“He was a wise man who invented beer” Plato
Well we know this chap talked some sense in his day.
So BrewDog has arrived in Manchester. I say that like I’ve been waiting for it for years. Like I’m some sort of rabid fan who has been foaming at the mouth in anticipation of said arrival.
Truth be told, they are a fairly new invasion of my consciousness. Not to say that I hadn’t been aware of them – just not as aware as I now wish I had been.
Now yours truly is partial to a beer or two of a weekend. At this point I’ll hold my hands up – sometimes an ice-cold lager is just the ticket, but lets not get confused here, lager and beer are not the same thing. My dad and his two pals (The Three Wise Men) have often, down the years, taken trips around Manchester to sample some of the real ales and beers on offer and while I have never accompanied them on their excursions the conversations and the bottles they have acquired have always given me an interest in real beers.
So along I went with a healthy interest in what might be on offer from this new face (well relatively) on the beer scene. Well if they could make it all the way from Fraserburgh, I was pretty sure I could make it in to town!!
After a greeting from Bruce we were treated to some samples of the BrewDog Brand including the core brand Punk, Riptide and a wonderfully dark, rich almost after-dinner coffee of a beer called Dog 8. All had unique characteristics and I enjoyed some more than others but what was most notable was the fact that they did actually have proper flavour. Proper tastes. Max talked us through each beer with enthusiasm and knowledge, in fact displaying the kind of enthusiasm that you just don’t get with lager. Afterall – once it’s served ice cold it has to be said that is all much of a muchness.
There was something that struck me about the availability of Punk in cans. Festivals, camping warm lager. Eurgh. Festivals, camping real beer in cans. Lovely.
My own personal favourite of the beers I tried (and I did try a few in the pursuit of fairness) was Dead Pony Club. Now we did ask Max where the names came from – he couldn’t give an answer. Name aside the Dead Pony Club is described as a sessional beer and at a mere 3.8% ABV but with masses of hoppy and fruity taste it is definitely one I could drink a few of. In one sitting. Often.
The place itself is a nice big open space with exposed beams and a slightly industrial feel. This leads to a great communal vibe where people mix with others they don’t know, think Wagamama or Tampopo but for beer. The partial mezzanine floor would be great to sit with friends for a birthday if it were possible to reserve, although I don’t know if this is the idea.
The tagline for BrewDog is “Beer for Punks”. An in your face contradictory stance to the mass-produced lagers and beers that we have all drunk. They are the self-proclaimed “Doctors” to the beer industry. Now bear this in mind as I recall something I overheard in the gents “I’m not sure why they are this part of town. Much more suited to the Northern Quarter.” said the bloke. And it is true that BrewDog had originally intended to pitch up in the NQ. However that is exactly where they would be expected to be. That is exactly where people who would already be fans would go. If you’re gonna get Punk then get up in the face of the masses. Dare to be different where people can see you. Don’t hide away where it’s safe. And for this reason I am very glad they have ended up in this location.
Opposite the site where people gathered to try to better their world. Where Bob Dylan sparked controversy over his perceived betrayal of his folk roots and where the Sex Pistols played a legendary gig to just 40 people allegedly kicking off the Punk movement.
Nae lads – I think you’re in the right place.
Wisdom comes in many forms – I’ll take mine by the pint.
Responsibly of course.