First of all, let me thank you all for the nice suggestions. Thanks to you, to the place section, the Camra app Whatpub and UT I had a very nice experience while in MCR.
Day 1: Manchester
Arrived in town around 2 pm on Saturday, while outside was raining hard (with a very strong wind as well), so stopped at the Piccadilly Tap for some ales and a quick snack. Two ales from Adnams available on cask (Ghost Sip and Broadside, plus the Mosaic on tap) so a very good way to start my beery trip! Paired my ales with mushroom arancini.
I enjoyed Adnams, still the best ale had there was Kirkstall Black Band Porter.
After a quick hotel check-in, I was ready to discover Manchester. St.Peter’s Square, the Town Hall, the Hidden Gem, all nice and interesting. On the way to the Cathedral I made a quick stop at the Moon Under Water (JDW): nice place, but ales in bad condition. Just had an half of Saltaire South Island Pale and left.
As the Cathedral was already closed and it started to rain again. I headed to the Old Wellington (Nicholson’s).
What a nice location! 5 or six cask ales available and tasty pub food (loved the cheddar croquettes!). Had two ales from Black Sheep (Venus & Mars and Monty Python’s Flying Circus) plus the Nicholson’s Pale ale and Boss Let The Dragon Roar, one of the few Welsh ales I had.
On the way to the Northern Quarter I found the location that made my stay in MCR special, the Manchester Drink and Food Festival (still on until the 6th of October). Lots of street food (pizza, chinese, fish’n’chips), 50-ish cask ales (most of them gravity dispensed) and live music/dj sets.
Here I tried two of the best ales of my trip: Wily Fox Karma Citra and the Camden Town Camden Ink at Camden’s truck. I do not know how they were before the aquisition, still I found this stout delicious and well made.
To conclude the evening I went to the Crown and Kettle and - following the suggestion of @beardedavenger - I tried the pork pie.On a beery note, they had a delicious Neptune Ezili available (cask). I closed the first day with one of the few “craft” ales of my trip:
Flash House Chocolate Strawberry Marshmallow Stout, served in dimpled mug.
Day 2 : Liverpool
I’ve been there 8 years ago, but my brother (who was travelling with me) not. So planned a day trip there. Started my pub crawl at Philharmonic (Nicholson’s), probably the most beautiful pub I’ve ever been in… Unfortunately the ales were not in good condition, so just had a half and left.
After a quick visit of the Cathedral , moved to the Grapes, so had a chance to dry my shoes a bit (terrible weather the whole day!). Friendly and knowledgeable publican made my visit a good experience.Nice selection of cask ales. Enjoyed in particular the Brimstage Oyster Catcher. As it was time for lunch, said good bye and went to the nearby Love Lane Brewery - Bar & Kitchen.
As I said in my review, they have the potential to become like Brewdog. Beers are good, so the was the food (sunday roast anyone?). They brew both craft (DDH IPA and Rye Red Ale) under their name and traditional for Higsons (Bitter ale). As addition to their range, they also offer 4 guest casks. Enjoyed a lot the Seven Bro7hers Sling It Out Stout.
After getting completely wet while walking the docks - and a very much needed stop at the Tate to warm and dry a bit), I completed the sightseeing tour at the famous Royal Liver Building. A quick walk in the Cavern Quarter and it was already 5 pm. The train back to MCR was booked for 20:25, so plenty of time to spend at the Ship & Mitre. Again, had a pleasant stay while there. Friendly barmaid and delicious beers.
Tried a good mild ( J.W. Lees True Faith) plus a couple of their Flagship beer (Jar and Vandal).
As it was not time for the train yet and had already six ales there (the remaining ones, especially the “craft” did not sound interesting to me), I checked the selection of The Dispensary and the Roscoes Head on UT, opting for the first one as they had the Titanic First Class. When there, the cask just had been changed and I’ve been suggested the Fernandes Malt Shovel Mild, a delicious mild. Tried also the Oakham Citra.
When back in MCR we wanted to pay a visit to the F&D Festival, but it was closed. They said it should have been opened until 11pm, but there was no-one around because of the heavy rain, so they probably closed earlier. Took the chance to visit the Smithfield Market Tavern (Blackjack). Very nice pub. I should have spent more time there, but it was already 22pm when I arrived. So just 3 ales before going to sleep.
Day 3: Manchester
A bit of sightseeing in the moring (Castlefiled, the Roman ruins) and then straight to the Food and Drink Festival for a nice pizza and several ales. The best of the morning was for sure
Silver Street Ruby Ruby Ruby Ruby.
As the weather was nice (some sun at least) spent the early afternoon wandering around the Northern Quarter. After being “scammed” at 57 Thomas Street (“we don’t do halves”, they said… while on the board was clearly written “all beers available in 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 and pint”) I decided to follow again the suggestions of Beardedavenger and had a great time at the Grey Horse Inn (Hydes). Superfriendly bartender, small but well kept selection and cozy atmosphere. I highly recommend this place!
After a quick stop at the Old Monkey (Holts), went back to the Festival. As it started to rain cats and dogs, I really enjoyed my stay under the tent, having a wide choice of real ale.
Six ales after moved to the Pilcrow, which is more on the hipster/craft side of the beer. So enjoyed two cask ales and moved back to The Old Wellington, where I had a Tiny Rebel Clwb Tropicana to close the day.
Day 4 : Manchester
My bro had the flight at 7 am, so spent the day alone. After a quick visit of the Art Museum, visited the Town Hall Tavern, a place I would recommend. Five cask ales available, but in good condition.As it was lunch time, what should I have done? I tried to locate the Microbar in the food court of the Arndale shopping center, without success, so the one and only option was again the F&D Festival!
Just 3 ales (with Beartown Creme Bearlee going straight to my 2019 Top10!) and then looking for Timothy Taylor’s Landlord. UT said it was available at Waldorf, which is 2 minutes walking distance from Piccadilly Tap, so took the chance to try it.
Before taking the train back to Manchester Airport, I made another 90 minutes stop at The Piccadilly Tap, where I had a nice conversation at the bar with a 60-ish years old Londoner. Tried two amazing ales - on tap - like ShinDigger Aliya and Lost And Grounded No Rest For Dancers along with 3 cask ales before leaving.
As you could have seen, I skipped Cloudwater. I wanted to try as many real ales as possible. Nothing against the craft beer scene in Uk, but if I’m going to Franconia I would drink keller, pils, rauch and not a random ipa/apa/cherry stout from a random contract brewer from Nürnberg/Bamberg (even if they rock).
I should have probably trusted my inner instict and skip Marble as well…
In general it was a super experience. 73 new beer ratings, several micro breweries from Greater Manchester discovered thanks to the Festival. Price-wise it has been way cheaper than expected. I found a wealthy scene: each pub had different cask ales available, so pub crawling’s been a must. I tried a lot of golden ales, which is good. Still haven’t understood if I like this style or not.
If you managed to read until here, thank you! Hope this report will be helpful to someone in the future.