Craft beer in Bergen, Norway

Norway may not seem like the most obvious place for a holiday filled with beer due to its well-documented high alcohol prices, but we didn’t let that stop us. Yes, it’s expensive but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a visit and if you stick to smaller drinks and are prepared to only go out for a couple, it’s not going to totally break the bank. Here’s a little look at where to buy and drink craft beer in Bergen.

On the flight

One of the major airlines travelling to Bergen is SAS and flying SAS has one major benefit – they have Mikkeller available on board. Mikkeller do a few beers for SAS but it seems that each flight only offers one variant. It’s a full size can and they don’t open it for you, so if you wanted to you can take it away. The price varies depending on which currency you’re paying in but it’s not actually that expensive considering you’re on a plane. It was also the first time I’ve ever had a beer in the air – what a novelty!

SAS Beer menu with Mikkeller Mikkeller beer on SAS flight to Bergen

Bergen Airport

Norway has some fairly high taxes on alcohol but heading to the duty free section is a great way to get decent priced booze. Unlike airports in the UK which tend to just have crappy lager on offer, Bergen Airport has a good range of craft beer.

Alongside a selection from Nogne Ø, beers from Kinn, 7fjell and Austmann were also available. The beer is significantly cheaper than anywhere else, so it’s definitely worth stocking up while you can.

bergen_airport_beer-2 bergen_airport_beer-1


One aspect of Norway’s laws on booze is that alcohol over 4.7% can only be bought from the government-owned chain of alcohol shops. These have fairly limited opening times as they’re only open until 6pm weeknights, mid-afternoon on Saturdays and not at all on Sundays.


Plenty of Norwegian breweries are represented alongside a decent selection from the UK, Denmark, Belgium, the US and more. There does seem to be a bit of an odd pricing structure thought as Old Speckled Hen was more expensive than Buxton. A funny little quirk.

Norway: where Old Speckled Hen costs more than @buxtonbrewery.

A photo posted by The Ale In Kaleigh (@thealeinkaleigh) on

At the supermarkets

Lower alcohol beer can be bought from the supermarkets at a much more purse-friendly price. Aegir and Nogne Ø cans were a couple of the beers we found in the supermarket – but it’s worth remembering that although the shop may be open until 11pm you can’t buy beer after 8pm. There’s no sign or cordoning off of the beer section to say this, so we unfortunately didn’t find out this rule until we got to the till.


Apollon Bergen Taps at Apollon, Bergen

Apollon is a fun little venue which is half record shop and half bar. There are 35 beers available on draught (although this does include the likes of Fullers and Tuborg) and about half of them are from Norwegian breweries.

Beer list at Apollon, Bergen

The atmosphere is very chilled out and it attracts a varied range of visitors. Seating options include stools at the bar and in the window and larger tables at the back.

Apollon bar and record shop

It stays open until midnight and the staff are very knowledgeable about their beer and more than happy to talk you through what’s on draught. There’s also free wifi.

Nygårdsgaten 2a –

Henrik Øl og Vinstove

Henrik Ol og Vinstove Bergen

For sheer choice, Henrik Øl og Vinstove is the place for craft beer in Bergen as they have more than 50 beers on offer at any one time. Norwegian breweries like Haandbryggeriet, Lervig, 7fjell, Qvart and Kinn were available during our visit as well as Amager, Mikkeller and, for some reason, Fuller’s London Pride.

Beer board at Henrik Ol og Vinstove Bergen

It’s not a large venue but it’s impressive how they’ve managed to cram all the 50+ taps behind the bar and squeezed in a decent among of seating. It does get busy too – even on a Tuesday evening, every table was filled by the time we left.

Henrik Ol og Vinstove Bergen

There’s no wifi available which was a bit disappointing as if I’m spending £7/8 on a half I want to be able to check on Untappd that I’ve not had it before!

Engen 10 –



I wasn’t too sure about Bryggeriet at first but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s located in a complex right on Bergen’s harbour which also features a country and western bar and a pizza place which didn’t fill me with confidence. Bryggeriet is located on on one of the upper floors of the building (head inside and up the stairs) and it’s a world away from some of the less inviting bars and eateries you see at the front.


Most of the beer available in from the in-house brewery (Bergenhus Bryggeri) which is led by an Irish chap who gave us a little tour of the brewery which is located just behind the bar. They also have guest beers including Stone and Nogne Ø among others.


Part of the venue is designated as a restaurant and the food wasn’t too expensive (considering Norway prices anyway!)
Tip: There’s a little terrace to the side if you want to enjoy your beer in the great outdoors.


As a smallish city, Bergen doesn’t offer a huge range of beer bars but the ones the city does have are well-stocked and worth seeking out. Just don’t think too much about the price.

The Grove and Magic Rock Tap, Huddersfield

Living in Manchester means that I’m not only spoiled in terms of places to drink good beer in the city itself, but also the excellent transport links providing easy access to many other cities and towns.

With a free day, we decided to hop on the train and take a trip to Huddersfield for a visit to the Magic Rock Tap. It’s not my first trip to Magic Rock Tap as I visited last year for the Rainbow Project launch but it was my first experience visiting on a ‘normal’ day as opposed to a special event.

After pottering around the shops – in particular, the record shop across the road from Huddersfield station – and grabbing some veggie sausage rolls from Poundbakery (seriously, why isn’t there one in Manchester city centre?) we wandered across to The Grove.

We’ve visited a few times but this was easily the quietest we’ve ever seen it, although it was Friday afternoon!

The Grove (1)

There’s plenty to like about The Grove. The pub is quirky with taxidermy, nude artworks and olde worlde artefacts scattered throughout but it’s the beer that’s the star.

The Grove (4)

The Grove (5)

A large board highlights the sheer choice of cask and keg options, and there are also bottle menus on the tables which are hard to miss as they’re in heavy wooden binding and chained up. If you’re a bit overwhelmed, the staff are approachable and friendly if you need advice and it’s simply a great spot for a few drinks.

The Grove (2)

After a couple of halves at The Grove, we wandered over to Magic Rock Tap which is on the other side of the town and has the benefit of being slightly closer to the train station.

Magic Rock Tap (6)

When we visited for the Rainbow Project event, the front of the brewery featured benches and pop-up bars in tents but this time it was full of vans ready to deliver beer around as well as forklift trucks driving around. Round the back we found plenty of outdoor seating but we decided to sit inside – mainly to be closer to the beer!

Magic Rock Tap (5)


The beer board features a selection of Magic Rock beers from favourites like High Wire and Cannonball to some of their rarer brews. Cans are also available both to drink in and take away – and they offer discounts if you fancy buying a whole case.

Again, it was fairly quiet but did get busy as it nearer the end of the traditional working week and it had a welcoming atmosphere with the crowd including couples like ourselves, groups of friends and families with well-behaved kids.

It also has plenty of features I liked. There’s lots of hooks along the walls for coats which is a favourite thing on my mine and there’s also a water tap set up next to the bar so you can help yourself to as much as you like – something I think that more bars and pubs should offer as it just makes sense!

Magic Rock Tap (3)

In my view, the only thing that really let it down was that some of the staff (not all!) didn’t seem to be as friendly as they could be.

Although Magic Rock Tap doesn’t provide food, it does regularly host street food traders and on our visit it was Dim Sum SU. Although there weren’t too many veggie options, the one they did have (Hong Kong noodles with tofu) was excellent and a nice accompaniment to the beer.

Magic Rock Tap (1)

We left shortly after as it was just after rush hour and probably time to get back to Manchester. All in all, not a bad afternoon.

Ten events not to miss at Manchester Beer Week

I’ve been thinking about it for so long that it’s hard to believe Manchester Beer Week is now mere days away! It was the launch of the official beer last week – a collaboration between Cloudwater and JW Lees named MCR Fold – and the full guide to what’s taking place during the festivities was also on hand during the event. There’s a wide programme of events with something for all, and here’s my take on the ten beer events not to miss.

Official Manchester Beer Week launch party

Manchester’s best pub The Marble Arch will be kicking off the MBW action with an event showcasing beer from some of the city’s finest breweries. The official MBW beer, MCR Fold, will also be available.

Fri June 10, 5-10pm, The Marble Arch.

Brewers’ Market

Manchester Beer Week have teamed up with street food event organisers Grub for a market in the heart of the city. The event at Exchange Square will allow you to buy bottles from local breweries, meet the brewers and have a few drinks from the on-site tasting bar.

Sat June 11, 12-6pm, Exchange Square.

Beers Manchester on Manchester beers

Five local beers will be showcased by beer blogger and Independent Salford Beer Festival organiser Jim aka Beers Manchester during this tasting event at The Brink.

Sun June 12, 4pm, The Brink.

A taste of Manchester’s brewing past

Beer Nouveau, Blackjack, Squawk and Ticketybrew have selected historic brews to reproduce for Manchester Beer Week and will be launching them at The Smithfield. Beer historian Rob Pattinson will also be speaking.

Mon June 13, 6pm-late, The Smithfield.

Hawkshead takeover at The Marble Arch

Eight of The Marble Arch’s cask pumps will be taken over by Lake District brewery Hawkshead for this event. Brewery staff will also be about to chat about the beers.

Tues June 14, 12pm onwards (brewery staff around from 7pm), The Marble Arch.

Indy Man Beer Con ticket launch

Get tickets for IMBC 2016 in person instead of online – a limited number of tickets will be on sale at PSBH and The Beagle between 6-9pm before they go on general sale as part of this mini-festival.

Wed June 15, 6pm – late, Port Street Beer House and The Beagle.

Cloudwater Barrel Store tasting

An exclusive look inside Cloudwater’s barrel store, the event will offer an opportunity to try some of the beers currently hidden away inside.

Thurs June 16, 5.30pm, Cloudwater Barrel Store.

Manchester Beer Week collab fest

Four Manchester breweries have teamed up with other local contemporaries to produce four exclusive beers for Manchester Beer Week. Try brews from Blackjack and Thornbridge; Cloudwater and Magic Rock; Quantum and Buxton; and Runaway and Hawkshead.

Thurs June 16, 7pm, Port Street Beer House.

Buxton Brewery tap takeover at The Magnet

The team from Buxton will be bringing at least five kegs and five casks over to Stockport for this tap takeover. They’ll be announcing the beer list in the days before the event – I have my fingers crossed for Yellow Belly!!

Fri June 17, 6pm-late, The Magnet, Stockport.

MBW’s big, buzzin’ party

The final Saturday of Manchester Beer Week is set to go off with a bang as Old Granada Studios will host an afternoon of beer, street food, music and games

Sat June 18, 11am-7pm, Old Granada Studios.

A return visit to Copenhagen

Almost two years since my last visit, I recently made a return trip to Copenhagen. We’d got tickets for Copenhagen Beer Celebration and also decided to stay a few extra days before it to return to some old favourites and check out the new places that had sprung up since our last visit to the Danish capital. Here’s a little guide to the craft beer bars we went to during our five days in Copenhagen.

Mikkeller and Friends Bottle Shop

Mikkeller and Friends Bottle Shop Mikkeller and Friends Bottle Shop

It’s moved from its previous location next to Mikkeller and Friends to the Torvehallerne market close to Norreport Station. Although the space is smaller (or maybe it just seems it), it makes sense to have it in this market as it’s full of great food places and I can imagine people stopping in while picking up other bits and bobs – plus, it was even better from us as we were staying round the corner. As well as beers on the shelves, there’s a fully stocked fridge so we started off our visit with a can each and some quesadillas at the market – perfect!

Frederiksborggade 21


Banksia Banksia

An Australian-themed bar would usually be somewhere I’d probably not even give a second glance to, but we had very good reason to visit – an Omnipollo tap takeover. Located in a little courtyard, it’s quite a cosy little bar but had plenty of outdoor seating and is a world away from the tacky UK chain of Aussie-themed venues.  Definite highlight was the Anagram Blueberry Cheesecake imp stout, what a beer. Although we were only there for the Omnipollo beers, looking at the website it does have a pretty decent selection of draught beers from Scandinavia and beyond.

Gothersgade 8D


Lord Nelson

Beer board at Lord Nelson pub Lord Nelson Copenhagen

Lord Nelson was somewhere we visited in our last visit to the city and two years on, nothing’s changed. Still cosy, still lots of Danish microbreweries and still helpful bar staff more than willing to give you tasters and recommendations. Great pub.

Hyskenstræde 9



Warpigs Brewpub, Copenhagen Warpigs Brewpub, Copenhagen Warpigs Brewpub, Copenhagen Warpigs Brewpub, Copenhagen Warpigs Brewpub, Copenhagen

Warpigs didn’t exist when we last visited so this was somewhere I was very excited to visit. And it did not disappoint! A huge venue in the Meatpacking district of the city, it serves BBQ grub alongside a huge range of excellent beers – some of which are brewed in house. The first thing that hits you is the aromas of food – it all smells bloody delicious (and I’m a non-meat eater).

There’s two queues – one for food (and beer) and one just for beer. As we visited in CBC week, it was fairly busy at all times but well worth the queuing time. A range of cuts of meat are available along with a collection of sides and one veggie main option which is quite possibly the world’s best macaroni and cheese. And the beer? There’s 20 taps featuring predominately beers brewed in house so there’s plenty on offer to try.  A small shop is also located on site selling merch, beer and even bottles of their sauces to take away.

In fact, we loved Warpigs so much that we visited four times in the space of five days. I’m also still thinking about the pecan pie pretty much constantly.

Flæsketorvet 25 – 37


Øl & Brød

Ol and Brod (1) Ol and Brod (2) Ol and Brod (3)

I’d never describe myself as a foodie as I’ve got relatively simple tastes but I was very intrigued to visit Mikkeller’s Øl & Brød so we booked in for lunch before our arrival in Copenhagen. During the day, there’s a menu of smørrebrød while at dinner time there’s more substantial meals on offer. I say that, but the smørrebrød themselves were a lot heartier than they first appeared to be – and you could really sense the skill and care that had gone into making each and every one.

In terms of the beer, there were ten options available on draught and the majority of these were from Mikkeller with a nice mix of styles including session IPAs, pilsners, porters and more. A great little lunch spot and it also had the benefit of being just a few feet from the Mikkeller Bar!

Viktoriagade 6


Mikkeller Bar

Mikkeller Bar Copenhagen

Another venue that’s not changed since our last trip. The Mikkeller Bar in Vesterbro is fairly cosy and decorated with a cool and contemporary typically Scandi design which keeps it feeling bright and airy even at night time, and they also lay on some outdoor benches for the warmer months. A total of 20 draught beers are available at any one time featuring Mikkeller, Warpigs and beers from around the world.

During our second visit they were hosting a 3 Floyds event so we jointly purchased the most expensive beer I have ever bought: Dark Lord – Quit Hitting Yourself. Luckily, it was fantastic. Phew.

Viktoriagade 8 8 B-C


Ramen to Bíiru

Ramen to Biiru Ramen to Biiru

Prior to our visit, we weren’t sure if we’d be visiting Ramen to Bíiru as 3 of the 4 of us were awkward non-meat eaters and everything on the menu featured chicken stock. But luckily, they have a monthly special and for May it was a veggie dish so we were able to experience it in full.

A quirky design and an even quirkier set up made it a very fun place to visit. You order your food on a machine, take your ticket to the counter to pay then grab and seat and wait for your number to be called. Even more impressive was the beer vending machine. It was stocked with a range of Mikkeller cans as well as some green tea and included a notice reminding patrons that only over 18s could purchase beer. A nice little novelty to try!

Griffenfeldsgade 28 –



BRUS Copenhagen BRUS Copenhagen BRUS Copenhagen

It’s got to be said that I’m a big fan of free beer, so when we heard that BRUS were having an opening party complete with freebies we had to go and check it out. Owned by To Ol, it’s a huge venue located in an old factory in Nørrebro with includes a microbrewery, a restaurant and a specialist food and beer shop along with the bar.

The opening party itself was a big event featuring DJs and, as you might expect when somewhere is giving away free beer in a city as expensive as Copenhagen, a lot of people. A very impressive building but a slightly hectic atmosphere.

However, we did make a return visit to BRUS a few days later for their special brunch event. This allowed me to get more of a feel for what the venue is actually like – a relaxed, family-friendly space with some excellent beer and (by the looks of it) good grub. During our visit, there were about 20 beers on draught – although the board did go up to 30-odd so maybe they have more on when it’s not the launch!

Guldbergsgade 29F


Mikkeller and Friends and Koelschip

MIkkeller and Friends (1) MIkkeller and Friends (2)

Koelschip (1) Koelschip (2)

With its so-damn-cool Scandi design, it’s hard not to love Mikkeller and Friends. Clean lines, wooden furniture and brightly-painted walls make it feel large and airy and I particularly love the little seating nooks providing a bit more privacy. Beer-wise, there’s 40 beers available on draught at any one time and although a good amount of Mikkeller beers on available, other breweries from Scandinavia, the UK and the US are also on offer. Always worth a visit.

If you head through the side of the venue, you’ll come across Koelschip. Formerly the site of the Mikkeller Bottle Shop, the space has been transformed into a cosy Belgian-style venue. A world away from the modern look of Mikkeller and Friends, Koelschip features dark wooden furniture, hops dangling from the ceiling and walls plastered with beer memorabilia. It’s focused on Lambic beers and has four options on draught along with a large bottle menu. As I’m not into Lambic beers, we didn’t have a drink in here but the bar does look very appealing and has a Brussels vibe about it.

Stefansgade 35



Olbaren (1) Olbaren (2)

We nipped in here on the way back from Mikkeller and Friends. It felt much more like a neighbourhood bar and seemed to be one of the few places during the time we were in Copenhagen to be more locals than visitors. Good range of beers but fairly slow service as there was only one member of staff on the bar.

Elmegade 2 – (Danish)



Mikropolis, Copenhagen Mikropolis, Copenhagen Mikropolis, Copenhagen

Only a couple of streets away from where we were staying, Mikropolis is a cosy basement bar with ten beers on draught and a selection of cocktails on offer. Small and intimate, it’s the type of venue I’d love to see more of – somewhere that appeals to both beer drinkers and non-beer drinkers alike. A relaxed, friendly atmosphere although on both of our visits our peace was interrupted by some loud fellow patrons – as it’s such as small space, the noise levels are very noticeable.

Vendersgade 22


Ørsted Ølbar

Ørsted Ølbar Beer board at Ørsted Ølbar Ørsted Ølbar, Copenhagen

This was a favourite from our last time in Copenhagen – especially as it was located very close to our hotel – so I was looking forward to a return. On our way, we got caught in a sudden downpour so it was very appealing to grab a beer and a seat in this cosy little basement bar. There’s a number of options on draught – mainly from Scandinavia – and it also has table football. We popped in a second time a few hours later and it was showing three Spanish and Italian football games on three different TVs through the bar but unlike most footie-showing pubs in the UK, it was friendly and civilised with the clientele mainly small groups of friends quietly watching the game.

Nørre Farimagsgade 13



Himmeriget bar, Copenhagen Himmeriget bar, Copenhagen

Located on the other side of the river, Himmeriget has a small but well-thought out draught beer selection along with a good bottle list. The venue itself is somewhere you’d walk past if you weren’t looking for it – it doesn’t give much away from the outside. Inside, it feels like it wouldn’t be out of place in Manchester’s NQ with its DIY look. However, maybe because it was CBC week, it was a bit too busy to enjoy it properly due to its compact size and minimal seating.

Åboulevard 27, 1960 Frederiksberg




One of the closest bars to CBC, Fermentoren was very busy during our visit (Saturday evening, just after the final session of CBC ended) but luckily it had plenty of outdoor space so it didn’t feel too chaotic. A good selection of beers on offer and a nicely-laid out beer garden made it an appealing place for a few drinks. Not sure I’d like to live in the flat directly above it though!

Halmtorvet 29C


Looking for more info on CPH? See my guide to a city break in Copenhagen over on my other blog.

History, brewpubs and collaboration: a trio of pubs in North Wales

Despite growing up in Merseyside, living in Manchester and spending as much time as possible travelling and exploring, there’s one area very close to home where I’ve not spent too much time: Wales.  Apart from a few trips as a child (and a hen do in Chester that involved visiting a spa in Deeside), Wales is very much undiscovered territory to me so when we were looking for a place for a weekend away, it seemed like the natural choice.

We stayed in rural Snowdonia – probably the most rural place I’ve ever stayed – but on the way there and back we made a few stop offs.

Albion Ale House, Conwy

I fell in love with Conwy as soon as we arrived. It was full of things I like: A castle! A beach! A cool bridge! And even better, it had both an excellent off licence (Vinomondo, mainly a wine shop but with a good selection of beer from Wales and beyond) and a beautiful pub owned by four local breweries.

Albion Ale House, Conwy, Wales

The Albion is a 1920s pub chock-full of original features including an art deco fireplace, traditional fixed seating with push bells (no longer in use!) and even four of the pub’s original handpumps.

Albion Ale House (1)

But it’s not just the history that’s of interest; it’s also the way its run. The Albion is operated by four breweries who have all come together to create a fantastic pub; Purple Moose Brewery, Conwy Brewery, Bragdy Gant Brewery and Great Orme Brewery. Beers on offer come from the four breweries alongside a selection of guest beers – in total it has eight beers as well as two real ciders.

Albion Ale House (5)

There’s a focus on a traditional pub atmosphere – there’s no TV, no jukebox and, apart from bar snacks and nibbles, there’s no food.

Albion Ale House (3)

What it does have is a beautiful building and a welcoming beer garden – complete with this little feature for four-legged visitors which I enjoyed.

DogBrew at Albion Ale House, Conwy

Sadly, we only had time for a swift half but I can see why it’s received a number of awards and accolades since its opening in its current guise.

Albion Ale House, Uppergate Street, Conwy.

Snowdonia Parc Brewpub

One of the factors that sold our B&B to us was its close proximity to an award winning brewpub – Snowdonia Parc Brewpub. It was actually slightly further away than we anticipated (about 1.5 miles) and it was mainly walking on the road, but it was a pleasant stroll there and back from the B&B. Light evenings also helped – wouldn’t have fancied walking it in the dark!

Snowdonia Parc Brewpub

The pub itself is located on a campsite in the village of Waunfawr. A large white building, it doesn’t appear to have too much character from the outside but it’s got a beautiful setting surrounded by fields and with the hills of Snowdonia as its backdrop. It’s a fairly extensive building with a number of different rooms and the bar itself is accessible from the two largest areas. One area features a darts board and a pool table and seemed to be mainly frequented by locals and the other side of the bar seemed more set up for dining and also had a patio door leading out to the beer garden. As we were dining, we went for this area and our fellow drinkers and diners including a family and a solo walker so it does attract a real mixed clientele.

Snowdonia Parc Brewpub

Snowdonia Parc is the home of Snowdonia Brewery – and this appears to be the only place you can drink their beers. The beers are all of fairly traditional styles and on our visit there were four available on cask so we made our way merrily through them while we ate.  My favourite of the lot was the Theodore Stout but the range seems to focus quite a lot on bitters/best bitters which just aren’t my thing. Always nice to sample different beers – especially ones you can’t find elsewhere – so an enjoyable experience overall.

Snowdonia Parc Brewpub, Waunfawr.

The Black Boy Inn, Caernarfon

A recommendation from our B&B, we visited this pub the evening after climbing Snowdon. I’d agreed to drive so it was lemonade for me all night (although I ate a massive piece of chocolate cake to make up for this!) but Ross set out to make his way through a selection of the beers on offer.

The Black Boy Inn

I love a pub with history and character, and this place has it in bucketloads. Dating back to 1522 (hence the slightly dubious name), it’s full of little nooks and crannies, old fireplaces and beams. It’s a short distance away from Caernarfon Castle and is within the city’s medieval walls.

The Black Boy Inn (3)

But, despite its traditional look and atmosphere, it serves some very modern beers – including plenty on keg. During our visit, Ross sampled beers from the likes of Tiny Rebel and Kernel and I also noticed Beavertown and Brewdog on offer. Cask beers (which seem to have a more local focus) are also available so there’s something to keep all factions of beer lovers happy.

The Black Boy Inn

I would say that the only downside to the Black Boy Inn is its own popularity – it was very busy when we arrived and we did find ourselves sat in the beer garden for a bit until Ross managed to grab us a table in the main bar. They don’t take table bookings on the weekend which is worth bearing in mind if you want to dine there. But it’s a beautiful building with plenty of outdoor space (seating out back and out front) and somewhere I wouldn’t hesitate to return to – especially on an occasion when it’s not my turn to drive!

Black Boy Inn, Northgate Street, Caernarfon.


Not the booziest weekend away we’ve ever had, but a lovely one nevertheless! We were kept well-stocked by our visit to Vinomondo and my favourite place to enjoy a beer was actually back at our B&B – it had its own nature reserve complete with a river, so after my sober visit to the Black Boy Inn it was wonderful to kick off my shoes, dip my toes in the river and relax with a beer with nothing around us but the hills and a couple of sheep. Bliss.

Nature reserve beer

Historic ales to be revived for Manchester Beer Week

Four breweries in Greater Manchester are to recreate a collection of beers, some dating back more than 100 years, for Manchester Beer Week.

Three recipes have been taken from the archives of JW Lees and adapted for modern techniques and tastes, while a fourth beer will be revived from a now closed down brewery in Stalybridge.

Blackjack are to recreate Lees’ 1951 C Ale, a Manchester-specific style of dark, strong ale; Squawk Brewing are making their own version of Lees’ 1952 Stout while Beer Nouveau are heading even further back in time to make Lees’ XXX strong ale, which dates back to 1903.

Meanwhile, Stalybridge’s Ticketybrew will be bringing back an Invalid Stout from Heginbotham’s, a brewery which was formerly owned and operated by Robinsons.

Connor Murphy, the organiser of Manchester Beer Week, said: “Although there has been a lot of talk about the beer boom in Manchester, it is also important to remember the city’s brewing heritage.

“It represents an intriguing challenge for the brewers involved as they will need to adapt these historical styles to suit modern techniques, ingredients and equipment while staying as true to the original beers as possible.”

The beers will be launched at The Smithfield on Monday June 13 at an event which will include a talk from beer historian Ron Pattinson.

See more events from Manchester Beer Week on the Manchester beer events calendar.

Craft beer in Barcelona

Barcelona has a reputation as a very cool, cultured and trendy city and it’s also in the midst of a beer revolution. Although Estrella and the like dominate, there are now a growing number of smaller breweries popping up in the city and craft beer bars opening their doors.

We recently spent a weekend exploring the city and here’s a little look at some of the bars and breweries we visited in Barcelona.


Garage Brewery

Garage Brewery, Barcelona

Located in the Eixample area of the city, Garage Brewery was our first port of call as we’d arranged a brewery tour. It’s a fairly small brewery – in fact, it’s all in the backroom of the bar – but they’re looking to expand in the future. The brewer who showed us round was English (I’ve totally forgotten his name, sorry) and was also very helpful in recommending us places to visit in the city. Nice little bar with a good selection of grub too.

Carrer del Consell de Cent 261 –

Edge Brewing

Edge Brewing, Barcelona

A bit out of the city centre, Edge is located in a more industrial area and they regularly open their tasting room. To attend, you need to either bring your Edge Brewery growler, wear one of their t-shirts or sign-up for free in advance online (which is what we did). It’s not really a Catalonian brewery as such – it was founded by a group of Americans who were looking for somewhere outside of the US to set up, and one of them formerly worked for a company that produced brewery equipment so all of the gear was shipped over from the States. It’s got a nice atmosphere and is a decent place for a few beers.

Carrer de Llull 62 –


Mikkeller Bar Barcelona

Mikkeller Bar Barcelona Mikkeller Bar Barcelona

I had to start with Mikkeller as it was the opening of their Barcelona bar that piqued my interest in visiting the city. The look is very similar to Mikkeller & Friends in Copenhagen – clean Scandi-style design with plenty of wood. It’s not the cheapest bar in the city (in fact, we met someone in another bar who told us there are other venues in Barcelona serving Mikkeller and much more affordable prices) but it had a great selection. The people working behind the bar were also lovely and the majority of the clientèle were locals. Definitely one of my favourites.

Carrer de Valencia 202 –


BierCab, Barcelona BierCab, Barcelona

BierCab is a hugely popular bar serving excellent food and a wide range of quality beer from across the world. Because of its busyness, it can seem slightly chaotic but the staff have everything under control and will help you find a seat and take your order (a special shout out to the older British couple who robbed our seats while we were walking over to them though…). It’s also got a shop next door selling beer to take away and merch. I had my favourite beer of the weekend here: Omnipollo’s Noa Pecan Mud Cake Stout, which was an absolute joy. A must-visit.

Calle Muntaner 55 –

Ale and Hop

Ale and Hop, Barcelona

The only pic I actually took at Ale and Hop.

Like BierCab, Ale and Hop’s selection is dominated by beers from outside Spain and it also gets VERY busy. The back room is a restaurant area and when we visited on a Saturday evening, it was all booked up but the waiter found us a little spot on a ledge which was perfect for some beers and some nachos. A bonus for us was that all of the food was vegetarian. It’s popular for a reason!

(It’s worth noting that there is also a shop in Barcelona named Ale-Hop. It’s not a beer place, so don’t get mixed up!)

Carrer de les Basses de Sant Pere 10 –


NaparBCN, Barcelona NaparBCN, Barcelona

This place seemed fairly new and was definitely what you’d describe as ‘cool’ with a steampunk/industrial design. It felt more like a restaurant than a bar though – most of the tables at the front were reserved but there are larger, communal tables at the back. We did think about grabbing some food but the veggie selection wasn’t particularly inspiring and was on the expensive side for what it was. Overall, it was pretty pricey and the service wasn’t as good as some other venues so we just had one and left – although the beer is very good. You can find Naparbier in a few places in Barcelona (BierCab, for example).

Carrer de la Diputació 223 –


Kaelderkold, Barcelona Kaelderkold, Barcelona

Located close to some of the more touristy parts of the city in the Gothic Quarter, this is a small hole-in-the-wall style bar with about 15 beers on draught. They also serve a weird and wonderful range of beer cocktails and the music is good so we quite enjoyed it in here. However, we did think afterwards that we may have been overcharged on our second visit which was a bit of a shame but it’s still worth calling in if you’re in the area.

Carrer del Cardenal Casañas 7 –

BlackLab Brewhouse

Black Lab, Barcelona

Close to Barceloneta, BlackLab Brewhouse is a very modern venue serving all their own beers. There’s two sections – a restaurant area with table service and a section next to the brewery without table service. They also sell growlers if you want to take some booze to the beach.

Palau del Mar, Plaça Pau Vila 1 –


Abirradero Barcelona Abirradero Barcelona

This seems like quite a new opening, as we did ask some locals about it and they’d never heard of it. It’s located close to the Parel-lel underground stop and had a huge range of beers on draught – about 40! Perfect if you like plenty to choose from and I think it’s worth the walk/underground journey to check it out. From what I remember, ICA is their own brewery.

Carrer de Vila i Vilà 7 –

Rosses i Torrades

Rosses i Torrades, Barcelona

Apologies for the awful pic!

Described as a ‘beer cellar’, this is a fairly large beer shop with a small bar selling a couple of options on draught. It was another place popular with locals and is worth popping into if you’re in the area.

Carrer del Consell de Cent 192 –

Cerveseria La Resistència

Cerveseria La Resistència, Barcelona Cerveseria La Resistència, Barcelona

A long and thin venue which felt a lot more traditional that some of the other spots we visited, this was more of a locals bar and had a relaxed atmosphere and a decent selection on draught. It’s more off the beaten track than some of the other beer bars if you’re looking for somewhere a bit quieter.

Carrer de Viladomat 107 –


CatBar Barcelona

A short wander around from Barcelona’s cathedral, CatBar is a bustling and friendly little craft beer and vegan burger place. Cats dominate the décor although I’m not too sure if any of them actually reside in the bar – we didn’t see any, although dogs aren’t allowed to enter and have to wait outside so that suggests there could be? Fun, quirky and lively but not too rammed on a Saturday night.

Carrer de la Bòria 17 –

La Cerveteca

La Cerveteca, Barcelona La Cerveteca, Barcelona

A more traditional bar located in the heart of the Gothic Quarter. There’s plenty on offer here, both on draught and in bottle and it’s very casual. The décor was pretty cool too.

Carrer d’en Gignàs 25 –

The Beerket

The Beerket, Barcelona The Beerket, Barcelona

This place describes itself as a growler and beer market and it does feel more like somewhere to grab beer to takeaway rather than to sit in. It’s got huge glass windows and it was far too hot (we visited in March), and the beer selection was OK but there’s other venues I’d chose to visit over this place again. We did visit on a Friday afternoon at lunch time and were the only customers though – maybe the atmosphere is different of an evening.

Carrer de Còrsega 379 –

La Bona Pinta

La Bona Pinta, Barcelona La Bona Pinta, Barcelona

We stumbled across this little shop and bar walking away from La Sagrada Familia. It has more than 100 bottled beers from across Spain, Belgium and the UK on sale to drink in or takeaway and there are also options on cask and keg (this were all British on our visit). There was also a nice chap working behind the bar who was keen to recommend us some other places to go in the city.

Carrer de la Diputació 433 –

Brew Pub Le Sec

Brew Pub Le Sec, Barcelona Brew Pub Le Sec, Barcelona

This was one of my favourite venues in the city. A little more off the beaten track, it felt more like a locals bar and we were the only English-speaking people in there at the time. It’s a brewpub and has the beer fermenting away on a mezzanine floor above the bar. It had a great atmosphere (and at one point, played Faith by Limp Bizkit which we enjoyed very much) and was somewhere we’d initially only popped into for one but ended up staying a few hours.

Carrer de Margarit 52 –

Looking for more info on the city? See my guide to things you need to know visiting Barcelona on my other blog.