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Showing posts from June, 2019

The Night I Was There....

Manchester has had its fair share of iconic gigs.

Bob Dylan's 'electric Judas' gig at the Free Trade Hall.

The Sex Pistols at the Lesser Free Trade.

Both gigs where seemingly everyone claims they were there, although I have to say that I wasn't at either myself (I did see Dylan at a festival in Hampshire once and I was at another everyone-was-there gig when I saw the Sex Pistols play their last ever UK gig at Ivanhoe's in Huddersfield on Christmas Day night in 1977 in a benefit gig for striking firefighters).

Time will tell if the recent sell-out gig at the Band on The Wall featuring Hebden Bridge's Working Men's Club and local guys W.H. Lung will in the years to come be an I was there gig, but I wouldn't mind betting that it does. Two bands on the cusp of great things. Both having released some of the best music of the year so far; Working Men's Club, a killer single in Bad Blood, W.H.Lung a killer album, Incidental Music, both released on Melodic…

Are You Being Served?

Beer comes in so many different styles these days that it can be difficult to know what you are getting for your money without any guidance. Are pubs and bars doing enough to make it clear what you are buying and help you, the customer? Here's a few thoughts....
Once upon a time, it was a lot easier for beer drinkers. They were simpler times, a time when choice was limited to bitter, mild, maybe a stout or a porter, maybe a strong bitter or premium bitter, usually from the same brewery who more often than not owned the pub too. Back in those days, when you went to the pub - more often than not, the same one - much more regularly than you probably do now, you knew what you were getting. You got used to the style of the beer you liked, and even if you only tolerated it, you'd still drink it because that's where your mates and family went, you'd maybe play for the football or darts team. The pub was a big part of your life and played a huge part in knitting together the f…

A Gander at Gloucester....

The M6 was in unforgiving mood as I drove south on my way to Gloucester. Torrential rain, coupled with roadworks at regular intervals, made for an unpleasant driving experience, which was further compounded when I hit the M5 in Birmingham, where there were further roadworks between Junctions 1 and 2, and the odd high-powered, souped-up boy racer lane-hopping once we cleared the roadworks. So when I eventually pulled into the car park of the Premier Inn at Gloucester Quays I was not in the best of moods.

I got checked in. Newish hotel, nice room. OK, the view over the flyover wasn't the best, but then again I wasn't planning to stay in my room and stare out of the window all evening. Washed and changed, I went down to Reception and was told it was about 10 minutes walk to the city centre. I had already listed the pubs in the Good Beer Guide for the city, and so I set off walking away from the 'leisure park' - horrible phrase, that - passing a couple of disused warehous…

A Game of Two Halves....

On the day that Liverpool played Spurs in the Champions League Final in Madrid and the Spice Girls played another comeback gig at the Etihad, I made my first visit to the Stockport Beer Festival and went to see Dutch indie band Pip Blom at the Band On The Wall....
I got a ticket to see Pip Blom months ago, but my decision to visit the Stockport Beer Festival was only made a few days earlier when one of my friends at the Stalybridge Buffet Bar said they were going. So I got the Manchester Airport train over from Huddersfield, and as luck would have it, the journey involved stops at Manchester Victoria, Oxford Road, then Piccadilly - from where trains from Stockport leave. Get in!

But, there was an additional delight. The route from Victoria to Oxford Road involves traversing the Ordsall Chord, a short stretch of line that only opened in December 2017, linking the main stations in Manchester. It was amazing, for a few minutes there were stunning views of the old buildings, new developme…

Steady Rollin' Man....

"I'm a steady rollin' man, I roll both night and day
I'm a steady rollin' man, hmm, I roll both night and day" 
So sang Robert Johnson in his song of the same name from 1937, later covered by Eric Clapton on his classic 1974 album 461 Ocean Boulevard.

Steady Rollin' Man is also the name of the hoppy New England pale ale from DEYA brewery which was named recently as one of the most influential beers of the past 10 years in an article in Pellicle Magazine, a new publication "devoted to exploring beer, wine, cider, travel, and food, and the joy we find within these cultures." Curated by Jonny Hamilton, the article is a series of short essays by a number of eminent beer writers, brewers, and critics in which each extols the virtues of a beer that they believe has helped to define the British beer scene over the past decade. 21 different beers are named, and included in the list are several well-known beers (some less so), and I was pleased to see a few…