Brewed by BrewDog Style: American red ale/Amber Ale Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewdog. The whipper snappers from Scotland that have set the craft beer world alight. Started in April 2007 by two good friends James Watt and Martin Dickie, BrewDog is a British multinational brewery and pub chain based in Ellon, Scotland.
Bored with the usual industrial brewed lagers and stuffy ales all around them, they decided to start brewing their own beers catering to their own tastes. Sure why not. Both only 24 at the time, they leased a building in Fraserburgh, got a bank loan and started producing some pretty strong but exciting brews.
Starting small, they brewed very tiny batches, filled bottles by hand and sold their beers at local markets and out of the back of their beat up old Skoda pickup.
By 2008 they got more money from the bank which was used to further invest in the beers with a bottling machine and more tanks purchased. They then went straight for the kill by producing a particularly strong beer, “Tokyo”, with 18.2% alcohol, which unsurprisingly created a shit storm in the media and in the drinks industry. The Portman Group, the trade group body responsible for drinks producers in the UK and for regulating the industry, banned a lot of their initial beers, but they could still export to Sweden, Japan and America. As you can imagine all this hoo-ha resulted in increased sales and massive public exposure for the new Brewery.
In 2009 their Punk Indian Pale Ale was popular on the craft beer scene not just in the UK but also in Scandinavia, and getting major supermarket chain Tesco to stock it was a great coup for the young company at the time. They also created the Tactical Nuclear Penguin with a 32% alcohol content which at that time was the strongest beer in the world but it was their share issue that really caught the headlines. Offering people an opportunity to buy into the company via online, with 1300 initially investing in their share venture, later to become over 10,000! This and their various other crowd funding platforms have made the company very wealthy indeed.
In 2010, BrewDog opened their first bar, in nearby Aberdeen. More bars followed in Scotland and in England and eventually to include establishments in Stockholm, São Paulo, Florence, Gothenburg, Helsinki, Tokyo . It was also in 2010 that their signature beer Hardcore IPA got the gold medal at the World Beer Cup in the Imperial IPA category which was some achievement for a very young brewery not long in operation.
It was also along this time that they had a running battle with a German brewery, Schorschbräu, to see who could come up with the strongest beer in the world. Brewdog produced Sink the Bismark ,a beer with 41% alcohol to take the crown of the worlds strongest beer, from Schorschbräu, who had produced a 40% ABV version of their Schorschbock.
Not long after they produced arguably their most controversial brew The End of History, a 55% abv Belgian ale, which was to be stronger than most whiskies, vodkas and gins. The name was a reference to Francis Fukuyama and his long since discredited book “The End of History. Was this to be the end of beer as we know it? Only 11 of the beers were for sale, and the beer came packaged inside a small stuffed animal, seven stoats, four grey squirrels, and costing between £500 and £700 each, not a beer then for the ordinary skin down the pub. Naturally animal rights groups were up in arms, but the stunt did the intended trick, getting the brewery unlimited coverage in the national press. To be fair to the boys, the animals were roadkill so I dont necessarily feel the outrage there, but I do think it was well naff and corny as a publicity stunt, a really cheap gimmick.
Here was their promotional gibberish highlighting the beer as a “an audacious blend of eccentricity, artistry and rebellion”, and that the distinctive bottles were “disrupting conventions and breaking taboos – just like the beer they hold within them”. Really, what cunts talk like that, eh? LOL
But this is their style. Among other stunts they have pulled include driving a tank down Camden High Street, brewing beer at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean as you do, projecting the naked images of its two founders onto the Houses of Parliament; dropping stuffed cats from a helicopter onto the City of London; and especially for the royal wedding of 2011 of William and kate they produced a beer called “Royal Virility Performance” ,a beer containing natural aphrodisiacs such as “herbal Viagra”, chocolate and horny goat weed, or so they said!
Today Brewdog is an internationally recognized beer brand, while also winning a tonne of awards and prizes for their beers. They produce roughly over 65 different beers shipping to over 55 countries worldwide,producing bottled and canned beers in a variety of styles such as ale, stout, India pale ale (IPA) and lager, some of which are also available in keg containers. The bottled beers are distributed to British supermarkets and exported worldwide.
Its really hard to know what to think of Brewdog. They call themselves and their operation postpunk and that they are redefining what it means to drink beer, “to revolutionize the British beer industry, and redefine British beer-drinking culture”, etc etc, but they dont half talk a lot of pretentious hipster wank. Easy known that one of the guys father was in the oil industry. Common working class fellas they are not. But I guess Punk itself, apart from the Sex Pistols, was also a bit too middle class to be really as edgy as they’d like to portray. Give me heavy metal any day of the week!
Also a lot of their stunts are very silly and juvenile, and might appeal to people who live sheltered lives but its not classic or cool. A bit like Ryanair or Paddypower in their advertising, trying too hard to be cool, yet their product is still shite! For example this is from one of their advertising slogans on a beer “let the sharp bitter finish rip you straight to the tits” That’s childish stuff. I mean Scotland produced Robbie Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Robbie burns for fucks sake, so try better than that.
This is how they describe themselves so you be the judge. They call themselves a “post-punk, apocalyptic, motherfucker of a craft brewery” and rallying it s supporters, “This is the revolution – so help me Dog,” and “Changing the world, one glass at a time.” “We bleed craft beer,” “We blow shit up, and “Without us, we are nothing. We are BrewDog.” Yeah, that’s great, now can you give me a fucking pint please love!
Was in there BrewDog bar in Manchester, and although the draught beer was good, the place was a kip. Fuck me, it was all over the place, was like an office, people talking and acting like dickheads, with angry staff and modern decor that didn’t really work. You know its a shit bar when you see people playing fucking snakes and ladders, that’s giving up for fucks sake! But let me put my disclaimer out there, I’m not hip enough for these kind of places.
But hell they are popular, they have their own TV show called Brew Dogs in the States, and they are opening bars all over the place and producing new beers all the time, exporting to 50 countries or more, so what do i know then, eh?
I have to be fair to them though, there beers certainly seem exciting using a wide array of mad and exotic ingredients from chilli, honey, chocolate, hemp, and mustard to name but a few. They also do know their stuff, winning many numerous beer awards for their produce. If they just kept to the beers and enough with the other shite, please!
Review: 330ml Bottle of BrewDog 5 A.M. Saint: ABV: 5%
This is what is said in their description of this beer
“5am Saint is The Holy Grail of red ales. At BrewDog we are on a mission to open as many people’s eyes as possible. Cast away any aspersions and let the crook of BrewDog be your guide in a whirlwind of conformity and mediocrity. Once this ruby liquid forms a foamy halo around your glass, you’ll never want to look back”
That’s a load of bollix, isn’t it!!
Anyway 5AM Saint is the five malts and hops used to produce a beer at 5% ABV, and can be drank at 5.am to start the day off. In the hops Nelson Sauvin, Simcoe, Cascade, Centennial and Ahtanum were used. The malt, Maris otter, Caramalt, Munich malt, Crystal and Dark Crystal Malt.
Comes in a typical BrewDog design. The label decked out in a strong red, with usual style of distinctive lettering and logo. I do like their labels and bottle layout, its eye catching and colourful.
On pour got a nice big decent sized frothy head, pouring a deep ruby reddish coloured beer, dark red/purple, Not much carbonation, very slight amount. Head dies a little but maintains throughout which is good. Some good lacing present. Looks ok, nothing special.
Loved the smell, a really nice aroma. Got a hint of fruit…..grapefruits and blackberries. Lovely,, lovely smell. Malty and fruity aromas but not overpowering, just right.
So what about the taste, any good?
Well certainly very hoppy and strong in taste, a lot of flavours on the old taste buds, but nothing that would be extraordinary
Very typical of the craft beer style beers, overloaded with hops. Also got a lot of the sweet malts.
Can taste the fruits, grapefruits and berries
Is a slow burner and was slowly getting to appreciate it in the end. It certainly is a very tasty beer and its ok if this is your kind of thing, but I like my traditional red ales, and I do drink them a lot when I’m home in the old country, but this is no where that level. Also nothing to compete with Sierra Nevada efforts. A tad bit disappointing truth be told considering how much hype surrounds their beers.
A bit of a dry bitter finish to the beer. Definitely wasn’t sessionable for me. Ok, if you like this sort of shite, I don’t!! Truth be told it is very bland and nothing new or exciting.
Brewed by Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd Style: Strong Bitter/Ruby beer Witney, England
Was planing on having a taste of this beer for a long time. Always stands out in the supermarket with its very interesting name, and its conspicuous label of what I guess is the ‘Hobgoblin’.
A goblin is a legendary evil or mischievous grotesque dwarf-like demon or monster that appeared in European stories and accounts during the Middle Ages. (Yes, I had to look that up, thanks Wiki!!).
Either way the label does look pretty cool. I am sure the brewery has cornered the beer market for the gaming geeks and fantasy fiction aficionados who like their fantasy and all that jazz. That is if they can manage to actually get their arse out of the house and off the computer, and down the shops to buy the stuff!
Wychwood Brewery is a brewery based in Witney, founded in 1983, on the fringes of the ancient medieval forest of Wychwood in Oxfordshire, in the South East of England, owned by Refresh UK, a subsidiary of Marston’s, and is the United Kingdom’s largest brewer of organic ales. The company’s flagship brand is Hobgoblin, a strong real ale that is well popular amongst the beer drinking masses of the UK
Review: Bottle of Wychwood Hobgoblin Ruby Beer: ABV: 5.2%
There is no doubt that this beer stands out with its very amusing logo, inspired by the local myths and legends of the ancient Wychwood forest.
The appearance didn’t look good at all to be frank. It looked like coca cola, no head to speak of, very flat, dead and unappealing.
The colour was a deep ruby red, and on pour I got a big head, very frothy but dies, and no real lacing. Nice colour but the overall look was disappointing.
A lovely aroma, smelt like a nice stout to me! I got a smell of caramel, toffee and roasted malts, and a slight sour smell, but overall I liked the smell, pleasant.
Taste: Didn’t like this one bit, which was surprising to me as it is very much a hyped up beer. I really wanted it to be good, but alas……
Not much of a beer at all. Too strong for me, had a really strong bitter taste and could feel the alcohol. Very hoppy throughout, too hoppy for me. Very sour creamy aftertaste, Harsh flavours, chocolate, toffee and sweet malts, a lot of flavours in it alright, very robust and thick
I found it very hard to drink to be honest, one to sip, definitely not for a session, that’s for sure, for me anyway, lol.
It is a popular beer, but I do wonder if people are more swayed with the hype and the vibe than the actual taste.
Now I know they say that if you are a lager drinker beware, I would say that’s true. I think this is definitively an acquired taste, and perhaps with all the hype one for the nerds who like their war craft or whatever, or an English man and his real ales……….
This is reflected in their ad campaign where they challenge drinkers of pale lager to try a brew with more distinct flavours, “What’s the matter Lagerboy, afraid you might taste something?”. Could be true, lol!
Brewed by Charles Wells Brewery Limited Style: Banana Bread Flavoured Fruit Beer Bedford, England
Charles Wells Brewery was founded by Mr.Charles Wells in Bedford, in the east of England. A family brewery dating back to 1876, and now incorporating the brand Wells & Young, with a history of brewing distinctive beers, from the well-loved Bombardier, Young’s, Courage and McEwan’s ranges through to their quirky brews such as Banana Bread Beer and Double Chocolate Stout. They also run a chain of successful pubs, 200 and counting…..
Review: Bottle of Wells Banana Bread Beer: ABV: 5.2%
This unique brew combines all the traditional ale recipes of the brewery with the subtle flavour of ‘Fair trade’ bananas, creating an intriguing and flavorsome pint. In 2002 the banana bread beer was awarded “Beer of the Festival” at CAMRA’s London Drinker Festival
On pour got a very fizzy drink, a lot of carbonation. When it settled down a decent sized frothy head appeared, looked decent. Head looks good, nice and creamy looking.
Head does die a little and there is some slight lacing.
The colour was dark amber, with a tint of red, and overall the beer looks the part…..
The aroma is of…..well, bananas!
Lovely clear, fruity smell, gorgeous, and I dont even like bananas, ha ha! Strong but not overpowering, very pleasant and very tempting.
Smells of banana bread, with a hint of toffee……
Taste: Well it does exactly what it says on the tin, its all banana
A beer with banana, tastes like beer with banana! But its lovely, very smooth, doesn’t taste a lot like beer at all. Very sweet, but still smooth enough to drink. A bit of caramel noted as well.
At first I thought the alcohol content of 5.2% wasn’t apparent, but I think it does kick in near the end.
Everyone in the house had a try, went down a storm, all liked it.
There is a slight hoppy aftertaste that is a bit urgh, and it could do with more body, but overall very smooth. It is different, so hats off to the brewers for trying something new, refreshing and all good. I am not sure you could down a lot of these in a session, but definitely would be great to sip on a hot day. Recommended, and looking forward to trying this beer out again soon.
One day I stumbled across an interesting article in the Guardian (as you do!). The DJ Dave Haslam was writing about the time he went to Manchester to check out another DJ, who had built up a bit of a local reputation doing Morrissey and Smiths nights. Dave Cotrill has done his disco nights since 1994 in The Star and Garter, just behind the Piccadilly train station. Reading the article set the imagination running. Sure why not? So I decided to book the flights, arrange the accommodation and just check out Manchester for myself (and mate).
Just passed through Manchester before so wasn’t sure what to expect, but boy the accommodation was a classic. Once again I didn’t disappoint!
Here follows some of what we got up to I can’t remember all the bars and clubs we went into since the days and nights of drinking were long and hard. Nor can I remember a lot of what I was drinking either. I did enjoy the weekend though. Manchester is a rough and ready city, people are mostly friendly, and it’s a town I would like to visit again. All in all it is a decent place. And yes, they do walk around with a “Manchester swagger”
The Star and Garter is a pub in Manchester, but not any ordinary pub. It is a bit of an institution as it hosts alternative music events. The SnG puts on rock, punk and indie nights, they showcase new and upcoming bands, and more established crews (The Ting Tings, Badly Drawn Boy, Status Quo, UK Subs, and more…, have all played here), and on the first Friday of every month they host a Smiths disco dedicated to all things Morrissey. The nights are such a hit that the venue has become synonymous with the Smiths, attracting Morrissey fans from all over the world. Liverpool got the Beatles and the Cavern Club, Manchester has Moz disco nights at the Star and Garter!
The SnG is situated slap bang in the middle of nowhere really. Behind Piccadilly railway station, down a side street under an iron bridge, and on the very edge of the city border. Pass the pub and you wander into what looks like a less than salubrious part of town. Apparently this is near Manchester’s red light district. God only knows where they do business, perhaps the bushes and side streets? Didn’t see much life around here. In all this wonderful isolation stands tall the Star and Garter, a Grade II listed building here (or here abouts, was moved brick by brick a 100 yards) since 1803. It looks the part, at any moment you expect the building to come crashing down on top of you. Go early, as we did, and you will find that the pub doesn’t do business in the day time, it was closed.
Getting there before the disco gave us a chance to have a few beers, shoot some pool, and have a good chat with some of the Morrissey fans. The interior looks like your old style traditional British pub, no frills. The carpets were sticky, the chairs and tables were timeworn, the alcohol came in cheap cans, and the atmosphere was all relaxed.
Talking to Craig and Deb, a nice couple who travelled up from somewhere out of town for the Moz night. They have been here a few times, so I guess you could call them regulars. They first came here “because it’s funny, not the biggest fans in the world but, this sounded hilarious”. Before going out with Deb, Craig didn’t really know who Morrissey was, but now he loves the music, and has now pretty much got every album, “Before, I knew who they (the Smiths) were, but could only name about 2 or 3 of their songs, but now can’t I get enough of them!” Deb, on the other hand is a long-time fan. “Basically when I was 11 someone gave me a bunch of tapes, most of them were rubbish, but the Smiths were interesting, there was something there really”, and so that started a love for the quiffed one.
Met Tim, from Leeds but now lives nearby, who certainly looked the part, who has been coming to the Moz nights for ten months or so. On what we can expect tonight, Tim told us we were in for a good night, “What can you expect from tonight, a lot of Morrissey fans and some news ones as well. It’s absolutely amazing. You kind of spend the whole month listening to Morrissey mostly on your own, then you come tonight and you’re listening with a load of people.” On why he likes Morrissey, “He just gets its, he just gets life, he just gets it. I have tried and have tried to explain why Morrissey resonates. No one quite hits it like Morrissey, and Johnny Marr as well, is just an amazing guitarist. Life isn’t a bunch of gladiola and he (Moz) takes that and he makes it beautiful, he acknowledges it and he makes it beautiful with his words. I have liked the Smiths for a long, long time, I don’t think you can describe it with words” On what Morrissey would make of all this hero worship, “I think he secretly likes it” Indeed, I would think he does too!
William, who travelled up from West Yorkshire, about two hours away, told us that he was born in 1994, the year that these Moz Disco nights started, showing that Morrissey also appeals to a younger crowd, and not just to us old softies. William has been coming to these nights for the last year, and loves Moz, “I like the sound of the music, and that’s a very superficial way to read the Smiths. I started thinking about Morrissey like he is some kind of poet, but you know, I love Morrissey with all my heart and soul and honestly he is quite an inspiration to me”
And after a few more pints, we eventually decided to take the stairs and follow the music. The disco had started! Upstairs is the dance floor, a decent sized room, dark with bright lights.
A small crowd at the start, but by the time things got going into full swing, the floor was packed with happy punters, all dancing and singing along to all the songs. I did dance, I admit that. Not a great mover, but it was one of those nights that no one cared, the atmosphere was fun and friendly, everyone united in their love and appreciation of the Moz. A good night, and one that I would love to repeat again in the future.
So since we were staying in the area we decided we might as well toddle off down to Old Trafford and see what all the hype is about. Apparently Man united are meant to be one of the biggest teams in the world.
Nicknamed the “Red Devils”, even though I like to refer to them as Manure united, they have legions of fans from all over the world. From Asia to America they all know of Manchester United, the brand. And we could see this. Outside the ground were busloads of Asian fans, taking photos like crazy.
They have won a record 20 English league titles, and have 3 European cups in the bag, so I guess they deserve some begrudging respect.
Looking at it from the outside, Old Trafford certainly looks like a decent stadium. The “Theatre of Dreams”, was opened way back in 1910, and has a capacity just under 76,000. Bombing in the Second World War destroyed much of the stadium; which meant that during the reconstruction Man Utd had to play its “home” games at their rivals Manchester City’s Maine Road ground; Interesting.
A nice statue of Matt Busby stands at the entrance to the ground Busby won the League in 1952, a first league title for 41 years, and of course won back to back titles in 56 and 57 with a squad of young ones, “The Busby Babes” (average age of 22)
Also there is a clock showing time standing still. The time when Manchester united suffered its greatest tragedy, the Munich air disaster, when 23 people lost their lives (8 players) returning from a European cup tie in Belgrade.
The plaque nearby is in memory of those who died in the Munich air disaster, including the eight players’ names.
Busby rebuilt the team, and we can see this in the statue of the trilogy, Best, Law and Charlton, the trio that helped Man Utd win its first European Cup in 1968, the first English football club to do so.
Seen the Alex Ferguson Stand, which looked good Alex Ferguson was some manager, good old red nose. Did the business though, 13 league titles and 2 Euro Cups. Can’t argue with that, even if he was a grumpy bastard. Grew up looking at this team win all around them, and to be fair they always played great football, and played right up to the death of a game. God only knows how many goals they nicked in the last minute/second minute/third minute/forth/fifth/sixth minute of injury time……….
We were thinking of doing the stadium tour, but at £18.00 a pop for the full tour, and £14 quid for a quick walkthrough and gander at the pitch, we decided against it. For fecks sake that’s the price of a ticket for a non-league team, or a team here on the continent. Just so we can say we saw the pitch, or were near the dugout. Feck off!
The Red Café was decent though, had a beer there and they show re runs of classic games on a screen, which was good.
We did have a good chat with John though. John sells scarfs outside the ground for about 7 quid. He was good fun, and told us about the new hotel, “Hotel Football”, that ex-players Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville own nearby, that had a plastic pitch on the roof. So naturally we had to have a look, and yes, there really is a pitch on the roof. How cool is that!
After checking out one famous Manchester institution we decided to head onto another icon of the city, Salford Lads Club. The club is famously associated with a 1986 Smiths image on the “Queen is Dead” album cover, showing the band looking moody hanging around just outside the club. The band also included the club in a few of their music videos. At the time the boys clubs were not too happy about it at all, but over time they eventually saw sense.
So famous is the image that Smiths fans from all over the world visit the club to copy the famous iconic picture.
With all the fans, the club eventually decided to tap into this demand and in 2004 a special Smiths room was opened showing messages from fans and a lot of memorabilia of the band. There is also a small store room that sells Smiths t-shirts, badges, postcards, and even chocolate!
The actual boys club was established in 1903 as a recreational club to help out local working class boys, and get them off the street and up to no good. Now open to girls as well, the club still continues the fine tradition of helping out local youth through sport, exercise, and various other activities, with people volunteering their help and time to keep the club running along. The building is listed and remains virtually unchanged since its foundation. I am not sure how many fans actual venture into the building but it was good that we did as we met Amber , a volunteer at the club, and who does all the designs for the Smiths memorabilia they sell. Amber gave us a brief potted history of the club, showed us around the building, and was very helpful. Amber was so chatty and fun that it put us in a good mood for the rest of the day. Perhaps she could try some of her charm on the moody Morrissey, but then I guess that’s why we like him so much, the thick bastard!
I bought a tee which I found out later is one of the limited editions that is only on sale for one year only. Made me up knowing that! The tee-shirt features the famous picture of the group outside the club, and Stephen Wright the photographer has allowed it to be reproduced from November 2014 to November 2015 only, to help raise vital funds for the club. A generous gesture that is going a long way to helping the club meet its many upcoming charitable commitments in the next year and beyond.
So for the Saturday we were to meet Charlie Veitch and have a friendly chat with him, and a few beers, nothing too mad. No lizards or Mossad drills.
Without going into the ins and outs of it all, basically Charlie is one, or at least was one, of the leading internet conspiracy theorists. I say “was” as he had an epiphany on a BBC TV show (“9/11 Conspiracy Road Trip”) and turned his back on the 9/11 “truth movement”.
Once a friend of the mad David Icke and the bad Alex Jones, this u turn caused a shit storm in the movement, and resulted in Charlie getting a lot of online hassle, and been branded a “traitor” to the cause. Whatever the feck that is.
I respect Charlie for this. It takes big balls to hold your hand up and say that you think you might be wrong about something you were once so passionate about.
I have followed Charlie for a long time on YouTube, from the old days of the Love Police, and even seen him in action with the shenanigans he got up to in London (kettling the police was gas craic!). I don’t always agree with what he says, or sometimes how he goes about making his points, nevertheless I do watch his videos, for better or for worse, but always engaging, always entertaining, and sometimes quite bold.
Anyway after all the beers and the chat, Charlie seemed like a decent skin to me, top bloke and good fun (And his two friends). So suck it haters.
Watch the video anyway, and remember I don’t work for the BBC, and had a good few pints, so go easy on the hating, it’s not good for you!
We decided to jump into this pub to have a look at the CL final. From the outside and the décor it looks like a Wetherspoons’. Certainly has a similar sort of clientele. Had a pint of Korev, a Cornish lager that I acquired a taste of over the few days. A good crowd in for the game, with many TVs and chances to watch the game. Was a nice reasonably priced pint, in good company with everyone enjoying the game. The kind of bar that is a must if you want to see some football, with a beer and some atmosphere.
Another drop in bar, and again for football. Wanted to have a look at the Ireland V England game so we saw that they had it on in this pub, so why not. A nice traditional looking pub, which is apparently a grade 11 listed building, and is said to be Manchester’s oldest pub having first gained its licence way back in 1730!
Had a decent pint of Korev, and a packet of Tyrrell’s English style crisps (that’s considered lunch) which were delicious. And I thought the English didn’t know how to make decent crisps! Anyway a nice pub, a lot of history on the walls, good service, and friendly staff. Got very comfortable, so we decided to have a few pints here, and why not, the pints were perfect. Not a big crowd in, perhaps due to the early kick off time, and the TV had no sound on which I kind of appreciated. Rather not listen to the inane chat that passes for commentary these days. Nice place for a good chat in the middle of the day, a good place to while away a few hours.
As we were a bit early for the Smiths night and the Star and Garter wasn’t open we needed to booze up. It looked like the SnG was on the edge of nowhere and nothing to be found beyond so we walked back and came across the Bull’s Head, right across from the train station. Looked decent so we ventured in. Nice cosy atmosphere. We went straight to the bar, and immediately mingled in with the chat. Met the landlords, Brendan and Paula, who were both good fun, and very friendly. In fact all the staff were chatty and good fun. Of course my mate was instantly attracted to the retro arcade games, and it took a lot of effort to get him off the damn things. Children shouldn’t be allowed into bars!
We were starving for some good food (real food, not pub grub), and decided to leave, but promised Brendan and Paula we would be back the next night. With great regret we didn’t make it back as we ran out of time, but it’s definitely a bar I will check out again if I am ever in the vicinity. Beer was very good, and the company excellent. Also it’s worth noting that this is another of Manchester’s oldest bars, a bar on this site dating back from the late 1800’s.
Walking in from Salford, we were a bit tired and thirsty. My mate pointed out this pub out to me as we walked by, I wasn’t so sure, looked a bit too posh for me, but we sat down outside and ordered some beer and a bit of food to boot.
And you know it wasn’t that bad, with the sun making a brief appearance and beside the canal and its locks, it was very enjoyable just shooting the breeze in wonderful surroundings. Inside, the bar has some old style wooden décor, very spacious, and has a lot of cool antique pictures pottered around the place showing all manner of history and old alcohol advertisements.
Staff were extremely friendly, very efficient service, and the beers and food were top quality. I had a Lowenbrau. I know I really should have tried some British beer, but…..
Location makes this bar. A really great place to be on a pleasant hot day. Nice relaxed crowd too, with no music or TV blaring out, no wonder we stayed for more than the one beer. Very relaxing! Of course since this is North England, time to go and move on was when the dark clouds appeared, with the rain starting the terrace emptied out and that was the end of the Wharf!
Oh before I forget, the rug. The rug inside is amazing! Yeah, the fecking rug!
From the Wharf, walking back into the town, we passed “The Knott”, which was recommended by some beer bloggers I Know.
We went up to the balcony which was pleasant enough, doing some people watching and all. But if truth be told the place was filthy! I am not one generally to complain and maybe it was cause we just came from the immaculate Wharf, but Jesus it was the middle of the day, not nearing 12 after a busy night. When I say filthy, I mean puke in the toilet bowl, empties all over the place, stale and uneaten food on tables. Perhaps we arrived when the cleaning staff were on a break?
The décor is pretty cool, music prints and beer posters and it had a chilled vibe going on. Was quite busy. I ordered some Shameless Pale Ale. It was very bitter, very hoppy, and quite hard to stomach to be honest, even if it looks magnificent in the pic. Drank it down quick and decided to move on!
Brewdog, another recommendation from some of my contacts, those Scottish chappies and their extra strong beers.
When you walk into a bar first impressions matter. This looked like a fecking darkly lit supermarket, we were very close to just doing a quick turnaround out the door, not that the bar man gave a shite. The atmosphere wasn’t much better, a lot of wankers around the place, and what is with all the high stools.
Anyway stayed and ordered beers, their own brew, which wasn’t too bad at all. Decided to leave the drunken fools, and sat down outside. Good decision, much better company, and at least could have a decent chat(A big hello to Michael and Siobhan).
Toilet was banjaxed, had to use the disabled. What is it with Manchester and toilets? Pretty sad when the best part of the décor is the toilet area, and who the feck plays board games in a pub?
Regret not having a burger here though, from what I have read subsequently, it’s meant to be top class. Ah never mind, at least the beer was good.
Wanting to have a good talk with Charlie V. we decided to pop into the nearest pub which just so happened to be a Mr Thomas’s Chop House.
A grade 11 listed pub, Mr Thomas’s Chop House first opened way back in 1870. It shows, the interior is all Victorian with tiled walls and a dark wooded bar, and pictures of historical Manchester dotted all over. Old fashioned surroundings and tradition, all adding to the atmosphere of the place. In the middle of the day the pub was heaving with customers, and after quite a long time we eventually got served and brought our drinks to the outdoor area out at the back. When the weather turned we decided to have a pint inside. The place is so small that no cats would be swung in this pub. Standing room only, belly in, this is a great advantage as in close quarters you have no choice but to meet and chat with strangers, they are literally in your face! We ended up meeting loads of people, all great fun. A Mr Liam Donnelly from Warrington who got a bit upset with me when I told him he looked like Jimmy Summerville and not, as he had thought, Jimmy Saville! It took me a while to figure why he was talking about Michael Jackson! Great craic, place was buzzing, I don’t mind admitting I had a good time at this bar.
Don’t know what was going on with the drinks, but I was drinking Heineken, which again wasn’t probably the best choice what with all the great British beers available (probably, I couldn’t see the bar!), but hell, I didn’t have time to discuss options at the bar. With so many people crammed into such a small narrow bar, it was a case of order something, anything, fast! Had a few beers here. Cosy and friendly boozer, full of character, the best bar on this short trip hands down, and as we were leaving also had a good chat with the bouncer at the door, full of chat and very friendly. Strongly recommended!
And as you would know it we ended up in Vina Karaoke bar, a place that has a bit of a “reputation”. Apparently it can get “hairy” at times, and I aint talking about some of the women. I am not surprised what with some of the clientele, the set-up of the place, and the bouncers on heat.
But otherwise it was good fun, enjoyed the music, some of the karaoke efforts were not bad, and beer was cheap enough. As long as you don’t forget to take off your cap, and don’t wear a bollard on your head, everything should be fine!
La Tasca Manchester is an “authentic” Spanish Tapas Bar and Restaurant. They say on their website that if you close your eyes you might just be in Spain. Yeah sure, but this is a place we ended up in twice over the weekend. A good central location, good pints, and a nice chilled place to have a quiet talk and unwind.
Had the tapas here. They don’t sell tapas in the bad lands of Ireland, so never had it before. Was tasty and hit the spot. Service very friendly, always smiling, chatty, and checked a few times to see if we were ok, which is a nice touch.
Even though the beers (Mahou) looked quite strange, with a head that mushroomed out, in fact they were damn tasty. I liked this bar/restaurant, had a nice ambiance, all surrounded with a Spanish décor. It’s a shame we didn’t know at the time that they don’t close till 4 am on the weekend, playing Latin style music downstairs long into night. God dammit, that would have been fun! A very nice relaxing place, with good beer. Recommended.
One final thing: Had some cider in an Italian restaurant that I cant remember, but by god it was lovely cider. Aspalls Suffolk Cider, very tasty.
Who is set to win the battle of the beers? London Pride V Birra Moretti? Who will quench the thirst, set the mood, get me in the right spirit?
Click on picture for a preview of the beers.
Get the beer result after, much after!
London Pride V Birra Moretti: London Pride wins 1-0. The complexity of London Pride and the variety of flavours makes drinking it a thrill especially when served cold. Moretti was good but on the day London Pride hit the spot (Unlike Rooney I might add!). Read here for full beer report.
England: Every time England get into the World Cup expectations rise, but this year one can feel that with the hard group England got, may English fans are not exactly brimming with much confidence. Many feel England will be lucky even to get out of the group never mind getting to another quarter finals.
In many ways playing Italy first is not as bad as first appears. Both teams in their first game could well play a cagey and dour game, which might result in a draw for the English team.
You can never really tell with the England team. When you expect them to do well they disappoint but when they are up against it they can pull out a result. Will the real England please step up!
England’s strengths lie in its midfield, its the teams engine. Lampard and Gerrard, in their last world cup, and the new guys Wilshere and Henderson all point to a midfield that will be tough to crack. But that means someone has to score the goals. Can Rooney finally stick his finger out and do something in a major championships? Perhaps he can, but I think Daniel Sturridge could be England’s key player. He has had a cracking season and must be raring to go in his first world cup.
Lets hope Roy Hodgson, a manger I rate and a top class bloke, takes the brakes off the team and just lets them play football.
Italy have a decent team, and are very well coached under the excellent Cesare Prandelli.
Off to a cagey start against England, I think they should top group D, especially since they have the Costa Rica game second, which should determine exactly what they should have to do in the last game against Uruguay.
The squad is strong from front to back, a little like Spain in that regards. No real weaknesses and the fact that it will be a final swansong for Pirlo and Buffon, at 35 and 36 respectively, means that they will certainly try to stay in the competition for as long as possible.
The key player will be Mario Balotelli who lit up the last European championships with his goals and style. I fully expect him to do the same in this world cup.
Remember Italy have never lost when super Mario scores!
A more detailed review on England here and on Italy here
Have to say England played well in this game, better than I expected anyway. Maybe a dip in the second half but enough to give them confidence in their next two games.
The youngsters that Hodgson picked played well, but I do have to ask about some of the more senior players. Gerrard was missing in action a good few times, and Rooney should have really done better with his chance in the second half.
Italy were good, maybe a little suspect at the back, but for the first game they looked a decent team. Pirlo was a magician, pinning balls all around the park, and unlucky not to score from a brilliant free kick, hitting the crossbar. Great stuff to watch and its such a pity this will be his last world cup. A draw or win against Costa Rica in the next game and they are through with minimum fuss.
Brewed by Fuller’s Style: Premium Bitter London, England
Fuller’s flagship brand in the U.K. London Pride is Britain’s leading premium ale.
An intrinsic part of London, London Pride has been brewed by the banks of the Thames since the mid 19th century.
Fuller’s Brewery (Fuller, Smith & Turner P.L.C.) is an independent, family, regional brewery which was founded in 1845 and based in Chiswick, West London. Beer has been brewed on Fuller’s Chiswick site for over 350 years.
London Pride is a smooth, medium-strength pale ale with a red brownish colour. The beer is best known in England in its 4.1% cask conditioned form, but is also sold in the UK and worldwide in 4.7% bottles. Lucky I got the bottles so!
Over the years Fuller’s has built up a reputation for its pubs and beers, with the likes of London Pride, ESB and 1845 all winning numerous awards. In fact, London Pride, with other Fuller beers ESB and Chiswick Bitter, have been named Champion Beer of Britain, a record unmatched by any other brewery in the UK.
Review: Bottle of London Pride British Pale Ale, 4.70%ABV
Comes in a nice looking and distinctive 330ml bottle. London Pride is a decent ale from England’s Capital city.
Pours a lovely amber reddish colour with some white head that faded quickly. Some light lacing is seen.
The aroma is of some biscuit malts and earthy hops with hints of caramel sweetness. Nice.
A lovely refreshing flavour which hits the taste buds immediately. It tastes of light caramel, some earthy hops with a mild bitter aftertaste. It has a different, subtle, complex taste to it than what you can expect from a lot of beers, which has to be appreciated. I also found it a bit strong in the taste which I enjoyed, more of a kick to it than other ales.
Overall, London Pride is a solid pale ale, with lots of flavour, and was fairly easy to drink, a good session beer. Definitely worth a try and a good introduction to English, cough, London beers.