Category Archives: Pub Review of sorts

Things to do this February with Beer and Art

The People You’re Not: www.cornerhouse.org/people

Good friend and top notch artist Bren O Callaghan’s exhibition at The Cornerhouse, until Sunday 27th February is well worth a visit into the world of unfulfilled ideas presented through beautifully constructed mini theatres and stages around Gallery 1.  I think I’m right in saying Bren worked with youngsters through a series of workshops  to produce the unrealised until now proposals of Edward Barton, the eccentric Manchester poet and musician, Norman Clayture, wooden pant clad balladeer and comedian Harry Hill.  The exhibition is a sensation through seeing many depictions of memorable people in settings unusual for some (and probably not so unusual for others) and pinpointing the bits of ourselves we both are and are not.

There’s a free evening with Edward Barton Sat 12th Feb 6pm, book though.  There’s also a gallery discussion on Wed 23rd February 4-5pm, book.  Other than go for your own perusal at the drunks and delirious ramblings that The People You’re Not creates, it’s a great place to excuse the next recommended on my to do . . .

Portstreet Beer House: http://portstreetbeerhouse.co.uk/

Wohoho, not a good week to be on antibiotics with this new exceptionally good ale joint.  I could not believe the selection, true to their word craft beers are a plenty and with the amount of new comings and goings it’s going to be enough to keep the most well rounded craft beer drinker on their toes.  Brought to us by the delightful Common bunch, we have this new baby in the Northern Quarter.  On Friday when I had my first outing, I had 5am saint on draft and a bottle of one of my old time favourites Dark Star Espresso beer, though it failed to keep me from being too goosey come the amount I’d consumed in total that evening.  I will definitely be enjoying a few delights here on Saturday evening and my hope is to try the much raved about Caldera IPA, craft beer in a can, so don’t buy it all with their new card machine.

Back to Art with tonight’s sampling

Rotar at Whitworth: www.manchester.ac.uk/whitworth

Great 40 minute live piece in response to Siobhan Davies’ new dance work The Score.  Four dance artists sing, walk, move, harmonica play and shout their way through the performance.  I really enjoyed the fact that there was the continuity of four performers in translation of different artists work in quickish succession.  I really responded to the last section Songbook by Matteo Fargion, but that is to do with my own love of word play and sound manipulation.  All the pieces brought something unique and played with my concentration levels, commenting on the minds wanderings and bodies.  I only got chance for a quick squizz around the exhibitions, but I will go back as they are there till 13Th March, I was struck by The Babel Flower and would like to spend more time with the pieces.  Great performance, the live show is only till Sunday and if you go smile when you make out the word plums in Songbook, I did as I had them in my bag.

To Beer of the home variety

The Bottle Stop, Bramhall Acre Lane:

Should have blogged about this place way sooner, and I will do in more detail at some point when I don’t want to listen to Front row  where Bren and Harry Hill discuss the realisation of the idea bought for £50. The Bottle Stops exceptional both in being well priced and well stocked, especially in Continental, Marble, Bollington beers and loads of amazing wines.  I had a lovely Shiraz for less than £8, so probably £7.99 called Dignite, which we had at Christmas number 2 bought on Christmas day, which they were open for!  Also they do changing cask ale to take home, we bought 3 pints of Dinner Ale by Bollington Brewery, which we had with Christmas dinner 1.  It is well worth a visit even if you live 50 miles away. Taras Boulba.

Quantum Brewing Company: twitter.com/quantumbc

Last but not in any means least the exceptional Burnt Amber IPA by the newly formed Quantum Brewing Co, absolutely amazing.  It tasted chocolaty with no use of chocolate malt, it is a new formed favourite, thanks Mister JK can’t wait for the next release.

 


BrewDog and Beer Evolution 2011

Having bought Nanny State BrewDog’s 0.5% (I think a Swedish import) and sampling it for the first time last night, it seems in fitting to blog about BrewDog’s plans for 2011. 

With BrewDog’s Turnover up from £1.7m in 2009 to £3.6m+ in 2010, 2011 sees the launch of limited edition beers in the first 5 months of this year.

Alpha Dog

Launched on 1st January (yet to find and try)

A cask only 3.8% beer. A spin on the ESB style combining Scottish malts and bucket loads of US hops.

I Hardcore You

Launches 25th January

A 9.5% Imperial India Pale Ale, a blend of BrewDog’s Hardcore IPA and Mikkeller’s I Beat You. After the blending, the beer was then dryhopped a further twice. Available in 330ml bottles and kegs.

 29th January – launches a 4 pack of single hop IPAs. Using the same base 7.5% beer, IPA is Dead showcases BrewDogs 4 favourite hops from 4 corners of the planet. Available in 4 packs and kegs.

Alice Porter

Launches 1st February

Alice Porter is a 6.2% sacred union of one 300-year old recipe and two cross continental hop varieties. Described as a delicate mirage of chocolate, red fruit and burnt sugar. Available in bottle, keg and cask.

AB:05

Launches 16th February

The latest instalment in BrewDog’s conceptual beer series. Details yet to be released.

Dog A

Launches 27th March

A new 15.1% Imperial Stout with a BrewDog twist!

Launches in April

Bitch Please

A  Rock ‘n Roll collaboration with Three Floyds. The beer is a 10% barley wine with New Zealand Hops, Shortbread, Scottish Highland Toffee and  some peated malt from Islay. Available in bottle and keg.

Paradox Jura

A new edition to the Paradox series. A 13% Imperial Stout aged in Jura single malt whiskycasks. Available in bottle and keg.

Launches in May

Dark Tokyo Horizon

A beer brewed with from Mikkeller and Nogne O. The beer is a fusion of the 3 brewery’s respective big stouts, Black, Dark Horizon and Tokyo*. Available in bottle.

AB:06

The 6th instalment in BrewDog’s conceptual beer series. Details yet to be released.

So BrewDog are set to keep the marker in craft beer evolutionary.  The market for ale that does something different, that is an experience as opposed to a dull level of numb taste buds, is something that is in continual growth. Though there still continues to not be enough of beer that does that extra bit of work, especially at gig venues and theatres, and there are still a lack of pubs that are prepared to take a chance and maybe make the beer drinker think twice before he/she orders a Stella or Bud. 

For changing the beer you drink is a reflection on your philosophy of life, a commentary suggestive that you are open to experience and taking a chance.  With this in mind it will be interesting to see how 2011 pans out in the brewing industry.  I have a special interest on BrewDog and a personal interest on Quantum Brewing Company that is being set up by Jay Krause a great friend and awesomely refined craft beer drinker and master brewer.  2011 looks set to be good for the changing.

PS Nanny State was good, but it lacked that certain, which is an easy guess reflected in the ABV.


Food and Drinks Berlin

Although the guide books I had been reading did not credit the traditional Berlin cuisine as being anymore sophisticated than ‘Pig and Stodge,’ Berlin offers so much in the way of adventurous, hearty and affordable food. 

There are many multinational restaurants. We visited Thai, Japanese, Indian and Greek as well as traditional  ‘lokal’ fare.  The areas we found best to explore were anywhere away from the centre, but not too far that it became slum-like.  Kreuzberg, Prenzlauer Berg and just off the side streets of Mitte, avoiding where the prostitutes trawl, there are excellent places to dine and sup.  Although my favourite area to explore had to be, where we stayed, in Fredrichshain.  We found the staff, quality, wealth of places and prices made Fredrichshain a great area to trawl.  Here are some places I liked and remembered.

Fredrichshain

Bariton Cafe Bar Restaurant, Weserstr. 23 – nice bar, cool innards and has cocktails for  €3.50 at happy hour, though I stuck to Augustiner.  Here’s their facebook link  http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=47253738116&v=wall#!/group.php?gid=47253738116&v=info

  

 Hirsch Bar, Kopernikusstraße – reviewed in Ex-Berliner as a gastro pub, this was a lovely addition to our stay.  The bar opened earlier in 2010, and is extremely accommodating and lovely inside.  The food sizes are smaller than most places in Berlin, but are excellent quality and filling.  The house pilsner was crisp and €2.50.  Here is a link to their website http://www.hirsch-friedrichshain.de/

  

 Hops & Barley, Wühlischstr 22/23 – excellent and friendly micro brewery, try their spezialbier it changes all the time, mine was fantastic and a nice change to the taste buds as I had been drinking so much pilsner.  This place even offers accommodation, it only serves bar snacks.  Here is their link http://www.hopsandbarley-berlin.de

 

  Kino Intimes, Boxhagener Straße 107 – the bar with the cinema, excellent to sit outside in the biergarten on a sunny day.  They do the biggest meals I have seen and exceptionally well priced and wholesome.  This area is full of great bars to plod onto when you’ve finished.

Kreuzberg

Eckstück,Wrangelstraße 20 this cafe only opened in August 2010 and if you like it gritty, this is the place to dine.  We were the only people in there and I did get a mobster vibe.  All that said the food was really good and cooked fresh in the kitchen that is in the bar, if you want burger and chips or massive chicken salad you could do worse, but you could also do better.  Here’s their website http://www.eckstueck.de/cms/

Cafe Taz  Presso, Rudi-Dutschke-Straße 23this place had a Manchester “Green Room” vibe, which we returned to numerous times in our stay.  The food and coffee were excellent and the price amazingly inexpensive.  The menu changed daily and for €3 for chicken kneidel soup and a baguette don’t expect to come away hungry.  One of the best coffees I had in here. http://www.taz.de/zeitung/tazcafe/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    T A I S U, Rudi – Dutschke – Str. 28 this place was sold to us by the 50% off lunch time menu, I had 12 pieces of sushi (albeit veg option) and miso soup for  €5.  It had the feel of a chain, but the lunchtime menu had good options, though annoyingly as in every chain like Wagamama they never serve your food at the same time as the person you’re with.  All I can say is that my sushi must have been rolled fresh as it took so long to get from the server to me, it was very nice though and a good place to sit back and watch the neighbourhood bustle by.  Although this was good enough there were a lot of Japanese restaurants about that may be lots better so check them out, just head to the area and see what you can unleash. http://www.sushiwok.de/

Knofi,Bergmannstr. 98 – this was a lovely little Greek deli serving 5 tapas dishes and a lot of pitta for €11.  Me and Adam purchased a bottle of €6 merlot, but stick to the house in a carafe, as the wine is poor and the corkage is €8.  This place was so charming and looking at their website it appears that there are three of them.  It was a lovely place to sit in wicker chairs and reflect on the day. http://www.knofi.de/

Phuket, Mehringdamm 67 – We visited this lovely Thai restaurant on our first time in Berlin and were tempted to go back, but we branched out to Knofi instead.   The food was well prepared with lots of lemongrass as I remember, and Adam’s massaman was true to the Thai taste.

 


 


Berlin the Return

And how the seasons have changed.  As it was here, Berlin was a snowy one, Germany was embedded in the thick white flakes.

We visited sights new and revisited others changed by winter. There were laughs, pains and very cold fingers, but hand warmers, ear muffs and gluhwein helped to stave off the most part.  I hobbled around like a limp dog, as I had injured my knee, whilst Adam proved a shoulder to lean on.

We stayed in Berlin this time for 9 nights, the memories are too many to recall and this is my recount in a whistle stop tour of the highs and low, places to visit and to avoid, and drinks to indulge and deny.

Our arrival 14/12/2010

We had a tight connection as our first plane was delayed so with 5 minutes me and Adam legged it through Munich’s terminal, it turned out we had time for a double espresso (provided free in the Lufthansa suite, as the plane was delayed.  Arrival in Berlin to snow, Warsteiner, Augustiner, and en route to the Magnet club to see Best Coast supported by Sky Larkin.

A good gig, though it made me realise I’m not that into indie pop at the minute.  We had fun though tanked up on Berliner pilsner and bopping in Germany.

15/12/2010

Our first full day and we started as we continued, cramming in the city.  This was marketing out day, as we visited too many Christmas markets.  We started out with breakfast from the Netto next door, still quality and so inexpensively priced.  Off to the Museum für Film und Fernsehen, which was a new museum for us.  As with all the exhibitions in Berlin it was a real treat, done to a quality that makes them a sensory indulgence.  We entered through a chamber of infinity, which was dozens of mirrors placed so that you went on forever, I could have stayed with my head hung upside down all day.  We then went on to be guided through the film history of Berlin, visiting the classics such as Metropolis and Wings of Desire.  We had already visited market one before this point at Potsdamer Platz, which actually turned out to be the worst one, it’s a strange place and reminds me of the feeling I get in Spinningfields, Manchester. We went on to market number two, Gendarmenmarkt, which cost one euro to enter.  We mulled up at €3.50 a pop, and sat inside to watch some sort of dancing, a little warmer we made our way to Prenzlauer Berg to get a decent beer, where Adam spotted Brew Dog fly posters in the urinals.  Next, to an Indian tea washed down with mango liqueur.  We finished our day tiddly at the Lucia Christmas markets, which by far were the most fun and set in the cool Kollwitzplatz Kultur Brauerei, which used to be an old brewery.  As the temperature collapsed me and Adam were delighted to warm our bums by sitting on a radiator with fur coats suspended overhead.  The end to a lovely -10 °C day.

16/12/2010

In search of the freebies before we purchased our 3 day museum pass, off we head back to Prenzlauer Berg.  First call of day, Americano from one of the many bistros of the area.  We visited the Prenzlauer Berg Museum about its history, which is all in German, but worth a look round for the heating and the building, again like no other you go to.  We visited the oldest water tower in Berlin, Wasserturm, and saw the post lady delivering to the flats below the tower, which is adjacent to what used be a machine hall used as the first concentration camp in Nazi Germany in the first half of 1933.  Off for a bizarre African inspired lunch at one of the many independents, at €8 for us both we couldn’t grumble.  We then went to the spectacle of Zeiss Gross Planetarium – Prenzlauer Allee, but it was shut bar the entrance, so we stayed in there until it became apparent that it was mull-o-clock.  So off we trotted via the H-bahn to Charlottenburg Christmas Markets, and that’s when it hit us that we didn’t want to see another German Christmas market again on this trip.  Fatigue kicked in and so we returned to the City Ost Hotel before recapturing our passion for the city and finding the Hausbrauerei Hops and Barley, which was in walking distance from our hotel.  It was reviewed in this month’s Ex-Berliner and was a real treat, the house special, Spezialbier was excellent and only €2.80 for 0.5L.

17/12/2010

Start of the museum pass extravaganza.  Served by the same old stroppy tourist office man as last time we bought our passes for €19 each and headed off for Berlinisches Galerie, but this time round without the yellow lettered front entrance that was instead snow filled.  I was convinced from an article in the local paper that there was an elevator bed you could pay to go on, this exhibit does not exist . . . The article was for the Soma exhibition that we viewed from the non paying side of the fence in the Hamburger Bahnhof Gallery, which contains reindeers and an elevated bed which you can pay €1000  a night to stay and trip out on reindeer urine. We found a cafe that became a highlight of the trip Taz Prezzo, and I ate a chicken noodle and kneidel soup for €3, followed by a coffee and accompanying dark chocolate bean (always a nice added touch.)  Off to Märkisches Museum, which was a new and hidden gem, as me and Adam trawled its vastness with nobody else in the building except from the suspect staff.  For dessert we finished with a trip back to the awesome Jewish Museum, mainly to see the building than revisit the exhibits.  Then for the two treats of the evening Hirsch bar, where we dined had 2 beers each and an espresso for €26, 0.5L of their own house lager is €2.50 and really good, then back to resample Hops and Barley.

18/12/2010

First new treat of the day Neue Nationalgalerie, which I hadn’t realised existed last time.  Wonderful permanent collections of 20th century art span the basement, and the new exhibit shown on ground level.  Back to Hamburger Bahnhof Gallery to peek at the reindeer from the stairs, it smelt like reindeer and looked a typical German set up, in being an excellently constructed piece.  To the Neues Museum, which blew us away in its scale and its strength in combining old and new architecture. Each and every building lends to a particular uniqueness, and that is what is so exceptional about the utilisation of form and function in this city.  For dinner we decided to sample a bizarre place called Dr.Eckstuck – Kreuzberg, again located in Ex-Berliner, but reviewed by the nurse with a short uniform, so maybe I should have guessed the sort of vibe it would have.  The boys toilets were splattered in porn and the staff looked like they were from Lock Stock, but the food was really good, we were the only people in there.  Well it was Saturday night in Berlin so we felt it our duty to find a club, and we located West Germany as recommended by Hey Manchester Chris.  Bizarrely, seen as every club in Germany doesn’t get going until 3am this one was winding up as they had a gig night on and it was the last night for them this year.  The venue is apparently owned by the brother of the guy who owns Islington Mill, so it was cool to have that connection and dance to Four Tet.  Whilst being a bit merry and thinking I was being smooth, I asked for a cocktail of what the beaker was, only to be ripped off with cheap vodka and rola cola for €4.

19/12/2010

An awesome start to the day by visiting the Helmut Newton Photography Exhibition, which was the perfect start to a Sunday and the perfect antidote to a hangover, especially as I had purchased a gluhwein for €1.50 from the pizza place across the road from our hotel  – mit schluss as well of all things!  A lovely Thai lunch of ramen and green tea before visiting the Kulturforum, which had a cool typography exhibition and many galleries to explore.  We decided on a tamer evening with a couple of beers and a Netto tea, no schluss for me as in the morning we were going on the 7.54am train to Leipzig, to visit where mine and Adam’s friend Thea was born.

20/12/2010

Leipzig, the trip I had been hoping to do, but had proved rather more expensive than anticipated at nearly €80 for a 2 way ticket, me and Adam found Interconnex, a German semi-budget website where we purchased set times at €19 each way.  We set off early, which was a fun but a confusing start to the day, which caused us to somehow succumb to Kamps coffee.  The train ride was magical as we travelled through the snowy countryside of Germany and watched as the bright orange in the sky came up.  We arrived at Leipzig Bahnhof (Europe’s largest railway station), which has 3 floor shopping mall, and garish decorations to adorn it’s beautiful construction.  We limped out to try to find the tourist info which had moved, but eventually found it and to our delight saw that everything on the map was walkable.  Our first stop was to find the Neuroorthopädisches Zentrum für Physiotherapie Leipzig to see Teddy Hurst’s art.  We found it easily and saw the pieces Thea’s husband had produced when he lost his ability to speak after suffering a stroke and art became his means of communicating.  Me and Adam were moved by the strength of his pieces, though we felt bizarre to be walking around looking at them whilst patients were in rehabilitation.  The next stop was to see the Schul Museum, where we saw the memories of Thea’s school days in a room with a reconstruction of the original school floor that was used to help Thea remember the names of her class mates.  It was a really moving place for me to visit and we went on to find the street where she had been evacuated from in the war, only to not find the house as the paving stone tribute to her father was covered under the thick snow.  For lunch with a worthy Augustiner and then to the Coffee Baum Museum.  A couple of coffees later and we headed back to the peculiar train station to purchase goods for our outbound journey.  Tired but pleased we had achieved this voyage we rewarded ourselves with drinks in a side street off Mitte, before we went in pursuit of, the no one goes there in Winter, Tacheles Gallery.  We wondered where the prostitutes that had lined the streets in summer had gone to, but as we looked with closer inspection at the furry bomber jackets and patent thigh fur boots, we realised a valuable lesson that prostitutes too feel the cold, much to our amusement we went happily to bed.

21/12/2010

This day resembled 28 days later as we started the day by visiting Stix Gallery, which is an abandoned brewery that houses a gallery.  Me and Adam crept about the dilapidated building half expecting the ceiling to crumble in and the gallery was closed.  The start of the plane worry that we might not make it home for Christmas, as Adam watched on the sleeping bundles at Heathrow airport.  I cried in to my coffee about not getting home for Christmas where as Adam the voice of reason showed me the way back and we visited the old airfield of Tempelhof Airport left as it was, but not a soul to be seen.  The Topograpie des Terrors put it all into perspective as we looked on the different levels of reality.  Another lovely Thai meal 12 pieces of sushi and miso soup for €5, Taz Presso for coffee, then to Knoblauchaus one of the few 18th century houses left in Berlin, this was a freebie and a very different space to see.  I wanted to squeeze in one more, but we thought sod it and went for an amazing Greek meal at Knofi, a bottle of red and 5 dishes for €25, we got exceptionally drunk and slept heavily.

22/12/2010

Last day of the trip and we started it well with the “WeltWissen – World Knowledge” – 300 Years of Science in Berlin exhibition, at Martin-Gropias Bau.  The wonderful periodic table exhibit and shadow play was a magnificent start to the day.  We went for another truly satisfying lunch at Taz Prezzo, whilst Adam creamed his off with an apfel and quark strudel.  We had 3 more places we wished to go Galleries Lafyette for a joke and warmth, the war memorial near Museum Island, and the Temporary KunsthalleGalleries Lafyette kept us amused for 5 minutes, the war memorial brought all the cold stinging sensations into real perspective as the statue lay their covered in snow and the Temporary Kunsthalle proved very temporary, as it no longer existed.  Our decision was made for a delightful evening of a revisit to Intimes cinema bar, which we had visited on our first evening here in Berlin last time.  The food was even bigger than we remembered and you couldn’t get bigger in our eyes.  Adam’s chicken Schnitzler and chips came with a side salad to accompany his side salad and mine came with a full filed loaf of sun-dried tomato bread, quality indeed and that was what our entire experience of Berlin was filled with.

The memories of Berlin are so many and this is just a snapshot of what I have written down, kept, and can recall.  To follow a rundown of where to go and where the places are, until then Happy New Year everyone and Happy New Year Berlin.


Vote for the microbrewery in the Arndale

DSCF2068OK, if I were to say I was taking you out for a decadent drink you may not be overly impressed to find yourself sitting in the Arndale’s food market, with the waft of fish and hyperactive kids drinking those stupid cake in a shake drinks.

But this little bar is a diamond, and deserves all the votes it can get

It serves Boggart and Brew Dog beers all for £2.50 a bottle, you can get two pints to take home, and they have ever changing guest ales voted for by it’s drinkers.

On order for a very special treat, me and Adam have purchased two bottles of Brew Dog’s Tokyo ale, which retails in at £10 a pop and knocks up 18.2%abv.   bottle

I think my favourite drink so far is Brew Dog’s Dogma, which has been described as speedball, it’s excellent, I also like the Boggart’s Rum Porter and I found the Dark Star Espresso beer bottled and available to take away from this nifty little bar.

Drinking in or taking away the landlady is a pleasure and she knows her stuff

Please try it and vote for them in the MFDF the link is http://www.foodanddrinkfestival.com/awards and it’s the macro brewery

Cheers drink responsibly, drink good beer


Silver Apples and Silver clouds

 Andy Warhol’s silver clouds

Every cloud has a silver lining.  Well no every cloud is silver for me.  This is a good thing I assure you.

Silver Apples I thought I’d give it a big up, because I have had some lovely times in this place.Silver Apples - Manchester

They serve mighty fine beers and good beer, good place + lovely boyfriend = Happy Becksie

Today was the 3rd time I’ve been in and I had 1pint of nutty black, 4 stuffed vine leaves, carrot salad with mung beans and butternut squash and rocket, yum yum. This cost me £6. This is good.

What happened to Oscar?

First time was my introduction to chocolate floris and how to fit too many people comfortably into relatively little space.

Second time was sat outside with a dog (not you Adam) who I diagnosed with cysts, and drinking I think it might have been Bruge wheat beer that tasted of orange peel and coriander.  It makes the main road seem like a really decadent place to sit.

Third time today, sat inside lovely stuff, had as mentioned above and felt nice and satisfied.  Left confused thinking that David Gray was amazing because I thought I heard the bar guy say a good song was him, but no, Davy Graham is the beautiful culprit.


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