• Northern Monk, Beatnikz Republic and Indy Man Beer Con… may the thirst be with you

Northern Monk, Beatnikz Republic and Indy Man Beer Con… may the thirst be with you

1 October 2018

THERE’S a surge of craft beer activity in town with two new taprooms opening within a week of each other in the Northern Quarter – The Northern Monk Refectory Mcr on Tarriff Street and Beatnikz Republic on Dale Street. Both are likely to be delicious works in progress for a while, but good to see how eager they are to share their hoppiness.

Plus there’s the  seventh Indy Man Beer Con  festival back at its perennial home, Victoria Baths on Hathersage Road (Thur Oct 4-Sun Oct 7, tickets still available here for opening and closing days).

Both the Northern Monk and Beatnikz Republic brewing companies are aiming to promote their new premises (however work in progress) with spin-offs from the UK’s leading craft beer showcase.

Beatnikz, in Dale House (next door to Idle Hands Coffee), promises 14 keg and four cask lines with up to 50 per cent devoted to their own beer, the rest to guests. Also on offer is a wide selection of spirits – especially gin and bourbon – wines, natural wines, sparkling wines, ciders and cocktails. Plus bar snacks with vegan options (all the beers are vegan).

The CGI images show an attractive space; the latest Tweet shows quite some work to do.

Due to ‘soft launch’ from Friday, October 5, they have not wasted any time in organising a couple of collab events. First up on the 5th is a ‘Burning Down The House’ tap takeover with punk classics accompanying beers from the innovative Sussex brewery, Burning Sky. Next day it’s the takeover turn of Overworks – sour, wild and saison arm of craft pioneers BrewDog at their Aberdeenshire taproom.

Not that you should neglect Beatnikz’ own beers, loving crafted by owner Paul Greetham up in the Green Quarter. A whirlwind first year has seen them shortlisted for Brewery of the Year in the 2018 Manchester Food and Drink Awards. Anyone wearing an IMBC wristband will get a third off any of the range.

The Northern Monk Taproom opened in the former Kosmonaut premises on Saturday, September 29. ToM joined the queue for the 12pm launch when the first 50 punters would receive a goodie bag. Our lucky numbers were 18 and 19. Result: a badge, tote bag and classy etched glass.

The only section open so far is the main bar, retaining the exposed brick walls and plank floors of Kosmonaut, with the addition of a matt grey wall behind the bar, where there are 16 keg lines, four cask lines, and three draught cocktails.

The second room, a definite work in progress will be a casual dining space, complete with a ‘Confession Booth’ photobooth. Downstairs in the basement is a smaller, separate bar area due to host a special party next weekend coinciding with Indy Man. This will star Barcelona’s Garage Beer, their beers accompanied, naturally, by a selection  of UK garage anthems.

Cash for this new bar came from a successful crowdfunding campaign, which exceeded its £500,000 target within just three hours and ultimately raised £1.5 million.

Leeds intruders then? No way, says MD Russell Bisset (pictured below at the opening with his wife). He was raised in Chorlton, still has family around and stresses the general Northernness of the Monk: I’m proud of Manchester. It’s the city in the north I feel the most affinity with outside of Leeds.

“Leeds will always be the home of the brewery but our team come from all across the north. We’re really excited. We’ve been really involved in the Manchester beer scene for years – we love Port Street Beer House and IMBC is definitely one of our favourite festivals.”

The feeling is obviously mutual. To mark the Refectory opening they brewed a Don’t Mess With Manchester Pale Ale brewed in conjunction with Cloudwater, Blackjack, Runaway, Marble and Track.

The Northern Monk Taproom promises food soon. On our visits across the Pennines to their Flax Store HQ in Holbeck we were struck by their great choice of street food residencies. After Saturday’s launch we adjourned to another acclaimed operation spawned in Leeds – Bundobust, a fellow craft beer haven voted Manchester’s Restaurant of the Year 2017 on the back of its Gujarati veggie menu.

And what did we have for pud? Kulfi Cream Pie (£3.50), mango coulis, caradamom custard, whipped cream and and pistachios on a ginger base. It’s a collab for MFDF with Idle Hands. We washed it down with a schooner of Dahnia Bundobust IPA, brewed for them by Northern Monk. Small (and diverse) world the North.