Beer Driving 14% Sales Swing for British Pubs

TROOPER Beer Driving 14% Sales Swing for British Pubs


Three months after launching a new 4.8% beer with Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson, Robinsons Brewery and its pubs are already seeing the effect that TROOPER and its loyal fans can have on beer sales… a 14%+ effect to be exact.


Trooper pump clip“When we launched TROOPER we decided to give 20 Robinsons pubs an exclusive VIP cask night ‘ahead of the rest’” explains Robinsons’ new Operations Director Dave Harrison.  “The feedback from the pubs was phenomenal- they found that as soon as they put the ‘coming soon’ message on A-boards, posters and websites locally, word spread rapidly and we genuinely had the trade of a busy bank holiday on the 9th May.”


Since then, the impact has been even more noticeable.  Recent results show that within the Robinsons estate beer sales of the pubs that have listed this beer are 14% ahead of those which have not.  “This has focussed our attention to say the least,” continued Dave, “we need to make sure that when a pub has at least 4 hand-pulls on the bar that one of them is TROOPER.  The website then shows the pub on a stockist map and we use Facebook to tell the fans where to find it.

TROOPER dominated Facebook as ‘No 1 most liked beer’ and already has well over 60,000 followers making it one of the most followed ales in the UK.”


At a pub level some of the feedback is astonishing. “We had one customer fly over from Canada to drink the beer at The Castle in Manchester and then fly back,” Dave explained.

“People are making a conscious effort to get off trains near our pubs like the Black Horse in Preston to drink the beer before getting back on to continue on their journey from London to Glasgow.  We’ve had customers travelling from Devizes to drink the beer and liking it so much they have booked a holiday near our pubs and dozens more stories from our licensees- astonished at how one beer can make such a difference.”


The beer has also had a great impact on demand at the brewery.  “In short we are brewing twice as much beer as we were before TROOPER was launched on May 9th and our new £5m brew house is coping nicely,” commented Managing Director Oliver Robinson. “We have never been busier in terms of brewing in our 175 year history. And it’s making a real difference to our pub sales which is fantastic.”

“The beer itself is really very good in terms of quality and taste and hence repeat purchases are high.  It is the fastest selling beer Morrisons have ever listed and we now have distribution in Carlsberg, Heineken, Enterprise, Spirit and Punch as well as our own customers.”


Robinsons’ message to potential customers is simple: “TROOPER beer is great and the brewery to – pubs just need to list it and most importantly tell their customers about it – in the pubs, via and Facebook.  The results are pretty consistent- as a licensee you’re going to do well.  In fact, 14% better than the rest in our experience.”


Robinsons ‘Trooper’ Review

Bruce pulling first pint _9731

The launch of a product can sometimes have little or no fan fare, but one that can break landmarks is a launch worth talking about. A collaboration between Robinsons Brewery and Iron Maiden has done just that, creating an unheard of demand of 300,000 pints pre-ordered. So much so that for the first time in Robinsons history they had to brew three times a day, six days a week! You don’t half become intrigued to find out more when you hear facts like this. Luckily, I was one of the select few to be invited to the launch on Thursday within the Robinsons Brewery and their new visitors centre. Around 100 brew trade representatives not only from the UK but also from countries such as the USA, Sweden and Germany descended upon the Iron Maiden branded bar to see lead singer Bruce Dickinson pull the ceremonial first pint.

Not before he gave a personal tour first.

Bruce Dickinson with Oliver Robinson
Bruce Dickinson with Oliver Robinson

Walking through the brewery, he explained his vision and collaboration step-by-step, finishing in himself receiving his own hand pull, complete with the Trooper pump clip with the bands mascot ‘Eddie’, awarding the ‘Fastest Ever Selling New Robinsons Beer’ once back in the bar. After Bruce had given a short acceptance speech (so to speak), the first pint of Trooper was pulled amidst cheers and applause. Being 2pm, we were a full hour ahead of the specially selected 30 Robinson pubs that would be able to sell Trooper to the public, creating the event just that little bit more special.

To finish the launch, a VIP question and answer session was conducted in a cordoned off bar where we were able to ask Bruce questions regarding his motives, inspiration and future.

The collaboration started with a meet in London between Bruce and Head Brewer Martyn Weeks. A blind tasting of 10 bottled beers gave Bruce his first inspiration into the style and finish he was after, whittling it down to three and opting for Bobec, Goldings and Cascade hops. Using his idea of creating a beer that you can enjoy time and time again, and going off the repeated visits to the bar by most of the crowd, I’d say Bruce is onto a winner with Trooper. He even hints that this may not be the last as he mentions that he’s found the experience most enjoyable.

Would be a talking point seeing ‘Fear of the Dark’ being added to the portfolio!

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

Trooper – 4.8%

Fresh, soft malt with citrus dicing through near the end. Well-balanced onto the palate, edging more onto the malt, creating a mouth-watering effect that lingers with subtle hops. Long.

A great ale, one that really hits Bruce’s idea of a sessionable beer. It’s being rolled out to all the Robinsons pubs as we speak, with it also available online and soon in your locals.

© 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.

“Trooper” – A New Cask And Bottled Ale From Iron Maiden And Robinson’s Brewery






Robinson’s are delighted to announce that they have teamed up with British rock legends Iron Maiden to launch an exclusive new beer called “Trooper”.

This collaboration is an ideal match; Bruce Dickinson, Maiden’s lead vocalist, loves his real ale, and Robinson’s are one of Britain’s most established and respected independent family-owned brewers with over 175 years experience in brewing award-winning ales.

Real ale aficionado Bruce Dickinson played a major role in developing the unique flavour of the beer, entailing ongoing visits to the brewery. Dickinson’s on-stage Union Jack flag-waving military character is an iconic element of the band’s live concerts and “The Trooper”, written by bassist Steve Harris, is one of Iron Maiden’s most popular songs and one of the highlights of any Maiden show.

Iron Maiden, who continue their Maiden England World Tour this summer – including an historic return to the Download Festival, Donington Park, headlining for a record fifth time – have been at the forefront of heavy rock worldwide for more than three decades. Maiden are one of Britain’s most influential and revered bands, with close to 90 million album sales, more than 2,000 live performances in 58 countries and 15 studio albums described by critics as being of “unerring quality and power”, including the most recent – The Final Frontier – which is their biggest ever chart success attaining No.1 positions in over 28 countries including the UK.

Not only do Iron Maiden genuinely enjoy a good pint of cask ale, but so do many of their fans – and they have an important part to play in the customer base. Authentic collaborations such as this are invaluable not only to the company but to the industry as a whole, because it shows that the world of real ale is more than just manufacturing, it is liquid artistry by the people who brew it – and for the people who drink it.

Trooper is a premium British ale with true depth of character and flavour. For more than thirty years, the unmistakable icon of Eddie, the band’s instantly-recognisable mascot, has adorned every album cover, T-shirt and poster – so it is fitting that Eddie will now adorn the cask pump clip and take centre stage on the bottle label of Trooper.

Fans of both Iron Maiden and Robinsons real ale can sign up to the holding page to get updates on Trooper Premium British Beer from, where bottles will be available to purchase by both UK and overseas customers from May 2013. The complete Iron Maiden Beer website will be live from the beginning of April onwards.

About the Beer – ‘Trooper’.

Taking its name from the Maiden song inspired by Tennyson’s Charge of the Brigade, Trooper is a premium British beer created by Bruce and Iron Maiden and handcrafted at Robinsons Brewery. Being a real ale enthusiast, lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson has developed a beer which has true depth of character. Malt flavours and citric notes from a unique blend of Bobec, Goldings and Cascade hops dominate this deep golden ale with a subtle hint of lemon. Alc. 4.8% Vol cask, 4.7% Vol bottle.

Video Clip

Bruce Dickinson talks about ‘Trooper’.


Manchester Food and Drink Festival 2012

This year is the 15th anniversary of the Manchester Food and Drink Festival and as you would expect, this year is going with a bang of delights involving many of Manchester’s top restaurants and bars. From September 21st to October 8th, many of my favourite haunts and industry figures are planning on delighting you all with their skills and venues, so below I give to you all the highlights and details that you need!

Manchester Whisky Festival 2012 – Saturday 22nd September

The Manchester Whisky Festival will be taking place at the Palace Hotel on Oxford Street in two sessions, 11am – 3pm and 4pm – 8pm.

The event is run by vibrant and totally independent whisky events company, The Whisky Lounge founded by Whisky Evangelist Eddie Ludlow with the specific aim of demystifying whisky and bringing it back to the people. The festival is the 4th in the city since 2009 and has now developed into one of the largest events in the Whisky Lounge’s portfolio and the biggest whisky event in the UK, outside of London.

Over 20 exhibitors, around 40 distilleries and close to 200 whiskies will be on sample over the course of the day. Whiskies from the large and small, from the traditional areas of Scotland and Ireland, as well as more recently established distilleries from England, India and Japan will all be there and available to taste.

Tickets are available here and include access to demonstrations, all samples in the main hall, a Glencairn nosing glass, a bottle of water and a festival programme all for £25.

Robinsons Pub on the Hub – 27th September to 4th October

The Robinsons Pub on the Hub is back for its third year running to grace Albert Square with its impressive range of beers – all brewed with their brand new Brew House which has the largest Hopnik in the world! The Pub on the Hub will be the city’s very own pop up beer house with a bounty of Robinson’s cask ales, cosy furnishings, pub games and everything you’d expect from your local boozer… Plus a few surprises thrown in.

Robinson’s have revealed that the superstar beers to be served include: Unicorn, Dizzy Blonde, 1892, Double Hop, Cwrw’r Ddraig Aur, Old Tom, XB, Cumbria Way, elbow’s ‘build a rocket boys!’, Green Bullet and even a one-off MFDF Ale!

The Finnieston – September 21st

Glasgow based Bar/Restaurant The Finnieston will be hosting a one night only pop-up bar, sponsored by Caorunn Gin at The Liquorists HQ #22Redbank. Ervin and his talented team will be coming down for one night only to wow you all in their own inimitable style. With drinks by Caorunn Gin and seafood canapes from the chefs in-house this night guarantees to excite and thrill.

£45 a head gets you 5 cocktails and canapés and you can book here.

Trail Blazers and Influencers – 5 Drinks That Changed the World – 27th September and 4th October

Throughout the course of our drinking culture’s creation several developments altered forever how and what we drank. The introduction of ice, the holy trinity of rum, lime and sugar, the advent of better preservatives for fruit, the evolution of the Martini all were crucial watersheds in our getting to where we are now. Come with the Liquorists and taste the best history lesson you have ever been to!

The Liquorists will showcase these drinks and some terribly interesting facts and figures that will surprise and delight the 30 attendees of this evening’s great entertainment. Tickets are £35 a head for which you will receive 5 cocktails that changed forever the style and nature of our alcoholic drinks, and canapé food matches. Click here to book.

The Bon Vivant – 28th September

Fantastic Edinburgh based operator The Bon Vivant comes to Manchester for one night only, sponsored by Grey Goose

Fashion is fleeting, style is timeless… The Bon Vivant is timeless ladies and gents and they will be here for one great night only, serving up drinks by Grey Goose to fall in love to! Classic and stylish with not a little finesse, the Bon Vivant we have you planning a trip north of the border post haste! Book here for £45 to get 5 cocktails, canapés and big style points!

The Thrill of the Chase – September 30th

Come taste some of the sublime liquid brought to you by Chase Distillery in Herefordshire crafted into cocktail heaven and matched with canapes by The Liquorists.

Taste Chase Potato Vodka, Chase Marmalade Vodka, Chase Smoked Vodka and Williams Chase Gin on their own and in a cocktail carefully created by the Liquorists to showcase each expression’s unique flavours matched expertly with delightful canapé food pairings. At only £25 a head this is not an event to let pass you by – book here!

Champagne and Seafood Gastronight Clandestine Cuisine with Dan Borza – 6th October

The Final pop-up Restaurant of The Liquorists calendar is the top of the tree, the king of the hill, the icing on the cake, the best of the best. Luxurious beyond words. Tickets are £75 a head for 8 courses and 7 wines. Book here and gaze over the menu of delights to avoid missing out on this epic epicurean event!

The Liars Club Cocktail Tiki Shack – September 21st to 7th October

Aloha! New for 2012, this is your chance to get tropical and enjoy festival cocktails with our exotic Tiki shack hosted by MFDF Bar of the Year nominee, The Liars Club, Tiki Dive Bar and Caribbean Rum Shop. Famous for serving the best Zombies in town and purveyor of the region’s most extensive collection of rum, the bar is a treasure trove of Tiki heaven with its kitsch Polynesian decor, exotic trinkets and flaming cocktails.

The Liars Club ususal home is just off Deansgate, underneath Mojo where you will find the ultimate fun and relaxed Tiki hideaway, but for this fesitval only check them out in Albert Square.

Oktoberfest – 5th Ocotber to 7th October

Celebrate the changing seasons at MFDF’s tribute to the Munich Oktoberfest with award-winning German beer brand Veltins. This event returns in 2012 with its own dedicated Bier Keller on the Sqaure. Entry is completely free and visitiors will find litre steins of authentic German beer on sale, as well as live entertainment for three fun-filled days. Beer is provided by Veltins, one of Germany’s oldest and most established brauereis, and steins of refreshing pilsner are an absolute must try. This easy-drinking, clean and herbal beer is the perfect illustration of how to balance delicate malt with lots of tangy hops.

The result is a seriously drinkable beer, which has won a number of ‘best pilsner’ awards. Bavarian banqueting sessions are happening for the first time in the Festival Dining Hall across the Square too perfect for a night out with friends or work colleagues. To book a place, including communal banquet, stein of beer, entertainment – and much more – Click here

Corks Out Summer Tasting – Manchester

Last week was the inaugural start of something that has been proving popular in recent years – the Corks Out tasting evenings. Only this time, instead of the usual Warrington and Chester locations, they’ve branched out into Manchester and brought along with them a host of brands in both wine, Champagne and spirits. With the promise of a wide selection from producers including Morton, Franschhoek and Cattier as well as spirits that included El Dorado rum, Hayman’s gin and Auchentoshan whisky, you’d think there would be plenty to go around. Oh no. To cap off the selection, both Robinson’s brewery and Wrenbury cider were at the Castlefield Room’s to shed a bit of local prestige to the afternoon’s proceedings. With the Corks Out team on hand to lend their expertise to the public, and joined by the ever popular Stevens Garnier and Wines of Portugal, an afternoon turned quickly into an evening of not only being given the chance to try bottles that ranged from £6.99 to £39.99, but also the opportunity to win a free Magnum of Champagne and to learn the trade by signing up to their collaboration with Manchester Wine School. With much to experience, I tried to keep to brands and styles that I had either never come across or had not previously had the chance to sample, so below I give to you my tasting notes on each –

Morton White Label Sauvignon Blanc 2011, New Zealand – 13.5%

Lots of passionfruit and citrus on the nose that developed into soft, well-balanced offering on the palate.

Cypress White Label Syrah 2009, New Zealand 

Instant sweetness with ripe berry and plum notes on the nose. Contrasting flavours on the palate though with slow hints of chocolate and herbs.

Cypress Terraces Syrah 2008, New Zealand 

Strong dark berry aromas on the nose mix well with dark chocolate and liquorice on the palate. Slight spice on the end.

Majella The Musician Cabernet Shiraz 2010, Australia – 14.5%

A blend of blackcurrant and mint on the nose that punches its way onto the palate.

Terrunyo Syrah 2007, Chile

On the nose, strong raspberries and white pepper that evolves into liquorice flavours on the palate. A dry finish.

Concha y Toro Late Harvest Dessert 2008, Chile

Fresh peach and honey notes come through on the nose, with the honey creating a light, long finish on the palate.

Steenberg Chardonnay Brut NV, South Africa – 11.5%

Fresh apples and crumble found on the nose, with a fresh, creamy palate offering with a crisp finish.

Matetic EQ Chardonnay 2009, Chile

Instant peach and honey blend well as it develops from the nose to the palate. Well-balanced and creamy.

Le Difese Tenuta San Guido (3rd Sassicaia) 2010, Italy

Dark berry aromas hit the nose instantly, with delicious spice on the palate to counter its richness.

Greywacke Wild Sauvignon Blanc 2010, New Zealand

Apricot and lime balance well on the nose, with juicy fruit and a citrus edge hitting the palate well.

Ciconia Branco Alentejo 2011, Portugal

Lots of passionfruit and melon balancing nicely on both the nose and palate.

Drink Me Tinto Niepoort 2010, Portugal

Bold dark berry fruits  that dive deeper as it hits the palate to create a smooth finish.

Niepoort Late Bottled Vintage Port 2007, Portugal

Blackberries and plums blend well on the nose, becoming soft and silky once on the palate. Long finish.

Domaine Vacheron Sancerre Le Paradis 2010, France – 13%

Incredible ripe green fruits on the nose that leads to a well-rounded sharp flavour on the palate.

Cotes du Rhone Rose Clos Bellane Altitude 2011, France – 12%

Peach and strawberries combine gently on the nose and becomes light and fruity upon hitting the palate.

Cattier NV Brut Champagne

Fresh white fruit of apples and pears subtly surround the nose, with a lively, fresh dose of tropical and floral flavours on the palate.

Cattier Glamour Demi Sec Rose Champagne

A blend of red berries and ripe fruit  are present on the nose and palate, with a hint of sweetness to finish.

Cattier Antique Rose Champagne

Fresh and well-rounded with crisp red berries dominating both the nose and palate.

Robinson’s Brewery

Portia Ebeia Ribera del Duero 2004, Spain

Incredibly fresh on the nose, with hints of vanilla and raspberry making its way through on the nose and palate. Enjoys a finish of sweetness.

An incredible selection that covers a host of countries including Italy, Chile, New Zealand and Australia, as well as a Portuguese port, South African sparkling wine, Chilean dessert wine and a variety of Champagnes from well-known houses. I was also lucky enough to sample the range from Robinson’s brewery as well as the El Dorado 12 and 15yr rums and Patron XO Cafe tequila. The spirits will be featured on my site in the near future as their own seperate article, as will the Robinson’s range (although you can check out previous notes on their Old Tom and ‘build a rocket boys’ offerings).

The event was a great chance to not only try something different in a variety of categories, but also the opportunity to talk to both the ladies and gentleman behind the brands and Ruth Yates herself who was more than willing to chat to anyone and everyone about her favourite hobby.

The Corks Out Winter Tastings will be next on the agenda, and I strongly suggest you get yourself down. Get involved!

© 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.




Robinson’s Pub on the Hub

Look what’s coming to this years Manchester Food & Drink Festival! –

Stockport based brewery, Robinsons, has 360 pubs situated within the stunning settings of Cheshire, Derbyshire, Cumbria and Wales, but between the 27th September and the 4th October, Manchester Food and Drink Festival will play host to its 361st – The Pub on the Hub!

We’re very excited to announce that Robinsons Pub on the Hub is back for its third year running to grace Albert Square with its impressive range of beers – all brewed with their brand new Brew House which has the largest Hopnik in the world!

The Pub on the Hub will be the city’s very own pop up beer house with a bounty of Robinson’s cask ales, cosy furnishings, pub games and everything you’d expect from your local boozer… Plus a few surprises thrown in. 

Robinson’s have revealed that the superstar beers to be served include: Unicorn, Dizzy Blonde, 1892, Double Hop, Cwrw’r Ddraig Aur, Old Tom, XB, Cumbria Way, elbow’s ‘build a rocket boys!’, Green Bullet and even a one-off MFDF Ale!

We’re leaving it up to you, the public, to come up with the best name for the MFDF 15th anniversary ale, so please email your suggestions to pickme@foodanddrinkfestival. A shortlist will be drawn up and the favourite will be chosen by the festival directors and Mr. John Robinson himself!


Looks like this years festival is shaping up quite nicely! Hope to see as many of you as possible at the bar!


National Winter Ales Festival 2012

A couple of weeks ago, the National Winter Ales Festival rolled its way into the Sheridan Suite on Oldham Road, Manchester to showcase over 300 ales, ciders and perries to the Manchester public. In association with CAMRA and Robinsons Brewery, it promised a wide range of both national and local breweries, as well as International bottled ales, food, stalls and entertainment. Myself and a friend went along on the Friday to try our hand at a few!

A rather drizzle led night, we made the 20 minute walk from Piccadilly Gardens to the Sheridan Suite, where a que was forming outside the doors – always a good sign, especially when it was one in, one out. After finally making our way inside after paying a tidy sum of £5 to gain entry, we entered to what I can only describe as a large room filled with long rows of barrels, hand-pumps and hot food stalls, all entwined with a mixture of families, groups of adults both young and old and a flurry of volunteers pouring away.

After briefly browsing the many offerings, I plumped for Dry Stone by Hawkshead Brewery (4,5%), a well-balanced stout that had a long, dry finish, whilst my friend went for Happy Valley’s ‘Little Rascal’ (3.9%), a fantastic hop character created using Tomahawk, Columbus and Chinook hops. Next up was the ‘Centurion’s Ghost’ by York Brewery (5.4%), a dark, bitter ale that gave off a roasted malt flavour. A rather easy drinker! ‘Snow White’ by the Whim Brewery (4.8%) was chosen next by my friend, a coriander based wheat beer with a citrus zest taste on the palate.

We then sourced out the Robinsons Brewery table, where they had on offer ‘Old Tom’, ‘Old Tom Chocolate’ and their new ale, ‘Long Kiss Goodnight’. My friend plumped for the Old Tom Chocolate (6%) a chocolate infused variant on the award-winning Old Tom, whilst I went for the Long Kiss Goodnight (3.9%), a rather warm, floral mix of toffee and spice on the nose, with a rich hoppy biscuit taste on the palate.

Long Kiss Goodnight by Robinsons Brewery

Unfortunately due to the time we arrived, we only had time for one more, so we decided to wander over to the International ale table, where there were fridges full of interesting bottled ales from Belgium, Germany, Holland, Czech Republic and the USA. We went off the recommendation of one of the volunteers, and he offered us a Belgian Anker Boscoulis (3.5%) and a Timmermans Peche (4%). The Anker Bouscoulis was a rather sweet strawberry fruit beer (perfect for a man with a sweet tooth) with lasting flavour on the aftertaste, whilst the Timmermans Peche had a powerful peach aroma which created a dry taste on the palate.

Despite only sampling a few, the sheer scale of the place, as well as the ales on offer, would make it a daunting task for anyone, and a full day is recommended! I’ve always loved these ale festivals, as it’s the perfect chance to try something new, or sample an ale that you see around, but just never had the opportunity to try. Roll on next year!

For more photos of the Winter Ales Festival, click here.

© 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.

Elbow’s ‘build a rocket boys!’ Tasting Notes

Last month, the Manchester band Elbow launched a brand new ale, ‘build a rocket boys!’. Working with Stockport based Robinson’s Brewery and named after their recent album, the band created a media buzz at the recent Manchester Food and Drink Festival as they themselves pulled the first few pints in the Robinson’s beer tent. I myself have been enjoying Elbow’s new ale in the various Kro bars dotted around Manchester, but I wanted to wait until the bottle version arrived on my doorstep until I reviewed this golden bitter.

‘build a rocket boys!’  has been created to Elbow’s own specifications. The band enjoyed a series of beer tastings at the brewery where they sampled a range of Robinsons’ ales to shortlist their preferred style of beer, taste and colour. Elbow’s finished product was decided on a golden ale with a rich rounded body, smooth bitterness, with a subtle tang of malt and fruity aroma. It created a golden premium session bitter with a strength of 4.0% ABV.  The nose enjoys a slight bitterness with fresh hops mellowing their way down your sinuses. The palate gets a slow burst of sweet fruit with only a hint of bitterness on the tongue. A fresh, slight citrus note, lasts long on the after-taste with malt flavour staying on your lips. A lack of dryness means you can enjoy two or three of these during a night, and it’s not too heavy to stomach.

Robinson’s recently sent out a press release stating that “Robinsons report brisk trade of the beer with several supermarkets across the North West ordering extra stock of ‘build a rocket boys’, to keep up with demand. Elbow and Robinsons officially launched the beer at the recent Manchester Food and Drink Festival and the ale has gone on to be a big hit with music and beer fans alike. Two of Manchester’s most iconic drinking establishments, Kro Bar and The Castle, have already requested a second helping of the beer after pumps quickly ran dry.”

And to be fair, I can see why. I’ve met numerous people, both ale and non ale drinkers, who have enjoyed the new sensation, and with it rolling out into supermarkets, it can only get bigger.

Robinsons Brewery will also donate a significant percentage of all profits raised by the sale of ‘build a rocket boys!’ beer to Oxfam’s Famine Appeal.

This is an ale you really need to try.

To purchase ‘build a rocket boys!’, click here

© 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 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.

Manchester Food & Drink Festival

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 –

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.

La Vida Loca

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!

Absolut Redhead

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 –

Robinson’s Brewery –

Prospect Brewery –

Marble Brewery –

Kro Bar –

Snowdonia Cheese Company –

The Liquorists –


© 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.