125 years and still going strong-strong being the operative word, but more of that in a moment-was the message from the Marble Arch’s birthday bash. Yes the famous Manchester landmark was celebrating and what better way to do so than with a beer festival? Now, some people were referring to it as “the Marble’s first birthday festival”. Technically true, but as I’m not holding my breath till the next one, I shall stick to calling it the Marble beer festival.
kicked off on Thursday which just so happened to be IPA Day. Not to be left
behind with the world celebrating this iconic style, the Marble offered up a selection
of, erm, IPAs. However, it was their first experience of a Salty Kiss, courtesy
of Magic Rock that had people talking. Things began in earnest on Friday when
the paying public were let loose inside. And the setup was quite different from
by the newly expanded beer garden which also played host to the musical entertainment.
You got a glass and a programme. Payment was by coloured tokens: black=£1 and
orange=25p. Tables has been removed from the pub to allow more standing room
and to accommodate pop-up bars from Magic Rock and, on the Friday, Marble
Brewery from Albuquerque, New Mexico. A nice touch that, getting the American
Marble in on the act.
front room hosted the pop-up bars and the handpulled/keg/cider/bottle beers.
The back room hosted strong beers on handpulls and even stronger beers on
gravity. And that’s one of the first things you noticed, there were a lot of
strong beers. A hell of a lot. Indeed we were ushered in with the encouragement
“Go for it. There’s a lot of rocket fuel on.” Personally I could have done with
a few more sessionable beers as the ones on were very heavily tipped in favour
of the Marble regular beer range.
beer tried was Pictish Angus at 4.1%. A new one to me, but sadly nothing
special from this usually reliable Rochdale brewery. The same could be said of
the Pilsner (4.7%) from Marble USA and their IPA (6.8%) was just ok as well.
Now you don’t expect anything weak from Mr J at Quantum (American Light excepted)
so I was prepared for Falconer’s Flight at 5.5%.
Four of a Kind was the weakest we could find on the back bar (6.2%) and then
there was Wild Beer Madness IPA (6.8%). Not to mention Summer Wine Devil Loves
Chinook (7.2%). Can you see a pattern here?
It didn’t seem to be holding back local celebrity Mr Beige but there
were a few grumbles about it. There was also some confusion as to whether all
the beers listed should be on.
To have all
the beers on at one time would seem logistically impossible, but I had been
told they would be. And I wasn’t the only one. Several people there were under
the same illusion including a Barnsley lad who had checked three times to
ensure that that they were. Mind you, as he turned out to be a member of the
Di-was-murdered-by-Liz conspiracy club, I had to discount his testimony on credibility
ambitious effort marred by a few niggles. Perhaps next time they can look at
layout and beer selection.
Beer of the
festival: Kernel Pale Ale Simcoe, Amarillo, Mosaic.