Plus keggerated beer, Aperol spritz and some new openings
What a week it's been. We've had a brilliant time in the sunshine welcoming back our old pals, meeting lots of new ones and even tolerating some we haven't missed - there are some benefits to social distancing after all.
The city looks alive again and it's great to see. We hope the joy continues as the covid continues to dwindle. Let's remain hopeful, positive and keep supporting the bars and restaurants we love as their staff re-learn how to convincingly laugh at our appalling Dad jokes and carry trays of cocktails without spilling any.
Read on for this week's (very boozy) Manchester food and drink news:
The Oast with the most (Aperol spritzes)
Nothing says you’re on your jollies in the Mediterranean like a giant glass of Aperol spritz in the sunshine. That bittersweet, neon refresher doesn’t get much chance to glow up in grey Mancunia but (this week at least) the sun’s out and the terraces are packed with people enjoying their newfound freedoms with pals (and some sitting side by side staring into the smartphones just like the good old days). The Oasthouse has already won PR move of the year with its “first pint of 2021” pint glasses and now it’s launched an “Oastess” trolley to serve up drinks airline style for those that are missing being cramped up in an aluminium tube hurtling at 50,000 feet and self-medicating their anxiety with booze (just us?). The trollies also serve a practical use, making use of the socially distanced aisles created between tables to ensure guests keep their imaginary seatbelts fastened and remain seated. The Oastess trolley will start doing the rounds tomorrow (17 April).
Another drinking Co-Op-portunity
Salford Rum has landed itself its first supermarket deal and will be appearing on the shelves of 90 Co-Op convenience stores this month. The Greater Manchester brand’s Dark Spice rum will strut onto the shelves in its classy (and eco-friendly) black ceramic bottles decorated with a map of the city of Salford. We’ve had our fair share of this lovely spiced rum, it’s like a Christmas cake in a glass. Ace news that we can now pick it up as part of our “essential” weekly shop.
Three cheers for these beers
Another Mancunian brand bringing something new to supermarket shelves this month is Cloudwater Brewery, which has teamed up with four small, minority-owned breweries to develop a special “Beer With Big Ideas” four-pack for Tesco. The pack, which will hit the shelves of 470 Tesco from 19 April, includes collabs with Eko Brewery, Good Karma Beer Co, Queer Brewing and Rock Leopard Brewing Co. Eko and Rock Leopard are believed to be the only black-owned and operated breweries in the UK. Queer Brewing was established to provide visibility for LGBTQ+ people in the beer industry. Good Karma is an alcohol-free beer brand with Indian roots that champions mindful drinking and puts social responsibility at its core.
All of the beers have been brewed on Cloudwater’s behalf by BrewDog, using Cloudwater’s own recipes and house yeast. The good eggs at BrewDog and Cloudwater will not be taking any of the proceeds and will instead split profits among the four collaboration breweries, giving them an opportunity to invest in growth. A lot of people talk about diversity and inclusivity but big props to Cloudwater for putting its money where its mouth is. The pack will cost you a tenner and we reckon it’s money well spent.
Give your cheesy balls a squeeze
Byron has partnered with Testicular Cancer UK to encourage people to check their balls - or encourage a loved one to do the honours. Their Mac and Cheese Balls have been temporarily renamed Mac and Squeeze Balls and you can get your hands on the cheesy balls (so appetising) for free during April. The burger chain will be wrapping burgers in paper emblazoned with an illustrated guide to self-examination designed in partnership with artist Josh McKenna. It might have you sniggering but the issue is a serious one, between April and August last year millions of patients across the UK missed out on cancer screenings resulting in thousands of illnesses going undetected. According to TCUK, Testicular Cancer affects approximately 2500 15-45-year-old men a year. There will be 100,000 burgers served in the unique wraps throughout the month, with the aim to get at least 100,000 Brits to check their balls in April.
Byron's Mac and Squeeze Balls 4-step self-examination guide
Step 1 - Get your balls hot and steamy in the shower
Step 2 - Roll one ball between thumb and fingers to check for lumps, swelling or changes in size and shape
Step 3 - Repeat for the other ball
Step 4 - Squeeze monthly to check for any signs of change
Last chance to eat this well in MCR
As we ease (or are we hurtling?) out of lockdown, many places that were doing cook-at-home meal kits have called it a day while they focus on getting real-life bums on seats again. Eat Well MCR will be continuing to sell local food and booze products in their marketplace (which funds the community food work they do) but some of the cool things they’ve been doing recently are coming to an end. That means this weekend is your last chance to get involved in the following: A four-course collab between Dishoom, Chaat Cart, Tast and Isca (yes, really all of them, together), Sausage Factory kits from Where The Light Gets In, and Dishoom’s breakfast kits. There are also picnic kits and loads more for sale this week. Read our review of the marketplace at Eat Well MCR here.
We bobbed down for a nosey at how Society MCR is coming along the other day. Well, it’s still a building site but one that looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun when it opens in May. The street food and beer hall is staggering distance from the Bridgewater Hall and with 34 beer taps (presided over by Hebden Bridge’s Vocation Brewery) it reckons it has the biggest range in all of Manchester. There will also be food from Leeds troublemakers Slap & Pickle, Elnecot chef Michael Clay’s Dokes Pizza (please don’t let it be the square kind), one of our all-time faves Chaat Cart and more that we're not allowed to talk about or they've said they'll chuck us in the fountain outside. Society MCR, you’re naughty but we like you.
A couple of other new openings this week
Roby 1844 has opened at the Holiday Inn on Aytoun Street, it’s a good option for a canal-side tipple away from the chaos of the main party streets and is serving all kinds of burgers to soak up the booze. Speaking of booze, Schofields is finally open properly in what used to be Liz Dawn’s pub The Old Grapes on that pedestrianised side street opposite The Blues Kitchen (ex-Walkabout). We interviewed one of the lads what seems like a million years ago about their super-creative cocktails and we will be in to check it out very soon because we take our jobs very seriously. Over in Alty, coffee and music caravan Stutter and Twitch has stopped freewheelin' and expanded into a bricks n mortar home. It'll be serving "keggerated" craft beers (served from old fridges, yes really), cocktails and coffee in Stamford Square and we're going to nip down for a visit soon so keep an eye on the Manchester Confidential Instagram for more.
On the week that restaurants and bars reopen for outside dining, Hard Rock Cafe has launched its Hard Rock @Home kits. It’s been a hardcore week though so if you’re already over sitting on a picnic bench publicly exhibiting how low your alcohol tolerance has become and you fancy something different for tea, Hard Rock’s BBQ boxes might be just the ticket. The rock n roll restaurant chain has partnered with Plateaway to offer nationwide delivery of the kits which serve two or four. The two-person kit contains two baby racks of hickory smoked pork ribs with sauce, seasoning, coleslaw and jacket spuds. Order Hard Rock @Home from Plateaway for £26 (box for 2), £52 (box for 4).
Tampopo is hiding sets of “golden chopsticks” in its click-and-collect orders. Anyone who finds a pair, snaps a selfie (no noodz pls) and posts it on social media (tagging Tampopo in of course) gets a Tampopo Mates Rates card that gives them 50% off for their whole table for the next six months.