ONE of the perks of ToM is getting to try food and drink treats before they are unleashed on the general public. Most recently it was a pint of quite special lager that you won’t get poured for you until October.
Manchester Union Lager is still a work in progress but already it stands out from the craft brewing crowd. The brainchild of Jamie Scahill, the aim is to brew an authentic lager, similar to those from Bavaria and the Czech Republic. You know, the kind that trendy bars bus in fresh every week 1,000 miles across the Continent; definitely not the tasteless fizz that tanks up the ‘lager lout’.
The test run lager we tasted in our sneak preview was outstanding – gentle, balanced, complex and deeply suppable. It was made by Manchester Union head brewer Ian Johnson at Blackjack in the Green Quarter, where he runs Six O’clock Brewing, ‘guesting’ on their kit after-hours.
Come October this former software developer will be in full production with his own equipment on Temperance Street among that clutch of craft brewers along the ‘Piccadilly Beer Mile’. A taproom is also in the pipeline.
No shortcuts in the quest for the perfect lager. Each batch will take an uktra-traditional eight weeks to brew. And it will be the only commercial brewery in the UK using a decoction mash technique that “releases melanoidin to give the beer its unique mouthfeel”.
Before then some canny marketing is going on. We love the ‘People’s Lager’ back story in their branding that links the creation of lager in Bavaria some 200 years ago with the first workers’ trade unions that were being set up then as a result of the Industrial Revolution in Manchester.
Cue a bee logo? One with a difference for Manchester Union, naturally. A rather proud ‘Lion-Bee’. Expect the lager to be a roaring success.