Bottled Beers – December 2014 – Pt 1 (of 1 !)

“Say you’ll never leave me again, Say you’ll never deceive me again,

Say you’ll never hurt no other one but me”

(“Say You” by Colourbox – Clip via Diana McNally on You Tube)

From September 1976 to May 1981, I went to a Grammar School called St Peters in Prestwich. For those who live in the area but are unfamiliar with the name, it is now called St Monica’s. This may initially seem irrelevant, but bear with me.

Like many kids of that or any other age, I was tempted (on occasion) to “wag it”, or “bunk off”. In English, play truant. On most occasions, this would involve climbing over the wall and running through the nunnery next door, then catching the 63 or 35 buses from outside the Woodthorpe pub into Manchester. On one occasion though, we headed the other way into Bury , where  – on one occasion – my accomplice led me to a record shop called Vibes. This shop changed my world. Forever.

I have always had a love of music and as anyone who has ever perused my sizable collection of (mostly 80s) 12″ singles will attest, 80% of them came from this fabulous record shop. Why?

Vibes was a “chart shop”. That is, it was one of a select band of record shop that had a terminal that enabled the company that compiled the “Top 40” to assess sales and produce that famous Sunday “Countdown” where families would gather around the radiogram to find out what was “Pick of the Pops”. Having that terminal, meant that Vibes was targeted by record label PRs and provided with “limited edition” versions of singles that would sell quickly to help boost a song’s chance of entering the all important Top 40. 12″ singles – at that time – were a promotional tool (frequently, but not always, a remixed version) produced to help boost the chances of getting into the chart.

I say “not always” because there were some seriously WEIRD ideas used on 12″ singles. My particular favourite being the “double grooved” 12″ single for “Pop Music” by “M” (reached #2 in 1979) which meant that you had a 50% chance of hearing the track you wanted as both A & B side were interwoven on the disc grooves!

I bought “Say You” as a 12″ single in April 1984. It cost me 35p. Vibes used to viciously discount singles once they dropped away from chart contention. The 12″ singles (originally priced at 99p or more) would drop to either 25p, 35p or 50p. I possess hundreds of the bloody things and they still have their Vibes stickers on! Vibes was where I spent my “spends” and, when I first started work in 1984, where I would spend what was left of my wages (after Mum & Beer took the rest!). It was a simply fabulous and magical music shop. Sadly gone, a “victim” of changing consumption habits in the age of MP3 and streaming. When I saw it was shut and gone, I shed a tear.

“Say You” never really caught me in its original 7″ version, but this remix gets me in the heart Every. Single. Time. I. Play. It.     Yes, it’s a cover version (of a track by Reggae superstar U-Roy), but it just has that certain “something” that puts it in my all-time Top 20. Call it “soul” if you will, but whatever it is, it works for me.

Just for interest. Colourbox effectively ceased in 1987. Martin & Steven Young, brothers and main members recorded one more single in 1987. It was called “Pump Up The Volume” as the M and the S in M/A/R/R/S. The rest as they say…..



1. EPA (English Pale Ale) – Seven Bro7hers Brewery (Salford) – 4.8% abv – Pale Ale – £2.60 (330ml) – Great Ale Year Round (Bolton Market)

A crystal clear deep golden almost amber coloured beer with a lasting white head and an enticing aroma full of sticky orange marmalade – made me feel all Paddington like!
Yup. There it is…. Orange marmalade. Quite full-bodied for the strength, Smooth too. A full fruity mouthful with that Orangey stuff and a little something tropical, peach maybe on a deep biscuity base. A nice bitter bite at the swallow too.
Nice and easy drinking this. Fruity as you’d like it, nice bitterness and a healthy dollop  of dry slightly resinous pine in the aftertaste – just right. Not entirely convinced it is solely English hopped, but what it most certainly is, is another nice beer from the McAvoy brothers!
Prescott Pale Ale
2. Prescott Pale Ale (Nelson Sauvin) – Five Oh Brew Co (Prestwich) – 5.5% abv – Pale Ale – (330ml) – Direct from the Brewer
Named after the Hopcraft Meister Mr Gazza Prescott, this is an amber coloured beer with a light white fluffy head and that typical flinty and tart gooseberry laden aroma that only Nelson Sauvin can bring.

Full-bodied and smooth textured, with an initial hob nob biscuity  sweetness, this mouthful quickly submits to the bitterness and tartness of the gooseberry fruit sharpness of this great hop. Like a Maori forward line doing a haka on your tongue, this dance of flavour terminates quickly as the tongue curls up with the dry finish!

Dry, sharp and very fruity. Even slightly warming. This is a beautiful beer. Another triumph from Prestwich. Jamie will need to be expanding again with beers of this quality coming out from his brew plant!

3. Off Kilter PorterOffbeat Brewery (Crewe) – 4.2%abv – Porter – £3 (500ml) – Great Ale Year Round (Bolton Market)
Black beer with a cream coloured head and a very chocolaty aroma.Thias is medium-bodied and very smooth.
First sip reveals a smooth chocolate flavour, slightly sweet, which gradually slides to reveal a light smoky character with a gentle bitterness.
Beautifully smooth, further mouthfuls have more chocolate but the bitterness builds slightly along with a growing coffee note leading to a nice dry finish. Another lovely, dark, roasted beer from Crewe.
4. SK3Quantum Brewing Co (Stockport) – 6.3% abv – Pale Ale? – 330ml – Direct from the brewery (almost)
Sometimes, I’m just lucky. It’s a thing about being in that proverbial place. The right one. At the right time. The time and place were at The Magnet in Stockport, resting my aching muscles (yes, I think I have some!) following mashing that mighty Imperial Buckwheat Stout that will be first on my dance card at Manchester Beer & Cider Festival next month (its first appearance). Euan responded to the fact that I had never had this beer by producing one from his magic bag. I was impressed!
A collaboration with Colin Stronge, now of Buxton Brewery. A deep amber coloured beer with a white head giving a light tropical fruit aroma with peach and kiwi.Full-bodied and dangerously smooth, this fruity devil packs a warming punch with lashings of tropical fruit partying in the mouth, dancing with the chewy malt and two-timing the malt with a Saison like spicy yeast note, twinkle toed & gently peppery.Second mouthful brought more of the fruit like a Carmen Miranda headdress, but with a balancing dryness and very low bitterness making the beer feel simultaneously refreshing yet sustaining. Certainly not one to bolt down!
Thanks Euan!
5. Prestwich PaleBeer Nouveau (Prestwich) – 3.9%abv – Pale Ale – £2.50 (330ml) Barbeerian (Whitefield)
I simply ADORE this label. That beautiful statuesque image blending into the chalice like glass. Lovely.
A deep golden almost copper coloured beer with a lasting white foamy head and a noise fruity with marmalade and caramel toffee. Like an orange Toffo (remember them?)A good medium bodied beer (considering the abv) with more of that gentle orange fruitiness on a good digestive biscuity malt underlay with a touch of crystal malt giving a touch of sweetness in that biscuit. Good lively carbonation giving it a little zing with a slight spicy tone allied to a lovely almost creamy texture.This has the bitterness well toned down which adds to the sheer easy drinking experience. This is a lovely sessionable Pale Ale with UK and European hops. Nice work!
6. Deer HunterBlack Jack Beers (Manchester) – 5.4%abv – Coffee Saison – £? (500ml) — Barbeerian (Prestwich)
Warning – Beergasm Alert!
Very pale and hazy with a thin white head and a distinctive light coffee aroma (smells “cold brewed”) very appetising – I’m drooling actually!
Er… WOW! Made in collaboration with North Tea Power and IndyManBrewHouse, I’d heard some rave reviews about this beer, but WOW! It’s got a bit of everything in this.
The first thing I got on the tongue was pineapple and orange zest. Then a distinct dry Americano coffee allied to the spice and peppery dry hit of the Saison yeast.
Bloody hell is this good! Quite light bodied and refreshing in a way that I never thought a coffee beer could be, this finishes really dry and with a  peppery hint remaining from the swallow. Beautiful. Beergasm material! Was this at IndyMan? If so, I’m gutted I missed it! Can I amend my #GoldenPints? NO? Oh bollocks!!!
On that note….’Til next time….
Slainte & Have a very merry Wotsit and a happy Doo-Dah!