A Manchester Wander

Ah Oompah bands, waitresses in dirndls, the sound of clinking steins. But hold on, this isn’t Munich, this is Manchester. The Printworks to be precise. Yes, this is the new Bierkeller that has opened in Manchester’s forgotten “entertainment centre”. It promises a lot in its advertising including, most intriguingly for this beerhound, the “largest world beer selection anywhere”. Suitably impressed, I entered its modest frontage.
The first thing you notice-apart from having two bouncers, I mean door staff, on in the afternoon-is its size. The ground level bar is deceptively small, but once you go downstairs you realise that the place is enormous. Basically it’s a complex of three completely separate bars. Shooters: the sports bar with pool tables etc. The Bierkeller and the Rest of the World bar. All accompanied by gigantic screens to showcase sport. If sports your thing, you’re always guaranteed a good view in here.
But what about the beer, I hear you ask? Well, dare I say that the advertising is a little misleading? There are plenty of fonts, probably some 50 in total, but a craft beer bar this isn’t. More of a case of the usual suspects. Served in plastic glasses, unless you stump up the deposit for a stein. Talking of Germany, the selection from there is pretty mundane with the house beer (£8.20 a stein) being unbranded and Erdinger is about as exciting as it gets. And what serious German bar doesn’t sell Jever?
There are, however, a lot of bottles packed into the large fridges. Here you can pick up the likes of Kolsch, Leffe, Brooklyn, Goose Island and Pale Creatures. All quite punchy, prices wise, it has to be said. Although likely to be busy at weekends, it will be interesting to see how busy this gets midweek as it will take some filling to pay its way.
Another new but more promising opening is the Turks Head at Shudehill. This has been a project long in the making and is still in the early stages. Indeed the paint was still wet when I visited. Narrow fronted, it has a wraparound bar and seating upstairs as well as a rooftop terrace. It’s all looking rather smart with patterned tiling and prints on the walls. And lots of fireplaces. Food and accommodation will also be on offer. Beer wise; the choice was Lees MPA or Pedigree. Hopefully when the other four pumps come online there will be something a little more adventurous.
And that brings us on to the Ape & Apple. This Joseph Holt flagship pub on John Dalton St has had a makeover. In come soft furnishings, light wood and tables outside. The biggest change, however, is in the beer range. Changes in drinking practices and falling sales have forced Holts to re-evaluate their pub estate. Some will become brewpubs and others will become “ale houses” where guest beers will be given equal prominence to their own beers.

This is certainly a sea change for what has been a traditionally conservative family brewer. Indeed rumour has it that if these models are successful, they may exit brewing altogether. The A&A currently has five guest beers on alongside the full Holt’s range and is well worth a look if you are in that area.


Hazzardous said…
HI Tyson,
on the Manchester Bierkeller, shooters and around the world I 80 beers bar. the plastic glasses are only there because it is what the police insist on.
You are right it isn't a craft beer bar, but It doesn't claim to be. Over 200 beers though, 16 on tap and the rest in bottles!
we did sell Jever in Leeds and Liverpool , but if it doesn't sell well enough it gets dropped, and that's what happened to that one.
keep up the good work, good blog

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