Showing posts from October, 2013

Another Brewery For Bury

It’s a well-known fact that Bury is the brewing capital of the UK. The air is heavy with malt and hops as out mighty breweries work tirelessly to quench the thirst of the working man. You might think the last thing we need is another brewery, but you’d be wrong. After all, you can’t have too many breweries. So, in a move that can only cement Bury’s reputation, Silver St Brewing Co have launched their first beer. Based in the so-to-be-opened Clarence pub on (wait for it) Silver St; this is labelled 001 and tells you that it's a light ale.. It’s made with NZ hops and is a pale 4% beer that has a good, dry, bitter finish. Very promising, I have to say. Look out for their beers at the upcoming Bury Beer Festival.


Beer festivals. You either love ‘em or you’re a bit weird. I mean they are the only legal thing that you can do without feeling guilty that you should be in the pub. Ok maybe one of two things. But back to IndyManBeerCon. This beer festival, that had its premier last year, was back. Back in the splendour of the Victorian Baths, but bigger and better. Yes, it wasn’t just their abbreviation that had been upgraded. The whole festival had been supersized. But bigger isn’t necessarily better; so how did it fare?

The basic setup was the same as last year. Entry was by advance ticket only and once inside tokens, equivalent to 50p and £1, were purchased in batches of £10. This year, however, the festival had expanded to take in Thurs-Sun sessions with a varying rota of beers for each day. To accommodate this, more use of the Baths was made with bars in Rooms 1-3 and Magic Rock holding court in the Turkish Bath room. I thought this an excellent layout with the live music, which was pretty good …

Spoons Festival

And we’re off. Yes, the Wetherspoons beer festival is once more upon us. What’s that you say? It starts next week? Yes, to you mere mortals, perhaps. But up here in the cutting edge of Lancashire, we are given the same status as London and have started early. Now once upon a time, a Spoons festival was highly anticipated. I remember trekking round Manchester with a well-known beer blogger in search of an elusive beer or two. However, the last couple have been a little lacklustre and cost cutting seemed evident when the last once couldn’t even produce a decent programme. To their credit, they have taken the criticism on board and have promised a much better experience this time around. The programme is certainly an improvement. Fitting in with their plan of flirting with craft and bringing over American brewers, they have a range of USA beers brewed at various breweries around the UK. This is obviously their pièce de résistance and has had the ticking fraternity frothing at the mouth fo…

A Quantum Leap

Now anyone who has attended Port Street Beer House regularly or numerous other Manchester/Stockport watering holes cannot have failed to come across Jay Krause. Not that I’m saying he likes a drink (shhh, he may do) but as the owner, brewer, cask-washer of Quantum Brewery, he has to mingle doesn’t he? Anyway, it’s the brewing bit that interested me. A brewery. In Stockport. Sounds like a double whammy of intoxicating love. Or should that be a love of intoxication? Either way it was resolved that a visit was in order.

Now Quantum is notoriously well hidden. For good reason: the good people of Stockport are well known for their love of imbibing and advertising temptation would be just asking for trouble. Plus there’s always the philistines who may simply want to melt it all down for Chinese money. So let’s just say it’s off Hempshaw Lane which is an invigorating walk out of town. Operating since 2011 on a 5 BBL plant, the resourceful; Mr Krause is a true one man band who has somehow mana…

Glagow's Finest

Glasgow is well known as a crime free city. After all, they retired Taggart, didn’t they? So if you were wondering how the police spend their seemingly ample free time, then this story in the Daily Record will enlighten you. Some people may question whether it is a little heavy-handed. Others may wonder if it’s not more properly the job of local authority enforcement officers. But if being short changed over a sausage roll when ordering a breakfast beer isn’t a police matter, I don’t know what is.

The End of an Era

Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
(The Doors) All good things must come to an end. Or so the ancient sages would have us believe. And so it has come to pass for the real ale dwellers of Bury. In a body blow that will have repercussions for several other watering holes; the long serving landlord of the Hare & Hounds in Holcombe Brook, Andy Grant, will be leaving next Monday. Together with his wife Lynn and his trusty bar elves, he turned the fortunes of the Dogs around-transforming it from a drug friendly dive to a family friendly cask oasis.
Liking a drop or two himself, the pub went from serving two badly kept usual suspects to a well kept range of ten. He also ran the biggest pub festival in the country, attracting tickers from near and far, but ensuring all the beer was cellar cooled and served with sparkler. This dedication to quality has ensured that he has built up quite a following locally. Indeed I’m betting th…

Crafty Spoons

There has been some discussion within the online beer community as to whether craft beer has broken out of its ‘bubble’. Specifically whether it has landed, the so-called Brewdog test, in your local Wetherspoons yet. Like the Loch Ness monster there have been several reported sightings but, like George Osborne’s economic plans, they don’t seem to hold up to scrutiny. But it looks like, in Manchester city centre at least; that the Brewdog test has-literally-been met. Albeit in bottled, not draught, form.
Manchester city centre is in one of these craft ‘bubbles’ and the arrival of Brewdog, alongside the likes of Port Street Beer House, has helped accelerate the demand for draught and bottled craft beer. At a price, naturally. Now Tim Martin’s little emporiums have always been given flexibility to react to local markets: the Heywood branch was for many years the cheapest in the country. So it should come as no surprise that they want a piece of the Manchester craft scene.
After all, it ma…