We headed up to Manchester for a tap takeover run by beer and wine importer Morgenrot , but this wasn’t the only reason that we were excited, as it was being held in the new Cask bar in Ancoats. The bar only launched back in November and has been a welcome addition to Manchester’s beer scene, complementing its already successful sister-venue, Cask on Liverpool Rd.
Someone recently recommended the original cask saying, “Long before ‘craft beer’ was ever a thing, Cask has been here serving great beer since (I think) the turn of the Century.”
First impressions from the outside, the new place looked exceptional; an open all-glass exterior, with an eclectic mass of cacti planted in beer cans along a ledge above the entire bar frontage. Inside, the interior was a modern, stripped-back space, plain concrete flooring, with some tin beer signs scattered on the walls that weren’t made of glass. The bar was the main centrepiece, with 20 taps and 6 hand pulls on rotation and behind the bar, a huge range of bottles on display almost to the ceiling. A pinball machine and retro jukebox were a cracking little addition to the place.
Morgenrot had brought in a wide range of beer and wine for the exclusive tasting and tap takeover. They started out purely as a wine distributor in 1970, but found an opportunity to start, not only importing beers in the 80s, but now also marrying the two together, bringing in wine barrels, perfect for aging beer. Their range includes the likes of Mala Gissona and Palax from Spain, and more recently South-Africa’s first craft brewery, Cape Point, having showcased this brewery’s fantastic offerings at Craft Beer Rising back in February.
We kicked off things lightly, trying a non-alcoholic IPA from Dutch brewers vandeStreek, for a 0% it was REALLY malty with a nice hit of tangerine, followed by subtle bitter, hoppy finish. But the REAL showstopper for us was Cerveza de Autor #1 New Zingland IPA, a collaboration between co-founder and former Cloudwater head brewer, James Campbell, and Villafranca-based Beercat Brewery in Catalonia, a delicate IPA, with fresh notes of pine and dangerously sessional at 6.5%! The only keg in the UK at present!
After a bit of a tipple, we got to meet Richard, founder of Cask and have a chat…
“The original Cask had been open for 16 years; it’s an old building, cosy, with a capacity of 100, so we had to look for a bigger place as it’s become so well established now on everyone’s map, radar, and beer guide.”, remarked Richard, leaning back on a chair, looking pretty chilled.
“I saw what’s going on with Ancoats and thought it was a great spot. We walked over the bridge and thought WOW, you’ve got [the] canal, glass and a bright, large space that’s completely different to the original. When it came to the interior design, we just tried to strip it down bare, as it’s about beer.”
“We’ve always been very independent, with genuine imports. We’re not trying to be too hipster and put on the most extravagant, weirdest beers that we can find. We try to sort of balance out what we like; we serve beer from the likes of Northern Monk and Magic Rock, but more beer that pleases everyone.”
“The uptake has been great, especially with people getting into [cask ales] now, certainly the younger generation of brewers are now brewing cask ales the way [it’s been done] traditionally.”
After chatting to Richard, the General Manager, Warren, showed us to their self-built cellar, which looks fantastic, with plenty of kegs lined up ready to go on, along with a whole host of casks racked up and ready to go. Talking all things beer, Warren, who is an ex-brewer with Marble Beers, was actually taught how to brew by James Campbell!
The new Cask in Ancoats is a fantastic place, and definitely one to add to the list of beer stops to visit in Manchester, so next time you’re about, check it out!