We’re going to start the day off down a bit of a dodgy end of the city – the red light bit behind Piccadilly train station. Not only is this the place where the Google Maps car caught a guy getting a handy, but it’s also home to many of the city’s smaller, independent brewing companies which have great taprooms.
We’re going to start on N Western Street, which features a wealth of brewers, starting off with Beer Nouveau…
You’d be forgiven for never having heard of Beer Nouveau – I certainly hadn’t until I started doing this, although it is well known that I’m a massive ignoramus. They’re an experimental micro-brewery focussing on old recipes but using new ingredients and techniques. This all sounds well and good but does the beer taste good? Well, I only managed to try their Sister to Nun Pale Ale but I must admit to finding it mightily impressive, and the surrounding taproom was a great place to relax and end up chatting to anyone and everyone about either beers, beards or bikes (or all three).
Beer Nouveau, 75 N Western St, Manchester M12 6DY
0161 272 7733
From here head up the road, cross the main road, jump the barriers and you’ll be back on N Western Street for some more tilts…
Manchester Union Lager
The guys behind Manchester Union were looking to create a lager that was completely different to anything you’d ever experienced before. They bang on about a ‘full mouth feel’ and ‘decoction’ and even though I have no idea what it all means – it doesn’t really matter in the end. Unfortunately their tap room isn’t open again yet, but if you’re craving a pint of Union (who isnt?) there’s still plenty of places around the city centre where you can grab a pint. Check their site for stockists…
Alphabet Brewing Company
Just down the road from Manchester Union and past the weird gym you’ll find Alphabet, creators of such wonderful brews as the Juice Springsteen, the A to the K Oatmeal Pale Ale and a brilliant session IPA, Charlie Don’t Surf that’ll slide down your throat just a little too quickly. Their taproom is open every Saturday so you can get your mitts on all of this stuff (and more). It’s pretty big and there’s usually plenty of people down there getting hammered and having a good time. On occasion they’ll put some food on and a DJ but if not – take a spare Twix and a flute.
Alphabet Brewing Company, 99 N Western St, Manchester M12 6JL
From here you’re heading North up St. Andrew’s Street and Cloudwater…
I keep hearing off ‘people in the know’ that Cloudwater is one of the best breweries in the world. I don’t know how much volition is in these claims – but they appear to be ranked usually either 1st or 2nd in the RateBeer Best Top 10 which is kind of like being on Top of the Pops every single bloody week but better. Unfortunately their tap room is still closed, so you’ll have to give this one a miss. Perhaps grab yourself one of their new beers in Tesco to drink along the way to the next place – I’ve heard they’re excellent.
Cloudwater Brew Co, 7-8, Piccadilly Trading Estate, Manchester M1 2NP
0161 661 5943
Get Google Maps out and head out of this bit of town and back to the warm embrace of the NQ and in particular – Dale Street.
Beatnikz Republic Bar
Without having to trek all the bloody way to the Green Quarter (not yet anyway), the good people at Beatnikz have taproom right bang in the Northern Quarter. With a massive keg list that’s always changing even the fussiest of drinkers will be catered for whether it’s an IPA, Pale Ale, Cider or even the odd sour beer knocking about – they’ve got the lot. There’s also a great little cask section too, should you want some of that inside you. Their terrace out front is an excellent place to enjoy a few pints and soak up some much-needed Vitamin D.
Beatnikz Republic Bar, 35 Dale Street, Manchester, M1 2HF
Northern Monk Refectory
Just a short way up from Beatnikz on Dale Street you’ll find the excellent Northern Monk Refectory – a boozer serving up an impressive choice of freshly brewed ales and beers. You can get yourself a pint of a rather impressive new beer from local artist LeiMai LeMaow, a collaboration with Mash Gang and one that tastes just like the fizzy sweets you ate as a kid. There’s loads more on offer too – all of which are perfect sat out front on the street with your mates.
Northern Monk Refectory, 10 Tariff St, Manchester M1 2FF
Port Street Beer House
I don’t think any beer-based trek around the city would be complete without a visit to this Port Street institution. They’ve won pretty much every single award under the sun, except perhaps an Oscar and the Gold Swimming Badge that to this day is still unclaimed by anyone in Britain. You know the score in here – you’re going to get a long list of beers and ales to choose from, it’s going to take you 20 minutes to decide, you get a beer, enjoy it and then go back to consulting the list for another 20 minutes. What they have is always changing so I’m not going to outdate this article by listing them. Just check their website.
Port Street Beer House, 39-41 Port St, Manchester M1 2EQ
0161 237 9949
Cruise yourself on up to Ancoats now…
Seven Brothers Beerhouse
With a brewery all the way over in bloody Salford or something, it makes perfect sense for Seven Brothers to set up a taproom somewhere in the city centre. Whichever one of the seven made that decision deserves a bit of a raise. Or perhaps a cheeky little bonus. If that same brother is also responsible for deciding to plonk themselves in Cutting Room Square as well – make them your CEO because that was a genius move. The taproom is open pretty much all the time – pop in and enjoy some hoppy goodness from the brothers, as well as some gin from the sisters too if that’s your tipple.
Seven Brothers Beerhouse, The Ice Plant, 39 Blossom St, Manchester M4 5AF
0161 228 2404
From here walk down Great Ancoats Street towards Victoria Station. Once you’re just past NOMA, take a right where the old Ducie Bridge pub used to be and head towards Angel Meadow…
The Runaway Brewery
Right around the back of Angel Meadow, Runaway Brewery open up their tap room every Friday and Saturday for beers and a giggle – where you can tuck into some of their fantastic tilts straight from the source. I’m a big fan of their American Brown Ale but they also do a cracking range of IPAs and Pale Ales. They’ve got together with Honest Crust Pizza – so you can enjoy cheesy carbs with your pint of carbs out in the sun/drizzle. Booking is recommended although they do accept walk-ins.
The Runaway Brewery, Unit 4 Millgate, Dantzic Street, Manchester M4 4JW
0161 832 2628
The Marble Arch
Unfortunately the brilliant Marble Arch won’t be opening until 17th May, but if you do want to visit the actual Marble Beers, get on the tram to Salford Quays and enjoy their stunning terrace complete with a brand new pizza oven.
Marble Taproom, 7 Boston Court, Kansas Ave, Salford M50 2GN
0161 832 5914