VineHop – Poynton, Cheshire

…and then from Stockport...

You can get the train (very rarely but it does happen) to Poynton and visit…

Vine Hop

 

The annoying thing about train travel to Poynton is that it happens to be the first stop outside the Greater Manchester travel boundary, so anyone with a season ticket will need to pay extra…

…or just sit in the carriage furtherest from the conductor and hope they don’t reach you until you disembark.

A swift 10 minute walk into the town centre from the station, this is the latest addition to the growing beer/bottle bar sector but with the emphasis less on beer (only slightly) and more for wine, because Cheshire is properly middle-class and hasn’t fully dumped wine for craft beer just yet.

As you may be able to tell, this new venture’s previous building identity was a butchers, inside the only things hanging are the 6 keg lines…

 

And the 8 (4 white, 4 red) wine lines that you buy a special card for (and top-up I expect)…

 

Its like looking into the future with this set-up, I was more struck by this than the very large range of bottle/cans of beer that were available, very reasonably priced, though to drink in you did have the additional £1.20 charge…

 

Spirits, heavy emphasis on gins, are also available…oh and a box of cider (along with a choice of bottles too)…when you aren’t lost between all the wine…

 

Look…coat hangers…

It is a nice place for a few quiet drinks but then again Poynton has a drinking establishment for everybody’s tastes and maybe a full on blog is required.

Warning: You may well get to meet Stanley at this venue…

 

Which would be fantastic…if he wasn’t accompanied by his entourage of hangers-on owner.

 

Thanks for reading.

Burnage to The Heatons – A Crawl of MicroBar Bottle Shops

Burnage (Pronounced: Bur-ni-d-g; or Bur-n-arrr-ge if you want to sound posh) always registered in my young mind as one of those places you don’t want to get caught out being in after dark.  Not quite as ominous of Longsight, Broughton or the infamous Moss Side but still just an “avoid” place.

All titles are links.

So you get the train out of Piccadilly for 2 stops, about 10 minutes, get off at Burnage Station and walk 1 minute to…

Reasons To Be Cheerful (@R2BCBeerCafe)

 

Of course I never had any reason to go to Burnage until the news was announced that this place was opening (it opened in January 2017) and I needed to do a recce to gauge roughly where it would be located and what this crawl would be like.

There is cider, 6 keg fonts and 3 casks (cellared) and most importantly…coat hooks on the bar…

 

Lovely little venue with a guy serving the beer, at the time of calling, called Dave who was very friendly and talkative.

The only odd thing about the place is its frontage is kind of subdued next to the ramp way of the take-away next door.

 

You then walk back passed the train station and continue over Kingsways in a straight line for about a quarter of an hour, passed the sign the lets you know you’re entering Stockport, you can tell this too because they’ve still got Co-Op stores, and you’ll end up at…

The Beer Shop

Which was closed on this occasion…but I had been before…

 

Beer Shop opened in 2011, and the place acts more like an off-license with a great range of beer bottle AND that happens to have a couple of casks (jacket chillers) that an actual micro boozery.  With its TV usually showing sports and its location in the middle of a housing estate it also feels more like someone’s front room, so overall it is a bit of a unique experience in the realms of drinking in Greater Manchester.

It is a bit of a windy 15 minute walk (that’s wind as in the movement that isn’t of the bowels) to Shaw Road which it the venue of the next place, which is…

Bottle Stockport

 

Opened in 2015, recently extended opening hours make this place more likely to be open when visiting these days, it is all keg and bottles and the seating and tables are those high, posing ones but its a nice little place with a good and varied range of beers.

 

Beers Manchester wrote a more detailed blog about Bottle here.

Then all you have to do is get up and take a left on to Heaton Moor Road which merges into School Lane when it crosses the A6 and you have reached…

Heaton Hops

There isn’t much more to be said about this place seeing as since its opening in 2015 it won award after award and the only time I’ve been able to get a seat is if I get there just as the shutters open.

2 cask, 8 keg, loads of bottles, a downstairs I’ve still never visited and the 70% chance you’ll get ranted at (and can join in with) by Jimmy from Malay Street Food  which is always good fun, though not as much fun as his food.

Once again, Beers Manchester writes more on this place, here.

After you’ve sampled the delights of Heaton Hops you can then walk back on yourself to Heaton Chapel train station and take the train back the Manchester (passé) or go via Stockport way and onward to where the drinking delights of Cheshire await.

Of course, other beer outlets are available

 

Thanks for reading.

Day 12 – #12BeersofXmas 2016

Day 12 – #12BeersofXmas 2016

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Brewery – Torrside

Location – New Mills, High Peak, Derbyshire

The Drink: With Strange Aeons

ABV: 10% – 330mL

Style: Imperial Stout

Additional info: Gyle: 47 (a – parti-gyle), Bottled 25/11/16, BBE, 18/05/22, Artwork by Emma Sidwell, Suitable for those who shouldn’t be handling the new plastic £5 notes.

One of the many insults that stuck with my from watching Red Dwarf as a child was the word Goyt, when I venture around New Mills that one of the rivers around that area shares the name always brings a childish chuckle to my cockles.

Another thing that I ponder while drinking this Lovecraft named beer is – is ‘The Thing That Should Not Be’ the worst song on ‘Master of Puppets’ by Metallica, answer in the comments?

No head, little carbonation but do you want them with an imperial stout, answers in the comments?

Pours thick and black and leaves an alcoholic haze when swirled in the glass, to the nose and taste buds it is sweet dark chocolate and lightly roasted coffee, a smooth and silky mouth feel with a warming after taste, perfect to have by the fire at Christmas time, or next to the radiator in February.

Brought to you by…

 

 

Thanks for reading.

Day 11 – #12BeersofXmas 2016

Day 11 – #12BeersofXmas 2016

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Brewery – Sacre Brew

Location – Wolverhampton

The Drink: Creme de Stout

ABV: 4.7% – 330ml

Style: Mint-Chocolate Stout

Additional info: Batch: MCC011, BBE: April 2017

Pours a dark brown with a good strong cream-brown head (despite my over zealous pour) which retains well throughout and in general the drink is carbonated very well.

Light mint on the nose, like sniffing an After Eight through its weird wrapper, but also distinct malty and toast notes I associated with a good stout.

Mouth feel is a little fizz but well rounded if slightly too thin for my stout requirements.  The taste is light mint which works well in complementing the burnt malty stout taste, also has a nice bitter twang right at the back end.

All in all a very nice stout.

Brought to you by…

I will teach myself the solo this year…

 

Thanks for reading.

Beer & Food Pairings – Careful Now

Twitter polls are fun – it seems Sunday’s are the time for beer related ones and other that the regular #hopinions that Beer O’Clock show pods loving fires out on God’s day there was one and a subsequent blog piece by the former Ale Bastard now more journalistically savvily named Yes Ale

The poll was about whether beer and food pairings were possibly going to become common place in, what I suspect was certain places.  I was adament it wouldn’t be the case, in fact I’d go as far to say it probably won’t ever be but it was actually his blog that reminded me that after a random day drinking around Manchester centre, myself and a group of acquaintences had ended up at the Red’s BBQ place and I had noted that most of thier meals came with beer suggestions, all of which were ultimately ignored, by everyone at the table.

I like food, I like it a lot.

I like beer, I like it a lot.

The two together – nope.

This is merely a personal and actual physical thing where on my palate both things are ruined rather than complemented and it isn’t a case of not finding the right pairings because for some odd reason, probably to do with the occasion and general vibe, constant eating at a beer festival is easy, a sit-down meal with a side of beers, far from it.

The closest I thought a good pairing would be considered menu worthy was a sorachi ace beer (I forget which one, it isn’t important) with a meat dish with sriracha chili sauce and that is about as well to do as it gets.  Give me pub snacks with my pint, or stodgey festival fodder and you’re laughing but that is me chosing what I want to eat with the beer I’ve chosen, what I don’t want is for the beer to be chosen for me.

I noted  when last at the Alphabet/Grub Brewery Tap that happens most Saturdays in Manchester that they suggest food to go with the beers.  Convieniently each beer goes with a food from each food stall and of course they are only suggestions, there is no compulsion but sometimes nothing beats a pint of bitter with those odd packets of Ploughmans.

The wineification of beer won’t happen but I fully expect quite a few people to make quite a bit of money out of people before most realise they’ve been conned into a taste of a lifestyle that their pay day loans won’t support.

One finally thought, with so many beers desperately trying to be more like food and be as far away from beer as possible, why bother pairing it, just keep on guzzling down murk bombs stuffed with lactose and fruit juices and save money by buying a few packets of Cheese Moments.

 

Thanks for reading.

Day 9 – #12BeersofXmas 2016

Day 9 – #12BeersofXmas 2016

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Brewery – BlackJack Beers

Location – Manchester

The Drink: Ace of Spades

ABV: 10% – 330mL

Style: Barrel Aged Imperial Stout

Additional info: I drank this yesterday and don’t have the bottle.

What I do remember is that this bottle says it is BlackJack’s strongest beer to date and boy is it good.

Pouring obsidian black with a frothy and well retained brown-tinged-cream head it is well carbonated but has a silky mouth feel.  It drinks big, strong and boozy which I prefer and has the slight hint of cherries in the taste and in the aroma, but it is all about the power of the alcohol and the usual stout notes (coffee, liquorice, etc) that make this an excellent fireside drink.

This post was due on the 28th of December 2016, the one year anniversary of the death of Lemmy Kilmister – who died in 2015 (and not 2016 as the mawkish and quite frankly shit Sgt. Pepper death cover incorrectly groups him on).

Also dedicated to Philthy Animal Taylor, Motorhead’s original drummer who also died in 2015.

Brought to you by…well it was going to be Overkill but I’ve head this in my head all week…

 

Thanks for reading.

Day 8 – #12BeersofXmas 2016

Day 8 – #12BeersofXmas 2016

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Brewery – HawksHead Brewery

Location – Staveley, Cumbria (historically, Westmorland)

The Drink: Tonka

ABV: 8.5% – 330ml

Style: Imperial Porter

Additional info: Pale Ale, Crystal, Chocolate & Vienna Malts – Oats.  Cascade, Bramling Cross & Jester hops.  Tonka beans, cacao nibs and vanilla.

Earlier this year I toddled off to the Hawkshead brewery for their annual beer festival and it was a hell of a treat.  One of those rare days where all the transport works and links up and you get a seat on every journey.  You walk in the right direction each time, the scenery around the place is fantastic and the beer and company isn’t half bad too (especially when its, accidentally, Mark from Runaway and Jay nee Quantum).

Tonka I have had before on keg and it was very, very good then, so lets see how the bottled version stands up…

Pouring a thick black with a long last, off-cream-white head the smell is a very subtle dark chocolate.

Lusciously thick and obesely-bodied in the mouth with light carbonation and a smooth nature its taste is dark chocolate, cherries and a slight nuttiness, think liquefied black forest gateaux only less sweet, a more boozy mature version.

Hawkshead are another of those consistently good brewers, able to blend old and new styles seamlessly but seem to drift under the radar and yet are ever present, in short they let the beer do the talking because, well that is how it should be and its all beer needs.

This post was brought to you by…

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