Friday the 7th was the start of the annual Manchester Food & Drink Festival which was centred around the town halls Albert Square as well as a variety of bars and restaurants in the city centre. To start the festival off, the Greater Manchester Real Ale and Veltins Oktoberfest had their tents ready to promote a good range of local and international ales, cider and even a hog roast on a rainy morning! So with all this in mind, myself and a friend of mine made our way there to experience the best the North West has to offer!
First up for me was the Stockport based Robinsons and their Double Hop (5%) which was rich, with a good balance of hops bitterness and flavour. A citric yet malty finish lingered around with a slight dryness. This was a great starter ale and an easy drinker!
My friend enjoyed a Ginger and Cinnamon Warm Cider which went down very well. Not too sure what the recipe was but I imagine it was the simplicity of mixing ginger, cinnamon and apple cider together! Crazy I know but it works well on a rainy Friday!
Next up for me was Prospect Breweries ‘Nutty Slack’ (3.9%). A dark and very malty mild ale that had subtle hints of liquorice. A slight bitterness ended this rather smooth brew. Robinson’s Ginger Ale was the next port of call for my friend after I’ve raved about it ever since I first tried it! You can check out the tasting notes for the ginger variety here – https://drinksenthusiast.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/old-tom-range-of-strong-ales-tasting-notes/
Whilst she was finishing off the ginger ale, I tried Chorlton’s Marble Brewery ‘Manchester Bitter’ (4.2%). A very light ale with fruity aromas with a slight sweetness on the palate. Great for my sweet-tooth!
We decided to have a walk around what else the festival had to offer and made our way to the main marquee called the ‘Gastro Room’ which held the Chilli Lovers fair. Local producers mixed with Manchester restaurants to showcase exciting dishes as well as samples of various chilli sauces. Unfortunately I’m not a fan of chilli so I’m unable to tell you how this part of the day went, but I can tell you that Kro bar (a Danish venture based in Manchester) had themselves a stall and were creating cocktails involving chilli! Ever one to try something new, we both bought two chilli based drinks – La Vida Loca and Absolut Redhead.
The La Vida Loca had pineapple juice shaken with Sailor Jerry and chopped chillies whilst the Absolut Redhead had Absolut Pepper, freshly squeezed lime topped with lemonade and grenadine. Both two very fiery cocktails, especially the Absolut Redhead with its good dose of pepper vodka!
With fire in our mouths we wandered down to St Anne’s Square where there were pop-up stalls selling everything from pastries, fudge, curry and chocolate. One stall that caught my eye was hosted by the Snowdonia Cheese Company, with a rather interesting product named Amber Mist. Why was it interesting? Its whisky cheese! I’m yet to fully try this, but expect a review as soon as I do!
This capped off a great day at the festival, with thumbs up from both myself and my friend!
I’ll be writing up reviews on two trails organised by The Liquorists that were conducted as part of the Food and Drink Festival so stay tuned!
Check out the following sites for more information on the brands mentioned –
Manchester Food & Drink Festival – http://foodanddrinkfestival.com/
Robinson’s Brewery – http://www.frederic-robinson.co.uk/
Prospect Brewery – http://prospectbrewery.org.uk/
Marble Brewery – http://www.marblebeers.co.uk/
Kro Bar – http://www.kro.co.uk/
Snowdonia Cheese Company – http://www.snowdoniacheese.co.uk/
The Liquorists – http://www.wearetheliquorists.com/
© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.