... and that coriander lager is back
Has there been a more anticipated new opening on Manchester's beer scene than the sparkling new Bundobust brewery on Oxford Road?
We wrote about Marko Husak and Mayur Patel's latest project back in early 2020 when Pandemic was still just a crap film and Bundobust probably wouldn't have dreamed it'd ever do home delivery.
We've had a chance to really develop [the beers] so it's a blessing in disguise
On that nippy February morning, we put our hard hats and hi-vis jackets on and gawped at how similar the shell of a space was to the existing Bundo in Piccadilly. We chatted (or is that chaated?) to the owners over lunch at Bundobust #1 afterwards and buzzed about Bundobust #2.
A lot has changed since then and we half wondered if the brewery would ever open its doors. Mayur didn't share our doubts. When we visit prior to opening to the public as they get ready to welcome friends and family for the very first service, he's laid back about the whole thing.
He shrugs and tells us they just had to pause it and didn't see any point opening it when there was still a lack of confidence that people would want to come out. So they bided their time, and it's actually quite emotional to see them finally getting ready to cut that metaphorical ribbon.
The opening is timed well with freshers week coming up, vaccines continuing to roll out and a general air of relief at the welcome return of hospitality. People are ready for beers and bhajis once more. None more than us.
The new brewery does have a touch of the doppelgangers about it - what are the chances of finding a long, airy space with a glass atrium roof so similar to the Piccadilly branch?
The difference of course is the huge stainless steel tanks bubbling away with house-brewed beers. They are the first thing you see when you step through the enormous entry gates.
Head Brewer Dan Hocking says he is “serene as a meadow” as he legs it between tanks, furiously making notes and cranking bits of machinery.
There's a brewhouse at the back near the kitchen too, it looks absolutely badass.
Marko tells us the delayed opening forced by the pandemic actually gave them a chance to really perfect their bespoke brews.
"We've had a chance to really develop and practise them while we've been closed so it's a blessing in disguise, I guess."
While all the beers are new, and some have made their way into other Bundobusts and made guest appearances at beer festivals already, the exclusive beer to the Oxford Road brewery is a Vienna lager called Cartway - named for one of the Brewery space's former lives as a cartway for a calico fabric printers.
Marko describes it as, "A nice malty lager, very moreish, very light, a slight sweetness to it and it goes well with our food across the board."
They've also brought back their famous coriander pilsner, sort of.
"When we first opened Bundobust seven years ago we used to import a coriander lager from the Czech Republic. People loved it but we couldn't get any more, they weren't importing it to the UK anymore but we still got customers coming in to ask for it for years.
"So we thought when we got the brewery, we would try and recreate that recipe. We toast the coriander seeds and it gives it a bit of a lemony aromatic taste to it."
The coriander pilsner is called Dhania and one if six beers currently on tap that are brewed in-house (including Peela IPA and Andhera a hoppy black lager) and three collaborations with other breweries Northern Monk, Deya and North Brewing Company. The guys love to collaborate with and support other breweries as much as possible so there are plenty of non-collab beers from other breweries on tap as well.
The vibe is classic Bundo, all bright graphics, colourful tables and chairs, and a bit of tongue in cheek humour. The menu will be the same as all other Bundos so whether it's a vada pav, okra fries or paneer tikka that gets you all hot under the collar, you'll find it here. Great veggie food, incredible beer and relaxed vibes. We know we will be spending a LOT of time at this one.
Has it turned out how they hoped? Marko is characteristically calm, "It's gone pretty smoothly considering we had an 18-month delay. I'm really happy. We're ready to open just about. I think we're in a good spot."
Bundobust Brewery opens this Thursday 16 September at 4pm and is giving away 200 free pints to celebrate.
Bundobust Brewery St James's Bldg, Bundobust Brewery, 61-69 Oxford St, Manchester M1 6EQ
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