15 events not to miss at Manchester Beer Week 2018

Manchester Beer Week returns for its third outing for 2018 and includes more events that ever before. This year, the events are more wide-ranging than ever featuring beer paired dinners, discussions about diversity, art exhibitions, wrestling as well as beer launches, meet the brewers and tap takeovers, there are huge amount of events in the MBW 2018 programme, and here’s my pick of the 15 ones not to miss.

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The craft beer bars and pubs of Manchester

Looking through my blog post archive, there’s various guides and lists I’ve pulled together about pubs and bars from locations across the UK and beyond – but I realised I’ve never done one for the city I spend most of my time in! So, here’s a look at some of the best craft beer bars and pubs in Manchester city centre (in my own humble opinion).

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Visiting some of Manchester’s new openings

Manchester is full of pubs and bars but this doesn’t stop new ones from constantly opening their doors in the city. As a creature of habit, I generally find myself sticking to the same places as I know what I like.

But with  a free day and an open mind, we decided to spend an afternoon visiting some of the new openings in Manchester to see if any of them are worth a return visit.

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57 Thomas Street – Manchester

After a significant revamp, Marble’s Northern Quarter outpost 57 Thomas Street has now reopened so we had to pop down and visit. It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Marble’s beers, but I’d always choose to walk down the road and head to The Marble Arch rather than that visit Thomas Street as I prefer the historic look and I’ve always felt the NQ site was just too cramped in terms of seating, so in my view a rejig of the venue was long overdue and something I was looking forward to checking it out.

Marble had said ‘early December’ was when Thomas Street was due to reopen, but as with most things which involve building work it can be hard to pin down a date so it was a rather low-key Twitter post on December 18 that announced the bar’s return.

Marble Beers - 57 Thomas Street

We headed down the following day after visits to Torrside Brewery in New Mills then Beer Nouveau up near Piccadilly, so it was about 8.30pm when we’d got down there and as a result, it was busy. The venue is going to have two floors, but at the minute only the ground floor is open – there’s a door at the back which says ‘No entry…yet’.

Marble Beers - 57 Thomas Street

The bar itself has stayed in the same place and is roughly the same length, but it looks longer as 57 Thomas Street is now keg-only so where there were previously casks on the bar, there’s now a lot more space and it makes getting served much easier! An extended section of the bar also serves as a small table.

Marble Beers - 57 Thomas Street

As I mentioned at the start of this post, I’d always felt the venue previously seemed too cramped as a result of the layout of the seating, as you’d often have to disturb others to find yourself somewhere to sit. But that’s all changed now. Instead of large tables seating ten, there are now individual tables for four – with two freestanding seats for each and a long wooden bench running the entire length of the building next to the tables providing two (or more, depending on how busy the bar is) additional seats. You are still quite cosy with other drinkers but not in the same way you were so it feels a lot more private and roomy – a great design which makes the most of a long and thin space. At the back, there’s also a separate table which is ideal for groups. The only aspect of the design I didn’t like was the setup of the toilet. There’s only one (I assume there will be more upstairs) so it’s unisex and to queue for it, you’re in the way of the bar. I’m hoping that once the upstairs is finished there will be more as for a venue that busy on a Saturday evening, it wasn’t an ideal setup.

Marble Beers - 57 Thomas Street

I apologise for this fairly awful picture – it was very busy!

But more importantly than the look – what’s the beer like? As I mentioned, it’s all keg now with Marble’s own, of course, dominating. During our visit, on draught from Marble there was Antipodean, Boheme, Earl Grey IPA, Ginger, Lagonda and Valbryggda, a collaboration with All In, along with Magic Rock’s Common Grounds and Brewed With Friends (a collab with Kee’s).  This was complemented by a fairly extensive bottle list, and a menu of bar snacks. We’ll definitely have to return at a quieter time to sample some grub.

Marble Beers - 57 Thomas Street 57 Thomas Street - bar snacks menu

Although it’s not completely finished yet, the refurb of 57 Thomas Street has been done very well and makes the most of the limited space. I always felt it didn’t have the greatest layout in the past and it’s now much improved. I’m looking forward to seeing what they do with the upper floor.

Marble Beer House, 57 Thomas Street, Northern Quarter.