Beer Week at PLY and Kosmonaut: Feat. Jopen, ABC, Hammo and more

Charlie-Don't-Surf

Running 10 – 19th June 2016 and aiming to bring together thousands of drinkers through a series of events, Beer Week is Manchester’s very first city-wide beer festival.
PLY is flying in Jopen for a Meet the Brewer, whilst Kosmonaut has Alphabet Brewing Co.’s creative director Hammo and a team of street artists creating large-scale artworks themed around the brewery, live in the bar, all to be auctioned for Macmillan.

PLY Presents Jopen – A Meet the Brewer event
Wednesday 15th June
7pm
£12 Entry

On Wednesday 15th June Jopen will arrive from the Netherlands for a very special Meet the Brewer event at PLY.

Located in Haarlem, the ethos of the team is very simple; they aim to produce top-quality specialist beers with lashings of passion and care, using the latest technology and the finest ingredients.

The craft brewers will be making the journey over from their headquarters Jopenkerk, a church in the Raaks area that has been converted into a fully operational brewery with café and restaurant, and they have packed a selection of internationally renowned brews to be sampled alongside a special pizza topped with salami created with Jopen beer.

This collaborative event adds to the extensive calendar of craft beer events at the Lever Street hangout. PLY has recently played host to a number of international and local breweries such as Beavertown, To Ol, Redchurch and Cloudwater as part of Happy New Beer, the very successful month long in house beer festival.

Tickets cost £12 and include 3 beer samples and a PLY x Jopen pizza (vegetarian option available)

Buy tickets here

For more info:
http://plymcr.co.uk/
Facebook.com/PlyMCR
@PLYMCR

KOSMONAUT
Alphabet Brewing Co: Live Art and New Beer
Thursday 16th June
Start: 7pm
Live Art: 8pm
FREE

Kosmonaut and, Manchester’s own, Alphabet Brewing Co are teaming up for a night of craft beer tasting and live art.

The art side of proceedings will be headed up by Manchester based illustrator, mural painter and ABC’s creative director, Hammo. He and a collective of five other artists – Benjamino, Jude Wainwright, Howks, Sian Matthews and Qubek (who recently took part in Manchester’s Cities of Hope) – will recreate and reinterpret ABC’s artwork on a larger scale, resulting in six brand new pieces of work that will be exhibited in Kosmonaut for a week before being auctioned off to raise money for Macmillan.

Alphabet Brewing Company has made huge strides since it was founded in 2014 in the heart of Manchester. Alphabet Brewing Co’s head brewer, Tom Evans, will be bringing along some fresh flavours for all to sample and there will be running promotions on the ABC beers already on tap including a free schooner of Charlie Don’t Surf for the first 50 people in attendance and 20% off ABC beers on tap all night long.
For more info:
Kosmonaut.co
Facebook.com/KosmonautManchester
@KosmonautMCR

Winners Announced At The Chairman’s Reserve Cocktail Competition At The Northern Restaurant and Bar Show

Chairman's Reserve Final

Wednesday the 19th saw the final of the Chairman’s Reserve Cocktail Competition, staged at the Drinks Live Theatre in the Northern Restaurant and Bar Show in Manchester which, with over 250 exhibitors and 50 tastings and events, has become the largest food and drink trade exhibition in the North.

With an expert judging panel in Mark Ludmon, Editor of Bar Magazine, Lyndon Higginson of The Liars Club, Manchester and Scott Wallace of Emporia Brands, each judge looked for knowledge on the Chairman’s Reserve brand, the appearance and presentation of the drink, the aromas of the cocktail and finally how it tasted.

Six bartenders were invited down to the main stage to recreate their drink, after being selected from the initial entries by Peter Holland of The Floating Rum Shack, and Steven James of Rum Diaries.

Impressing the three judges, and winning himself a trip to St Lucia as the guest of St Lucia Distillers, was Adam Binnersley of Corridor #UnderNewManagement, Salford. His recipe, ‘Chairman’s Moo’, utilising Chairman’s Reserve Finest, Briottet fig, honey and pistachio syrup, Angostura Bitters and buttermilk fought off stiff competition from his fellow competitors. His presentation also made headlines, utilising a ‘cow’ to help serve his drink.

Thom Hetherington, MD of Northern Restaurant & Bar, said “This show is all about celebrating the best of the Northern food and drink world, and in Adam I think we have an absolute star. I don’t doubt he’ll hold his own in St Lucia!” Hetherington added “Needless to say I’ll be in to see him at Corridor #UnderNewManagement and put the Chairman’s Moo to the test for myself very soon”.

Despite only advertising the one opportunity to win a trip to St Lucia, the judges mentioned that it was an incredibly close call between first and second, so it was decided by James Rackham, Chairman of Emporia Brands, the UK Distributor of St Lucia Distillers, that second placed Tom Higham of Kosmonaut would also be joining Adam to St Lucia. His ‘Luciana Helena’ had a mix of Chairman’s Reserve Finest, pineapple and sage syrup, smoked paprika syrup, lime, egg white and Peychaud bitters.

Host and organiser of the competition Dave Marsland, aka Drinks Enthusiast and Northern Representative of Emporia Brands, mentioned “It’s great to see that the entries were so close that we are able to take two winners to St Lucia. They both join me for what will be an incredible experience, and we look forward to representing Manchester!”

A huge congratulations to both Adam and Tom, who will be visiting St Lucia later in the year and experience rum training at the distinguished distillery, and the chance to share expertise with the island’s enthusiastic bartenders, as well as plenty of opportunity to find out why the beautiful island of St Lucia is one of the world’s favourite Caribbean destinations.

Finalists Included:

Emma Andrew – 99 Hanover Street Bar, Edinburgh
Amir Javaid – Epernay, Manchester
Adrian Calderbank – The Church Green, Lymm
Adam Binnersley – Corridor, Salford
Adam Day – The Violet Hour, Didsbury
Tom Higham – Kosmonaut, Manchester

Chairman’s Moo – created by Adam Binnersley, Corridor #UnderNewManagment

40 ml Chairman’s Reserve
10 ml Briottet Fig
15 ml Honey and Pistachio Syrup
Angostura Bitters
50 ml Buttermilk

Luciana Helena – created by Tom Higham, Kosmonaut

50 ml Chairman’s Reserve Finest
30 ml Pineapple and sage shrub
15 ml Smoke paprika syrup
25 ml Lime
Dash of Egg white
Dash Peychauds Bitters

Finalists Announced For The Chairman’s Reserve Cocktail Competition At Northern Restaurant and Bar

Chairmans Reserve

The five recipes have been chosen to go through to the final of the Chairman’s Reserve Cocktail Competition, to be staged at The Northern Restaurant and Bar Show in Manchester on Wednesday 19th March at 3:15pm.

With expert opinions by Peter Holland of The Floating Rum Shack, and Steven James of Rum Diaries, the five have been selected, with Steven commenting “I like ‘rum forward’ drinks that play to the strengths of the base spirit…..and whether I myself would order the drink in a bar. I know Chairman’s Gold as a rum and think that the flavours and presentation of the chosen entries will highlight the Rum”.

Taking into account the high calibre of recipes, and the feedback by Peter and Steven, organiser Dave Marsland, aka Drinks Enthusiast, and Emporia Brands, the distributors for the St Lucia Distillers based rum here in the UK, have decided to open an extra slot, making it six competitors overall.

The selected finalists are:

Emma Andrew – 99 Hanover Street Bar, Edinburgh
Amir Javaid – Epernay, Manchester
Adrian Calderbank – The Church Green, Lymm
Adam Binnersley – Corridor, Salford
Adam Day – The Violet Hour, Didsbury
Tom Higham – Kosmonaut, Manchester

All 6 are invited down to the main stage at the Northern Restaurant and Bar, and have the chance to recreate their drink to the judging panel. This year, they will each need to impress Mark Ludmon, Editor of Bar Magazine, Lyndon Higginson of The Liars Club, Manchester and Scott Wallace of Emporia Brands. Each judge will be looking for knowledge on the Chairman’s Reserve brand, the appearance and presentation of the drink, the aromas of the cocktail and finally how it tastes.

The winner will visit St Lucia as the guest of St Lucia Distillers, who beat off the challenge from the world’s finest malt whisky and cognac distilleries to take the trophy for Individual Distiller of the Year at the International Spirits Challenge 2013. The visit will include rum training at this distinguished distillery, and the chance to share expertise with the island’s enthusiastic bartenders, as well as plenty of opportunity to find out why the beautiful island of St Lucia is one of the world’s favourite Caribbean destinations.

El Dorado

El Dorado

I had one of those days where you have a genuine excitement to what was ahead. A schedule of ‘El Dorado Masterclass’ is always a highlight in any bartenders calendar, as was seen when over 30 rum enthusiasts from all over Manchester ascended once upon Kosmonaut, one of Manchester’s bars on Tariff Street.

With Stef Holt heading up the show, the International Brand Ambassador at the time brought with her a line-up that truly rivals any portfolio – with a surprise or two along the way.

But before we come onto the rums themselves, how did El Dorado become close to many a bartender and indeed consumers heart?

To truly understand the story of El Dorado rum, we start with the idea of a single introductory process of sugar cane. Brought over to Guyana by European settlers in the 1640’s and used in the art of distilling in the 1650’s, the building blocks of Demerara Rum production had been laid down. With the popular process taking off, the local sugar cane producers formed an exporting co-operative meaning by the 1700’s there were over 300 independent estates producing their own rums.

A little earlier though, in 1677, the Royal Navy decided to issue an official daily rum ration. When 1732 rolled around, the Port Mourant Estate Distillery – one of the oldest in the world – was established and chosen by the Royal Navy for its extra character and depth due to its method of using a double wooden pot still.

In 1814, the three Guyanese colonies were handed over to the British and merged as British Guiana. By the second half of the 18th century, sugar estates were closing and consolidating resulting with only 180 remaining. Each remaining estate produced its own distinctive rum which was given its own mark or Marque identifying its origin (eg. SWR, ICBU, PM, EHP, LBI, AN). These rums were shipped to England, establishing the worldwide trading name of Demerara Rum. Rum was now established as a polite middle class drink – even replacing gin.

In 1992, the El Dorado range launched itself to both the local and international market and became the first rum producer in the world to market a premium quality aged rum – El Dorado 15yr Special Reserve.

Unfortunately, more of the distilleries merged during the early 20th Century culminating in the combining of stills, equipment and expertise. In 1998, the last remaining estate, Diamond, held the Demerara Distillers Ltd on the East Bank of the Demerara River.

So they set the trend for age statement rums, but did you know they also continue to produce their rum from some of the worlds oldest stills?

Demerara Distillers is in a unique position as it still uses the original production stills used on three of the sugar estates of the 18th and 19th centuries.  They are as follows –

Stef Holt
The Wooden Coffey Still –

The last fully working example of its kind in the world today. It is similar, if not identical, to the very first continuous still constructed and patented by an Irish excise officer, Aeneas Coffey in 1832, after whom the still was named. This still is the original and last surviving one from the Enmore Sugar Estate founded nearly 200 years ago by Edward Henry Porter.

The Wooden Pot Stills –
Demerara Distillers benefits from being able to operate the last two original Wooden Pot Stills (one Single and one Double) in the world. Over 250 years old, and originally used to produce the Demerara Navy Rums in the past, they are nowadays often referred to by their old names of Demerara Vat Stills. The Double Wooden Pot Still originated from the Port Mourant Estate, founded in 1732.

The French Savalle Still
Demerara Distillers continues to use the original four-column metal French Savalle Still inherited from the 18th century Uitvlught Estate on the west coast of Demerara county. The modern version of this still is versatile enough to produce nine completely different types of rum ranging from the very light through to heavy bodied.

So how does the range of the El Dorado portfolio fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes on each –

El Dorado 3yr – 40%

Designed for the UK market. Rather soft on the nose with slight aromas of tropical fruits, banana and vanilla balancing well. A soft experience on the palate with a slight kick near the end. Quite an oil and silk texture with a little spice and coconut flavour.

El Dorado 5yr – 40%

Dry nose of tropical fruits leads to caramel and coconut with hints of vanilla at the end of a long offering.

el-dorado-25yr
El Dorado 25yr


El Dorado 8yr
– 40%

The latest offering in the portfolio. Dark aromas of caramel on the nose with hints of toffee following slowly. Smooth on the palate however with a long mellow flavour of honey and a slight smokey wisp.

El Dorado 12yr – 40%

Tropical fruits on the nose with a small hint of spice lingering around. The spice is more known on the palate with rich fruits complimenting to a dry finish.

El Dorado 15yr Special Reserve – 43%

Soft on the nose but hints of burnt sugar develops. Coffee, chocolate and vanilla burst out a little near the end and continue onto the palate creating a soft offering. Sweet with slight smoke and spice flavours lingering.

El Dorado 21yr – 43%

Bold on the nose with spice and tropical fruit balancing well and rounded off by sweetness. The dark sugar flows onto the palate with oak flavours dominating. The spice and fruit develop nicely and mellows on a long finish.

El Dorado 25yr, 1986 Vintage – 43%

Dry honey notes on the nose, with subtle oak and vanilla butter coming through. A light cherry flavour hits the palate, with a bold manilla and marshmallow profile. A slight bold pot-still character arrives, but moves to a soft, dry finish of butter.

A fantastic and varied range on offer to us, with a special treat too –

El Dorado
Iflux – The Wooden Pot Stills

Light with a marzipan and dried fruit aroma with a hint of citrus following on the nose.

Enmore – The Wooden Coffey Still

Light on the nose with aromas of fruit and spice blending well. Slight spice on the palate with a short offering and slight sweetness.

Port Mourant – The Wooden Pot Stills

Bolder on the nose with oak wood aromas coming through. Smooth on the palate however, a little harsh with flavours of banana.

The three notes above are the three single barrel rums used in the El Dorado 12yr – the perfect chance to see how each barrel performs before being combined to create one of the most well-known years in the portfolio.

On my travels around St Lucia recently, I did come across two expressions that are currently unavailable here in the UK –

El Dorado
El Dorado Spiced
– 40%

A blend of aged Demerara rums and natural spices. Light, thin spice notes on the nose, hints of citrus blending with powdered cinnamon. Thin on the palate too, with the citrus creating a sharp kick of spice, with the cinnamon dominating over a dash of clove. Vanilla flavours on the lingering fresh finish.

El Dorado Cream Liqueur – 16.5%

A combination of El Dorado 5yr, dairy cream and natural flavours and spices. A good combination of toffee, light cinnamon spice and fresh cream on the nose. Thick fudge notes on the palate, with dry spice, butterscotch and toffee flavours creating a smooth finish.

El Dorado can be found in most bars in some form or another. It is becoming increasingly popular with bartenders with cocktails (specifically the 3, 5 and 8 yrs) as well as being marketed as a sipping rum with its Luxury Cask Aged range of 12, 15 and 21yr. Personally, the 21yr is my favourite, however this is a very close call – something which I rarely say when experiencing such a range in one go.

Grab yourself a bottle for your collection, and I know for a fact that it adorns the shelves of many a non-bartender consumer.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and 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.

The Liquorists Belvedere Trail Review

Ever feel like having a night of luxury? A night of sophistication? Well last week Manchester showcased themselves with a brand that oozes these qualities and more with the ever elegant Belvedere and the ever knowledgeable and glamour of The Liquorists. The usual trait of five bars. five samples and five cocktails to indulge in, with a gathering sporting a mix of bloggers and consumers set the tone for a night that despite there only being the one brand on offer, an excitement rippled through as we met in The River Bar & Restaurant in The Lowry Hotel. I knew from past experience what Belvedere has to offer, but am yet to really see what it can do when mixed with cocktails and food, so when Tom Sneesby gave us a history of Belvedere, I eagerly caught the eye of the Belvedere Polish Zephyr being handed out with a base of Belvedere Pure, pink grapefruit, almond and Fever Tree tonic water that came complimented with passionfruit jelly cubes. Heaven.

To fit so much into a night, you have to experience and savour to the best of your abilities as you’re soon whisked off to the next venue which in our case was The Liquorists own #22redbank. Here, Jody Monteith was busy creating us a bartender favourite – Bloody Mary using the aptly named Belvedere Bloody Mary. An expression I rate well on its own, it was interesting to see it used in its primary use, and also in a traditional form – vodka, Tabasco, Worcester sauce, dash of lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper. Complete with celery stick, it was a smooth addition to its rather spicy self when sipped on its own. The added olives and chorizo slices completed the visit to the speakeasy style venue and we were soon whisked off to a relatively new addition to the Manchester bar scene in Kosmonaut. First ventured into on the tequila trail, I was glad to be back and also trying something new to me. Belvedere Citrus made an appearance here with a fresh nose and long, smooth offering on the palate. Perfect then for Kosmonaut’s own Amir Javaid and his trail created cocktail named the Belvedere Triangle. A mix of citrus, Briotett rhubarb liqueur, egg white, clementine juice and grenadine, it served very well with a rather unusual accompaniment, a Mr Kipling lemon slice. Genius!

Belvedere Polish Zephyr and passionfruit jelly

Driven to the other side of the city, Epernay was back into the trail loop with Belvedere Grapefruit ready and waiting with a black forest gateaux with Belvedere Grapefruit infused cream. A nod to Ernist Hemingway while we were there too as we savoured the Ayala Champagne heavy Hemingway Royale which also housed grapefruit juice and maraschino. Although not the biggest fan of grapefruit, the use in Belvedere doesn’t overpower so it resulted in a rather enjoyable tipple, especially with the nice touch of a vodka based gateaux. Last on our whirlwind tour was to be Manchester’s newest pop-up in The Ski Club.
Housed in Spinningfields, its decor, as you would imagine, resembled a ski club, complete with melted cheese fondue, meat and cheese platters and Belvedere Intense. This version in their portfolio was saved till last with its instant mouth-watering effect that seemed to last for ever. Food a plenty and a gathering that all easily got on well together made for a great ending to a night that promoted luxury, glamour and excitement.

Sound good? GET ON IT.

Check out the rest of the photos via my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and 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.

The Liquorists Tequila Trail Review

Last week I took part in the latest installment of the hugely popular spirit trails hosted by the ever knowledgeable The Liquorists, with this night focusing on that sometimes forgotten category – tequila. A ‘veteran’ so to speak of these trails (I’m now on eight and counting – living up to my Drinks Enthusiast name!) With five bars to view and five tequila brands to explore, you could sense both an air of excitement and worry as the gathering learnt about the history of tequila from Tom Sneesby, whilst having the nagging thought of ‘will he be bringing out the salt and lemon’??

Starting off at The Liqourists HQ, #22Redbank , we were treated to one of the more well-known brands of the tequila world – Jose Cuervo. However instead of the standard gold and silver liquids you find in most pubs and clubs, we were to be on the good stuff, the Tradicional. Coming with a slight harshness on the nose, it softened nicely until it hit your palate. A short, sharp but fresh blast set you up nicely for the complimenting cocktail, the traditional and classic Margarita. Served up by Jody Monteith, the simple blend of triple sec, agave syrup and a double dose of Jose Cuervo Tradicional went down as quickly as the food – barbequed sweet corn, tacos and nacho pots with lashings of salsa, guacamole and cheese.

A short taxi ride to Apotheca, a bar that is no stranger to hosting a spirits trail, had Don Julio Reposado waiting for us. The first luxury tequila to hit the spirit market gave the gathering a sense of the difference that tequila can offer between Blanco, Reposado, Anejo and Extra Anejo. As you can imagine, the ‘rested’ tequila (meaning it has been aged for a minimum of two months, but less than a year in oak barrels) had a little more sweetness to it, with a spice which went well with our Mango and Rosemary Margarita complete with a rosemary salt rim.

Tabatio Anejo Blanco at Kosmonaut

El Jimador Blanco was to be the next offering in one of Manchester’s favourite bars – Socio Rehab. Comparing the El Jimador to our starter brand of Jose Cuervo, the El Jimador created a more peppery nose but a mouth-watering palate which balanced well against the Paloma cocktail created by Manchester’s finest and involving pink and white grapefruit. Hula shook the night up though with their blanco brand Casa Herradura Plata. Complete with a Tommys Margarita that uses agave nectar for a twist on the classic, the soft nose counteracted the spice start on the palate, but re-wrote the rules on longevity.

Last but not by any means least, the new addition to the Manchester bar scene was to be showcasing Tabatio Anejo as Kosmonaut came complete with a long cocktail of tequila sweetened with the ever favourite crème de cassis.

As mentioned before, I’m a veteran of these trails, but can easily say i still get rather giddy when these approach, especially when it involves brands that even I have never got round to trying. It’s also introduced me to Kosmonaut and taken me to old haunts which make you truly appreciate that these bars really know what they’re doing on a wider scale when on the topic of spirits. As for The Liquorists though – well, 5 cocktails, 5 venues, 5 spirits with food thrown in? You’ll be foolish not too. GET ON THEM

Check out the rest of the photos via my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and 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.