Over 500 beers spread across nine fridges await
The running theme of Mancunians never being more than five minutes away from excellent beer continues as craft beer shop, The Epicurean, opens its latest store in Ancoats - its first in the city centre.
The beer shop and online retailer which has sites in Chorlton, Didsbury and Heaton Moor specialises in craft beer from near and far, with the new shop boasting a carefully selected collection of over 500 beers from breweries local and international.
James is also keen to make the shop a destination for rare and niche beers
Beers from local breweries including Track and Pomona Island sit alongside so hot right now national craft breweries DEYA and Verdant, and international favourites like Ayinger (Germany), Cassel (New Zealand) and Amundsen (Norway) and Coopers (Australia). Nearly all of the beer is contained in a fridge.
Situated on Henry Street, the latest Epicurean is in good boozy company next door neighbours with recent natural wine upstarts, Kerb. Drinking cans in Cutting Room Square in summer, a stone’s throw away, will never be the same again.
A tote bag of cans
Significant fridge space, nine fridges in total, in the new location ensures a large selection of chilled beers (roll on summer) taking in gluten-free, vegan and low-alcohol options as well as an equally considered selection of bottled and canned ciders from around the world.
Key to the Epicurean appeal both online and in-store is the curated nature of the beer, with staff keen to advise both connoisseurs and general beer fans alike with recommendations on new things to try. Fridges have been carefully curated, akin to a chilled library of beer, with Belgian, cider and even ‘dad’ beer (think bitter and cask style) organised accordingly.
Manager and resident beer expert, James Hodgson, has been given practically free rein to source and stock some of the world’s most exciting cans and bottles.
“Simon Yarwood [Owner of The Epicurean] gave me a completely blank canvas here and we worked out we could fit nine fridges into the space. We’ve built up a great relationship and he’s given me a budget to fill the shop with everything I know and love.” James says.
“I’m bang into my German lagers, always have been and I’ve been through my hoppy stage and still enjoy it. I tend to drink quite seasonally, so when it begins to get cold and dark, if I find a good porter or stout I tend to drink lots of those sorts of beers.”
Collaborations, niche beers and pavement potential
The new store already has exciting plans for the future. As well as a regularly changing selection of beers, online pickup options and free delivery within a three mile radius (on orders over £40) there’s plans for future tasting events as well as the potential to apply for a street license. Street warming events with neighbours Kerb have also been muted for next summer. James is also keen to make the shop a destination for rare and niche beers.
“I’ve got ten beers arriving from a brewery called Cantillon. One of Belgium and the world’s oldest Lambic breweries. As soon as people know you’ve got them in 750ml bottles, they’re so hard to get, they’ll come running.” He says.
The Epicurian have also been working with ten breweries on a limited edition collaboration series of beers for Christmas. Staff from all four of the Epicurean stores have worked with breweries including Verdant, Track, Rivington, Cloudwater, and Pamona on the limited edition cans which will be available in store.
The Epicurean 5 Henry Street, Manchester M4 5DD
James picks some of his favourite beers for Christmas gifting:
The local one: Squawk x Runaway x The Epicurean - Echo Cranberry Pale (4.5% ABV)
We’ve done ten collaboration beers with breweries this year for Christmas so I thought I’d include two of those. This is the first one. Packed with cranberry and topped with Amarillo cryo hops. It wouldn’t be Christmas without cranberry and this one is easy drinking.
The international one: Cassels - Double Cream Milk Stout (8.1% ABV)
This time of the year it’s all about dark seasonal styles. This is a double cream milk style from Cassels in New Zealand. They originally started out making small, weird sized bottles of beer in like 283ml sizes. They won a gold medal for their milk stout at the world beer awards and then they won a silver for this one, the double cream, which I think is a better beer.
The vegan one: Rivington x The Epicurean - Even A Broken Clock Is Right Twice A Day DDH Pale (5.5% ABV)
Another collaboration beer from us. What it comes down to when making a vegan beer is the finings and clarification process. I imagine every beer in the first two fridges in our shop will be vegan. Traditionally to fine a beer they’d use an ingredient called isinglass made from fish bladders but a lot of beers now are unfiltered and unfined. If you check the can you’d be surprised how many are vegan.
The Christmas day beer: Amundsen - Sticky Little Fingers Toffee Cinnabun Ultra Pastry Stout (13.5% ABV)
I was going to wait until December to get all of the Belgian classics in and the big Christmas beers but there’s a few that have already come in. Notably, some big stouts from Norwegians, Amundsen. These guys are just mental, they’ve started doing a barrel-aged series now and they make these beers that they put in whisky barrels and when they come out they’re all thick and sticky. A big one for Christmas evening.
The one for the IPA crew: Twisted Wheel Brew Co x Carnival Brewing - Nothing Is Real Strawberry Milkshake IPA (6% ABV)
These guys are friends of mine, they started in Coventry, then moved to Wigan and most recently Warrington. They’ve got a big brewery there near the IKEA and this is a collaboration with Carnival who are from Liverpool. Twisted Wheel’s branding and ethos nods to Northern Soul and since they’ve moved to their new place they’ve come on massively. This is a great example of them at the peak of their powers.
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