehow or other, I eventually found myself in the Bank enjoying the pleasures of late night Talisker with the WHB. All was going well until I returned from the bar to find him fending off the attention of not one, but three, sex-starved pensioners. Worryingly, he didn’t seem to be trying too hard...


Tandleman said...

I'm glad that all these pub festivals were on. It kept the pot-bellied, bearded, sandal wearing, beer ticking weirdoes away from ours at New Century Hall. We had lots and lots of lovely totty instead!

Tyson said...

Yes, definitely much more totty at the NWAF. But who's interested in that???

camragirl said...

I'm also glad that the beer freaks were elsewhere.From a female perspective there was more male crumpet there than you would expect.i enjoyed it but sadly when I went asking for Tandleboy,I was told he was snoozing on a firkin round the back!

Tyson said...


I can't believe that. I have it on good authority that Tandleman only ever sleeps on hogsheads. He's funny like that.

Carlton Cheeserind said...

I thought there was a sizeable minority of women who could have been men and men who could have been women...this phenomenon was even more marked amongst the staff. Lovely people though.

Tyson said...


That's CAMRA for you-a very broad church.

maeib said...

I had some Pictish Northern Dawn in The Wellington, Birmingham on Friday and have to agree that it was bland. A real disappointment as I rarely get to try Pictish beers.

Tyson said...

It's very rare for Pictish to be bland, but it just shows that even the best can have an off day.

sean said...

the festival was too crowded for my liking.i wouldn't think of going at the weekend again.local pubs were good though,especially the angel.

Tandleman said...

Sleeping? If only!

larry said...

The NWAF was a joke,thank god there was a real festival at the Smithfield.

Gazza Prescott said...

In my considerable experience, beer tickers don't generally have beards (although, obviously, some do) and I've only ever seen a minority wearing sandals in the height of summer... beer bellies yes, obviously, but methinks the stereotype you're naming here is your average CAMRA member. I'd also add to the list:

1) Beer Fest t-shirt from 1903
2) Pewter tankard
3) Morris dancing paraphernalia
4) Pomposity and self-importance
5) Knowing (in general) naff-all about beer and breweries
6) A strange love for regional brewers which make crap ale
7) A dislike of hops

and more I can't be arsed to think of at present!

Tandleman said...

I'd agree with that list if this was 1990, but it isn't.

Only 1, 5 and 6 are generally true now.

7 is so sadly common it isn't just CAMRA members. It is brewers big and small and beer drinkers, ditto.

Carlton Cheeserind said...

There were enough pewter tankards hanging from belts at NWAF to persuade me that characteristic No.2 is alive and well. Sadly, I'd have to agree with No.4 too. No. 7 is an interesting one & judging by the number of J.W.Lees pubs in the GBG a dislike of hops is a disirable factor for membership. Everybody know proper beer drinkers are crazy about the hop....

Tyson said...


Twas just a bit of harmless stereotyping fun and, yes, it could be aimed just as accurately at CAMRA members. However, I suppose I chose tickers (as you know), as they were more likely to be in the pub fests, rather than the NWAF. Of coure, the two sometimes overlap, which would make my description frighteningly accurate:)

Hmmm nice list. I could of course be cheeky and counter 6 with scooper rule 6, "A strange love for new micros who often produce mediocre beer." And I could say that you, as a JWLees fan, are guilty of no 7. Or even 6-but I won't!