After a pretty weak start in all honesty, things improved in the latter half of the Manchester festival. How much did this have to do with my increasing drunkeness? Not a great deal I think as I was pacing myself pretty well. I think it just took me a couple of hours to seek out the best stuff.
First up was Algorithm by Anarchy Brewing, a strong Belgian Wheat beer. According to the finely tuned nose of my drinking partner Charlie, it “smelled like rain” but tasted a whole lot nicer. Cloudy, pale and heavy, it has a sweet caramel flavour mixed with the grainy taste you expect from these thick Belgians. It reveals a little of its potency in the finish, rich and pleasant. Really drinkable.
With my next I managed another good’un, Alchemy’s Daylight Strobbery, brewed in Northumberland. This was a hugely fruity milk stout, mixing a thick, smooth silkiness with plenty of strawberry and raspberry flavouring. Sweet and sickly, you probably wouldn’t want more than a pint but it’ll be a proper lovely pint.
Okell’s MPA (Manx Pale Ale) is my first ever beer from the little island in the Irish Sea, and unfortunately it wasn’t much to get excited about. Very pale, it has a weak lemon rind flavour with a fairly mild hoppiness and some caramel sweetness. Still, it was cool to try something a little more exotic.
Peerless’ Oatmeal Stout was a lazy choice, just going for another dark beer after the disappointment of the MPA, but this was not a great deal better. There’s some cocoa bitterness and a decent mild malt sweetness, but it was rather too mild for my liking. The grainy, wholeheartedness I expect from an oatmeal stout was missing.
Lastly but by no means leastly came my favourite beer of them all. Not the best, but certainly the most original. Also the only foreign brewed beer I sampled, Het Uiltje (top name that) have created a proper beast of a strong stout. Not content with making it a woozy, boozy 9.6%, it’s also full of chilli, hence “Flaming Ass Owl”, which makes little sense but I just don’t care. Probably not the beer to end the day on, but we are all prone to unwise decisions after a few.
The flavour was like a Mexican party in my mouth, a heady mix of thick and grainy roast malts, fudgy sweetness, plenty of booze and an unavoidable helping of properly spicy chilli. This beer is actually very hot – not just a bit. I couldn’t manage more than a third, but then I imagine you’re not meant to. Kudos to Het Uiltje (still a top name) for creating such a bat-shit insane beer.
Daylight Strobbery and Algorithm:
Flaming Ass Owl:
Oatmeal and MPA: