New Caribbean Inspired Bar and Café to Open in South Manchester

Marigot Bay Bar & Cafe Logo#BeInspired

A new Caribbean inspired venue is to open within King’s Court of Altrincham, South Manchester on July 20th, 2018.

Dave Marsland of Drinks Enthusiast Ltd has chosen the attractive leisure and office complex of King’s Court and its secluded courtyard off one of the main streets of the Cheshire town as the home of his first bar and café. Marigot Bay Bar & Café, named after Marigot Bay of St Lucia in the Caribbean, is the creation of several years of inspiration and experiences, finally coming together to offer South Manchester a bar and café that takes you through the many tropical islands via chilled island beers, tropical cocktails and some of the finest Caribbean coffee and cocoa available.

With the walls adorned with memorabilia picked up from Dave’s travels to the Caribbean, including Marigot Bay itself, Marigot Bay Bar & Café re-creates the tranquil, relaxing experience of the bay, located on the western coast of Saint Lucia and surrounded on three sides by steep, forested hills with the inland portion of the bay forming a hurricane hole used to shelter boats from hurricanes. It’s here that it’s famous for its calming waters and palm tree lined beaches that offer a quiet escape from the hustle of city life. It’s this that Dave has re-created, meaning low ambient and traditional Caribbean radio, a focus on traditional drink serves and attentive table service.

Marigot Bay Bar & Café has a capacity of 30 seating, with a first-come-first-serve policy during its hours of operation. Open from Wednesday to Sunday, Marigot Bay Bar & Café focuses on Caribbean origins, including a selection of beers such as Banks of Barbados and Carib of Trinidad and Tobago, coffee sourced from the famous Blue Mountain region of Jamaica and a selection of rum and rhums from across the Caribbean islands, including Chairman’s Reserve of St Lucia, Foursquare of Barbados, Appleton Estate of Jamaica, Havana Club of Cuba and Rhum Clément of Martinique.

Chairman's Reserve

There’s also a focus on the traditional rum serves found on the islands themselves, including the Pusser’s Painkiller, known as the “Official Cocktail of the British Virgin Islands”, Havana Club’s original Cuban Mojito and Gosling’s Black Seal, the tempest in Bermuda’s favourite cocktail the Dark ‘n Stormy. The menu is coupled with a selection of non-rum favourites that can be found on the bars across the Caribbean too, as well as mixers such as fresh coconut water and Ting, the sparkling Jamaican grapefruit juice.

Marigot Bay itself is a historic landmark, having been the site of several battles between the French and British navies, meaning a great opportunity to focus on some of the islands favourite rums that honour the naval history of St Lucia. Expressions from the recent released Admiral Rodney range will be available to experience in special guided tutorials that focus on the aromas and flavour perception of each.

With tribute to Meimi Sanchez, Global Brand Ambassador for Havana Club and her sensory masterclass technique, Marigot Bay Bar & Café has ruled out the usual live music element seen in most venues, instead opting for low-level background music from traditional Caribbean radio stations, producing a calmer experience for all customers and releasing optimum emotions when enjoying a tipple of choice.

Dave himself has over a decade of experience within the drinks industry, creating brand agency Drinks Enthusiast in 2011, Manchester Rum Festival in 2017, Bassano Bar @ PizzaExpress in 2017, co-owner of spirits retail business Riddles Emporium in Altrincham and a national social media and publication presence as a drinks journalist.

Opening Hours;
Wednesday-Friday from 5pm to late and from 12noon to late on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Marigot Bay Bar & Café, 6 King’s Court, Railway Street, Altrincham, WA14 2RD


And Union


The gentleman at And Union have launched an Indian Pale Ale expression named Friday.

Brewed over a 10 week period, it’s said to be their first take on the American style IPA and joins the existing And Union range of unfiltered biers and IPA’s that are brewed in Bavaria.

But who are they actually?

Back in 2007, the trio of a father, his son and a longtime friend worked on a project to create craft lager and ales, collaborating with four small family owned Bavarian breweries, one being almost 500 years old and the youngest at only 90. Using only barley, yeast, hops and water, they create small batches that hone the aromas and flavours, something the more commercialised brands can fail on sometimes.

So how does their newest expression fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

And Union, Friday – 6.5%

Lots of ripe peach notes on the nose with plenty of deep barley and yeast aromas setting the smooth tone. A slight sharpness on the palate initially, but softens out to become a light aromatic peach flavour, wrapped with dry hopped notes and deep tropical fruit.

A tasty expression, one that is unfiltered and unpasteurized, whilst also adhering to the German purity laws (a vegan friendly IPA). Other expressions to look out for include Unflt Lager, Neu Blk, Beast of the Deep, Steph Weiss, Hand Werk and Sun Day. I’ll let your intrigued mind seek each out to find what styles they could all be.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2015. 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.

Van Bulck

Van Bulck

Organic products are a way of life in the times we live in. No longer is it seen as a gimmick or a culture difference, but as accepted as any new brand can be. Van Bulck is the latest organic beer to hit the UK, and it promises a range that only a few brewers can master.

2013 saw an ex-chef and sommelier of 20 years by the name of Denis Renty create a three expression strong organic beer in partnership with a seven generation brewery. Based in Flanders in Belgium, renowned for growing some of the best hops available, Denis has adapted an old family recipe and tailored towards the palate of today. His mother still lives in Flanders and was a renowned chef in her own right. Her maiden name is Van Bulck, hence the name and inspiration, and still works only with organic products in the family hotel and restaurant.

The brewery has adapted itself to meet the strict requirements of brewing organic beers, to the point of the brewer was awarded by the ‘Fédération des études et recherches dans l’industrie de fermentation’ for his scientific study ‘The return of the hopping during the cooking of the wort and the loss of bitter agents during the further production process’.

A mentioned, the brewing process is something only few brewers master, seeing the use of gluten poor and organic barley malt within Van Bulck. This is said to result in a lighter, more balanced flavour that can match with a variety of food recipes.

So how do they fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Van Bulck Gluten Free Organic Lager – 4.5%

Light, fresh aromas of honey and walnut come through on the nose. Very light upon the palate, with a thin flavour of honey following from the nose. A clean finish albeit a little dry.

Van Bulck Organic Blonde Beer – 4.6%

Herbal notes on the nose with liquorice, apple and soft apricot. Lively upon the palate, with a soft white fruit cover and fresh wheat aftertaste. Lingering freshness.

Van Bulck Wild Fruit Beer – 4.7%

Made with 7 different fruits – cherries, pomegranate, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, grapefruit, blackberries.
Plenty of ripe, raw red fruits on the nose, with the raspberries and grapefruit dominating. Very soft on the palate, with a subtle natural sweetness followed by strawberry and pomegranate flavours. A lingering finish of cherry.

Three very natural tasting expressions here, and I can see how they can be versatile when it comes to matching with food. For example, the organic lager would go well with oysters, crab, mussels and shellfish, whilst the blonde beer paired with white meat or lemon cake would go down very well. The wild fruit beer though would pair nicely with red fruits, venison or strong cheese such as the French styles or Stilton.

Worthy of a purchase if you are after a natural flavour, or fancy matching with any of the suggestions above. Enjoy!

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2015. 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.

Ale and Lager Tasting Notes


Over the past few weeks I’ve accumulated a wide range of ales and lagers, and thought the best way possible to feature them would be to have them within one review. So below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Asahi – 5%

Developed in 1987 in Japan, it has a minimum four week maturation period and the traditional addition of a small amount of rice. Fresh on the nose, but a little dry near the end with some sweetness. A sweet malt taste on the palate, with a smooth, dry finish.

Coors Light – 4.5%

Produced in 1978 in the USA. Slightly sweet on the nose with hints of barley and corn. Heavy carbonation and a little thin.

Tuborg Green – 4.6%

A Danish pilsner. Light grain on the nose with a slight hop flavour on the palate. A little sweetness comes through.

Hercules – 5%

A slow brewed small-batch lager from England. Light malt on the nose with a slight pepper finish. Crisp start on the palate, developing into a mild bitterness. Lingers slightly on the finish.

Banks's Bitter
Banks’s Bitter

Estrella Galicia – 4.7%

Introduced in 1906 in Spain, and not to be confused with Estrella Damm. Light corn on the nose with hints of grassy malt. A slight sweetness at the start of the palate, with the grassy malt and corn coming through more dominant. Light bitterness with soft carbonation.

Budwesier 66 – 4%

Faint malt on the nose, and the same on the palate, although a slight sweetness comes through. Rather thin and a little dry.

Holsten Pils – 5%

Brewed in Germany. Citrus on the nose with fresh hops coming through. Lots of easy citrus on the palate, slight hops with a well-balanced carbonation.

Blue Moon – 5.4%

A belgian-style witbier from Colorado. Soft and fruity on the nose, with hints of orange. Orange peel flavours dominate the palate, with a fresh, smooth carbonation lingering the aromas. Recommended to be served with a slice of orange.

Old Golden Hen – 4.1%

Uses a special hop from Tasmania. Brewed by Greene King in England. Lots of honey, lime zest and biscuit aromas on the nose. Light and fresh with patches of dryness on the palate. Rather short.

Marston’s Burton Bitter – 3.8%

Brewed since 1834 and using Burton well water discovered almost 1000 years ago by the monks of Burton Abbey. A blend of light malt and biscuit aromas on the nose. Sharp on the palate with the biscuit aromas developing slightly. Short.

Goliath – 4.2%

A ruby bitter from the Wychwood Brewery in England. Fruit and malt aromas on the nose, with a deep, juicy flavour on the palate, with a slight roasted grain at the end.

Marston’s Double Drop – 4%

Uses the ‘double dropping’ fermentation technique and a late application of hops. Slight malt, hop and caramel on the nose, with a light body and toffee notes coming through. Short and a little dry.


Everards Tiger Bitter – 4.5%

Slight spice on the nose with toffee aromas coming through. Rich toffee comes through on the palate with a well-rounded flavour of malts and sweetness too.

Banks’s Bitter – 3.8%

Earthy aromas with slight caramel notes on the nose. Fresh, but develops a strong, earthy feel on the palate. Low carbonation and dry finish.

Brakspear Bitter – 3.4%

Toasted toffee and earth aromas on the nose, with caramel added to the palate. Soft, low carbonation with a clean finish.

Manns – 2.8%

Brown ale from Mann’s Whitechapel brewery. Sweet malt and dried fruit notes on the nose, with a heavy malt on the palate. Slight nutty flavours with a mild finish.

The majority of the ales above have been purchased from Booth’s, with the lagers acquired from various sources. All seem to be widely available. If you want a hint of what to stump for though, my highlights were the Everards Tiger Bitter, Blue Moon, Old Golden Hen, Estrella Galicia and Brakspear Bitter.

If you happen to purchase any from the list above, feel free to share your photos and tasting notes with me by either commenting below, or posting via Facebook or Twitter.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. 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.

Simon Rimmer’s ‘A Beer To Go With . . .’ Range Tasting Notes


Simon Rimmer

Recently I’ve featured one of Stockport’s little treasures in Robinson’s Brewery, and in the past few weeks, they’ve released information on two new collaborations – Iron Maiden’s ‘Trooper‘ and local celebrity chef Simon Rimmer’s ‘A Beer To Go With . . .’ range. As a huge fan of Iron Maiden, I’ve been rather looking forward to getting my taste buds around their finished ale, but the more intriguing concept came in form of seeing the words curry, chicken and steak stamped on a bottle.

Yes, you did read that right, the Cheshire born maestro has created three beers that have been designed to be drunk alongside three classic items of food. A good idea, and one that could appeal to many a consumer, not only at home, but in restaurants and bars too. Wanting to create something simple and innovative, Simon sampled a range of Robinsons’ ales to shortlist his preferred style of beer, taste and colour before deciding on three distinctive styles to go perfectly with each dish. With this in mind, and to get the best out of the three beers, I not only tasted them separately, but I also created the simple dish it is required to be paired with to see if they really did work well together. So below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Simon Rimmer Presents A Beer To Go With Curry – 5%

A golden lager, the nose gave a ripe, fresh lemon aroma whilst the palate enjoyed a crisp, sweet flavour with a lingering freshness. With Kashmiri butter chicken curry, it became very smooth with a crisp tingle on the tongue and a slight dryness near the end. Lemon lingers both times.

Simon RimmerSimon Rimmer Presents A Beer To Go With Steak – 4.4%

A ruby red ale, a rich roasted aroma on the nose with hints of dried chocolate slowly following. The palate enjoys a very light, rather hoppy feel with fresh citrus flavours. With Jim Beam marinated rump steak (medium rare), the malts blended well with the Jim Beam bourbon flavours, and created a long flavour profile of chocolate and toffee, with the citrus creating a slight sharp ending.

Simon Rimmer Presents A Beer To Go With Chicken – 4%

A golden ale, a rather soft corn scent on the nose, but develops into a zest dominated finish. Instant fizz on the palate, light with a crisp refreshing finish. Slight bitterness. With chicken pieces drizzled with mushroom and onion sauce, the chicken developed more flavour alongside the citrus zest, with the bitterness slightly counteracting the sauce to create a well-balanced feel.

I’ve only ever tried one craft beer produced specifically to match food, so with high expectations, Simon’s onto a winner. With three well adapted beers, two ales and one lager, and being able to match three rather British dishes, he’s somehow managed to tick all the boxes. I deviated away from Simon’s food recommendations, and treated each as I would if I had picked them up from a supermarket. Throwing a simple dish together really challenges the conception of the beers, but it still works. And works well.

Available in his two restaurants, Green’s and Earl, as well as from Robinson’s itself for the time being, Simon has made his range rather exclusive, but also worth it. If I had never had the chance to try the range first-hand, I would still be intrigued to taste, and maybe even try to prove him wrong.

A simple collaboration, with a fantastic outcome. Experiment and give them all a go.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. 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.


Estrella Damm Tasting Notes

Estrella Damm Portfolio

Theres always a staple brand that will catch your eye when you glance into a bars bottle fridge. One that everyone knows, but may not usually see is Estrella Damm. Why? It’s one of Spain’s most famous brands, shouted at you with a smile by your Spanish waiter on your yearly holiday to sunnier climates, yet in 2012, ‘The Beer of Barcelona’ aired their first UK commercial featuring the band Billie the Vision and the Dancers. So in a way, the UK has only just been officially introduced with a marketing avenue that many brands take advantage of straight away. But after sampling some of the Estrella Damm range, I can understand why they haven’t been in such a hurry. Before I come onto them, let me tell you a little about Estrella Damm, and how it came to such prominence.

In the spring of 1872, August Kuentzmann Damm and his wife Melanie left their native Alsace due to the Franco-russian war and settled for Barcelona. Whilst taking advantage of the climate, food and the better quality of life that Barcelona offered, August founded his own beer company in 1876 to continue doing what he had always done – produce beer. This trend carries on to the present day where currently we are into the eleventh generation of Master Brewers.

With generations of Master Brewers comes consistency.

Estrella Damm work with the farmers in the Ebro basin to obtain barley that hold all of the characteristics that the Master Brewers are after. They continue to malt in the very own Bell-Lloc (Lleida) malthouse, making them one of the few breweries in Spain and in the world, that still produces all of its malt barley in its own malthouse.  With this, they continue to use the original recipe as the basis, including the Mediterranean pearl rice.

So how does ‘The Beer of Barcelona’ fair? Well below I give to you my tasting notes –

Estrella Damm – 4.6%

A light malty aroma on the nose with a little spice drifting through slowly. The palate enjoys a smooth offering of darker malts, toasted flavours and creamy hops. A slight dryness near the end with a low carbonation.

As mentioned above, I’ve also been lucky enough to try four other Estrella expressions –

Free Damm
Free Damm

Estrella Damm Daura – 5.4%

Gluten-free beer, brewed with barley malt. A good mix of hops and slightly toasted cereal aromas on the nose with slight sweetness and spice coming through. Fruits flavours dominate the palate, with a light, sweet malt character and a slightly dry end.

Estrella Damm Lemon – 3.2%

Created using six parts beer to four parts lemon. Fresh citrus instantly noticeable on the nose with a rather light scent. Smooth and subtle citrus on the palate, not as strong as expected. A mouth-watering long finish with no hints of dryness. Refreshing.

Estrella Damm Inedit – 4.8%

Inedit means “Never been done before”. In cooperation with the Brew Master of Estrella Damm, Inedit was crafted by the globally acclaimed chef Ferran Andria, Juli Soler and sommeliers Ferran Centelles and David Seijas from ElBulli Restaurant. It’s a skilfully brewed blend of lager and wheat beer styles, using a combination of barley malt, wheat, hops, coriander, orange peel, yeast and water which is then aromatised with coriander, orange peel and liquorice.
Subtle orange and grain aromas on the nose, with malt and spices following. Fresh wheat and a small kick of spice present themselves on the palate, with the citrus flavours keeping themselves till the long finish. Easy drinking.

Free Damm – O%

Made with the same ingredients used to make alcoholic beer. Yeast is added and allowed to ferment to produce alcohol in the natural way. Then, thanks to an advanced technique they call ‘vacuum distillation’, they are able to bring the percentage of alcohol down to 0.0% without changing the beer in any way.
Plenty of wheat on the nose, with a soft, refreshing aroma coming through near the end. Light on the palate, with hints of toasted malt making their way around. Lingers slightly.

For me, it’s a rather stunning portfolio, and I can appreciate why it has done so well in International competitions, winning in Vienna 1904, London 1905, Munich 1906, Paris 1964, The World Beer Championship 1998 – Australia and The World Beer Championship 2004 – Chicago. And it goes well with food. The Estrella Damm combining with fish, chorizo, ham, salads, and squid – covering a good range of food categories which makes it ‘The King of Barcelona’ time and time again.

Check out the rest of the photos, taken at The Circle 360, via my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. 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.

Lech Tasting Notes


A work colleague of mine left to travel back to Poland a few weeks ago and she left me a can of Lech, a Polish lager which is apparently quite popular. At 5.2% I was expecting something rather strong, however it was rather surprisingly smooth and not as gassy. It had a light, slight hoppy taste, and no defining aroma to speak of. A slight bitterness comes through at the end but overall it is an enjoyable and refreshing lager.

If I had to choose between the two Polish lagers I have currently tried, i would choose Tyskie. Theres not much flavour to Lech which whilst sometimes a good thing for an easy drinking lager, you do wonder if your going to have another. Tyskie on the other hand, you know you will be asking.

Miller Genuine Draught Tasting Notes

Miller Genuine Draft

If you’re ever with me for a drink, it’s a rarity I go for lager these days, nothing against them, I just seem to have a bigger heart towards ales. But what I do love is the time where you can just crack open a bottle at home on a hot summers day. Millers is my preferred tipple when on the hunt, so with this in mind, lets see how the brand came about.

The Miller Brewing Company was founded back in 1855 by Frederick Miller. It was at this time that he purchased the small Plank-Road Brewery in the Menomonee Valley in Milwaukee and utilised the easy access to raw materials produced on nearby farms. Over a hundred years later, the family were no longer a part of the company, with W. R. Grace and Company agreeing to buy 53% of Miller from Mrs. Lorraine John Mulberger (Frederick Miller’s granddaughter, who objected to alcohol) and her family on September 19th 1966. Three years later on 12 June 1969, Philip Morris  bought Miller from W.R. Grace for $130 million, before being bought by the South African Breweries in 2002, to become a merged company named SABMiller. On October 10th 2007, SABMiller and Molson Coors agreed to combine their U.S. operations in a joint venture called MillerCoors.

Miller High Life is the companies oldest brand, having been first introduced back in 1903 and marketed as a pilsner. The more widely found brand, especially here in the UK, is the Miller Genuine Draft. First introduced in 1985, it is the original cold filtered packaged draft beer, which means that the beer is not pasteurized. The concept for the brand was developed by product consultant Calle & Company. Martin Calle evolved the concept from Miller’s New Ventures effort to launch a new dry beer at a time Miller Brewing was in danger of becoming a much-cloned light beer manufacturer. Originally introduced as ‘Miller High Life Genuine Draft’, the ‘High Life’ part of the name was soon dropped. Miller Genuine Draft is actually made from the same recipe as Miller High Life but with a different treatment. It was developed to give High Life drinkers the same taste in a can or bottle as they found in non-pasteurized kegs. *

So, how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Miller Genuine Draft – 4.7%

A light body with a slight grain malt aroma and a sweet yet sharp flavour. On the palate, it gives off a smooth and lightly hopped finish.

Miller Genuine Draft received the gold medal in the American-style Premium Lager category at the 1999 World Beer Cup, as well as the silver medal at the 2003 Great American Beer Festival. Perfect with BBQ or flame grilled meats, or just on those days where you need something good yet chilled.

* For a more detailed explanation, please see this short video.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. 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.