As I live in Madrid, sometimes it’s hard not to be frustrated when every single terrace only serves Mahou or Estrella. What’s even worse is that, having been quarantined for almost ten weeks now, I’d love nothing more than a frothy jarra of Estrella piss, if that’s all that’s available to me. Needless to say, there ain’t much of a beer scene here in Madders. One or two places have crafties, but it’s always the same. With that in mind, I’ve been craving craft beers of yore, back when I lived in the heart of Manchester. Here are some that I’m craving right now.
Beavertown – Gamma Ray
So this might be extremely well known and for good reason. And there’s no shame in being lured in by its magnificent artwork. Gamma Ray is a 5.5% American pale ale and it’s the cream of the crop. If you don’t fancy being adventurous with your beer ordering this time, just grab a Gamma Ray. I’ve drank this beer probably more than I have water. When I lived in Manchester, this was a staple of my diet. (Fun fact: an old friend tried this and, not liking it, told me it tastes like jizz. I never asked him how he knew that.)
Magic Rock – High Wire Grapefruit
Magic Rock are based in Huddersfield, very close to my home town and where I went to college, so it’s great to see such great beers coming out of the town. Their best, and one of the best beers I’ve drank, is this one right here. There are two High Wires. The OG and the Grapefruit. They both taste great, but for me, the grapefruit takes a slight edge. It’s influenced by American west coast pales and having consumed a lot of San Francisco’s finest, I can certainly vouch for this one.
Cholton Brewery – Amarillo Sour
Fun fact about this beer. It was on tap at Terrace (the best Manchester bar in the Northern Quarter.) It was Friday night, meaning it was loud and everybody was fucked up. I asked for four pints of Amarillo Sour. The bartender then disappeared for about 10 minutes. He came back carefully carrying four Amaretto Sours! I corrected him and as he poured the beers, he was about to pour the sours down the sink. I said, “woah, woah, woah. Don’t do that. I can buy them for half price.” He said he’d have to ring up to the manager. So he did. He was on the wall phone, then looked at me, shook his head, and poured them down the sink. Who even does that to alcohol?
So it turns out Chorlton Brewery is actually on hiatus. They’re moving from their cave in Manchester to mainland Europe. In Estonia. Quite a difference from Manc. They’ll be closer to their German influencers, which may improve the brewery’s experiments further. If not, they’re definitely gonna be stronger! Oh, and the beer is really good.
Camden Town Brewery – Byron Lager
Byron is a UK burger joint. They worked with Camden Town to create the perfect lager to go with their perfect hamburgers. And goddammit they pulled it off. A burger and beer is the greatest food and drink combination, and Camden and Byron pulled off perfection. There’s also a Byron IPA, which is good too, but if we’re talking burgers, you gotta go with lager imo.
Northern Monk – Eternal Session IPA
Eternal is a great, more of a bitter IPA, but this entry basically represents Northern Monk brewery as a whole. The team over there are so creative and working through quarantine, their new experiment that was announced just four hours ago sounds so fucking sensational. I’m so happy that these smaller brewers are making it through quarantine, and when I visit the UK every two months, I will support them by drinking as much of their beers that I can.
Cloudwater – EVERY SINGLE BEER THEY MAKE. FOREVER.
Cloudwater is the greatest brewery in the world. It constantly rotates and experiments. They might not always hit the spot, but I think being a fan is being able to acknowledge when they do wrong, not just mindlessly consume everything they do. Cloudwater once did a series of DIPAs for a full year. They released ten versions. Version 3 was the best and when they realised that feeling was unanimous, they put out a limited re-release. I’m telling you, the things I would do just to taste that beer again are shameful.