Portman Group Prohibitionists

Newport brewery Tiny Rebel must change beer can design

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Tiny Rebel brewery at all, in fact apart from the brewery the only other thing that previously made me aware of Newport, Wales with the TV show Dirty Sanchez

Portman Group Report

The first thing that sprang to mind is that does the supermarket in question, Budgens, not separate out it alcoholic beverages from it’s non-alcoholic ones?

If it does, which I’m pretty sure it has to by way of legal requirements, then this would quite obviously suggest that the person, ONE person, who made this complaint is…to use a beer analogy, from the sadly departed Bill Paxton…


Secondly, Sunkist is orange, not yellow.

Thirdly, if you are going to buy alcohol from any outlet, you must be over the age of 18. A kid would not be able to buy this product thinking it was “fizzy pop.”


Full marks to Tiny Rebel for responding in a cordial and professional manner, certainly more mature than those twats from Ellon, Scotland.

Finally, far be it from me to suspect or imply that an “independent group” made up of large multinational (alcoholic) drinks manufacturers might have something to gain from throwing it’s weight around against a far smaller, though rapidly expanding brewery and would actually go to the length to manufacture ONE COMPLAINT in order to appear that it was being conscientious when it comes to alcohol consumption.


Thanks for reading.



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.

Untappd Tapped

Note – All artwork in this post is in the public domain and as such used under fair use in the piece.

Note 2 – apologies for the formatting, it just won’t sort itself out.

It is worth pointing out in advance that this post may contain a…


It has been a strange few hours in the world of the gamification of drinking beer, especially if you are on Untappd.

In the endless drive for equality among the sexes, the people behind the site have listened to feedback and change a couple of badges:

What was “Brewnettes have more fun”


Is now “Bravo for Brown”







Likewise “Blondes do it Better”







Has changed to “Fields of Gold” – which should immediately cause offence to those who hate the musician known as Sting.







But these aren’t the only badges that are offensive and I will detail some of those that still exist “for fun” for which Untappd should consider a rename and/or redesign.

The “Heavyweight” badge is offensive to fat people.

Heavy Weight






Next are the following badges with apply a male gender to what should be an androgynous beer bottle:

bdg_AltBier_lgbdg_saison_lgbdg_ConcertVenue_lg lagerjack





The presence of men in these badges








Next up are the most offensive of cultural appropriations

bdg_CincoDeMayo2014_lg bdg_italy_lg Rising Sun














The Matador badge, which is not only cultural appropriation but also promotes a bloodsport





The Flamenco badge, more cultural appropriation along with pushing gender stereotypes while enforcing the view that women dance for the pleasure of men.







The “Hey Honey” badge, which promotes unwanted advances against women.


The “Iron Man” badge, no representation of women at all.





“I’ll Be Bock” which is offensive to all cybernetic organisms with neural net processors that have the capability to learn, become more human and strive to help prevent Judgement Day.







This is not an exhaustive list and much like Pumpclip Parade it can only be changed for the better by people seeking out badges that are likely to cause offence of any kind and shame the makers into making their site and app a more inclusive and sensitive experience.


Thanks for reading.

Squawk Brewing Co – Meet The Brewer

This meet the brewer (MTB) took place at Kosmonaut (@KosmonautMCR) on the 7th of March 2015.

Hosted by head brewer and general one-man-band Oli, Squawk Brewing Co (@SQUAWKBrewingCo) are one of the breweries on what is rapidly being touted as Manchester Brewery Mile (yes, blog still being written).

The Stonecutters in the Simpsons got drunk and then played ping-pong…


…for this MTB the ping-pong was played first.

So for the princely sum of £10 you got plenty of beers and a pizza…


The pizza was very welcome because a lot of beer (Manchester brewed too) was drunk this day.  The above is spicy sausage.

The beers were served by the half or by the bottle, so when you look at it that way, it was 3 (closer to 4) hours, spending less than you would only on beer in the equivalent time in a pub – quality entertainment.

For reference, I don’t really tend to heavily review the beers for these MTB, I don’t take notes for a start, unless something is really special, it is just the event that I try to give a glimpse of.

But Oli is one very honest, direct and amiable host – it looks like Manchester managed to nick one of Yorkshire’s best brewers.


So we started off with a 4.6% Pale – enjoyable enough, but Oli admitted that he’d used a different yeast and it wasn’t one he’d probably use again, he wasn’t a fan of his own aftertaste (the beer’s aftertaste, perverts).

This event started with Oli holding court at the ping-pong table, telling us the general ingredients used in the Pale, standard – however this technique quickly fell apart and it corrupted completely upon delivery of the pizza and the second drink, a 6.3% IPA, which the brewer then merely decided to prowl around each table of punters fielding questions as and when they cropped up.

The IPA was lovely, really went with the pizza too #theresabeerforthat


Floating Pints came next, a 4.5% pale and a collaboration that came with a tale about the perils and joys of brewing.  I’d already raised a keg/cask question, “either” was the reply, most is casked, but a bit of everything is kegged.  By now Oli was just shooting the breeze with anyone, referring to his actually brew notes and spreadsheets if anyone wanted details of the actual beer.


Next out was the Hop Rocket (or home brewer porn as it was put) – a quick straw poll and the 6.3% pale was chosen as the beer that would be infused with chili, coriander and strawberries and a ball load more citra hops (losing out were oranges and its peel, cucumber and maybe some other things).


It was certainly a different experience to other MTB, mixes things up a bit.  The resulting beer was good too, initial pressings(?) were heavy on the coriander and the chili did hang around on the lips.  Later servings (with added second sieving technique) did indeed smell of strawberries.

The other cask of the night was the 6.5% Espresso Stout made in collaboration with Bean Brothers of Huddersfield.  In short, this is what every coffee stout should be like.  You don’t need any more superlatives about it from me, just go and find some.

During this time I was quizzing Oli about fourth-coming plans.  There does indeed seem to be a strong co-operative bent to the brewers of Manchester, those especially close to each other around the Ardwick area (Beer Mile) – where ideas, ingredients and even deliveries are shared around.

The Liquorice Porter, a collaboration with Ad Hop Brewing of Liverpool was next.  Now I love my porters, I’m used to them having hints and light aromas of liquorice – I had this first off at the 2015 Manchester Beer Festival and I described it on twitter as something stolen from Bertie Bassett’s bank vault – it is a beast, something that you feel is really cleaning you out.  If I recall correctly the brew featured 8kg of liquorice, so if there are shortages anywhere, you know who to blame.


At this stage even the bar manager got in on the act, going around talking to people in attendance, keeping people out of the room who’d ignored the note on the wall outside and started ranting something in as many long words as possible so as not to appear drunk – seriously, when could you ever use a word like contextualise in a normal everyday sentence?

Listening to the bar manager (no names given, none taken) he was telling the story of changing drinking habits, trying to get in the right crowd, keep out certain types, but the irony that having spent many of the past few years getting tired of making 6 Old Fashioned cocktails per order, he is now struck dumb that the main drink of choice if vodka and soda; but he was always trying to get in a big range of beers and for that Kosmonaut can only be commended.

This tied in with my discussion with Oli about cask/keg and the general schism in CAMRA about said topic.  Of course the schism isn’t just in CAMRA but also in the more outspoken newer brewers, who are really just a different side of the same coin.

So in the end a meet the brewer event turned in to an eye-opening journey about the future of not only Manchester brewing but of pubs/bars in general by the people actually involved in their running.

With all the negativity that surround beer, alcohol and pubs this event, at least for a while even put a very hopeful glint to the future of beer.

Thanks to all the staff at Kosmonaut and of course to Mr Squawk Brewing Co.