Manchester Craft Beer Guide | UK
The Manchester craft beer scene is exploding with new bars and breweries opening every week making it the perfect time to visit England’s unofficial second city.
Manchester, rich in industrial heritage and one of the UK’s biggest cities, is famous for many things including Manchester United and City, The Smiths and Stone Roses, Danny Boyle and Tony Wilson, and much more, so as a result beer doesn’t always at first register at the top of the list. However, this has less to do with Manchester craft beer culture and more to do with the exploits of some pretty famous sons and daughters.
Scratch a little deeper though, and you’ll find that Manchester has a beer heritage to be proud of and a modern craft beer scene vibrant enough to rival any worldwide but you should already know that if you know your IPAs from your stouts.
From the heady days of history, when names like Boddingtons and Joseph Holt (who have been proudly operating since 1849) ruled supreme, to the vast choice of the present day, a beer lover’s city is waiting to be explored…
Where to Start: Manchester Craft Beer Tasting
When coming to visit you’ll probably want to dive right in and get tasting so if arriving by train just remember that the city centre stations are Piccadilly, Oxford Road and Victoria and if you’re flying into Manchester Airport leave between 30 minutes to an hour for travel into the city.
Port Street Beer House has to be your first port of call after arrival (no pun intended). Port Street, a haven for lager lovers and ale-heads throughout Manchester and beyond, first opened in the lively Northern Quarter in 2011 and has been a rip roaring success on the Manchester craft beer scene ever since.
No real surprise when you consider they stock over 100 bottled beers, boast 18 draft lines and manage 7 handpulls alongside undertaking over 30 tap takeovers, 20 collaborative beers and special releases like 2016’s Life on Mild (a beer brewed in homage to the late, great David Bowie)
Thankfully, if you’re after a bite to eat to stop things getting too messy before the sun goes down, our next suggestion, The Marble Arch, is just up the road, Rochdale Road to be precise.
Here you’ll be greeted with the type of pub most think are nothing more than a memory nowadays (it’s a listed building) as well as some tidy grub, 11 handpulls, guest ales and a fine bottled selection.
Throw in the fact that The Marble Arch microbrewery, Marble Beers, brews some tasty numbers that are constantly revolving in the pub and you’ve got a nice start and a proper insight into Manchester’s gloriously beery underbelly.
Diggin’ Deeper: Beer Experiences in Manchester
Now that you’re nicely settled in, and hopefully not completely ‘on the way’ yet, it’s time to move deeper into the Manchester craft beer scene with a stop at Beermoth and Café Beermoth.
A quick stumble back into town will allow you stop off at Beermoth, in the Northern Quarter, if you fancy perusing the immaculately stocked shelves of a specialist bottle shop or Café Beermoth which is a little closer to the city centre in Spring Gardens. In the café you can enjoy 16 rotating beer lines, a splendid selection of bottles, decent prices for what’s on offer and some industrial chic design that makes sipping on a fresh pint all the better.
After you’ve thoroughly experienced all that Manchester city centre and the Northern Quarter has to offer (and there’s plenty more but we’d be here all day) you might be tempted to explore elsewhere and get out to the suburbs.
The former grew from market stall to tap house and bottle shop, with good reason considering the love for beer on show here, and now offers a tidy selection of local and national beers including local favourites from Cloudwater Brewing Company and further afield. You can also get your takeaway fill at a special flagon station and honestly, who doesn’t love this kind of takeaway?
Our final stop, about 20-30 minutes away from Heaton Hops, is Saison, which boasts a healthy 16 beer kegs, 4 cask ales and over 40 bottles from around the globe.
Seriously, you’ll get everything here from Belgian blondes (we’re still talking about the beer!) to classic German wheat beers and dark porters to session IPAs. Brewers like The Kernel, Beavertown and Scuttlebutt are all present and counted for and, if you’re lucky with your timing, you might get to join in on one of their regular tasting experiences.
Visit Manchester Breweries And Brewtaps
Manchester is also now becoming an absolute mecca for beer fans due to the amount of brewtaps that are open to the public most weekends.
GRUB at Mayfield is something you’re not going to want to miss with the North West’s best selection of rotating street food vendors and loads of beers on offer from local breweries. Alphabet’s Saturday ‘Brew Tap & Food Yard’ is also a cracking way to start the weekend with it appearing most Saturday’s just behind Piccadilly station. Not only is there great beer and music but again more high quality street food traders which switch week to week and the vibe at both GRUB and Alphabet goes from family friendly earlier on to getting a bit lairy as the day (and beers) go on.
More great places for beer almost straight from the tank are Runaway in the Green Quarter, Beatnikz on Red Bank and the always excellent Cloudwater brewing offering around 10 taps and plenty of cans in their barrel store site on Sheffield street.
Beer Nouveau brewery tap offers something a little bit different from their place if you’re after a break from the full on hipster vibes of the other brewtaps, but a night in Track Brewing will bring it all back if you want to complete an almost full set!
With more and more breweries and brewtaps setting up around town it’s a case of blink and you’ll miss a new opening but this is only a good thing for people visiting Manchester and wanting new and authentic places to go for great Manchester craft beer.
While You’re Here: A Taste of Manchester
Ready for a breather? Like we said earlier, Manchester is famous for a lot more than just the great beer on offer (and we’ve barely even scratched the surface there…), which makes us wonder why the hell you haven’t visited already?
You already know you’re spoiled for choice as a football fan but if you fancy delving into the history of the beautiful game you can also visit England’s National Football Museum here. You know it existed before the Premier League, right? Music fans can catch major acts at the Apollo or O2 Ritz, with loads of smaller gig venues dotted across the city, and culture vultures can check out The Lowry (named after the man himself), the Museum of Science and Industry and the Manchester Art Gallery amongst countless other smaller attractions.
We think it’s fair to say that even though Manchester might be famous, and rightly so, for its football and music, we know you’ll be coming away from the city dreaming about those tasty local brews, unique pubs and the gleaming fridges and shelves of the stacked bottle houses.
Throw in the fact that, over the next 12 months, we’ll see another Manchester Beer Week , Manchester Beer and Cider Festival and the always excellent Indy Man (IMBC) and you’ve got yourself a thriving craft beer haven waiting to be explored and experienced as soon as you can here.
Make sure you don’t miss out on our Manchester app-led beer and food tours. Highly curated to feature all the best places in town. Always ready to be taken whenever it’s good for you!