Monday, 7 May 2012

Gassing about the dog

Last weekend saw a predictable outpouring of ballyhoo about the opening of the new BrewDog bar on Peter Street in Manchester City Centre. Now, I can’t really say that this is something that has much appeal to me; I’m not going to rush out to visit it, and even if I did I suspect I wouldn’t remotely feel at home.

It’s interesting, though, how the opening of a new beer-focused bar without any cask beer whatsoever has the great and good of CAMRA clearing their throats and shuffling their feet, unable either to condemn it outright or unequivocally praise it. What many would see as the cutting edge of innovation and excitement in the beer world has escaped beyond their control.

On the other hand, though, to my mind it’s a classic urban beer bubble phenomenon. Despite all the hype and debate, “craft keg” has not broken through into mainstream pubs, and shows very little sign of doing so. In the 1970s, the term “real ale” might have been vaguely understood by the blokes in the vault at the Gungesmearers’ Arms. Now, if you talked to them about “craft keg”, they wouldn’t have the faintest idea what you were on about.

And will the dog prove to have legs, or will it be more like a comet that burns brightly for a short time before fading away again once the novelty has worn off?


  1. "has the great and good of CAMRA clearing their throats and shuffling their feet, unable either to condemn it outright or unequivocally praise it"

    Setting aside the obervation that if there is some way you can lob a disobliging comment in CAMRA's direction you will clearly strain every sinew to do so, there is a simple reason for this so called "shuffling of feet".

    It's because the new Brew Dog Manchester has good and bad points that, taken together, mean that the operation as a whole merits neither unequivocal praise nor outright condemnation. It's got bugger all to do with anything slipping beyond anyone's control.

    You might understand this if you'd actually been along yourself but, not the first time may I add, you snipe from a position of relative ignorance. I keep saying - you really do need to get out more.

  2. I've spent years avoiding pubs with no cask beer and can't think of any good reason to start visiting them now-I'm attracted neither by the thought of "craft keg"-does anyone have a list of those beers which actually taste better full of gas compared to their cask equivalent?-nor by the thought of paying vastly over the odds for the privilege. The Brewdog debate is a well worn one-perhaps the brewers themselves aren't yet mature enough to know that the cask versions of their beers-the original 6 per cent Punk IPA being a starring example-are/were superb-and are still at an age were their beer must be served fizzy and not "flat"-I'm sure one day the penny will drop though.....

  3. Well put Muddgie,
    The joint in question sounds like another God forsaken retreat for backstabbers,bootlickers,pansy potters,bipedal snakes,detached studens,froth blowers and various other, surplus to requirement,
    non producers and self acclaimed
    middle burghers.probabably has a smoking area between shiny grids.

    Pennine Optimist

  4. Glad to see Anonymous remains on superb barking form. More please!

  5. "you really do need to get out more"

    So where were you on the recent Stagger of your local neighbourhood? :p

  6. Amsterdam. And your point is?

  7. No shuffling of feet here, no embarrassed silence, no clearing of the throat at having the self-proclaimed new kid on the block sneak up on me unawares. Frankly, I don't give a damn, so why should I either praise or condemn it? If that's what some people want to drink, fine by me. I'd simply point out that it's only one bar out of all the thousands of pubs, bars and clubs in the North West. Perhaps it's you who have been taken in by Brewdog's customary hype to credit this bar with more significance than it deserves.

  8. You make a good point RedNev. I think Mudgie just saw this as another excuse to have one of his gratuitous pops at CAMRA a propos of bugger all really.

  9. Thanks John Clarke
    praise ,although seldom,helps me
    through the year round emptiness
    of Manchesters damp sterility this
    past near five years
    I often give Mugdie a few stars because he is one of only a few
    who state the blatantly obvious
    reason for the pub sector's decline.
    Other popinjays cackle on about
    obscure meads and amber
    The current CAMRA crocodile tears about tax reduction to save pub is so lamentable ,it illustrates so clearly how far from reality that bunch flutters.

  10. Wonderful stuff Anon - keep it up!

  11. Anon says "it illustrates so clearly how far from reality that bunch flutters". Funny - that's exactly what I was thinking about you, Anon.

  12. How much? Good god, how much?

    Fools and their money and all that.

  13. Martin, Cambridge9 May 2012 at 14:21

    Can't wait to try it on Sunday, though I've already put it lazily in the same pigeon hole as the Port Street.

    Talking of ambitious prices, I've just paid £4.55 for a 35cl fruit beer (admittedly superb) in a newish Sam Smiths pub in Gloucester !


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