Real Ale: The Toastrack gets its own beer

Susie Stubbs

How better to celebrate one of Manchester’s best modernist buildings than with a bottle of real ale?

The Toastrack is one of Manchester’s most loved – and eclectic – buildings. Built in 1960 to house students at MMU’s Hollings Campus, the Dairylea Triangle-shaped college was created by city architect, L.C Howitt, and it’s a building you either love (in our case) or hate. Its future now hangs in the balance, the current crop of students due to move out permanently at the end of this academic year. Until they do, however, our friends over at Manchester Modernist Society are its “creatives in residence”, spending the Toastrack’s final year as an academic giant by mining its archives.

Their latest piece of work has been to create, with the help of Manchester School of Art students Daniel James and Jack Sanders, the Toastrack’s very own beer. The ale has been branded up with 1960s design and typography, the label (and accompanying beer mat) that adorns the bottles of Moorhouse’s Brewery beer influenced by the Toastrack archives that MMS has been busy plundering. “As Hollings Campus (formerly the Domestic Trades College) has a long history of catering and nutritional courses,” says Jack Hale of the Manchester Modernist Society, “we felt that a commemorative foodstuff would be a good project to work on – and how better to celebrate than having a beer?” We couldn’t agree more. The only downside to this rather sweet piece of design is the fact that the beer won’t be put on general sale. You can, however, grab a piece of modernist design via the launch of Issue 7 of The Modernist, the society’s ace quarterly architecture magazine that goes on sale at the beginning of April. Viva la Modernistas!

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