There are many excellent pubs and breweries in Manchester on a bright sunny day in early June I took a trip over the Pennines to sample their wares.
Starting off at the Marble Arch pub on Rochdale Road. The birthplace of Marble brewery, this pub has plenty of Marble beers on, as well as guest ales from the likes of Darkstar and Hawkshead. Marble have long had a reputation as an outstanding brewery and the beer I chose was Marble Pint, which was the perfect beer to start off with on a hot summers day, in a pub with a wonderful grand interior. The food menu looked very enticing as well, although this wasn’t the venue where I chose to eat.
From the Marble Arch I set off back down Rochdale Road towards Manchester town centre, coming to the Angel. Another friendly traditional pub with beers from the likes of Liverpool Organic and Pictish. From there I headed to Bar Fringe on Swan Street. A small bar with plenty of Belgian beers and 5-6 cask ales.
Carrying on down Swan Street, past the Smithfield pub, which is currently closed for refurbishment I came to the Crown & Kettle at the junction with the Oldham Road. This was my favourite pub of the visit. I started off with an IPA from the much hyped Cloudwater brewery.
Then I sampled a couple of pale ales on cask from another new Manchester brewery called Track. Both of which impressed me more than Cloudwater IPA. The ceiling in the Crown & Kettle is also of note, although I dread to think what the cost would be for much needed repairs to this ceiling.
From the Crown & Kettle I headed away from Swan Street to Pie & Ale. A new place that, as the name suggests, specialises in craft beer and pies. The cask ale was good and so was the food. Looking at places such as Craft & Dough in Sheffield, and Bundobust in Leeds, I think that the craft beer and street food combination is going to be a trend to watch out for before too long.
I then headed to Port Street Beer House, a bar that I’ve heard much about for some time. As such I was quite enthusiastic about visiting this place and happily this small, cosy bar didn’t disappoint. The beer I had was Thornbridge/Wild Beer Co Tart, which was indeed quite tart!
My final stop before catching the train back was the Piccadilly Tap. Another new bar on the approach to Manchester Piccadilly station that was very busy when I visited. Downstairs it has a similar layout to London’s Euston Tap. The beer I sampled in here was an old favourite. Thornbridge Cocoa Wonderland.
I came away very impressed with the Manchester beer scene. It has a very good mix of breweries and venues and is right up there as one of the top beer destinations in the UK right now.