Showing posts from June, 2014

Would You Like Some Ice With That?

Is it reasonable for a pub to charge for a glass of water? We’re not talking craft water, drawn from the bowels of a private spring by toiling artisans, but the ordinary stuff. Corporation pop as we called it in my day. The question has risen after Nick Molyneux, a CAMRA member, complained about one of his friends being charged 50p for a glass at the John Thompson Inn in Ingleby. Despite his group buying eight pints of beer, five glasses of wine and eight bags of crisps, the designated driver was still charged for his water.

Mr Molyneux said: “We’d travelled from Nottingham and had spent around £50 on drinks and crisps. The driver was dehydrated and was very unhappy to be told to pay. “We asked for a receipt so we could make the complaint. I went back, offered him the chance to pay my friend the money back and that would be the end of it. But he didn’t.I do not think it’s right. They should bend over backwards to get people in the pub. They are also a country pub, so there are bound t…

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Founders KBS

I was saving this baby-a takeaway gift from the wonderful Founders meet the brewer event at Port Street Beer House-for a special occasion. My World Cup sweepstakes team being knocked out is as good an excuse as any, so here goes. It’s an 11.2% imperial Stout shot full of coffee and chocolate and then cave-aged in oak bourbon barrels for a year. Yes, you heard right. It comes with a heavyweight reputation; it’s not cheap (by American standards) and people literally queue to get hold of it. What everyone is waiting for, of course, is will it pass the Tyson breakfast beer test?
It poured nearly black with a frothy khaki head. It certainly looked the part: rich, thick and creamy. The pungent aroma was a blast of freshly ground coffee, bittersweet chocolate and, yes, bourbon. This continued into the creamy, almost silky mouthfeel. In the first swig you get the coffee and chocolate and then the bourbon burn kicks in. As this warm-glow effect travels down, it neatly compliments rather than ov…


The meet the brewers events at Port Street Beer House have been coming thick and fast lately. Most recent was the visit of super-scooper royalty Gazza Prescott from experimental brewery Hopcraft. GP has been a well-known face on the beer scene for some time now and, shall we say, holds some rather robust views that he is happy to share. Just don’t mention CAMRA or twig beer (think Shepherd Neame) though and you should be alright. It’s not unnatural for lovers of the hop to want to progress to using it themselves and Gazza managed that ambition when, along with Dave (unpronounceable) Szwejkowski, he formed Steel City Brewing.
However his partnership at Hopcraft with Tom Barlow, from Pixie Spring Brewery, is a totally different kettle of hops. Unlike other breweries, Hopcraft don’t believe in having a core range of beers and only have one regular-Tidy Bitter. This leaves them free to experiment and indulge their whims. Makes you realise you’re in the wrong job, doesn’t it? An enjoyable e…

Craft Not Dead Shock

The news some time ago that Wetherspoons were to slash the price of their Sixpoint American craft cans was greeted in some quarters with knowing nods and “I told you so” homilies. Spoons shouldn’t be selling craft beer and certainly not craft canned beer. What were they thinking? No hipster would be seen dead in a Spoons, right? And craft is for the crafteratti and not for the plebs, after all. Sadly for the doomsayers, it seems the end is not nigh just yet. While sales in some regions have struggled to match London volumes, Wetherspoons have felt confident enough to reorder them. Learning their lessons, it’s not as many as last time and the starting price will be lower to encourage faster take up. So mainstream craft is officially not dead. Or not yet, anyway. Let’s see how this plays out in part two.

In the meantime, look out for the remainder that expire around September to be reduced to 99p. Why not put a tiger in your tank?

Bus To The Pub

Manchester and the outlying suburbs contain a myriad of interesting pubs. Pubs for all ages and tastes. The only problem is getting to them all. If only there was a bus that took you from door to door of these fine imbibing establishments. Well last year North Manchester CAMRA had the bright idea of organising just such a community service. This year, with the involvement of other CAMRA branches, the event was bigger and better but with still the same basic idea. An hourly bus service would run throughout the day connecting all the stops. Just hop on the double decker, buy your day ticket from the driver and wait for the beer to start flowing.
Obviously you could spend as long as you wanted in each pub. But, with 20 potential pubs to choose from, the best idea seemed to be sample as many as possible. We started by banging on the door of the Jolly Angler on Ducie Street near Piccadilly Station. This small, street-corner Hydes pub was built in 1814 and has been a stalwart of the Manchest…

Port Street Beer House POTY Presentation

For those of you who have been living on Mars, earlier this year North Manchester CAMRA named Port Street Beer House as their Pub of the Year. Here is NM chairman Stephen Davis presenting the POTY award to keeper of the holy keys Rosie Setterfield-Price.

Liverpool Craft Beer Expo 2014

Is it really a year ago that the inaugural Liverpool Craft Beer Expo took place? Apparently so, for quicker than you can say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, it was time for the second instalment. The first had been very enjoyable; with a few minor reservations on my part. You can read my review of last year’s event here. So what about LCBE 2014? Well we were promised bigger and better. More beer. More food. Everything BIGGER and BETTER, basically. Well these things do tend to evolve and so unsurprisingly Saturday’s tickets sold out even quicker than last year. Sadly there was no glamorous blonde accompaniment this year, but Steady Eddie, that quasi-Liverpudlian legal eagle, was on hand to offer moral support.
The first thing to note was that they had moved it. It’s still in the Camp & Furness but in a different area. This was quite disorienting at first for those of us who attended last year but a look at last year’s setting soon got the bearings back on track. Although I kind…

A Bit Of A Challenge

Happy birthday to Challenge 25. The age-verification scheme, operated by the Retail of Alcohol Standards Group, is eight this year. And to coincide with that anniversary, a report has been published analysing the last eight years and crunching some numbers. Now we’re all familiar with this scheme that was introduced as a means of combatting a rise-or perceived rise-in underage alcohol consumption. The idea is that anyone who appears under 25 will be asked to produce proof of age. The scheme has hit the headlines several times, usually when an overzealous employee has demanded proof from an OAP or suchlike. However, the report is, perhaps unsurprisingly, celebratory about its success but does highlight one or two concerns for the future.
A growing problem is apparently the number of shop staff verbally and sometimes physically abused by people refused an alcohol purchase. The report recommends that the government introduces an aggregated offence of “assaulting shop workers” to deal with…