The Cream Of Manchester Part 1: Port Street Beer House, Northern Quarter
The English are terribly competitive when it comes to their cities. Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle and Birmingham would all love to be considered England’s second city, but certainly in cultural terms Manchester swaggers to the front of the queue wearing a zipped up parka, nods at the bouncer and gets in before the rest of us.
A trip to Manchester has been a treat for the beer geek for a number of years. A wander up the Rochdale Road to The Angel and The Marble Arch is far from picturesque but more than made up for by the hoppy delights within. Now there’s another destination in the Northern Quarter, Port Street Beer House.
The pub itself has a spare sophisticated cafe vibe with uncluttered dark green walls and a strongly designed theme and logos, which carry through from the menus to the glassware to the art. Appropriate music at a reasonable volume adds to the atmosphere whilst you peruse the excellent beer menu and pump clips.
Following my trip to The Rake a couple of weeks ago and the recommendation of Mr Jonathan Queally and others, I was excited to see Kernel S.C.C.A.N.S. IPA in the bottle fridge. This was a fantastic beer: a brilliant, searingly crisp fresh tropical fruit smell carried through into a lovely fresh taste, a mouthfeel which felt far less than 6.8%, and a lovely bitter finish. Kate had a bottle of Kernel Citra, which I had raved about previously, and I think the S.C.C.A.N.S. is even better.
We also tried three thirds of the cask beers. Leadmill Niagara had a bready, malty smell, a nice mouthfeel with a subtle toasted malt taste. There was then a slightly sour raspberry bitterness on the swallow. Prospect Hop Vine Bitter had no hop smell, a creamy bland sort of taste and a bitterness on the aftertaste that required some searching out. Hardknott Interstellar Matter had a rich coffee roasted smell and a nice roasted, slightly musty taste that made for a very good dark mild.
I also tried a Caldera Pale Ale, a 5.5% canned US import. This wasn’t as huge as the Caldera IPA I’d previously had, but was a lovely beer to drink, with good citrus bitterness.
We only popped in for an hour or so on a Saturday afternoon, but for me the Port Street Beer House is definitely worth a special visit, especially given the opportunity to combine it with The Angel and The Marble Arch.
However, I did note one glaring omission from Port Street’s comprehensive beer menu: Marble beers. It seemed odd to me that such a great menu would include beers from such gems of the UK craft beer scene as Kernel, Thornbridge, Hardknott and Brewdog yet ignore the jewel in Manchester’s brewing crown. I wonder whether this absence resulted from the competition between the two pubs.
For a better review of Port Street Beer House, please read this entry from Called To The Bar.