Over the last year or so, Manchester has fallen in love with tank beer. So much so that last year we were drinking more tank beer than any other city in the world. We have seen it take over at The Oast House, Albert Schloss and at the newest – and possibly biggest – beer hall in the city, Cooper Hall in the Northern Quarter.
The latter is the latest project from the team behind NoHo, Dusk til Pawn and Wood & Co. It opened in December and is their first very beer heavy site.
The beer hall occupies the space that was once the Copacabana Club in Sevenways House and it’s vast. Gone is the mustard yellow and deep red. In its place is bare brick, cushioned seating, benches and industrial touches. This is a place to listen to great music and to drink great beer.
Which, of course, the beers are, including the Pilsner Urquell Tank beer that is shipped over from the Czech Republic as soon as it’s ready – a 1500 mile trip from the brewery in Plzeň. And how it’s poured is just as important as to how fresh it is when it reaches you. The beer is checked regularly, through a pour known as a Šnyt (pronounced shnit). Two fingers of beer and three fingers of foam. The remaining fingers are empty glass.
And that’s something else we seem to have embraced. We’re no longer afraid of a head on our beer. That feeling that you’re missing out on beer in your glass has long gone. In it’s stead is an appreciation of the effect a creamy head has on the taste and texture of your beer.
And when it comes to tank beer, it simply seems to help it slip down easily – especially if you go for the Milko pour which is more head than beer. Soft, smooth and really rather addictive. It may also give you a beery moustache, whatever your actual top lip situation.
The tank beer isn’t everything on offer at Cooper Hall. There are a number of craft beers on the taps and in cans and bottles in the fridges, and for anyone uninterested in something beery, a good selection of spirits on the back bar.
Of course, it wouldn’t be an offering from those behind some of the best cocktail bars in the city, if there wasn’t a cocktail or two on offer too. I’d definitely recommend the Salted Caramel Martini and the Clementine Gin Fizz – if you can drag yourself away from the beers.
Cooper Hall is worth a visit for the booze alone but the music is not to be missed either, including, I’m told, the nicest DJ in Manchester.
So whether you prefer something soft and acoustic, a little folksy, or just deep down funky, there’s going to be a night for you.
As for me, I’ll be working on my beer moustache at the bar.
Sevendale House, 7 Dale St, Manchester M1 1JA