Manchester is gaining quite the reputation for its beer scene – and well deserved it is, too.
Last year alone, 80 breweries made a whopping 3.902 different beers here – a pace that doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.
There are already plenty of lovely little pubs and trendy bars where you can get your hands on a Manchester beer.
But for those who fancy exploring the city’s brewery scene a little further, it’s worth knowing that many breweries also have their own taprooms, giving you the chance to drink some of the freshest beer going, straight from the source.
Taproom drinking is generally a no-frills experience – think industrial settings and solid wooden benches. But it’s a worthy trade-off for a behind-the-scenes look at where your beer has come from and for the chance to taste some new, special brews.
To help you navigate Manchester’s brewery taproom scene, we’ve compiled a list just for you. Many are part of or attached to the brewery, others are separate to it. But all have great beer.
Cloudwater Brew Co
Multi-award winning brewery Cloudwater isn’t just thought of highly here in Manchester, but worldwide.
Their previous brewery tap, The Barrel Store, used to be behind Piccadilly Station on Sheffield St, but they’ve since relocated and moved the taproom above the main brewery.
Situated on a relatively modern trading estate between Piccadilly and New Islington, don’t let the inconspicuous entrance fool you. Once inside you’ll find Scandi-inspired interiors and a beer menu that changes every weekend.
Piccadilly Trading Estate, Unit 9, Gidding Road, Manchester M1 2NP
Alphabet Brewing Co.
Not too far from Cloudwater, you’ll find the headquarters of Alphabet Brewing Co. This space served as the home of Grub in its early days. Since it moved, it has been carrying on the open-at-weekends tradition with taproom sessions and the occasional street food trader appearance.
You can already enjoy Alphabet beers on draught at their NQ pizza joint PLY, and their cans are stocked in most Manchester bars. But if you fancy seeing where the magic happens, you can also head down to the brewery on weekends.
Visitors will find special edition small-batch ales, nitro-charged beers, and rare blends all pouring from their 13 beer lines. Whilst you’re there, make sure to take time to appreciate Hammo’s artwork. He’s just brilliant.
99 N Western St, Manchester M12 6JL
Track Brewing Co
Tracks’ bar in Crusader Mill is situated on the third floor in a light and airy space. It was meant to just be a pop-up until last Christmas but proved so popular that the brewery has made it a permanent home.
There are plenty of long stretches of communal seating, as well as some smaller window tables and one in the corner for the DJ. Choose from a selection of twelve draught beers, which come served in either two-third, halves or thirds.
Crusader Mill, 64 Chapeltown Street, M1 2WQ Thurs-Sun
The original home of Grub food fair, you’ll find this taproom on a small industrial estate in the Green Quarter. The shutters might be closed, but don’t let this put you off. Once inside, enjoy a mix of their core range and seasonal specials from a mezzanine in the arches that they’ve erected above the brewery.
Open every Saturday from 12 noon till 8pm, throughout the summer you can look forward to street food stalls and extra seating in the carpark outside.
Unit 4 Millgate, Dantzic Street, Manchester M4 4JW
Beatnikz Republic Brewing Co.
Beatnikz microbrewery is located in a railway arch in the Green Quarter, and their taproom used to be too. But they closed it last year and moved to a shiny new bar in the Northern Quarter where they’ve just introduced a beer slushie machine.
Head in to enjoy their core range of beers. and if you fancy it you can also book in for a tutored tasting or ‘beer school’ with one of their resident experts.
35 Dale St, Manchester M1 2HF
Manchester Brewing Co.
One of Manchester’s newer breweries, you’ll find Manchester Brewing Co just a stone’s throw from the ABC brewery. They used to be open weekly, but have now switched their focus to limited event openings.
Described as a rising star on the city’s brewing scene, keep an eye on their socials to see when you can head in for a tap event. Once you get there, there’s ping pong and table football to entertain you, too. Winning.
66 North Western Street, M12 6DX
Öl Nanobrewery at Hatch
Tiny nanobrewery Öl has its own brew kit on-site and makes some fabulous concoctions. But, as a result of the tiny set-up, their own beers usually sell out incredibly fast, so they stock a range of others too.
Find them at Hatch on Oxford Road in one of the shipping containers. Once you’ve got your beer, there’s plenty of intriguing street food traders around if you’re feeling peckish – and some cool retailers to browse too.
Wander Beyond Brewing
Wander Beyond are best known for their experimental imperial stouts, but produce a wide range of styles. They host monthly taprooms in their brewery and the occasional yoga class too. It’s a comfy space, and there’s even a side room for playing table tennis. Check out their next tapping event on 27th July.
98 N Western St, Manchester M12 6JL
Blackjack Brewing Co.
One of Manchester’s most prolific brewers, Blackjack is known for making a weird and wonderful range with flavours spanning everything from Jasmine tea to fruity peach.
As well as owning the Smithfield Tavern on Great Ancoats Street, the brewery has a pop-up bar next door at Mackie Mayor and another at the produce hall’s sister site in Altrincham. They also open their brewery very occasionally for taproom events, so keep an eye on their socials to find out when the next one is.
Irk St, Manchester M4 4JT
Squawk Brewing Co.
Squawk did have a tiny taproom attached to the brewery which they opened occasionally on weekends. Since July, though, they’ve moved to a new home at Crusader Mill. The new taproom can be found in Chapeltown Picture House, a new cinema venture from Grub founder Jason Bailey. Cosy loft space, six keg beers and two cask options. What more could you ask for? Open Fri- Sun.
Crusader Mill, 64 Chapeltown Street, M1 2WQ
Seven Brothers Beerhouse
All the beer here is made, as the name suggests, by seven brothers from Salford. And with another four sisters making gin, the McAvoy family may just be some of the most committed boozers in the city.
The Salford brewery opened in 2014. Two years later, they opened their snazzy Ancoats bar. Filled with plush leather seating and rich wood surfaces, you can get your hands on all their core beers here. There’s a casual dining option too if you’re feeling peckish.
39 Blossom St, Manchester M4 5AF
It takes a fair bit of effort to find this Ardwick taproom but it’s worth persevering with. The makeshift space is filled with second-hand armchairs and uses wooden pallets and barrels for tables.
Unlike others on this list, the taproom isn’t tied to a specific brewery. They do, however, frequently invite local brewers in to do tap takeovers.
75 N Western St, Manchester M12 6DY
If you fancy a drop of Marble Beer, you are quite spoilt for choice. The Thomas Street taproom is incredibly compact and always busy – although more seating has recently been added upstairs.
Then there’s the charming Marble Arch pub on Rochdale Road – the original home of the brewery’s beers – where you can try their beers and other brews from further afield across 11 hand pulls and 3 keg lines.
Last but not least, they are also in the process of opening another taproom at the brewery itself – and, to celebrate, will be offering free beers to visitors until 31st September 2019 (T&Cs apply).
7 Boston Court, Salford. M50 2GN
Northern Monk Refectory
Yorkshire brewery Northern Monk opened their first Manchester taproom last year on Tariff Street, in the old home of Albaphet Brewery’s Kosmonaut bar.
With 16 keg lines and four casks to choose from, plus a selection of batched cocktails, there’s an ample selection on offer for curious beer lovers. See what’s currently pouring here.
BrewDog may be a Scottish brewery but it feels like a Manchester fixture. The Peter Street unit stocks all its classic brews as well as beers from the Amplified range, but, more excitingly, they’ll soon be opening a new BrewPub on Oxford Road with a kit on site allowing staff to produce small batch beers exclusively for the bar.
35 Peter St, Manchester M2 5BG
Taking the idea of an onsite brewery and flipping it on its head, The Gasworks feels like a bar first and a brewery second. That’s no slight on the beer, but rather a comment on their super shiny fit-out. Created by the team behind Dockyard, it sits on top of the in-house brewery which is on full display for all to see.
5 Jack Rosenthal Street, Manchester M15 4RA
Manchester Union is one for the lager fans – and lager fans alone. If you’re after an ale or craft beer, this one is not for you.
The brewery is open weekly on Saturdays 2-7pm and there are tours available too.
96D North Western Street, M12 6LJ
Pomona Island Brew Co.
Award-winning Salford brewery Pomona Island Brew Co was set up by Gaslamp bar owners Nick and Ryan. You can always get their beers in the Gaslamp, but they also plan to open a regular taproom at the Salford Quays brewery this summer.
Currently running off a mobile bar, the brewery taproom is open now for events and should be finished in August, at which point it will open on weekends for brewery tours, tastings and lots of other events.
They’re well-loved for their boat parties, too, with the next due to take place on 27th July.
This minuscule brewery opens for special events only, but if you love sour beers then it’s well worth planning a visit. It’s full of interesting concoctions, as the owner loves to experiment. Everything is made based on the sour beer traditions of Prussia and Saxony but brewed like a modern pale ale.
69 N Western St, Manchester M12 6DX