When I was a lad, drinking was a past time of relaxation and fun
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This is a piece about observations and should not reflect on either the business or the brewery and their practices as they can do what they want.
Just like people can spend their money on what they want but this event just confused me, that is was something I’ve never heard of should suggest that I write from a place of ignorance, so be it.
It was here I bumped into a man who knows his beers and he mentioned he was off to Pilcrow for a beer tasting he’d got a ticket to.
I’m no fan of the Pilcrow. For all its hand-made, locals-gave-their-time-and-labour ethos, it has always struck me as cold and efficient and all very, very cynical but as one of the party I was with hadn’t been, for the sake of plurality we trekked along and I was surprised at what I saw.
First it was busy, heaving in fact. All seats taken inside and it was also very full in the courtyard. I got a drink (as expensive as I’m sure the rent for this place is) and sat outside mulling it over when I bumped into yon mon again. He’d been to a separate token bar and treated himself to a couple of other Cantillon beers and the Boon.
That’s £2.50 for a third but if you’ve been to IndyMan you’re used to this pricing structure/one measurement only thing.
The beers were nice; I realise nice can seem like it is damning with faint praise but that is all they were nice, above average but then again this wasn’t the main event.
Not knowing what was going on I was then surprised to see a queue start forming, snaking out of the door and around the table I was perched at.
It was a queue I’d not seen since the likes of Port Street and any number of other bars where people have a curious notion of what it is to wait at a bar for service.
It was then explained that it was 8pm and this is when the Zwanze 2018 goes on sale.
The queue went pretty fast as people with blue wristbands came out with their lovely branded glasses and their 1/3s of this brand new beer.
The cost of this little extravaganza…
Twelve quid for 1/3 of beer (5.5%) and a glass that some would end up forgetting.
Though some were lucky enough to have got to the newly opened Northern Monk gaff and had a suitable tote bag all ready bulging with glassware.
My beer expert pal was totally under impressed. Being rather wry about the experience he did mention that he probably could have got it a damn sight cheaper from the places he regularly visits in Belgium but where as he was happy to attend he wouldn’t do it again.
It was at this point I was asked by a bloke with a most unsubtle Yorkshire twang where Victoria Station was. I motioned it was a minute away, then thought that if you were planning a night out, always work out how and where you get home from.
Then I thought that given the bullshit with striking guards and the incomplete timetable Northern Trains are currently working to because of this (and numerous other UK train crap bollocks shit nonsense) that it probably would have been cheaper and quicker for said Yorkshire gent to have gone to Brussels to try the beer.
Fifteen minutes later was when then next and most startling observation occurred. The whole place had emptied.
The inside was still well seated but no one was standing about and the outside looked like something from the Walking Dead.
It was eight thirty in the PM and that was Zwanze day.
A collective shrug was given as we said our good byes and went off to a far better drinking establishment.
Thanks for reading.
It’s January, it is officially the start of a whole new year of stupid and it always starts the same way, with News Year’s Resolutions.
Most are always about abstinence from some form of entertainment that has been deemed (or proved) to be harmful when taken to excess, yes excess, and then to replace the gaping hole that this lack of entertainment creates it is now worthy to do something else, to an equal excess.
Newton’s third law of motion holds true even in a human’s stunted mind.
Dry January is a registered trademark of Alcohol Concern – I do love that name, very soft-power paternalism, we aren’t worried, or apoplectic or in a rage about alcohol, we are merely concerned about it.
Alcohol consumption and by logical connection visiting to pubs, bars and clubs, falls in January. In part due to the aforementioned resolutions and in part due to natural churn and a balance as more people visit the pub in the run up and over the Christmas period.
More people visiting the pub leads to a whole other level of beer signalling as “once-a-year” visitors get berated by those that see themselves as regulars.
Not actual regulars of course but those that love chatting about it, that think the whole beer world hangs on their every word and would fall over if they stopped going to the pub.
In the way that those who go on health kicks in January, try new diets, change their lives for some perceived better can come off as pious and smugly virtuous, mainly because they will take any opportunity to tell you about what they are doing, especially when not even prompted, so the Tryanuary (or Try January) movement bounces back in the opposite direction but equally trite reasoning.
It is much like Small Business Saturday or Record Store Day, if fact it much like everything that now has “a day” or “a week” – a narcissistic “raise awareness” industry, where everything can be reduced to a hashtag and a trend and people can jump on a bandwagon and feel they are special and are doing something before simply hopping back off the wagon (an inverse pun) and hailing a taxi (or probably an Uber) to the next hot topic to raise their profile.
Each of them have their own form of subtle compulsion and hardcore acolytes, they are two versions of the the same pint (568mL) only one insists yours should be empty and one wants it to always be full.
Thanks for reading.
You can get the train (very rarely but it does happen) to Poynton and visit…
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…
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.