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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

Friday, 28 January 2011

Port Street Beer House

Okay, so last night was the opening evening of Manchester’s latest enfant terrible beer bar. The Port St Beer House is situated on, er, Port Street in an unfashionable part of town, not far from Piccadilly.

Now, if you were opening a post Noughties bar, what would you have on? Thornbridge? Dark Star? Brewdog? Yes, it did indeed promise all of that-and more. But was it any good? Well it turned my piss the colour of Highland spring water. But more of that later.

After a couple of aperitifs, we arrived a wee bit early, only to discover it was still officially closed. A quick nosey, but no beer, soon had us back in the Castle for another warm up snifter. Which was okay, but...no sparkler. WTF? Come on guys, get a grip.

Back at Port St and the place had somewhat of a Euston Tap feel to it. If somewhat bigger. A downstairs bar gives way to a large, comfortable, upstairs room with the toilets on the floor above.

Having secured a prime corner seat, the challenge was set. How much of the draught beer could be drunk in an evening? Perusing the choices, this seemed no mean task, with five cask beers and 14 other options to tackle. I quickly dismissed the likes of Leffe and Veltins and, despite my liking for it, Fruh Kolsch.

Acorn Gorlovka
was a good start, but the lure of Brewdog 5am Saint on handpump proved too strong. Of course, this is a classic, dry hoped, amber ale from the Scottish bad boys and it didn’t disappoint. Neither did the Bacchus Framboise which had a lovely tart raspberry edge to it. Mind you, at £6 a pint, your expectations are pretty high.

Prospect Hop Vine Bitter was a new one for me and had a pleasant, delicate, herbal hop aroma to it. A step above it was Thornbridge Chiron. This was a very well balanced beer; an enticing tropical fruit aroma gave way to a dry and hoppy beer that was Kiplingesque, but more rounded.

I have to say that, yet again, Brewdog Zeitgeist failed to inspire me. Interesting, yes. Moreish, no. The only other disappointment was Grand Ridge Gippsland Gold. I have to say at this point that all the staff were very helpful and pleasingly efficient. Well done. And all the beer was in good nick, too.

Anyway, this Australian old school Bitter was recommended by someone (John, Jim, Johnny?) but I found that after the initial sweet malt, it has very little going for it. Unlike the Franzikaner Hefe-weiss which was exactly what you would hope from this style of beer.

Frankly, it all gets a bit hazy after that. There were some Italian bottles (Del Borga Duchessa?) that were about £5 a pop and some more that were about twice as much. And there was some Moravka. Definitely some Moravka.One or two familiar faces appeared and I definitely had a chat with Deathly Hallows. Of course, at some point, the Brewdog Hardcore IPA beckoned...

So a very promising start to what will undoubtedly become one of the stars of Manchester’s beer scene. Proof of a good night came when, in the toilets, a guy commented (yes, I know, but its 2011) that my piss was as clear as Highland spring water. Anywhere that can turn your piss clear in an evening has got to be good.

17 comments:

Baron Orm said...

It's strange that you got to try Hop Vine Bitter as it was meant to be brewed just for the Hop Vine pub in Burscough - http://www.thehopvine.co.uk/

I wonder if now that the Hop Vine has it's own micro-brewery up and running Prospect has widened the market for their bitter?

Tyson said...

Thanks for that. I wasn't aware of the connection, but in my experience, there is no such thing as an "exclusive" beer.

Danny said...

Stonking night. Loved both the Brewdog and the Thornbridge. Did you check out the pole dancer?

Tandleman said...

Pole dancing and Deathly Hallows? Who could ask for anything more?

I'll have to wait for next week to find out.

Tandleman said...

PS.Which end of Port Street is it?

Tyson said...

Sadly/Luckily DH and the pole dancing weren't in the same building. There was a lithe young lady strutting her stuff in the building opposite who was visible from the gent's toilets.

Hence my suggestion to the owners that they may need frosted glass. Not so much to protect her privacy, but to maintain the sanctity of the urinal:)

ps It's at the end away from Piccadilly, near the Crown & Anchor.

Tandleman said...

Yes, could get messy!

RedNev said...

My understanding of the Hop Vine Bitter is that once the pub's contract with Prospect has expired, they'll brew their own house beer, but in the meantime it's still there. And it's rather nice, although I've yet to taste a bad Prospect beer.

Martin Ward said...

We went last night and thought it was excellent. Apart from all the students! I quite enjoyed the Zeitgeist but I prefer my lagers dark anyway. Certainly think it will shake Manchester up a bit, beer wise.

Leigh said...

LOVE Moravka. And not had 5AM on handpull, although it's lovely on Ket. Will be visiting in the next few weeks but this review certainly has whetted my appetite!

Phil said...

The prices you quote are taking the p. - I hope the pricing for the draught ales was on planet Earth.

The big question about the Zeitgeist is, was it cask or keg? I've had it on cask and in bottle; the cask version blew me away, but the bottle was really ordinary (I mean, "won't get that again" ordinary).

Tyson said...

Phil

Good point and one I should have made clear. It was keg, so make of that what you will. As for pricing of draught beers, it ranged from £5.20 for a pint of the 9.2% Brewdog Hardcore IPA to the aforementioned £6 5% fruit beer and £7.60(!) for the 4.9% Zeitgeist.

Darren T said...

Are you sure £7.60 wasn't for two pints of Zeitgeist? I bought a pint of that and a half of something else on Saturday night and I'm sure it came to just over a fiver...

Tyson said...

Ah yes, Zeitgeist was £3.80 a pint. Relief all round. Unless you go for the £3 a half Framboise:)

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for expressing. Simple and straightforward to grasp. Done well!

Anonymous said...

Great write-up! It's great for the brand new blogger such as me.

adrian said...

Went for a visit and the prices are a joke. £5.50 for a bottle of Brooklyn stout? The range was no way near as good as Fringe. I wont be going back.