By Jo Cooksey
PLY and Kosmonaut in the Northern Quarter of Manchester, recently hosted a weekend beer festival with partner, Cave Direct beer merchants. It was a celebration of niche beers that fall in to the sour beer and Lambic categories, from brewers in the UK, Europe and the rest of the world.
When we were invited along I admit I had to Google what a Lambic beer was. It was a term I had never heard before but intriguingly it is a beer native to the Pajottenland region of Belgium that utilizes wild yeast and bacteria in the fermentation process. This method gives the beer its distinctive flavour combined with 60 to 70% barley malt, 30 to 40% unmalted wheat and a large amount of hops.
Within the sour beers were a fruited range and whilst I have sampled a few fruit beers previously and found them quite sweet, I was curious to try the sour versions. I had only recently tried sour beer for the first time at beer and food pairing partnership between Norwegian brewers, Lervig and Northern Quarter restaurant, The Patron. Some of them I enjoyed but some were too sour for my palate.
However, I am more of a fan of beer than wine so I happily bobbed along to PLY, also famous for its pizzas, on the Saturday to taste a few brews. Behind the bar, each venue had 8 beers on tap, comprising 16 beers in total and then another 6 bottled beers. (See the list at the end of this piece). The staff at PLY were great and explained the characteristics and brewing process of each one I tried. I’m not very good at drinking during the day so I only had a shot glass worth of four beers and then a half pint of the one I liked most.
First off, I tried the Saison De Pale 5.8% from Dogfish Head & Petrus. Dogfish Head are an American brewery-based Delaware in the U.S. and Brouwerij De Brabandere in Belgium and is brewed with a Saison yeast. This was light and flowery and not overly sour. Next up was Lambiek 2 Years Old Foeder No84 6.5% from Brouwerij Boon. It has a cloudy, amber hue and was quite mild in flavour and only slightly sour. So far so good and on to the Blood Orange Sour 6.7% from our very own Chorlton Brewing Co. This kettle sour has blood orange peels added to it which enhanced the citrus notes but this beer was too sour for me I’m afraid.
Last, but certainly not least, was the Biere De Saison Honey 6.1% Another collaboration, this time between London brewers, Kernel and Off Color Brewing from Chicago. To quote the menu, this is a mixed culture Saison with wildflower honey, aged in Tuscan red wine barrels. I really loved this beer. The honey adds to the flavour and the sweetness. It was very refreshing and reminded me a of a cider. I could definitely sink a couple of pints of this. However, I ordered a half and enjoyed it with a plate of pate and bread with oil and balsamic for dipping.
The two bars and Cave are hoping to run more of these weekend events so keep your eyes on their social media platforms for more details. Personally, I hoping for a stout and dark ale festival.
PLY FROM THE KEG
Redchurch Brewery - Urban Farmhouse Plum Stone 5.0%
Brouwerij Boon - Lambiek 2 Years Old Foeder No84 6.5%
Oud Beersel – Oude Faro 6.0%
Chorlton Brewing Co - Blood Orange Sour 6.7%
Kernel & Off Color Brewing - Biere De Saison Honey 6.1%
Dogfish Head & Petrus – Saison De Pale 5.8%
North Brewing & Verdant Brewing Co - Triple Fruited Gose 4.0%
Alphabet Brewing Co - Raspberry & Blackberry Gin BA Sour 6.0%
KOSMONAUT FROM THE KEG
Siren Brewing & Hill Famstead - Limoncello Sour Lemon DIPA 9.1%
Chorlton Brewing Co - Mango Sour 5.1%
Redchurch Brewery - Dry Hop Hallertau Blanc Sour 5.4%
The Kernel – Biere De Saison Sour Cherry 5.5%
Lervig Aktiebryggeri & Magic Rock Brewing - Rustique BA Chardonnay 6.0%
Thornbridge Brewery – Passion Fruit & Blueberry Tart 6.0%
Tilquin Gueuze – Lambic Draft Version 4.8%
Wild Beer Co - Beyond Modus IV 8.0%
BOTTLES AT BOTH
3 Fonteinen - Oude Geuze 750ml
Hanssens - Oude Kriek 750ml
Rodenbach - Gran Cru Flemish Red 330ml
Burning Sky - Cuvee 2016 750ml
The Kernel - Biere De Saison Sour Cherry 750ml
Siren Brewery - Calypso Dry Hopped Berliner Weisse 330ml
We attended the Ply as guests but as always, the review and opinions are our own and unbiased.