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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Dive Into the Craft Beer Scene in Manchester, England

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3. What to Do

There are over 1300 international brews to peruse--and plenty of local picks as well--at Beermoth.  

Learn about Britain’s burgeoning microbrewery scene at Beermoth, a craft-brew shop which opened in the city’s hip Northern Quarter last year. Owner-curators Scott Davies and Jeremy Stull have stocked 1,300 international varieties in the past 14 months, dividing their artisanal finds into four categories: American, Belgian, British, and everything else. Beef up on your beer knowledge at the shop’s hosted tastings and talks, on topics such as home brewing and the role of Brettanomyces yeast in British brewing, and check out their Twitter feed for new-arrival announcements. Keep an eye out for local ales, such as those from Manchester’s own Squawk Brewing Company, and regional standouts from within less than 50 miles, such as Magic Rock Brewing, Buxton Brewery, and Thornbridge Brewery.

Tour behind the scenes at Marble Brewery, the granddaddy of the Manchester microbrew scene ($10; reservations mandatory). Opened in 1997, the brewery expanded five years ago out of its original digs in the back of the 1888 Marble Arch pub and into a nearby space under an industrial railway arch. On their tours (usually Tuesdays and Saturdays but also available by request), you’ll learn about their unique unpasteurized and vegetarian beers which come in clever varieties like Earl Grey IPA and Choc Ginger. Afterwards, grab a pint in Marble’s flagship Victorian pub or in one of the brewery’s other bars: the intimate Marble Beer House in Chorlton, or the Northern Quarter’s 57 Thomas Street, centered around a communal table where guests can play backgammon, chess, and checkers.

Sample hyperlocal food and beer pairings at Pie & Ale, a sleek new bar opened last spring in the Northern Quarter. Unlike typical British pubs dedicated to classic ales, this spot is all about creative microbrews, some from right here in the metro area. In addition to the house Yippee Pie Ale, look for beers from First Chop Brewing Arm (from $7), which opened last year under a railway arch across the river in Salford. Be sure to ask your server for the perfect pint to go alongside one of their rustically inventive pies, such as wild sheep, cherry, and port ($18), rabbit and cider ($17), horse steak ($20), or venison, wild boar, and pheasant ($20). If your appetite is equally beastly, try their latest bar game, a uniquely British spin on an American state fair classic: a hot-pie-eating contest. Eat three pies and three sides in under ten minutes, and you get your $34 deposit back plus a “Who Ate All The Pies!” T-shirt.

Published on May 1, 2014 as a web exclusive.

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