Feb 17 2013
Midweek Beer in the Northern Quarter
Sub zero in Manchester. What kind of fool would want to travel to Manchester for a pint in such cold? You guessed it!
Stepping into The Marble Arch on Rochdale Road, you stand for a moment to drink in all of the original features of this unique pub. The glazed tile walls, Victorian fireplace, lovely ornate bar, the ‘ski slope’ descent to the bar! (It takes some believing!)
(A grand entrance!)
My intention was to drink just Manchester area beers, but that died on my breath as there was a beer waiting for me from Hand Drawn Monkey in Huddersfield! So, that was that!
Pale Ale Experiment #2, (the said beer) is a 4% abv pale refreshing and lightly bitter ale. Moving onto the ‘Dark Side’, I had to try the Marble Brewery Stouter Stout and revel in its satanic blackness! Dry, creamy and earthy, with some gentle charred coffee bitterness. Mmmmm…..
I do like a little stroll, so, wandering down Rochdale Road, past the site of the former Pot of Beer (an old friend!) we approached The Angel.
Somewhat overlooked by the huge new Co-Op HQ, The pub has a restaurant upstairs with a good reputation and the pub itself has had a few rebirths over the years, but is now settled as a free-house
Always guaranteed an eclectic selection in here. Open plan in an L shape with the bar on the left, the room has a peculiar (and unique, for Manchester) feature. A baby grand piano!
Quite quiet in here with some nice background music, I settled down to a nice pint of Culloden Stout from BrewHouse Brewery at 5.6% abv. Dry, slightly bitter with a hint of vanilla. The pub has around 7 beers on at any one time and frequently has some hard to find gems.
Moving on, we crossed over Rochdale Rd and popped into The Smithfield on Swan St, another pub with an unusual feature for the city centre, a pool table!
Another open plan pub, this has a small square mezzanine with some ‘shabby chic’ comfy chairs (VERY comfy!) and has an arrangement of comfy chairs located at the end around the large screen TV (for Sports). This has the feel (and clientele) of a true ‘local’ pub and is very friendly.
The usual good selection of beers on show, I opted for a beer from Bury, namely Deeply Vale ‘Still Walking’ bitter. 3.8% abv, a nicely balanced beer with lots of flavour and a clean dry finish.
Bar Fringe up next, as eclectic as you want it to be! There is always a decorative surprise in here (as well as a decent beer or two!) The Mezzanine Motorbike being a personal favourite!
(Eclectic Decoration – Fringe Style!)
A nice pale and hoppy Frost Giant from Sadlers Brewery in the West Midlands at 3.8%abv was the choice in here. I do like friendly bar staff, and the gravelly voice bloke behind the pumps certainly was that! Normally 2 or 3 ales on in here, with a large array of draught Belgian and German beers.
On this bitterly cold night, the next walk was short, across Oldham Road to The Crown & Kettle.
A beautiful building inside & out. High ceilings and ornate details. 3 distinct rooms in here, a main room, small off room and a snug to the rear. Some nice classical prints on the walls. My preference is for the small room just off the bar area with a nice coal-effect fire.
Now warming up, I enjoyed a Peerless Brewery Hop Nob at 3.8% abv a pale, quite malty beer with some subtly flavoursome hops in there. Some soft soul music in the background, nice!
Finally, The Castle on Oldham Street. The only pub I’ve ever been refused service – a LONG time ago – by an old misery landlord! Times have changed! This pub is an old friend and has undergone a transformation in the last two years. The large rear room is now a performance space and the upstairs has been opened up into another public room.
The pub has a large selection of Robinson’s beers and some interesting guests. Tonight, I had a Lurcher Stout at 4.8% by Green Jack Brewery from Lowestoft. Smooth, creamy and lush! Chocolate flavours from the dark roasted malt and subtly smoky. And more friendly bar staff! A nice end to the evening.
Now then, where did I park that bus?
‘Til next time.