How time flies, eh? Two years ago we were a fledgling purveyor of beer from around the globe, taking our first tentative steps as one of the country’s few specialist craft beer bars, and quite unsure how things were going to work out. Now, we’re garnering praise as one of the kingdom’s finest places of pilgrimage for those seeking a quality beverage and putting on last October’s hugely successful Independent Manchester Beer Convention (IndyManBeerCon) at the beautiful Victoria Baths, which will be back bigger and (hopefully) even better this year! Last November saw the departure (kind of) of manager Will France to oversee the opening of The Beagle, our beer and food haven in Chorlton, with the menu overseen by Laurence Tottingham of the awesome Aumbry restaurant in Prestwich, one of Manchester’s best kept secrets (and it really shouldn’t be a secret. Go there).
Thursday January 24th saw our second anniversary, and we hoped to see it in in style. Back in December, a few of us (Euan, Jamie, Claudia, Anna and Sean) headed over to the Outstanding Brewery in Bury to brew our second birthday beer named, brilliantly, Anniversary 2, following on from the Saison DuPort we brewed with a number of local breweries last year. This year we wanted something darker, so after much discussion, decided on a Sour Cherry and Pink Peppercorn Porter. We wanted to reflect our love of unusual flavours in beers and couple it with one of the UK’s oldest beer styles.
Brewday was fun, as ever, and more importantly, a success. The beer turned out just how we’d hoped, 5.5% abv, with the sourness of the cherries and aromatic spiciness of the pink peppercorns both present, but not overpowering the base notes of malt in the porter.
The 24th saw us packed out with many of our beloved regulars, some of our favourite brewers, including, but not limited to, Outstanding, Dark Star, Quantum, Magic Rock and SummerWine, and a substantial amount of National Winter Ales Festival-goers who’d sought us out thanks in part to our first inclusion in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide. Some of these folk seemed a bit perturbed by the tolling of the bell at about 7pm, no doubt fearing their evening of quality boozing was being brought to a premature halt. However it was merely the signal for Jamie to grab his beer crate and do his thing, his thing being to thank everyone for coming and introduce Anniversary 2.
To reiterate the point of the night, we’d like to extend a massive thank you to everyone who turned up, not just for the birthday celebration, but for the last two years, including our aforementioned beloved regulars, those who seek us out on trips to Manchester, our brewing friends and partners and our brethren from The Grove in Huddersfield, North Bar in Leeds, The Sparrow in Bradford, Hanging Bat in Edinburgh and beyond. It’s a huge cliché, of course, but we’d be nothing without the people who visit us from far and wide to drink amazing craft beers from here, there and everywhere. Cheers!
Words by Jamie Hancock