About Me

My photo
Manchester, United Kingdom
Tyson is a beer hound and cheese addict living in the beery metropolis paradise known as Manchester
If the people are buying tears, I'll be rich someday, Ma

Monday, 31 May 2010

So Lonely

A very hot day in Manchester. And a very hot day inside the new Marble bar on Thomas St. Is this why I had the place to myself? Unless you were directly in front of the fan, it was uncomfortably warm. And, unfortunately, the cooling system couldn't cope with a near empty barrel. Result=flat, warm, beer. And having both beers weigh in at over 5% when a session strength beer is called for, probably wasn't the wisest move either. These are teething problems that hopefully will be addressed before the (supposedly) hot summer hits us.
video
Meanwhile the Angel has opened its, er, beer garden. With its barbed wire fence, it has more of the look of a transit camp than a traditional English garden, but beggars can't be choosers. And the beer was good.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Chains Of Love

They say all publicity is good publicity, but one Bury pub manager forgot to mention one crucial detail when selling this story to the News of the World. Namely the name of his pub. For the record, and for any autograph hounds out there, Mr Garvey is manager of the J.D.Wethserspoons owned Art Picture House on Haymarket Street.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

I Was Young When I Left Home

Well it’s over. The country’s biggest pub festival at the Hare & Hounds came to a frenetic end on Sunday. Yet another excellent marathon slurping session organised by Andy & Lynne and their staff. Frequented by the usual mix of local and national drunkards, it took its toll on many. I even vaguely recall Tandleman calling in.
As usual, on the new beer front, there were a few good ones, several indifferent and some downright dodgy brews.

Beer of the festival: Pictish Columbus. This beautifully hopped little number didn’t last long on the pumps.

Confirmation of what you already know: Tower, whatever the colour of their beers, are poor. Their golden ales just tasted of burnt malt and nothing else. Northumberland-Hoof Harted (ha ha) etc were all wooden. Spinning Dog-yuk.

Best new brewery: Brentwood. All of theirs were quite palatable, with the 6.5% Chockwork Orange proving an interesting old ale brewed with oranges. And fair play to the lass I saw knocking back pints of it.

Worst new brewery: Nelson. Their Gold Galleon was grim and the rest wasn’t much better. Although they come from the garden of hops (Kent), it appears they don’t actually use any in their beers. A smirking band of scoopers informed me that apparently they are notorious as poor brewers. I was told they are “even worse than Bazens and Boggart” and that (somewhat worryingly), “they taste like my granny’s piss.”

Here’s to the next one, but no Nelson, please.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

You Shouldn't Laugh...But

Susan Edwards, 28, earns a living as an “Alcohol Awareness Counsellor.” That is, she warns people of the dangers of booze. She also runs courses for youths to try and teach them to respect alcohol and avoid getting into trouble because of it.

She was recently fined £335 at Kingston magistrates’ court and banned from driving for a year. Her crime? She was found guilty of drink driving after an evening knocking back wine and vodka.

Calls herself an expert in alcohol awareness? The kids could have told her that wine and vodka don’t mix.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Anyone For the Sunday Club?

I can see Sunday becoming very popular in some circles.

Who Ate All the Nuts?

For once the discussion in the Dogs this weekend wasn’t about beer, birds or soccer, but that other very important pub subject: pies.

Ramsbottom is home to a number of delicatessens and shops specialising in local produce. For example it’s a good place to acquire the legendary Lancashire Sauce. What’s that, I hear you Southern belles squeak? It’s a spiced, vinegar based, condiment that the good folk of Lancashire use in place of salt, pepper etc.

However, what had the locals chattering into their cloth caps were local pie makers Pots & Pies. They started out two years ago and have steadily built a reputation for excellent pies using traditional recipes.

You can choose from such delights as wild boar & chestnut, pheasant, leek & mushroom and pigeon and pea. However, it’s their squirrel pie that has captured the media interest and they are struggling to keep up with demand.

Joint proprietor, John Thornton, was quick to point out some of the difficulties in making squirrel pie. “It’s a struggle to get two pies out of one squirrel,” he said. “They’re fiddly and there’s not a lot of meat on them.”

Plus they are much harder to catch than leeks & mushrooms.

Odd Beer Of The Week

Green Mill Wheat. Tasted just like American Cream Soda. And not a trace of wheat.

Rip Off Of The Week

£3.30 for a pint of beer served in a plastic glass at the upstairs bar of the Flying Horse, Rochdale.

Beer Of The Week

Pictish Columbus at the Hare & Hounds. A lip-smacking hop delight.

Gig Of The Week

Paul Heaton at the Flying Horse, Rochdale.

Monday, 10 May 2010

What You Looking At?

A woman has spoken of her shock after opening a tin of pears only to find that one slice looked like a demonic face. Easily shocked New Zealander, Wendy McMahon, who was feeling "a bit peckish", when she opened the tin, was stunned by the scary fruit staring back at her.

It appeared to have two slits for eyes, a nose, and a mouth containing buck teeth. Mrs McMahon, who has now posted photos of the pear slice on the internet, said: "I thought, Oh my God, is that a face?"

Answers on a postcard...


Sunday, 9 May 2010

Round & Round

There’s an interesting snapshot of British drinking habits with the publication of OnePoll’s latest survey. The rounds system is a time honoured British institution, but, according to the survey, the privilege doesn’t come cheap. The survey of 2,000 18-65 year olds throws up some interesting figures.

First and foremost is £39, 480. That’s what the estimated lifetime spend on buying rounds will cost you. The average person spends £840 a year buying beer for others which, it is claimed, equates to £30 billion nationally.

The average round costs £13, with two rounds each being the norm for a night out. The Irish pay the most for a round-£17, whilst the Geordies squeeze in at just £12.80. Going out three times a month is considered the average, but 25% are hitting the pumps twice a week and buying drinks in groups of five.

The biggest sin? Ordering more expensive drinks when it wasn’t your round. Some 70% of people claimed to be infuriated by this and found it unacceptable behaviour. Quite right. The rounds system is a sacred ritual and should not be sullied by such antics.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

The Wisdom Of The Ages

“I've lived here for 70 years and I'll tell you something. Selling us out to Europe was the worst thing Gordon Brown ever did. I’m not voting for anyone who let’s all the illegals in. They should all be sent to the Shetland Isles and made to eat Kellogs Corn Flakes. And you know he’s Scottish as well?”

(A pissed pensioner in Wetherspoons)

Smoke And Mirrors

Today we welcome Paul Taylor, of Blackwood, Gwent, back to the land of reality. He has been away with the fairies in the land of the misguided pro-smoking lobby. It must be a shock when you finally realise that strongly believing in something doesn’t make it a fact and that the truth is actually the opposite of that belief. In this case; it’s the smoking ban.

Mr Taylor, licensee of the Rock public house, is running as an independent candidate in the Welsh constituency of Islwyn. Part of his manifesto pledge is a relaxation of the current ban. Having blamed the smoking ban for the record number of pub closures, he naturally assumed others were of the same opinion and that they would welcome such a relaxation.

However, after a tour of 30 pubs in his area, he has changed his views. His plan to allow some pubs to be designated “smoking pubs” had very little support. “The consensus was that people didn’t want smoking pubs, they are happy to go outside,” he said. “It was a real eye opener.”

He is still hoping to gather enough votes in order to reclaim his £500 deposit. If not, he will have to chalk it down as an expensive reality check.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Who's Going To The Dogs?

Well, holidays have been booked, sickies will be pulled and at least one holiday has been cancelled. Yes it’s time again for the country’s biggest pub fest at the Hare & Hounds in Holcombe Brook.

Festivities kick off on Thursday and over the next ten days there will be plenty of beer to be tried-both old favourites and new concoctions. All served as Vishnu intended: on sparkled handpump and cellar cooled.

There is a slight competitive edge this time around as I have an email from a ticker who has pledged to scoop more than me. Bring it on.

Beer List

1 Acorn Blonde 4.0%

2 Acorn Cascade IPA 5.0%

3 Acorn Darkness Mild 4.2%

4 Acorn Lightness Mild 3.6%

5 Acorn New IPA 5.0%

6 Arkwright's Run of the Mill 4.0%

7 Arkwright's Trouble at mill 4.1%

8 Bank Top Bank Top Blonde 5.0%

9 Bank Top Dark Mild 4.0%

10 Bank Top Old slapper 4.2%

11 Bank Top Sweeny's 3.8%

12 Banks & Taylor's Dunstable Giant 4.4%

13 Banks & Taylor's Edwin Taylor's Extra Stout 4.5%

14 Banks & Taylor's Fruit Bat 4.5%

15 Banks & Taylor's Golden Fox 4.1%

16 Banks & Taylor's Two Brewers Bitter 3.6%

17 Bartram's Bees Knees 4.2%

18 Bartram's Captain Bill 4.8%

19 Bartram's Carherine Bartrums IPA 4.3%

20 Bartram's Magalithic ale 4.2%

21 Bartram's Rougham Ready 3.8%

22 Bartram's Suffolk N Strong 5.0%

23 Beartown Black Bear 5.0%

24 Beartown Bruins Ruin 5.0%

25 Black Sheep Brewery Golden Sheep 3.9%

26 Blakemere Blakemere Gold 4.3%

27 Blakemere Bronze 4.4%

28 Blakemere Dragon's Lair 4.2%

29 Blakemere Vale Royal Heritage Ale 4.8%

30 Blue Monkey Amarillo 3.9%

31 Bollington Bollington Best 4.2%

32 Bowland Patriot Kettle Drum 4.0%

33 Box Steam Cog 4.0%

34 Box Steam Dark & Handsome 5.0%

35 Breconshire Brecon County Ale 3.7%

36 Breconshire Cribyn 4.5%

37 Breconshire Golden Valley 4.2%

38 Breconshire Welsh Pale Ale 3.7%

39 Brentwood Best 4.2%

40 Brentwood Canery Beaver 3.8%

41 Brentwood Chockwork Orange 6.5%

42 Brentwood Gold 4.3%

43 Brentwood Hop And Glory 4.5%

44 Brentwood IPA 3.7%

45 Brentwood Marvelous Mapled Mild 3.7%

46 Brentwood Spooky Moon 3.8%

47 Brentwood Summer Virgin 4.5%

48 Brew Company Brewers Gold 4.0%

49 Brew Company Hop Ripper 4.3%

50 Brew Company New

51 Brew Company New

52 Brew Company North Star Amber 4.5%

53 Brew Company Rebel Yell 4.0%

54 Buffys Bitter 3.9%

55 Buffys Hopleaf 4.5%

56 Buffys Mild 4.2%

57 Buffys Mucky Duck 4.5%

58 Buffys Norweigen Blue 4.9%

59 Buffys Terrier 3.6%

60 Burton Bridge Brewery Bridge Porter 4.5%

61 Burton Bridge Brewery Golden Delicious 3.8%

62 Burton Bridge Brewery Moorish Mild 3.9%

63 Bushy Wanderer 4.1%

64 Castle Rock Brewery Shaggy Ink Cap 4.1%

65 Conwy Castle Bitter 3.8%

66 Conwy Celebration Ale 4.2%

67 Conwy Honey Fayre 4.5%

68 Conwy Welsh Pride 4.0%

69 Cottage Terrier 4.2%

70 Dark Star Best 4.0%

71 Derby Brewing Company Starlight 4.5%

72 Derwent Dark Mild 3.7% Silloth

73 Derwent Derwent Blonde 4.2%

74 Derwent Mutineer 4.0%

75 Derwent Pale Ale 4.4%

76 Derwent Parsons Pledge 4.0%

77 Derwent State Bitter 3.7%

78 Derwent Summer Rose 4.2%

79 Empire Balour 4.2%

80 Empire Empire Strikes Back 4.0%

81 Empire Golden Warrior 3.8%

82 Empire Graffiti 4.8 4.5%

83 Empire Long Boat 4.5%

84 Enville Ales Czechmate Saaz 4.2%

85 Enville Ales White 4.2%

86 Everards Brewery Flourish 3.5%

87 Fat Cat Wild Cat 5.0%

88 Featherstone Best Bitter 4.2%

89 Featherstone Decade 3.8%

90 Fuzzy Duck Cunning Stunt 4.3%

91 Fuzzy Duck Feathers 4.0%

92 Fuzzy Duck Thumb Ducker 4.0%

93 George Wright Black Mountain 4.3%

94 George Wright Dream 4.1%

95 George Wright Long Boat 3.9%

96 Golcar Guthlac's Porter 5.0%

97 Golcar Pennine Gold 4.0%

98 Golcar Tomballarai 4.0%

99 Golcar Winkle 4.0%

100 Great Newsome Little Gem 3.9%

101 Great Newsome Prickly Back Otchan 4.2%

102 Great Oakley Delapre Dark 4.6%

103 Great Oakley Harpers 4.3%

104 Great Oakley Tail Shaker 5.0%

105 Great Oakley Wagtail 3.9%

106 Green Mill Gold 3.4%

107 Green Mill Motion Lotion 4.1%

108 Green Mill Wheat 4.3%

109 Hart Dishy Debbie 4.0%

110 Hart Ice Maiden 4.0%

111 Hart Spring Gold 3.9%

112 Hart Squirrels Hoard 4.0%

113 Isle of Purbeck IPA 4.8%

114 Isle of Purbeck Solar Power 4.3%

115 Isle of Purbeck Studland Bay Wrecked 4.5%

116 Jolly Brewer Y Forwyn Fwyn 3.8%

117 Kinver Brewery Crystal 4.5%

118 Kinver Brewery Edge 4.2%

119 Kirkby Lonsdale Monumental Blonde 4.5%

120 Kirkby Lonsdale Radical 4.2%

121 Leyden Black Pudding Mild 3.8%

122 Leyden Chestnut Mild 4.2%

123 Leyden Frombury 4.2%

124 Leyden Hare and Hounds Mild

125 Leyden NEW

126 Leyden NEW

127 Lytham Amber 3.6%

128 Lytham Blonde 3.8%

129 Lytham Gold 4.2%

130 Lytham Groin Strecher 4.0%

131 Milton Icarus 4.5%

132 Nelson Gold Galleon 4.3%

133 Nelson No 23 4.4%

134 Nelson Powder Monkey 4.4%

135 Nelson Spinaker 4.0%

136 Northern Dancer 4.2%

137 Northern Jewel 4.6%

138 Northern Soul Rider 4.0%

139 Northumberland Ale 4.5%

140 Northumberland Hoof Hearted 3.8%

141 Northumberland Hung Parliament 4.0%

142 Northumberland Premium 5.0%

143 Northumberland Spring Gold 3.9%

144 Northumberland Strawberry Blonde 4.0%

145 Nottingham Bullion 4.7%

146 Nottingham Cock and Hoop 4.3%

147 Oakham White Dwarf 4.3%

148 Olde Swan Brewery Dark Swan 4.2%

149 Ossett Citra 4.2%

150 Ossett Dazzler 4.5%

151 Ossett Silver King 4.3%

152 Ossett Yorkshire Blonde 3.9%

153 Peakstones Rock Nemesis 3.8%

154 Phoenix Arizona 4.1%

155 Phoenix Black Shadow 4.0%

156 Phoenix Hopsack 3.8%

157 Phoenix May Fly 4.5%

158 Phoenix Spotland Gold 4.1%

159 Phoenix Thirsty Moon 4.6%

160 Phoenix White Monk 4.5%

161 Phoenix White Tornado 4.3%

162 Pictish Alchemist 4.3%

163 Pictish Black Diamond 3.5%

164 Pictish Brewers Gold 3.8%

165 Pictish Columbus 4.2%

166 Pot Belly Teck 't' 't' Ride 4.5%

167 Ramsbury Chalk Stream 5.0%

168 Ramsbury Gold 4.5%

169 Ramsbury Hells Highway 3.8%

170 Ramsbury Pig of a Shot 4.1%

171 Ramsbury Spring Barley 3.7%

172 Rooster's Citra 4.3%

173 Salopian Entire Butt 4.8%

174 Salopian Oracle 4.0%

175 Salopian Puzzle 4.8%

176 Sarah Hughes Pale Amber 4.0%

177 Shardlow Narrow Boat 4.2%

178 Sheffield Seven Hills 4.2%

179 Sheffield Spring Steel 4.3%

180 Spinning Dog Celtic Gold 4.5%

181 Spinning Dog Hereford Original 4.1%

182 Spinning Dog Mutley Springer 4.4%

183 Spinning Dog Mutleys Revenge 4.8%

184 Spinning Dog Mutts Nuts 5.0%

185 Spinning Dog Old Bull 3.9%

186 Spinning Dog Top Dog 4.2%

187 Spire 80/- 4.3%

188 Spire Dark side of the moon Mild 4.3%

189 Spire Land of Hop and Glory 4.5%

190 Spire Sovereign IPA 5.2%

191 Spire Twisted Stout 4.5%

192 Spire Whiter shade of pale

193 Spitting Feathers Old Wavertonian Stout 4.4%

194 Spitting Feathers Special Ale 4.2%

195 Spitting Feathers Thirst Quencher 3.9%

196 Titanic English Glory 4.5%

197 Tollgate Bitter 4.3%

198 Tom Woods Hop Bunny Hop 4.2%

199 Tower Brigadier 3.6%

200 Tower Excess 5.0%

201 Tower Fosbrooke 3.8%

202 Tower Hoskins Hob 4.0%

203 Tring Blonde 4.0%

204 Tring Jack O'Legs 4.2%

205 Tring Royal Poacher 4.1%

206 Ufford White Hart 3.8%

207 Warwickshire Darling Buds in May 4.0%

208 Warwickshire Ffiagra 3.8%

209 Warwickshire Golden Bear 4.9%

210 Warwickshire King Maker 5.5%

211 Warwickshire Young Mans Fancy 4.3%

212 Wentworth Bumble Beer 4.3%

213 Wentworth Gold 5.0%

214 Wentworth Imperial 3.8%

215 Wentworth Oatmeal Stout 4.8%

216 Wentworth Pale Ale 4.0%

217 Wentworth Short Hand Stout 4.5%

218 Wentworth WPA 4.0%

219 Wolf Lupus Lupus 4.2%

220 Yates Blonde 4.5%


Ciders & Perrys

1 Westons 1st Quality 5.0%

2 Westons Traditional Scrumpy 6.0%

3 Westons Old Rosie 7.3%

4 Westons Organic Vintage 7.3%

5 Westons Bounds Brand 4.5%

6 Westons Country Perry 4.5%

7 Thatchers Cheddar Valley 6.0%

8 Thatchers Traditional Medium 6.0%

9 Thatchers Black Rat 6.0%

10 Broadoak Perry 7.5%

11 Broadoak Moonshine 7.5%

They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!

Just when you thought it was too late for April Fool...A bunch of nutters posing as a “children’s protection” group are pressing for an alcohol license to stop adults buying booze for kids. I was all for this-I think the little ankle-biters should buy their own, but no, it’s not as sensible as that.

Fair Play For Children (that’s them) want all adults to carry a swipe card which they would use when buying alcohol from shops or pubs. The theory being that if any kiddies are caught with booze, the purchase can be traced back to the cardholder. And on committing such an offence or indeed, any other alcohol related offence, your right to buy booze would be suspended.

Blimey, this idea has more holes in it than that piece of Emmental I found at the back of the fridge last night. Who’s going to pay for all this? Why should I have to carry yet another piece of ID around with me? What’s to stop under the counter purchases? What about when someone claims “Sorry, Your Honour, the little bastard pinched my card whilst I was distracted during EastEnders?”

Chief plonker Jan Cosgrove claimed that they had secured support for the idea from 36% of prospective parliamentary candidates. Of course you have; they will say anything to try and get your vote. They seemed quite keen on my idea of a national database of teetotallers.

And Also

Whilst on safari in Manchester I noticed (1) that the Angel has gained some patio doors sine my last visit.

And (2) this lovely example of a contemporary inner city beer garden. Not much of a view, but plenty of beer by the look of it.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Marbleous

There’s a new kid on the block. Marble have opened a little brother in the city centre to complement their well established Rochdale Road outlet. Little being the operative word as the bar, at 57 Thomas St, is indeed tiny. Style is of the Post-Industrial Chic and somewhat reminiscent of what’s happened in Leeds which has overtaken Manchester in terms of innovative bars. So it’s good to see Manchester landing a blow for the Red Rose side.

The small room is dominated by the bench seating that runs parallel to the bar. It won’t take many to fill this up on a Friday/Saturday night. In keeping with the uber modern look, beer is dispensed by an innovative gravity dispense system that uses cold water to keep the casks cool. They could probably have put them under the counter and used handpumps, but having them on the bar makes a certain statement.

The plan is to normally have two on at a time and two settling, but this being the opening weekend, there were actually three on. Ginger, Dobber, and Pint-which was on good form. And, at £2.40 a pint, came the sad realisation that central Manchester is now actually cheaper than my locale. There is also a good bottled beer range.

Oh, and saving the most important for last, they have a very impressive cheese list. The waft of Stinking Bishop was like music to my nostrils.