Here are 10 ways Becksie’s drinking world has changed since June 2nd 2010:
1. Grindsmith is alas no more, it remains but a very short and treacly memory. I’m sure we’ll see them back in some shape or form; the coffee was too good for a return not to happen.
2. There’s a new kid in town, namely, North Tea Power on Tib Street, serving loose tea, espresso tea, green tea latte, tea pigs . . . tea in every essence you can imagine and the coffee selection is expansive too. On my first visit I was a little shocked when I ordered Americano only to find it was Tea Americano, so do say if you want coffee. I had to laugh with my dad, who I took there recently, as he was terribly confused by the bits floating in the percolator. He thought his tea had been infested with flies, we have both learnt from our mistakes.
3. The world of supermarket beer is evermore expanding with Morrisons now stocking 3 Brewdogs. I grabbed a few 5am Saints and Trashy Blondes from the local one in Cheadle last week, £1.59 a bottle. They also stock Punk IPA, but Tesco and Sainsburys are better for this at £1.37 each.
4. Tesco have their own Double American style IPA brewed by Brewdog, it clocks up 9.2% and is a denser style than their own Hardcore, but it’s good and when I managed to grab them they were on 3 for £4, so excellent value. Tesco are also doing a ginger beer that’s really good for this time of year, brewed by the William Brothers it’s got a fiery ginger kick, not like with Crabbies, its full hearted wintry and only 3.8%. Sainsburys have also got an impeccably good ginger beer, though the front cover designs a bit naff. It’s brewed with the Freeminer’s brewery and it is lovely, bizarrely warming when chilled with a slice of lemon.
5. My favourite beer for this time of year has to be Dark Star Espresso beer, combining my 2 adorations beer and coffee, it’s the perfect combination. I picked up a bottle from the newly expanded microbar in the Arndale, their beer selection is really good and keeps growing. I also picked up 312, goose islands urban take on a wheat beer, and looked longingly at Brewdogs AB04.
6. Weatherspoons Real Ale festival is running till 14th Nov, and they’ve done a really good job. You can get three 1/3 glasses for £1.69 and the selection is impressive. Last week in our local Didsbury branch, we had the Brewdog Edge, woo hoo such a plumy mild 3.2%, a biscuity White Horse Sniveller’s Corner 4.7%, and American Rye Humour beer 4.5%. Look at the revolving selection they have on here: http://www.jdwrealale.co.uk/
7. I’ve discovered a new coconut water, I think it’s called cocofino, £1.49 from Holland and Barrett. I’ve been getting 2 as its buy one get one half price at the moment. It’s really nice and comes in a can: toasted coconut you are what my taste buds like.
8. I dropped off the bus the other week in Rushholme and with a chill in the air I wondered what on earth to drink. I bobbed into an over enthused sweet delight emporium, although the board sent me dizzy and the array of sick colouring made my hangover swell, I ended up walking out a happy bunny with a tea massala with soy milk in. Lovely and spicy, but in a soothing way, I went on my merry way to moomin land. (I actually did. I love discovering new drinks.)
9. Mulled wine season is upon us, and by God does this make me happy. I stretch it out more than anyone I know, from now until February. As I’m going to Berlin in December it will be my on call drink to warm up my hands and my cheeks.
10. Coffee Frescato – had a bad experience in Costa recently and so wrote a dedicated email of complaint, demonstrating my dismay at being given a Frescato of watery consistency with globs of powder and no friggin coffee beans. If you’ve ever had one you’ll know the new recipe requires grinding the beans, and then you get a little nibble as well as a drink. They are a slight nuisance when they get in your teeth, as you can’t shift them, but yummy they are. Anyway they responded and gave me a £10 voucher for their coffee. As I’d be crazy to go down the ice route at this time of year, though I had one last Saturday, I’m now resigned to sticking with the newish flat white, drink of the season for the time being.