Pucker up. Manchester’s flirting with sour beers.

Beer enthusiasts rejoice. Beers that punch you in the face with weapons other than their hoppy fists are out there! In Manchester, in fact.

The beers I’m talking of are from the wonderful world of sours. I’ve entangled myself in a lip puckering love affair with sour beers since sampling some beauties at the Great British Beer Festival in 2014. I love a beer that has something ridiculous going on, whether stupid hops, weird adjuncts or simply it’s a style that doesn’t pop up often.

Sours can be anything from single hopped pales to fruity lambics, it’s a truly versatile style. Often they tend to be of a low abv as well (though not always); Kernel’s London Sour floats around 3% but still slaps you around the face. That’s something to be admired in a beer. And now they’re popping up just outside of central Manchester at the Chorlton Brewing Company.

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My first taster was from the Piccadilly Tap, a bar from the same minds as the Euston Tap down in London which, at the time of my visit, had only been open for a couple of days. Builders, swanky portaloos and dust included. I tried some of Chorlton’s Dark Matter, a 6.8% imperial gose that tasted to me of creamy burnt Vimto. Like a tart fruity cheesecake that had gone wrong but oh so right.

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Later I headed out to the brewery itself. It’s a small set up tucked underneath a railway arch near the beautifully named Temperance Street. (I can’t remember the exact street but does it really matter when you’re a brewery near a street named after the infamous prohibition movement?) Previously I’d heard brilliant things about their Callibration Sour, a 5.5% citra and amarillo hopped pale. Alas, that one had flown the nest by the time I’d made my way up north but I did get to try both the Woodruff Berliner Weisse (3.8%) and the Citra sour (5.7%) that was due to fly off the shelves within the week. The Citra sour was heavenly. The smell was pure hops, none of the lactic tang, just fresh citra. The sourness rushes you as you take a sip, tart and all the fruity funk of the US hop. Hopefully a beer that can inspire more single hop sours. They’re certainly a style to begin a love affair with. (Or at least some kind of Hops With Benefits situation).

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Chorlton Brew Co haven’t been going long but the long line of kegs and bottles ready to head out into the world sang their early success. Headbrewer Mike has some amazing plans for the brewery from a taphouse in Chorlton to a mystery tank in the corner full of some wondrous weird brew that may surface before year’s end.

Fancy getting hold of some of their tasty tasty beverages? If you’re in Manchester (and somehow haven’t tried these beauties already) you can get Chorlton’s brews at the new Piccadilly Tap and the wonderful Beer Moth store in the Northern Quarter (don’t ask me for directions, I got lost about six times when I visited). Down in the ol’ smoke you can find them in Craft Beer Co and Mother Kelly’s. If, like me, you live in the middle of nowhere you can also grab a few bottles on Beer Hawk and Beer Merchants.

I’m really looking forward to the future of this brewery, and bigger sour breweries like the amazing Wild Beer Brew Co because, frankly, everyone’s done a DIPA now.


More about Chorlton in this interview with the brilliant Craft Beer Channel…

I’m really looking forward to the future of this brewery, and bigger sour breweries like the amazing Wild Beer Brew Co because, frankly, everyone’s done a DIPA now.

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