Kosmonaut: Manchester Sour Beer & Lambic Weekend, 10 Tariff St, Manchester, M1 2FF – Visit Now
Manchester Sour Beer & Lambic Weekend Review:
Is nothing finer than a long bank holiday weekend? Well, perhaps a long bank holiday weekend with excellent weather – yes it can and does happen. And what better way to quench your thirst with so nice cold beer, but not any nice cold beer!
True, sour beer isn’t to everyone’s taste but when the sun is blazing there isn’t a better style of beer to accompany the glorious sunshine. The Manchester Sour Beer weekend showcased some of the best sour beers around with on tap selections from world-famous Belgian brewers like Cantillon and Boon and offerings from Manchester’s own Chorlton Brewing Co.
Eight different brews were on tap across both PLY and Kosmonaut. A perfect go-to beer for an introduction to sour would be the Gueuze Tilquin which is one of the best of the Belgian lambics with the draft version being slightly weaker at 4.8ABV than the bottle version, this makes it a great session beer for the sunny weather.
Star of the show for me on tap was the Rustique being a collaboration brew between Magic Rock and Lervig. This Farmhouse style IPA with added Brett (that’s a type of yeast non-beer lovers!) then barrel aged in Chardonnay barrels. The result, as you would guess from these two outstanding brewers, is outstanding: super refreshing with citrus notes and a hint of woodiness (from the ageing), light bodied with a crisp aftertaste. Only 6%ABV too, so highly quaffable and really hits the spot.
Overall a great selection of fantastic beers over the whole weekend, can’t wait for the next beer showcase!
By Stephen Wilson
There’s a strange disconnect between what people think the Northern Quarter is like, and what it’s actually like. Outsiders might dismiss it as full of penny farthings and regrettable tattoo sleeves, but take a walk down the main strip on a Saturday night and it’s more Magaluf than Michael Gondry, full of lairy revellers in packed-out bars blasting out hip hop and house.
Thankfully, Kosmonaut has been fighting the good fight since 2012. Setting up shop in the then run-down end of the Northern Quarter, or as map-makers prefer to call it, ‘Piccadilly Basin’, it soon became a haven for middle-class millennials searching for their own little Williamsburg. Decked-out with the now-standard exposed brickwork and repurposed furniture, it gradually expanded, now consisting of three large rooms, each with their own bar. You’ll also find irregular comedy events and exhibitions from local artists – although, it must be said, peering at a canvas over a booth full of people drinking does tend to detract from the experience.
The bar is well-stocked, with an especially good whisky selection and extensive range of wine. The cocktails are, in the main, refreshingly simple, though crackpots can opt for the ‘Camping In Collyhurst’ which contains the curiously-unspecific ‘spice’ and fig. The beer selection is a cut above the usual thin corporate brands, featuring the ever-present Brooklyn Brewery (what else?) and a rotation of guest beers.
The venue is laid out well, with enough booths and tables to suit big groups and couples. There’s even a couple of vintage barber chairs. Why? Who knows, but they look nice enough. Kosmonaut were also an early adopter of the ping pong phenomenon – irritating as hell for those around you, but great fun for the grandstanding table tennis enthusiast. Night times can get busy, but the firm-but-fair door-staff do a decent job of keeping gangs of lads and ne’er-do-wells at bay.
A haven for middle-class millennials searching for their own little Williamsburg
As with most bars of this ilk, the main annoyance is the service. While the staff are cheery and chatty, it can take a frustrating amount of time to get served. Understandable on a busy Saturday night, less so on a quiet midweek afternoon. Is it a staffing problem or an annoying side effect of the laissez-faire attitude? Either way, for all their drawbacks, at least the more mainstream bars make the booze-money transaction as quick and painless as possible.
In the true spirit of gentrification, Kosmonaut brought a fresh vibrant feel to this neglected end of the city, and other equally-good bars and coffee shops, such as The Whiskey Jar, Takk and Pen & Pencil, soon popped up nearby. Recently, slow-on-the-uptake journalists from London and New York have proclaimed the Northern Quarter as the next big thing, but as newcomers, they fail to see that it’s more like a couple of Northern Eighths. The Kosmonaut end versus the Ibiza-lite end. Choose your poison.