His Highness Sheikh Mansour recently wrote to me to highlight the progress made under his stewardship of Manchester City over the last decade. 40 points in every season, half-and-half scarf sellers for every game, folk who turn up in Colin Bell Stand 15 minutes after kick off looking for Row R etc. etc.

No mention of beer.  You’ll get a better selection at the closed pubs on the way to the Etihad.

Anyway, a routine 3-0 win against the courageous Cottagers on Saturday afternoon. I stayed to the end, as I always do because I like seeing the pattern of empty seats at the Etihad.

Despite being the fastest walker in east Manchester (unless Pubmeister was there) I was never going to catch the 17:18 back to Sheffield, and my cheaper return restricted me to Trans Pennine trains, so I had time for a wander.

There’s approximately 3.2 million different routes you can take from Piccadilly to the Etihad and back, you know.

A wander -route  No. 2,317,555

Not much new pubwise round here, and my closest new GBG entry was in Failsworth, which sounds like fun. So I beat the football crowds to the trading estates.

Proper brewery ahead

Stumbling across a little factory unit with the words “beer for sale” on the door, I followed the crowds up the stairs.

Good grief.

Is it Sam Smiths ?

Yes, it’s the Cloudwater Tap.


Not that you’d have known it with the low-key signage.

I know I’m a bit late to this party, but brewery sheds rank only just above micro pubs in my league table of best places to drink. And this keg-only place is never getting in the Beer Guide, of course.

But I’ve always rated Cloudwater. Their plain Bitter was one of my Top 10 pints in the York Tap, and of course I had one of the last ever pints of their cask.

Their Tap feels a bit like a mini IndyMan, with deep house soundtrack, long tables and a lack of pint glasses.

Don’t bang your head

It’s packed at 5.30pm, and there’s a lack of football scarves, half-and-half or otherwise.

I’d rather drink in the Blue Bell in Levenshulme, just down the A6, but I like it.  It’s spotlessly clean (tables wiped every few seconds, note), people move up to give you a seat, and the pricing is simple.

Don’t ask the price. It’s £3
“Do you do anything like Doom Bar”

I had the IPL Cashmere and the Rainy City IPA. Pub Curmudgeon will be delighted to know they were murky and looked like grapefruit juice.

Manc Murk

But they were both smooth, complex and beery. As enjoyable an experience as the Norrebro craft places at half the price.

Any colour as long as it’s orange

Oh, take your credit card, Mudgie.  They don’t accept cash.



  1. There earlier in the day, pre-match. Very civilised 10.00 a.m. opening on a Saturday: there was me, and two Fulham fans, starting early. Commented to the barman about the lack of obvious external signage, who replied: 1) yes, he’d often noticed, when popping outside for his cig, people wandering up and down the road desperately staring at Google maps on their phones; and 2) when he’d mentioned this to the bosses they had responded they didn’t WANT any signs attracting people, but hadn’t explain this thinking further.
    As it was early, and a lot of drinking ahead, went for the Citra Chinook Pale and the IPL Cashmere, both of which found to be excellent examples of really skilful brewing to deliver at that low an ABV, 2.9%.
    Can tell you definitely did not use the toilets, as you would not have been able to resist some comment; unless they had switched off the background voice of a woman that cuts in as one enters talking to you about relaxation techniques, the power of yoga, and the like, as one takes a pee/dump, by that time. Virgin Trains introduced the same concept into their toilets recently. NO, just NOOOOOO!!!
    As a neutral I enjoyed the match, and there are worse ‘new build’ stadiums, though of course the beer selection was dismal.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. More detail in that comment than my post ! Cheers. Yes, I wasn’t absolutely sure I was entering Cloudwater Tap as I knew there were a few dotted along there (Track is more visible with tables outside).

      I need to revisit to hear that toilet !

      Fulham gave it a good go, and brought 10x as many fans as on their last visit. They’ll be fine.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Memories of the rather, shall we say, eccentric Borve brewery and their tap room at Ruthven west of Huntly. It was rather off the beaten track; when asked why they didn’t have a signpost on the mainroad, their answer was that “Oh no, we wouldn’t be wanting all those football coaches”. This was in the days when Scottish league football ventured no further north than Aberdeen, and travelling support for Highland League matches could generally be convayed by a mini.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. On principle, I have never left a football match or any other sporting event before the end. You pay enough to get in so you might as well wring every last bit of enjoyment/misery out of it.
    Also on principle I won’t drink anywhere where they won’t serve me a pint. Want to a GBG launch in Bristol once in a pub which only 2/3s and got mightily hacked off.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bill,
      Quite right.
      As if any of us beer buffs are going to buy a pint of Old Tom and then fall over because we’ve never had an 8% beer before.
      A third pint is useless as it’s too little too taste.
      A two-thirds pint is a con as it looks nearly a pint and so that’s what they will charge.

      Liked by 4 people

  3. “Anyway, a routine 3-0 win against the courageous Cottagers on Saturday afternoon.”

    That’s Fulham, innit? That was my grandad’s team way back when.
    (and my dad’s was Chelsea… amazed they got along) 🙂

    “There’s approximately 3.2 million different routes you can take from Piccadilly to the Etihad and back, you know.”

    Someone knows his permutations and combinations. 😉

    “Is it Sam Smiths ?”

    Was there nothing smaller for sale?

    “Don’t ask the price. It’s £3”

    Price per ABV is the norm over there I take it. Over here it depends on the place (and location). The brewpub in Nanaimo that I frequent when down there for work has most of its beers for roughly £3.60 a pint*, taxes included (another thing that can vary from place to place)**. And that includes a nice 7.5% Russian Imperial Stout.

    * – of course, tipping at least 10% is considered customary.

    ** – and to be fair in larger cities they will adjust the amount of beer served according to the ABV.

    “As enjoyable an experience as the Norrebro craft places at half the price.”

    Yep. Location, location, location. 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

      1. A pub telling me what size glass to have, based on beer strength or whatever, seems about as “sensible” as Watneys telling me to drink keg 45 years ago.
        Thankfully there are, and were, Proper Pubs to use instead.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Have to agree about places that don’t serve pints. I asked for a pint in 5pies in Skipton the other month and was given what I think was a 2/3rds glass, but wasn’t told otherwise and it had no markings on it. Was an odd shape so added enough doubt that I’d drank half of it before I realised. And the price didn’t suggest otherwise either!
    Am running round the Ethiad on Sunday but will probably head east afterwards for refreshment!

    Liked by 1 person

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