Former Bier Cell site relaunches under new stewardship
Good things come to those who wait. Check. Good things come in small packages. Check. Good places to drink beer are often covered in green tiles and are sometimes down quaint alleyways.
Check. Check. Check.
We basically just want to sell beer and have fun
If like us you’ve recently walked past the old Bier Cell site in Altrincham and yearned for bygone days of Belgian beers, served by the bottle from one of the smallest bars in Manchester, you’re in luck. Bier Cell is relaunching as Bier Zot.
Big percentages, tiny venue
Bier Zot continues where Bier Cell left off. A tiny unit on the alleyway that connects Greenwood Street with Central Way, the gleaming emerald tiling has been given a good shining and the sign above the door has been changed appropriately. Inside it’s a tiny, snug space with a carefully curated selection of Belgian and German bottled beers.
New owner Owen Meikle-Williams is familiar with both the beers and the spot itself.
“I’ve been coming here for years. Since I was able to drink.” Says Owen.
“It was run by this lovely chap called Jason who had to retire for health reasons. He’s a real local hero.”
In 10 minutes sat outside Bier Zot a few people walking past ask about Jason. Owen is keen to continue Bier Cell’s legacy and you get the sense the site is in good hands. One of Jason’s trademark hats will hang on the wall, a subtle tribute.
“It was always a shame to me to see it closed so I had a chat to Wyn from Mort Subite, a brilliant Belgian beer bar around the corner. Wyn was in partnership with Jason so we set up a new business and decided on a new name.” Owen says.
“We went through multiple names, one of which was Village Idiot, which is me, but we landed upon Bier Zot which is Bier Fool in Belgian. We sell specialist Belgian and German beers such as Augustiner Helles-Brau, Augustiner Edelstoff, Kwak and Kölsch. We basically just want to sell beer and have fun.”
Space to drink a beer but not swing a cat
Inside, Bier Zot seats 20 (snugly) with the potential for 15 outside as long as the alleyway isn’t blocked. Bottles are available to drink in or take away and the selection has been chosen by Owen himself.
As well as European highlights, there’s also a choice selection of canned local beers as well as wines and softs. The first beer on draft will be Brugse Zot, a Belgian blonde beer which also went toward inspiring the bar's name.
“Everything’s a bit stronger. If you want something lighter around 3%, go to Spoons. If you want something stronger verging on 10%, go to a wine bar. We’re here for the people that want something in the middle.”
“There’ll be lagers, porters, darker beers, red ales, blondes and some fruit beers too. One of the beers we sell is Liefmans Fruitesse which is my second favourite beer of all time. 3.8%, six berries rolled into one and it tastes like alcoholic Vimto.”
Inside, a gallery wall currently exhibiting music photography by Andi Callen and Wilf Gill will be a rotating showcase space for work by local photographers and artists. Owen also hints at the potential for future acoustic events. Owing to the proximity to Altrincham Market, patrons are also welcome to bring a bit of food in to enjoy with their beer.
Other beers Owen recommends include the aforementioned Augustiner Helles-Brau and Tegernseer Hell. “The latter is similar to the Augustiner but a little bit sweeter. Tegernseer Hell on a hot day, perfect. Those two beers are going to be big sellers.” Owen says.
IPA drinkers will appreciate the gluten-free Mongozo pilsner whilst Owen describes the Gaffel kölsch as, “a special beer. A sort of fizzy bitter.” Fruit beers and Kwak (notable for its traditional hourglass and wooden handle drinking vessel) will be available, as is a more eclectic selection of alcohol-free beers including Maisel’s Weisse alcohol-free.
Timperley nano brewery Libatory Brewing is also represented in the fridge, with the brewery's Purest Green green tea pale ale already a big seller. Owen is keen to showcase local breweries in the bar and says he is always astounded by how many great breweries there are in every pocket of Manchester.
"There are so many great breweries in Manchester and I'm so glad to be able to stock fantastic beer from Timperley. Libatory's Timperley Lager is already stocked in bars across Altrincham and a green tea pale ale shouldn't work but it absolutely does."
"We're looking forward to seeing out the rest of summer but also getting everyone in over winter and making it cosy. Bier Zot is all about people coming together over great beer and having a bit of fun."
Bier Zot, 34 Greenwood St, Altrincham WA14 1RZ
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