I apologise for my recent absence, I really do. I don’t quite know what happened over the New Year I was going to write a happy new year blog but in the end it was a fairly calm night with only a few nice ales (Bank’s Bitter from the bottle 99p in aldi, Everard’s Tiger and Timothy Taylor’s Landlord from the pub) plus some Jagerbombs which were very nice but not exactly blog worthy in my opinion. Though I did venture up to Derbyshire to ring in the new year so that was quite nice.
The Bull’s Head in Tintwistle is my friend Dan’s local and has to be one of the oldest pubs I regularly go in. They even gave us free pie just before midnight, the Landlord was very friendly and the pub was great. All in all pleasant but not that exciting.
A week later I met Dave of Sheffield fame in the Bull’s Head in Manchester from my previous post (https://drinkingaloud.wordpress.com/2013/01/01/a-drink-in-the-afternoon/) at about 3pm for ‘a couple of pints’. Let me say this now, if someone says only for a few pints it never happens, never. We had a pint of Sunbeam and a catch up talking of all things drinking.
We moved on to fresh territory after that because the Bull’s Head is great but we’ve all been there and a session in there depletes the beer tokens very quickly. We all know how much I like it in there so I’ll skip ahead to uncharted territory.
The next stop was the Waldorf which is just up the road past the train station opposite Piccadilly station approach. I don’t go in very often but I’m not sure why not. The beer is good and the Bar staff are friendly. I think one of the problems is that it has little or no atmosphere if it isn’t busy.
They had plenty of hand-pumps serving Acorn and Timothy Taylor beers. Yay. I had Acorn’s Blonde because I don’t think I’ve had it before and it looked the lightest on the bar. It was very nice had a bit thin texture. It tasted great though and went down quickly and was only around £3 if memory serves me correctly, which it might not be as I’ve had a fair few drinks since as well.
This was round the time Billy arrived. The slow accumulation of people through the day is always a bad/good sign for what is supposed to be only a couple of pints. It was dead in the Waldorf but I think it gets busier later on. We decided to ditch and to move on again because we were getting hungry. Cheap is the name of the game when you’re building up to what looks to be a session. So we headed to Wetherspoons.
I think a few people may have clicked off to another page because, for some reason, they don’t like Wetherspoons. I have to say I think it’s great, the beer is cheap and there’s a wide range. I think it gets a lot of bad press because it’s cheap and there are admittedly a few dodgy ones however, you can’t argue with the beer. They train their landlords well and the beer is always excellent also the selection is always good.they were all the same I know it’s a franchise and lord help us if You could probably argue with the food if you wanted to but not for the price. I’m with ‘spoons all the way. So anyway I had a pint of Buckeye by Roosters Brewery. I have to admit that from here on in my picture taking failed me partly because of busy bars plus the battery on my phone was low and the flash wouldn’t work. I hate my phone.
As you can see on the picture it describes itself as a session beer and I think I was blinded sided. I’ve never had Roosters before but I’m won over, it was very good and they were right about it being a session beer. It’s pale, tastes light, it’s not too strong and it was only £2 which is one of the cheapest pints in Manchester. I wish I could have had more with my burger but alas back to the grind and the ever lengthening pub trail.
It was at this point I mentioned in passing The Gaslamp pub in comparison to The Temple because they are subterranean tiled and quite cosy in winter time. Dave had never been and if there’s something we can’t have it’s a lack of adventurous spirit so to the Gaslamp we headed.
The Gaslamp is just a doorway on Bridge Street which is easily overlooked. It opened around 2010 and for a while I put off going in because frankly descending into a tiled bar with no windows. I braved it eventually though and it was worth it. The Gaslamp is in the kitchens of an old childrens street mission and apart from the Temple located in some ex-public toilets has to be one of the strangest places to have a drink. There are pictures of the children on one of the walls.
There’s another room about the same size as well so it’s much bigger than you might think from the door. The staff are always great. There are a range of bottles behind the bar and 2 real ale pumps, though be warned none of these are cheap. Dave payed over £4 for a pint of Brooklyn beer which he liked very much. I’m more of a fan of Brooklyn when it’s bottled, in a pint it’s a bit to stodgy somehow and it tastes more like a dark larger to me so a good compromise if there are no lagers you fancy.
I had a pint of Beginners Luck by the Blackjack Brewery who I’ve just googled because I’ve seen a few of their beers recently but before that I’ve never seen anything of them.
Apparently they are a new Manchester Micro- Brewery based in the Northern Quarter. Here’s their website (http://www.blackjackbeersltd.co.uk/home) however there won’t be any pictures because they haven’t put any up and I didn’t take one, more fool me. The hand-pump looks like a playing card and says blackjack brewery on it so it’s hard to miss. It was nice though deceptively heavy for its colour but I liked it very much, enough to try another one of their beers a few days later. The Gaslamp is expensive though, it was £3.50 a pint but I think it’s another pub where you pay for your surroundings. I like it in there but my wallet doesn’t. The only other beer on was very strong as well so it seemed like a good time to go to a pub I’ve been meaning to take people for a while. It’s a bit further out of the city centre and into Salford further up Chapel Street. It’s not quite far enough into Salford to be on the part marked ‘here be monsters’ but it’s far enough out that you don’t get the scenester hipster guys pretending to like ale because it makes the skinny jeans look a little less feminine.
The New Oxford was a regular haunt for me when I was at university because it had lots of real ale, bottled beers and a beer bible. If you like beer you’ll love it, they have lots of European beers, have a look at the bar.
There’s a bar on the other side as well with more beers and a few ciders as well. The pumps you can see in the foreground are fruit beers, ciders and some really nice lagers. Veltins is my favourite lager and it’s started to be in more pubs, it’s really nice. I had though a Leeds Best from the Leeds Brewery for the average cost of a pint of ale in the New Oxford £2.90.
It was a nice light beer nothing special but OK none the less a standard drinker. I preferred the beers I’d had earlier. I drank that fairly quickly as I’d sunk deeper into my drinking state. I felt like a change from the regular ales so I had a half pint of Fruli Strawberry beer.
It’s not as sweet as you think it’s going to be but you couldn’t have a pint of it. It’s quite refreshing and a nice break from hoppy beer. It’s worth trying though it’s around £3 a half, I think it’s worth it though you’d pay far more for it in the Northern Quarter or further into Manchester. The guys at the New Oxford know how to keep it as well which can’t be promised by the indie bars. Try some anyway.
I’m not even going to pretend I remember drinking this there’s only this picture mysteriously in my phone and that’s definitely the New Oxford’s Bar so I can only assume I drank it but I have no idea what it was like. I’m going to go with it was nice or I would have remembered it. Dave had wheat beer which really doesn’t agree with me, I like the taste but the after effects aren’t worth it. There really is a mine of great stuff to try in there and it’s not to expensive for what you get either.
While I’m trying to remember it I’ll tell you a bit more about the New Oxford. I think it’s fair to say that it’s mainly an older crown who drink in there but they’re always friendly and hospitable. The bar has two sides there is a larger room with tables and chairs at the back whereas when you walk in it’s much narrower with a few high stools and cushioned wall seats. If that looks full head round to the other side of the bar there’s always room somewhere. I still can’t remember the beer so I’m going to move on. We were at a point where we were debating where to go next. I suggested the Salford Arms which is just down the road and under new management so there are new beers to try where before there was only lager. Dave’s mate had joined us in the mean time and they were planning to head to a club, possibly 5th avenue later on. It was agreed then we would head further into town to The Temple at the top of Oxford Road.
The Temple is tiny, only has lagers on tap but you will not find a better drinking hole on Oxford road. It’s size gives it an intimacy and you can make friends on the next tables easily. We stood at the bar for a while waiting for a space to open up but it’s not usually long before you can sit down. The second we sat down the lady next to me told me there were 4 free songs left on the jukebox from her turn. The jukebox is really good but the music isn’t too loud. I had a bottle of Coniston Bluebird.
It has a proper bitter taste but it goes down very easily. at £3.40 it isn’t cheap but space is a premium in there. It’s good to start on but if you’ve been on a sweeter beer it can be quite jarring to move on to. The atmosphere in the place is always friendly and everyone I’ve taken in there has loved it. I have to say though the toilets are pretty rough. You can get Tuborg on tap if you don’t fancy a bottle which I think Billy had. I try not to mix lager and ales though because it gives me a horrendous hangover. Dave had more wheat beer in the shape of bottled Bluemoon, again, I like wheat beer but it doesn’t like me and mixing at this stage in the game is never good.
I’m not sure if we had one or two in there. We left after that they headed down Oxford road going to Footage. it’s along way from my flat and they only have lager, plus my wallet was empty so I decided against it. It later turned out they didn’t make it gave up and got on the bus. Billy had to get off later though because he was dry heaving and if there’s a moral to this story it’s don’t mix your drinks.
I got home at around 1am having started drinking at 3pm this is the kind of thing that happens when you go out for only ‘a couple of pints.’