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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, 30 October 2015

Albert's Schloss

Albert’s Schloss is the latest big name addition to Manchester’s drinking/dining scene. Situated on Peter St, it occupies the slot once dominated by the late, unlamented, sticky-floored, Brannigans. Remember them? Anyway it’s had a major overhaul and some serious money spent on it by the folk who own the Trof empire to transform it into Manchester’s own version of a Bavarian beer hall. Well alpine retreat, more accurately, as this is no cheap German bier Keller pastiche. The clue’s in the name: Schloss, which translates as chateau. The Albert of the title is self-explanatory, being Queen Vic’s little German love machine and, of course, it is based on the ground floor of the Albert Hall.
So after two years of planning and six months of build, what do you get for your Deutschmark? Well a lot of wood, for a start. The place is dominated by a huge wraparound bar that must be one of the largest in the area. It’s claimed that 80% of the build materials are from reclaimed sources including doors from the former BBC premises on Oxford Road. There are alpinesque tables and chairs and traditional German drinking benches designed by Manchester designer Pete Masters. There are comfortable booths at the back and a “Gentleman’s snug” at the side complete with faux-wood fire.
With a nod to its location, there is a DJ gallery and a live music stage. With a nod to its inspiration, there is a large kitchen and on-site bakery to deliver fresh pretzels and other Germanic goodies to the hungry hordes. Examples of this are Schweinshaxe (crispy pork knuckle with apple, horseradish sauce, pickled red cabbage and gravy) for £13.50 and for the non-Neolithic carnivores, the German version of pizza: Flammkuchen.
Finally we come to the most important part, the drink selection
Did you spot the odd one out? No, not the cask beer. In a slight geographical diversion from the Fatherland, their USP is actually Czech. Pilsner Urquell Tank Beer or Tankova is unpasteurised and is delivered ASAP from the brewery to ensure the customer gets the freshest pint. Schloss has four of these 900 pint tanks and once opened they have to be emptied in seven days. A board counting down the days adds to the sense of occasion and if you have ever tried it, you will appreciate just how buttery and refreshing a Pilsner can be. There is also a range of bottled beer including, for some reason unfathomable to mortal men, non-alcoholic Jever.

Now how much will it cost you to sup at the lap of Teutonic goodness? Well, for example, for £5 you could have either Bitburger Pils (4.8%) or Hacker Pshorr Dunkel (5.5%). That’s for a pint or large glass as they seem to call them. I was told they don’t do halves, only schooners. Anything less would be very un-German, I guess. 

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Gypsy Inc Gyp Wit

Following the success of the last Gypsy Inc beer, it seemed only natural to try another of their delightful creations. They describe this one thus: “Gyp Wit is a bright and floral Witbier brewed with Flaked Wheat, CuraƧao Orange Peel and Coriander. This array of fresh ingredients catalyze the citrus and fruity flavors from the American and European hops. A true thirst-quenching summer Wit. It’s perfectly refreshing after a long day of hard work”.
It’s the standard 33cl bottle and is-I’m seeing a pattern here-once again 4.7%. It poured a light golden yellow with a small, perfectly formed, white creamy head. The aroma was traditional wheat and spice with a heavy dose of orange citrus tones. It’s easy on the palate with a surprisingly light coriander presence. The immediate impression is of juicy sweet oranges with just enough of the wheat coming through to underline it. Any fruit sweetness quickly disappears to leave a dry and satisfying orange zest palate cleansing finish.

Tyson says: The lads done good again. Yet another winner. 

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Gypsy Inc Soft Focus

Bloody foreign beers. They come over here taking up our shelf space and stop honest-to-goodness beers brewed in the shadow of the Union Jack being sunk by British bulldog types. In the words of that legendary band Half A Shilling, we should: “send the buggers back, send the buggers back”. But you know, now that they’re here, we might as well drink them. I mean think of the environmental cost in shipping them all back home. The polar bears have nowhere to sit as it is.
Ok so this is a cheeky little number from Danish brewers Gypsy Inc. What do you mean; you’ve never heard of them? The clue is in their name and in fact this was brewed at De Proefbrouwerij. It’s a 33cl bottle, comes in at 4.7% and is described thus: “Soft Focus is a Wheat Ale crazed up with Amarillo and Tettnanger hops. Flowerful notes from the wheat create a harmonious blend with the hops and add aromas of freshly pressed citrus fruits and elderflowers. It is bright, beautiful and the perfect choice for a day at the beach.”

It poured a cloudy burnt orange with a large white head. The aroma was a little grassy, definite notes of wheat and malt with some orange citrus and a little spice in there as well. The body was light and from the start, refreshing on the palate. A light underbody of wheat and subtle floral note is matched by a lemon sorbet and orange peel zestiness that leads to a satisfyingly dry, citrus fruit driven finish.

Tyson says: Excellent. Don’t say: “Send the bugger back”. Do say: “Send it over here, old boy, it’s rather tasty”.