Manchester Brewery Expo 2017 (Manchester Beer Week)

So the last Manchester Brewery Expo was in 2015 and you can read my thoughts on it over these 3 parts.

Brewery Expo 2015 – Part 1

Brewery Expo 2015 – Part 2

Brewery Expo 2015 – Part 3

2015 was held over 2 days and whereas technically so was this year’s event, only the Saturday saw all the breweries open.

Also changed was that a Tote bag was not the prize on offer but a t-shirt, plus the fact that 2017 was the nice relaxed event that 2015 became (and actually ended up being) because this year was not controlled by a raging egomaniac.

Rather than regale you with what its like to drink in 11 different breweries this piece is just going to be about the differences between 2015 and 2017.

Irk Valley Breweries

Green Quarter, Red Bank, call this place what you like its the one where the arches the breweries are housed in are service by Victoria Station.

Blackjack Beers

The easiest place to start is that in the storied past of a whole 2 years ago there was only 1 brewery tap open and that was Blackjack.  They are still going strong, strong even; after the evolution of good, non-portable toilets at their tap they have also launched a token system which improves the experience two-fold; less queuing to get a beer and those staff who volunteer to work the bar don’t have to suffer that bloody temperamental cash till.  I think Six O’Clock Beer Co. still cuckoos here too.

It is also worth noting that Blackjack also took control of the Smithfield Hotel in central Manchester and Jack in the Box in Altrincham prior to that.  Bush outside brewery still progressing nicely.

 

Runaway Brewery

Runaway are about to launch a weekly tap themselves, this to complement the new mezzanine they’ve installed at the brewery which is a nice extension, even if it does mean queuing on stairs for beer.

Beatnikz Republic

The first of the new breweries in Manchester city centre (well on this list) and also with a regular Friday/Saturday brewery tap.  Nice toilet signs.

 

Marble Brewery

They don’t have a tap and they weren’t open this year as part of the expo but they don’t need to be.  They themselves have expanded since 2015, with a new outlet called 57 Thomas Street in the quickly becoming irrelevant Northern Quarter as well as an expansion into canning their beers and launching a whole host of new brews, which someone once suggested made Marble the premier lager producers of Manchester.

Piccadilly Breweries

This stretches from Piccadilly Station to Ardwick (seldom visited by trains, better shrubbery than Blackjack) and if you survive crossing the Mancunian Way, you’ll probably cop it from the nut jobs that speed down either side, despite the chalked pleas of the locals.

Track Brewing Co.

Semi-regular brew tap which is always very popular.  Everyone loves Sonoma.

Alphabet Brewing Co

Weekly brew tap, this brewery seemed to steal a march with regards canning their beers.  The regular occurrence of the tap also forced them to install extra toilets and the loudest but best hand drier.

Dan’s Brewery

A complete lack of social media presence doesn’t detract from the newest brewery on the block, with a pedigree shared between the aforementioned Marble and the heavily worshipped Huddersfield outfit that is Magic Rock.

Carbon Smith Brewing

Just starting in 2015, not open in 2017 but still around in some capacity, which may also see yet another brewery appear in central Manchester too.

Beer Nouveau

Replacing Privateer, this brewery lead the charge of a regular weekly brew tap, also expanded into the other half of the arch and is launching their own Heritage Beers Barrel funding thing, which in itself has exceed expectation has also expanded its funding limit.  Origami cuckoos from here too.

Chorlton Brewing Co.

Expanded capacity, now canning generally exclusively and still not confirmed if they are going with Tesco or not…well that is what everyone wanted to know.

Manchester Brewing Co

Another addition since 2015, with semi regular brew taps.  Has a ping-pong table.

Squawk Brewing Co.

Only opened again for the first time since 2015 (that is what I’m telling myself anyway), they work closely, almost symbiotically with Track to host brew taps throughout the year.  Did not serve Tagine on this day and toilet not as spectacular as it once was but these are minor quibbles.  Is looking to get a new fermenter.

Add to this that those breweries that did start out as one man outfits have now also expanded their staffing and it is showing to me at least, a human who did think that there were too many breweries and that some were bound to fold quickly, has not come to pass.

Yet.

In the centre of Manchester.

Breweries are dropping in the metropolitan county of Greater Manchester but that is another story.

 

Beer Flies and The Sopranos

If you’ve not seen The Sopranos this post may contain spoilers…

Beer Flies

I’ve worked in 3 main environments in my employed life; in bars, in breweries and mainly in laboratories and in all three flies were a problem.

You’d think in fairly modern lab environments that creepy crawlies wouldn’t be a factor but they always find a way in.  Through doors, through windows left open in the hotter summer months, through fume cupboards and extractor vents.  With all the nasties I’ve inhaled over the years you think that those chemicals would be a big enough deterrent for these critters but no, there they are, what was a pristine working surface when you left for the day is returned to in the morning to be met with a fly somehow doing backstroke in your mobile phase.

For me, most of the bars (or cellars) were relatively flying pest free, the biggest problem is always at the brewery.  A lack of storage space in most pubs will see used casks thrown outside, most of the time not sealed and lord what a grand job cleaning fly eggs out of cask is. Bar flies are not included in this piece, loveable rogues that they usually are.

I’m not a fan of chemical weapons; watching something slowly twitch its last as its mitochondrion cease respiring is never pleasant so the short, swift splat against whatever surface they are resting on is preferable, or the Mr Miyagi school of snatching it out of the air is also employed, usually without chopsticks.

Though I find that every time I do this I consider what the fly is thinking; one minute buzzing around, bumping into things, smelling the sweet wort of the final beer and looking for a way into the fermenter, the very next moment – nothing.  Obviously at point of death they aren’t thinking anything at all but in some ways this then gets me thinking about…

The Sopranos

I was bought the box set of The Sopranos many years ago and finally, over the course of the first few months of 2017, got round to binge watching it all.

When it comes to TV series it started with the original run of Oz, which despite being bumped around the late night schedules of Channel 4 (UK), I was still able to catch most of it.  I never watched 24, save the very last episode of Season 1.  I can chalk off Breaking Bad, Games of Thrones is still ongoing for now and The Wire still remains my personal favourite but a lack of The Sopranos always seemed to hang over my head, so I settled in to watch it.

The series was originally shown on Channel Four and when this happened I caught precisely, one opening credits sequence, one scene of Lorraine Bracco, a Rottweiler and a vending machine (which obviously made little sense at the time) and the last few minutes of the final episode, which everyone had banged on about but again made little sense in any context.

The scene is famous for a long and protracted diner scene in which Tony Soprano (the sadly deceased James Gandolfini) waits and meets the arrival of his wife, his son and maybe eventually his daughter, all to the sound of Don’t Stop Believing  by Journey.  As they discuss mundane family matters, the bell in the diner rings to announce the arrival of each new customer and each time Tony looks up to see if its his daughter, then over the course of some onion rings the bell rings, Tony looks up and then the screen cuts to black.  There is a wait of some 30 seconds before the credits roll.  The ending baffled most, mainly because of its ambiguity let alone the suddenness of it all.

Personally I never saw Tony as anything more than the gangster he was, on my scale he didn’t even measure up as an anti-hero but the ending still have a hard impact despite not being wholly loving of the main protagonist.

There are many videos out there discussing what the ending means and a very good one that picks out “clues” from the preceding few episodes to point to the fact that Tony died.

Swift, short, sudden and the victim was totally anonymous to their own death, in essence just like squishing beer flies.

Who wants a protracted death, body flooded with chemicals that are only palliative, far better just to have the lights turned off.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

One thing I can agree with Tony Soprano on is this…

 

Prequel: If Beer Was…

If Brewdog Was…

They Live

This past weekend, a reincarnated ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper took a trip up to Aberdeen, Scotland.

 

 

On the way there he was given some sunglasses which caused strange things to be seen when he tried them on…

 

 

 

He then found his way to a meeting of, well he didn’t know what to make of it…

 

 

 

He snapped at the gathering…

 

 

The more loyal members of the fan club became enraged and went on the attack…

 

And sadly Roddy and his morals were no more…

The moral of the story is, you never know what you are buying in to…

…or who you are drinking a beer with…

 

Thanks for reading…

 

 

 

 

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Today in “What? Craft Beer is a Business?”

For the 1st of March 2017…

Brewer offers lots of money for Sales Rep

– probably getting paid more than most brewers out there

Distribution Company that once tried to sue craft brewer buys controlling interest in craft brewery

Halewood extends into beer with Hawkshead Brewery deal

 

Punk Brewing Gods issue Cease and Desist to Pub

Heineken Trolls Craft Beer with their own words

– while also buying loads of UK pubs to annoy everyone else in the beer world.

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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.

Part 2: If Beer Was…

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

 

Bill the beer communicator starts the hysteria even though he too is getting jaded but its OK because the adoring crowd only hear what they want to…

 

Who can take a mango
Add it to a brew
Mix in some more chocolate
and pray for a miracle or two?
The brewery man can
 candyman
Who can take some fruit pulp
Making beer drinkers sigh
Under carb it too
and make a lemon meringue pie?
The brewery man
The brewery man can
The brewery man can cause he mixes it with lactose and makes beer taste a dud
And the beer doesn’t taste like beer cause the brewery man doesn’t think it should

 

After a while the lucky few are led into a magical world of beer production and can’t believe some of the shenanigans that take place but they are enthralled, even hypnotised…

1inlzl

Come with me, and you’ll be in a world of pure Humulonation.
Take a look and you’ll see into your imagination

We’ll begin, with a spin
Travelling in a world of intrepid beer creation
What we’ll see will defy taste explanation

We don’t really brew beer right
We just throw some shoes into it

Grapefruit juice, passion fruit
Our new DIPA
Taste like raw sewage

1inmam

 

Then some odd looking beings appear and begin to sing words of warning, little attention is paid to them…
lookofit

 

Oompa Loompa dump in some glue
I’ve got another beer for you
Omni Pollo get in the fucking sea
If you are wise you’ll listen to me
What do you get from a glut of fad brews?
A massive beer gut and bad Untappd reviews
Why don’t you try simply drinking a mild?
Or would you just run hide?
F.O.M.O.
F.O.M.O.
F.O.M.O.
F.O.M.O.
Just throw in more Dextrose
dextrose

 

Oompa Loompa Doompadee Dah
If you vary your drinking you will go far
You will live in happiness too
Like the Old blokes
In a pub do

 

By now those that remain wish are getting a bit narked, they were expecting one off launches, the hype wasn’t paying off, one poor minion snaps…
verucatantrum
No, now!!
I want a brew tap
I want a party
Craft beer bottle hauls and a million food stalls
And performing for the lols and …
Give it to me

Now!

I want the latest
I want the real scope
I’ve got the fear
It’s my freelance career
Give it to me
Now!

verucanow

 

Willy Wonka knows how volatile the brewery industry can be, he laments the trouble that is possible ahead…
There’s no earthly way of knowing
Which direction beer is going
There’s no knowing where we’re rowing
Or which way the market’s flowing
wwchicken
Is it raining, is it snowing
Is it Willamete or Goldings?
Not a speck of light is showing
So the heavy murk is growing
Are the fires of Hell a-glowing
Is the Galena reaper mowing
Yes, the danger must be growing
My hop contract is surely slowing
But they’re certainly not showing
Any signs that business is growing

 

Then, only a few could reach maximum velocity and so the rest were cut to pieces trying to get through the great glass ceiling.

 

wonka

 

 

Thanks for reading.