Finest Day Out: "The Brewer's Mile"

Manchester is blessed with a truly world-class brewing scene, the envy of many cities across the globe...

By Ben Brown | June 23rd '22

This ‘Brewer’s Mile‘ has been designed so that you can visit the various brewery taprooms located in and around the city centre, starting off in Piccadilly East and ending up at the Green Quarter.

The area around the back of Piccadilly Train Station has, for years, been rather rough – also doubling up as the city’s red-light district. Recent years have seen a huge change in the district though, as exciting independent operators have come in, such as Escape to Freight Island and the upcoming Mayfield Park development, fundamentally transforming the area for the better.

Also moving into the cheap industrial units and arches are intrepid local brewers, taking full advantage of the soft Manchester water and ample space to create some of the most innovative brews ever. As the craft beer scene has exploded across the world, so it has in Manchester – with these brewers riding the continuous waves of popularity of IPAs, Sessions, DIPAs, Sours and all manner of weird and wonderful concoctions.

It’s a similar story over at Red Bank, or the Green Quarter as it’s also known. An area that was essentially just a wasteland for years, it was developed and transformed into a community of apartments over a decade ago, and since then independent businesses have started to slowly move in.

Runaway and Black Jack both have truly magnificent brewery taprooms here – and both are consistently producing outstanding brews that put Manchester firmly on the beer map.

So here it is, the original and still the best ‘Brewer’s Mile’, the perfect day out for any self-confessed beer lover, and a chance to not only see part of this world-class brewing scene for yourself, but to see a bit of the city’s industrial heritage too. Enjoy and cheers!

Beer Nouveau

This is an experimental micro-brewery focussing on old recipes but using new ingredients and techniques, re-brewing ales from as far back as Ancient Egypt and Viking times. Beer Nouveau open up their brewery and tap every Friday (from 4pm), and Saturday & Sunday (from noon) – so you can get your hands on their unique brews here, many of which are created using foraged ingredients from people’s gardens and allotments. The only regularly brewed beer is Peterloo, a summery dark beer.

Beer Nouveau, 75 N Western St, Manchester M12 6DY
0161 272 7733
beernouveau.co.uk

 

Manchester Union

The guys behind Manchester Union were looking to create a lager that was completely different to anything you’d ever experienced before – and they’ve certainly succeeded. A bold, refreshing lager, it’s about as far away from a pint of Carling as you can imagine – and it’s well worth the trip out to Piccadilly to get it super-fresh out of the tank. They open their Tap Room once a month – usually on the last Saturday, meaning it’s open tomorrow (Saturday 25th June)!

Manchester Union Brewery, 96d N Western St, Manchester M12 6JL
manchesterunionbrewery.com

 

Alphabet Brewing

Just down the road from Manchester Union and past the gym you’ll find Alphabet, creators of such wonderful brews as the Juice Springsteen, the A to the K Oatmeal Pale Ale and a brilliant session IPA, Charlie Don’t Surf that’ll slide down your throat just a little too quickly. Their taproom is open every Saturday (2pm – 10pm) so you can get your mitts on all of this stuff (and more). It’s pretty big and there’s usually plenty of people down there enjoying the fresh AF beers and having a good time. On occasion they’ll put some food on and a DJ but if not – take a spare Twix and a flute.

Alphabet Brewing Company, 99 N Western St, Manchester M12 6JL
www.alphabetbrewing.co.uk

 

Track Brewing Co. Taproom

Opening to huge fanfare last year, the Track Brewing Co. Taproom has been a phenomenal success, and continues to not just bring some truly magnificent fresh beers to the thirsty people of Manchester, but also offer up a space for budding street food vendors to get their dishes out to people. The 2,00 sq ft space features three lager taps, 17 draught taps, and 3 cask pumps, plus a regularly rotating cast of guest beers. It’s open throughout the week and on weekends.

Track Brewing Co, Unit 18, Piccadilly Trading Estate, Manchester M1 2NP
www.trackbrewing.co

 

Cloudwater Brewery Taproom

Open throughout the week and on the weekends, Cloudwater’s Unit 9 Tap Room is an essential visit for anyone who likes to think of themselves as a beer connoisseur. The whole place has been designed to present their beers at its best, emphasising the importance of freshness, and to showcase the artwork that Cloudwater has commissioned over the years. All 20 draft lines are drawn from a 3ºC cold store situated immediately beneath the tap room mezzanine via air-cooled, insulated ducting – meaning these are some of the best, coldest and freshest beers you’ll ever have in your life. I promise.

Cloudwater Brew Co, 7-8, Piccadilly Trading Estate, Manchester M1 2NP
0161 661 5943
cloudwaterbrew.co

 

Beatnikz Republic Bar

From Piccadilly East straight into the Northern Quarter and your first stop on the ‘mile’ is Beatnikz Republic Bar on Dale Street. Sadly Beatnikz as a brewery (down in the Green Quarter) ceased trading back at the end of April, but this excellent bar still lives on, and even though they may not have any Beatnikz left when you get there – they’ll almost certainly have a wealth of locally brewed beers and ales. It usually gets really busy in here, especially after work, and it’s one of the best bars in the NQ to just chat to randomers, make new friends and have a bloody good time.

Beatnikz Republic Bar, 35 Dale Street, Manchester, M1 2HF
www.beatnikzrepublic.com/bar

 

Northern Monk Refectory

Another dedicated taproom literally a few metres away from Beatnikz on Tariff Street, the Northern Monk Refectory proudly pours the brewery’s many creations, from Hazy Pale Ales, DDH and IPAs to Japanese Rice Lager, Stouts, Sours and a particularly good Black Sesame & Miso Black IPA at the moment. There’s plenty of room in here, with two massive bits upstairs and a downstairs Cellar Bar which you can hire for parties too. Food-wise and they’ve been entertaining Kong’s Chicken Shop in here for a few months now – so you can have some banging fried chicken and waffles whilst having a few sups.

Northern Monk Refectory, 10 Tariff St, Manchester M1 2FF
northernmonk.com

 

Runaway Brewery Taproom

Now that you’ve done the two tap rooms in the Northern Quarter, you’re going to walk all the way to Angel Meadows now, where you’ll find the excellent Runaway Brewery Taproom sandwiched between Dantzig Street and the River Irk. Runaway open up their tap room every Saturday from 2pm with a huge outdoor terrace that can be covered up when it (invariably) rains. Runaway serve up a selection of draught and bottles and I must admit to thoroughly enjoying their Summer Saison at the moment, a citrusy, floral Belgian ale that many people would happily call “suppable”.

The Runaway Brewery, Unit 4 Millgate, Dantzic Street, Manchester M4 4JW
0161 832 2628
www.therunawaybrewery.com

 

Blackjack Brewtap

I stumbled upon this tap room just last week whilst having a BBQ in Angel Meadows and if it wasn’t for my chaotic blind dog, I’d have probably ended up in here for the whole day. The Brewer’s Mile traditionally includes the excellent Smithfield Tavern up on Swan Street but who needs to go there when you can go straight to the source and have the freshest Blackjack beers known to man?
This place is open from Thursday at 5pm right through til Sunday at 7pm, and if my visit last Saturday was anything to go by – it gets nice and busy.

Blackjack Brewing Co, Irk St, Manchester M4 4JT
www.blackjack-beers.com

 

The Marble Arch

Just a short distance from the birthplace of Marble beers, we all might as well call the Marble Arch pub a taproom. That’s probably doing it a bit of an injustice though, as this is a real-life proper British boozer in itself, one that not only manages to look the part, it also pulls out all the stop to ensure that you have an amazing time. They have a very impressive food menu of British classics available, as well as one of the best beer gardens in the city out back. If you did want to go to the actual Tap Room, get on the tram Salford Quays and enjoy their huge brewery tap room with their brand new pizza oven.

The Marble Arch, 73 Rochdale Rd, Manchester M4 4HY
0161 832 5914
marblebeers.com