Twenty years ago, in one of the most memorable advertising campaigns of all time, Melanie Sykes served a pint of Boddingtons to a bloke in a leotard and asked him, “Do you want a Flake in that love?” Back then, the market was dominated by a handful of big breweries and Boddingtons was the cream of Manchester.
How times have changed. The Boddingtons brewery is now a car park. Some big local brewers are still going strong, of course, but they’ve been joined by a host of small local brewers, many of whom have turned a hobby into successful businesses.
Here are 20 local brewers in no particular order. Wacky names, quirky labels, delicious flavours. It’s not a comprehensive list, so please forgive us if you’re a microbrewer and we’ve missed you out. No offence. Cheers!
Hyde-based micro established 2014. Trying their best to reinvent the pint. Orange County IPA “a solid sessionable beer” (@PeterAtkinson2). New World Pale 5% “another lovely beer from this brewery” (@jollyjazzjaunt)
Radcliffe-based family bakers who decided to put the yeast to better use. Manchester Icons range of beers includes Manchester Blonde, B-Side, (a tribute to the Manchester music scene), and Manchester Skyline (“Not a bad drop at all!!! Lovely flavours!!!” (@PeterAtkinson2))
Seven Bro7hers (@SEVENBRO7HERS)
Yes, they really are seven brothers. We are unable to confirm whether they need seven brides. Watermelon beer!!?? It’s actually rather good, apparently. “The rumours are true! Seven Bro7thers know how to brew a fine session ale” (@thecooktwit)
Two students start selling homebrew at parties then go on to live the dream making American style hop-forward beers for the people of Manchester. Their IPA is “lush” (@TheBayHorsePub)
First Chop (@firstchopale)
Goooood beer brewed in a railway arch in Salford. Caramel IPA is “delectably different.” (@OddestBar)
City centre microbrewery run by ex-Marble brewer who left to pursue a solo career. “Immaculate, session-orientated cask beers” (The Guardian). The Pokies is “an awesome 3.6% Pale, perfect for a hungover Sunday” (@BRTNDispensary). Black Maria Black IPA is “a bit special” (@drpayner)
Not afraid to mix it up and experiment with far out flavours. Oatmeal Pale a “great use of hops. Love it.” (@pasteyh2g2)
Doing it right since 2014. Rye IPA is “Deeeeeelicious” (@TheHopLocker)
Beer Nouveau (@BeerNouveau)
One man and his garage. In a hurry? No time for breakfast? Why not try a Bottled Breakfast? Everything you need for breakfast in a bottle. Coffee, oatmeal and alcohol. Better than a breakfast bar.
A tiny brewery somewhere in Prestwich. Sorachi Ace Stout is “amazing” (@gobletandmug)
Chorlton Brewing (@Chorlton Brew)
‘Every beer we ever make will be unfiltered, unpasteurised and unfined.’ Contemporary seasonal sour beer inspired by Germanic traditions. Farmhouse IPA “a most wonderful and magnificent beast. Absolutely stunning” (@TheBeerHawk)
New kid on the block. “I don’t think Alphabet is capable of making a bad beer. Crate Digger Toffee Stout is “fantastic” (@mrben)
Deeply Vale (@DeeplyVBrewery)
Bury’s finest. Deeply Blonde “smells amazing and tastes gorgeous. Full of fruity, refreshing flavours and very moreish, too” (@Lin46).
Six O’Clock (@sixoclockbeer)
Black IPA is “absolutely lovely” (@craftyonemcr). Summit a “nice IPA” (@SeriousBrewCo)
Specialists in modern, seasonal beer. “Grisette is a peachy delight. It doesn’t get more summery” (@BeerFinderGen)
Tickety Brew (@TicketyBrew)
Brewers of The Whitworth’s pale ale, Manchester Tart and Rose Wheat Beer (“a gem” (@PeteAustin))
Wilson Potter (@Wilsonpotter)
Six barrel Middleton microbrewery. Because brewing beer’s not just for blokes. “Lovely beers” (@PeteKobryn666)
One of the older local microbreweries. Started back in 2007 when owner Kevin began brewing in the airing cupboard. Thought that’s what airing cupboards were for. Orange Blossom a “nice and easy drinking ale with fruity edge” (@SirGawain82)
A Manchester institution. The elder statesman of Manchester craft brewers and probably the best known. Lagonda IPA is North West Champion Golden Ale for 2015.
Beer in Stockport has changed. Dedicated to experimentation. ‘We do not pasteurise. We do not filter. The beer comes first.’ “The best” (@EuanSummers)