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.

The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste

I don’t do beer tastings for I doubt my own judgement and taste buds.

I know what I like and some people seem to think that if I like it then they probably will too.

Myself and BeersManchester have similar tastes, I pay attention to what he likes.

Locally Fez wearer Otto is also a man who knows his stuff.

Though the most knowledgeable people I know (no disrespect to the above) are the quietest: Des and Jaz would really “kill it” if they ever did their own blogs.

These guys are “good people” but they also will tell you what is good without the need for extraneous bullshit and unnecessary verbage, well BeersManchester does go on but at least it is with descriptions the mortal people can understand and flavours that limited funds can buy.

Also, as far as I know, they hold know certificates to say just how much they know about beer.  Experience counts for a lot in this pastime.

CAMRA doles out certificates for various things in beer, now this isn’t a go at CAMRA at all but of the superfluous nature of certification.

I’ve heard CAMRA bods at the 2016 Manchester Beer & Cider festival say that a Rauchbier “tasted like ashtrays” – now whereas an ashtry isn’t the most complementary of comparisons, if the simile was to suggest it was smoky then that suits what the style of beer is about.

Likewise there were complaints that that some beers (IPAs) were “too hoppy.”

There are those who (and sometimes I can sympathise with them) claim that some modern beers don’t taste like beer and instead just taste like grapefruit – I quote Boak & Bailey as a retort to that opinion.

Likewise there is a lot of bullshit at the other end of the scale. If you’re masochistic enough to ruin your Sunday by watching Simon Rimmer and Tim Lovejoy fawn over the most average of not only variety acts but also of “experts” then you’ll know what I mean.

Yes, I have tasted nettles, but I have no idea and no memory of what they taste like let alone am I getting any hints that they might be in my beer.

I fully appreciate that some people have highly adapted palates and if a brewer describes what to expect in a beer on either the bottle or in tasting notes then I might see if I can identify them.

But most of the time I think some are doing it for either the sake of bravado or that they are just really, really bored.

In the end, every time I read or hear overly dramatic beer witterings or clueless complaints I get this in my head…

 

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Cafe Beermoth…DIVE!!….

Welcome Clarice to Cafe Beermoth…

I’ve received praise (awards if you will) this week because I blog from a first person perspective.

I don’t wish for this blog to be about me, my thoughts maybe, but not me.  So with the proviso that I take full responsibility for what is written in this piece, that I have had a fair whack to drink and that one of my cats died this morning, I present my review of Cafe Beermoth…

As far as things go unicorn semen is the rarest thing that Manchester Confidential has demanded for praising any place that opens in Manchester.

English A’ Level taught me that if you are going to write positively about a subject always write about any detractions first.

For the purpose of “comedy” I’m saving that till last.

If you want a proper review from a highly competent writer who actually knows something then read this blog piece by @kaleighpie because she knows her stuff.

Some gratuitous scenery shots (including lens flair even JJ Abrams would kill for)……

 

Minding my own business over the past weekend in the brewtaps I was made green-eyed by numerous beery compatriots who joined me to rave about the place they had just visited.

After much waiting and much joyful time spent buying bottles or drinking in the tasting room of the original bottle shop that is Beermoth it was made aware that their new venture had opened and even though the initial (and above) photos might suggest a highly inflated drinking emporium what had in fact happened was a cheaper than competitively priced, wonderfully realised bar that was clearly the vision of people who knew what type of place they wanted to drink in, what beers they wanted to sell and how it should be sold.

At its cheapest it is £3 a pint (£2.95 if you want to be accurate and £1.50 a half so you overly offended half-pint rounding arseholes don’t get worked up) – putting a lot of local city centre alcohol dens to shame with they prices charge.

What is odd is the location.  You notice a sea change if you drink there through the evening and into the night.

“Suits” come in from about 4pm onwards also there were blokes in hi-vis jackets.  So it is fair to say that, if clothes maketh the man, the Cafe Beermoth is welcoming to all.

There are 7 cask ales and 10 keg beers (keg, key-keg; pay the ferry man if your pants get that twisted); clearly signed as to the brewer, their location, the name of the brew, its ABV and the price.

The only confusion can come with the pricing as each is listed variously as cost either per third, half, two thirds or pint – I’m not a fan of this approach but compus mentis at all times.

A menu is also available, to document all the beers they have in bottles – also spirits and wines.

Cider is available, but only one, in bottles.

Whilst there I noted a few faces from what I would deem to be the direct competition of Cafe Beermoth.

Suffice to say that though cordial (in one instance) they did (as they should) look worried.

A few too many ale house in Manchester have become too complacent recently and no amount of temporary billy-big-balls managers from London or resting on past glories are going to change punters opinions without an honest and real focus on why places like this succeed in the first place.

Drinkers want good drinks at good prices.  Wank yourselves off on twitter as much as you like about what you are doing or going to do.  Just fucking do it, otherwise you will rightly be cast adrift, captive audience or not.

Cafe Beermoth is a great place – it may be because it is new and the “buzz” is new but given the stall it has set out for itself it has the makings of a “places to visit in Manchester” for a long time.

Having said that, here are the negatives…

Music – you don’t need it – unless you get Jamie’s record collection (type in “guardian craft beer” and this is the first image)…

Godflesh + Beer Moth = THE choice of music

Toilets…

The toilets are fine, but this is one of the shittiest hand driers I have ever used – plus the token bin beneath to catch excess water is a nonsense.

Get yourselves a roll-towel or simply paper towels and a few bins and you’re sorted.

 

 

Cafe Beermoth – well worth the stamp.

 

 

 

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So long Frieda…you awkward ball of weirdness…

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2015 #12BeersofXmas – Preamble

So a brief introduction to what beers I am planning on drinking for the #12beersofXmas

Info on this concept can be found here, care of Beer O’Clock Show

 

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So a selection, of mainly British and mainly Northern brewers.

Jaipur X gets in because quite a few seem to be doing it and I’ll crowbar in my experience compared to what it was like when imbibed on (fresh) keg and is the only one I have had before with the exception of Marble’s Little Meiko, which I entertain I’ve had in the Marble Arch but could be wrong (days are long and beers are many in that fine establishment).

Spaghetti Western (Grappa Barrel) by BrewFist of Italy is a token international beer.

Five Towns Brewery from Wakefield way is in with their Summerisle – a tribute to the loss this year of acting institution and horror film icon Christopher Lee.

Of course most are “big” – the lowest ABV is 4.5% and many are of the dark side.

The order of drinking hasn’t been decided on yet but if the 1st one is to be drunk (and written about) on the 20th of December, the day after the 3rd Annual Crimbo Crawl taking in Leeds, then I somehow doubt my own ability to even start well.

One week to go…

12 Beers Of Christmas (Day)

My twitter feed has been a buzz with this #12beersofxmas recently.

Apparently as I’m a “beer blogger” and a reassuringly increasing amount of followers/following now includes people far more adept at it than I, it is something that appears to be a tradition.

Along with “Golden Pints” which I may also get involved in, though probably won’t.

Sensible beer bloggers are doing 1 beer each day (lets be honest, they are doing far more than that, they happen to have a specific 12 beers in mind), but seeing as the 25th of December has presented itself as a time to drink over an extended time it felt prudent to jump on this ale-powered ship and “get it out of the way” in one 24 hour period.

At first I thought I could try and do just local bottled beer, I could have done, but as I like my dark beers more it appeared that my choice of bottles from the North West had been limited by my own predilections.

I didn’t even stick to the North.

What I did manage to do was taken some god awful photos using my useless phone, which caused a fair few people to remark that either; I’ve used instgram (I won’t ever use that) or some kind of filter (nope).  That they are not chronologically ordered (they are, the light sources and locations vary about the houses they were taken in).

Worst of all, for me especially, is that all the drinks, if not dark or particularly pale, looked like Rose wine.

I can only apologise to the brewers in advance for the poor representations these photos make of your brews, hopefully their write up will go some why to correcting this.

Boggart Brewery were up first with their Rum Porter (4.6%).

Rum Porter

Its an award winning porter and one rightly so, one of the best representations of its kind. Sweet and smooth, like drinking a melted down selection box of rum-chocolate liquors.

Wilson Potter Brewery were second with the Natural Progression (4.8%).

Natural Progression

A good contrast to the Porter (the award for stating the obvious goes to…), this red ale had a good bitter punch to it and a delightful floral aroma.

Guinness was third with what is an Xmas tradition of having a drink of this at home, on Xmas Day as I have done for was seems like I’ve been legally allowed to drink. This was Guinness Original in a bottle, so no widget head on it (4.2%)

Guinness

Whatever you think about the drink or the company, this is Xmas for me as much as ‘The Snowman’ or a Pixar movie, Morcambe & Wise, Singin’ in the Rain, Wizard of Oz, It’s a Wonderful Life or 6 days of creative turkey/goose/Capon recipes.

BadSeed Brewery provided the fourth drink, their Saison (6%).

Saison

Everyone who has mentioned BadSeed drinks to me always bangs on about the Espresso Stout, that is in my bottle collection, as is all of their beers, but I cracked open this beer and was immediately hit by some of the most wondrous smells that I could never do it just to try and describe. It tasted fantastic too – felt like a proper Sommelier (not that I have any idea just how much skill and training is involved for that) or just a proper beer sniffing twat, but it was that stimulating.

Weird Beard Brew Co were number five with the Little Things That Kill (3.4%).

Little Things That Kill

British Nirvana rip-off act Bush had a song called Little Things, its painful how bad a copy of a generic ‘grunge’ song it actually as. This was Batch 3, it would appear the lowest ABV of this label so far, with hops added at the whim of the brewer. I’m not a fan of massive hop flavours, but I’m beginning to think that I’m much more accommodating to them when out of a bottle rather than when served in a pub. Or that Little Things That Kill was a lovely beer that even tickled my taste buds.

Tickety Brew helped my to half way with their Stout (5.4%).

Stout

Another beautiful myriad of aromas greeted my every mouthful of this dark brew. Every beer I’ve had by them, either from bottles or from the pub has been a good solid brew, but this is actually my favourite of theirs so far.

Quaffing Gravy were seventh with their Pale Ale (4.2%).

Pale Ale

Perhaps the full title of this drink is Quaffing Gravy Pale Ale, I don’t know, what I do know is it was yet another pale drink that I took pleasure in drinking. In fact it was the drink I finished in the quickest time, which hopefully should speak highly about how tasty I found it.

Buxton Brewery were eighth up with Rednik Stout (4.1%).

Rednik Stout

A straight forward, no nonsense, stout. Does that translate as boring? Maybe it does, in this era of trying to big and flashy with the flavours (and smells), you forget that all you are drinking is 4 or 5 basic ingredients and sometimes there is far too much twattery going on (it is my job to be contradictory). This was a good stout, simple and honest.

Harviestoun Brewery
were in at number nine with the Old Engine Oil Porter (6%).

Old Engine Oil Porter

Another jolly fine porter, with big malted and roasted flavours.

BrightSide Brewing helped me to ten with Odin (3.8%).

Odin

After a run of dark beers I needed this. A clean and crisp drink, a palate cleanser of subtle hoppy flavours, BrightSide hit another one out of the park (or back of the net if you wish to keep it British).

Ilkley Brewery were eleventh with the Longhorn (8%).

Longhorn

This is a Whisky-aged Cranberry Milk Stout (I hope I’m right in saying they take their Holy Cow (4.7%) and, well, age it in whisky barrels). I don’t like whisky (I’ve checked, I’ve got another of the Ilkley Brewery whisky-aged range too) and I’m not a fan of cranberries either. But this was one of those drinks that, when you combine the flavours like this it works.

Anarchy Brew Co were the twelfth and final beer of a very long day with their Crime Scene (5.5%).

Crime Scene

Anarchy Brew Co call this a Hybrid American Amber. Its got a good solid bitter hit to it and along with their Smoke Bomb (3.9%) and Urban Assault (5%) they are certainly ones I’ll be looking out for and it turns out they used to be Brew Star, whose name also rings a beers previously drunk bell.

This 12 beers odyssey was helped by a massive meal, some good tele, my family and a massive dump just when I started to feel too full and too tired to carry on.

The body and its systems are wonders of evolution, as it the evolution of brewing.

Merry Xmas to all (and Happy New Year) and to all a good night.