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Atmosphere: BrewDog Manchester

It should come as no surprise to anyone who regularly reads this blog (hi, you two) that one of my favourite pubs is Mr Foley’s in Leeds.  As I’ve mentioned before, the careful selection of interesting cask, keg and bottled beers that makes Mr Foley’s what it is, has until now been down to the manager Dean Pugh.

In a trans-Pennine transfer, Dean has now moved on to manage the newly-opened BrewDog Manchester, becoming @BrewDogBarDean in the process.  A few of us went to see the new bar at 35 Peter Street on Saturday.

I was impressed.  If you’ve been to one of the other BrewDog bars (I’ve visited Glasgow and Edinburgh) you’ll know what to expect: an interesting range of keg beers, no cask beers, an excellent selection of imported bottles, good music and a stylish slightly industrial decor using reclaimed materials.  Manchester is over two floors, and I think it’s probably one of the biggest of the bars.

Kate and I enjoyed a few great beers.  On keg we had:

BrewDog Dead Pony Club, the rew 3.8% session ale, which had a lot of fruit flavour with a significant amount of grapeskin;

BrewDog Dogma, a pleasantly sweet dark honeyed Scotch ale; and

Mikkeller 19, a deliciously sweet and complex IPA using 19 single-hopped beers (and a successor to Mikkeller 10).

The bottles we enjoyed were:

Mikkeller Belgian Tripel, a pleasant example of the style brewed with coriander and orange peel;

Mikkeller Single Hop Citra, a single-hopped beer that Kate found enjoyable in its own right (rather than just a tutorial on the characteristics of the hop);

Port Brewing Mongo, a big, citrus-fresh Californian double IPA; and

BrewDog Anarchist Alchemist, the new 14% “triple IPA”, which tastes like Hardcore IPA with a bit more barley wine character, but not so much as to be overpowering.

With all those strong beers, it’s a good job that there’s some food on offer, and the burger and pizza menu (three of each) designed by Masterchef winner and occassional BrewDog collaborator Tim Anderson, is very tempting.  I tried a slice of a tasty veggie pizza with breaded aubergine and had a Milwaukee burger: an excellent pork burger with pickles and sauerkraut.

Manchester is already well-served with great pubs, from the Marble Arch to Port Street Beer House.  But if I were a Mancunian I would be very happy to welcome BrewDog to the city: a nice place to spend an afternoon with some great beers and good company.

Following the visit, I’m pinning my hopes on the BrewDog Leeds licence application being successful.  The recent AGM presentation suggests that, if it the licence is granted, BrewDog Leeds will open in September 2012.

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