Saturday, 2 May 2015

Manchester Pale Ale

Manchester Pale Ale



4.1% (bottle); 3.7% (cask); 3.6% (keg)

My abiding memory of J W Lees beer is of standing like an arthritic penguin in their brewery- owned Rain Bar on Great Bridgewater Street one rainy Saturday at the start of a pub crawl with my dad & brother. They both seemed very impressed by the bitter (probably due to the price) but I found it bland, contemplating the irony of being in a rain bar, on a rainy day, drinking rain water.  J W Lees describe their bitter as “Clean & Dry”, with a “Grapefruit & Zesty” nose but I don’t know how they arrived at that. For many years that was the sum total of my relationship with J W Lees, although inwardly I knew I must have been harbouring an unfair grudge, such is their popularity.

Recently I tried their Manchester Pale Ale from the bottle. I’m glad I did. It was a completely different prospect from those gray days of tupperware skies & standing with funereal solemnity at the Rain Bar. The Liberty & Mount Hood hops give a sunshine twist to the pint which is not so much citrus but pleasantly acetone with floral aromas awakening the inner Heidi in her Alpine splendour, dancing amongst the noddling flowers reveling in a glacially enlivening breezes. The head flattens off quickly, and the sensation is that you are drinking a decadent lemonade of beer, not to be confused with some soggy shandy. This comes with some slight baggage; the ever present gas though is surprisingly tolerable. The hoppiness is clean. It would go well with something like Ennerdale pipe tobacco. The intrinsic lightness of the beer would suit vegetarian food, or chicken & white fish. Its quite an uplifting party beer.

Since having such a pleasant J W Lees surprise, I have discovered they are not so much a one trick pony and in fact have a wonderful array of beers (see weblinks above) including LAGER !! Mentioning their Bohemia Regent seems appropriate here. The sheer range of the brews on offer (including the salvation of lower ABV session ales) demonstrates a heroic intent on behalf of John Willies to offer a comprehensive beer repertory to assuage the pains of humankind. I SHALL go to the Rain Bar again.

Marks /10

North Utsire

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