ShinDigger Brewing Co – 3 Bottles of Beer

In what I hope can be a series, I’m actually going to try to review beers properly and shall start with a local brewer.  That’s local to Manchester if you were unaware of the geography of this blog.

The brewers will be small, perhaps new to the market and will only have a few beers to their name.

In doing this I feel I should state that I pay for my own beers and I am in no way affiliated with any of the breweries I review…anyway…

Ladies and gentlemen I give you…

ShinDigger Brewing Co.

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You may note two bottle tops in the photos, all these batches I’m reviewing had plain, black tops.  The logo top is from the previous release of the Pale Ale, lovely design.

I first became aware of this new brewery at The 2013 Love Beer Festival (Chorlton) where, for the first time I had the…

Pacific Pale Ale (4.5%)

That was on keg, since then there has been the cask too and now the bottle…

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This was Batch: 3728
Ingredients: Water, Barley, Yeast, American & New Zealand Hops.

It pours a suitably amber colour, crystal clear and a quickly dispersing clean, white head.  Not much in the way of aroma.  Light and crisp mouth feel.

Sweet gives way to fairly bitter quality and after taste, with hints of grapefruit, pine and a bit of citrus.

West Coast Pale Ale (4.7%)

Shindigger’s twitter feed was abuzz that their 2nd brew was available in Manchester pubs.  After work I went on jaunts to The Salford Arms, The Font, Joshua Brooks, etc. each time, like Fletcher chasing the outlaw Joesy Wales, I just missed them, the pump clip to be seen on the wall as a cruel taunt.

Then word came that Allgates would feature this beer as part of their bi-annual Road To Wigan Beer.  I got on the bus and made my merry way to Crooke Hall Inn, it was the Pacific Pale.  Well another pint of that on cask was not going to be sniffed at.  The days went by, then I got word that The Anvil in Wigan would have this now mystical beer on.  However this clashed with the Bolton Beer Festival…hmmm, well I didn’t start work at the beer festival till 12pm, the pub opened at 11am and the trains were favourable.  The train arrived at Wigan Wallgate at 10.48am, a walk through the church yard and the pub was in my sights, as I crossed the road, the doors opened and without missing a footstep I went to the bar, beating the Latics and Blackpool supporters waiting (oddly) round the corner and ordered a cask pint…the A-Team’s Hannibal Smith could not have summed it up better.

Can’t recall if I’ve had the keg, but here is the bottle…

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This was Batch: 3729
Ingredients: Water, Barley, Yeast, American Hops.

Pale straw colour/light gold with a thin, clear white head.  Whereas the Pale Ale is more akin to a regular UK bitter or, erm pale ale; the West Coast has the more familiar notes of the US IPA-type brews.  Again it is clean and crisp in the mouth with a bit more bitterness than the Pale Ale.  Again the notes of grapefruit, citrus and pine are most notable, but also in the aroma too.

Black IPA (5.5%)

After the rigmarole of trying to get the West Coast it was without much ado that I just walked into the Stockport Beer Festival of 2014 and got the Black IPA no trouble.

Again this was on cask, again I can’t remember if I’ve had the keg version, but this is the bottle…

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This was Batch: 3730
Ingredients: Water, Barley, Yeast, American Hops.

It pours clear black with an off-white head.  The citrus and pine are there again in both aroma and taste, but being a black IPA it is the malt that takes over with a roasted charredness.  Medium mouth feel with a bit of fizz, the sweet again gives way to a nice bitter after taste.

While writing this, I read that they have another 2 beers in the pipeline that should be out by the end of the year one of which is a collaboration with the Indy Man Brew House, an off-shoot from and for the Indy Man Beer Convention

They are also hosting a Meet the Brewer in Knott Bar and will also be at Salford Beer Festival, both taking place in October of this year.

So there you have them; the 3 Shindigger beers so far, 3 lovely Shindigger beers, in a write-up that feels massively pretentious, still at least I’ve managed to write this piece without, as appears to be writ in ancient journalist law, using all manner of words to describe just how young they are.

Keep an eye out for them, they shouldn’t be that elusive now.

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Manchester Tap – Let Us Speculate

Apart from being a beer geek I’m a bit of a history/building geek too, yes especially the history of pubs, closed ones, demolished ones, new ones, etc

I get the train every day into work in Manchester, arriving at Manchester Victoria.

Manchester Victoria was, back in 2010, labelled the worst station in the UK.  Not having much experience of other major city stations I didn’t have much to go on other than it was a dank, horrible and poorly lit place where it actually rained inside, the roof being so dilapidated.

Then it got a bit of money and coupled with the expansion of the Manchester Metrolink (tram system, fondly called MetroStink) and the 2nd City Crossing, work was underway to overhaul the station, including a beautiful new roof.

There is a thread on the SkyScraperCity forum that as of writing has 186 pages of the history and the current ongoing work.  Some of the buildings are listed and are undergoing renovation.

So when Greater Manchester Ale News went a bit wobbly at the news that a “Tap” outlet was coming to Manchester, this instantly got many wondering where it would be located.

All we have so far is a “coming soon” Manchester Tap website and a Twitter feed of 3 tweets.  The anticipation is palpable.

For my sins I’ve only been to the Leeds and Euston Taps (including the cider one at Euston).  Both of these are located outside of the station.

My understanding is that the ones at Harrogate, York and Sheffield are actually within the station.

So the question is, which of the 4 Manchester stations will get this Tap?

Deansgate and Oxford Road seem to have already been written off; though a Deansgate Tap would fit in well with the surrounding Castlefield area (though should be wary of Satan’s arse crack that is the Locks) and an Oxford Road Tap fits moulds into the so-called “Manchester Corridor” redevelopment and the general student clientele.

But you really can’t look past Manchester Piccadilly and the aforementioned Victoria stations.

The Victoria area is going through a major upheaval as noted above, plus you have the pub/bar haven that is the Northern Quarter located a stones throw from the station.  Though to be fair the NQ does more-or-less link Victoria with Piccadilly.

Victoria, also in the process of electrification, also links up (as does Piccadilly) with Liverpool and Yorkshire and also the overly hyped, unnecessarily busy and largely abused TransPennine Ale Trail.

Plus there is always the East Lancs Railway.

Piccadilly is the major hub – the proposed HS2 route would go in and out (even if it is a typical London-centric Westminster con-job).  Virgin trains services operate from this station, so the idea of going from the Euston Tap to Piccadilly Tap in 2 hours is quite fitting.  In fact you could probably end up doing a “Tap” crawl, if UK train fares weren’t such a rip-off.

But Piccadilly is more modern, a bit too busy and a bit too sterile.

Victoria has the history and the, well, Victorian surroundings that seems to place it at the top of the pile of being in-line with other “Tap” venues.

I’m biased, I’ll be happy wherever it is in Manchester.

Though after all this, it may end up at Stockport Station.