Another trip to the Marble Arch

And Sinking the Bismarck on the way home!

“How much beer and conversation can you squeeze into two and a half hours?

Answer: Quite a lot. Come On!”


A return to the promised land. Marble, not Manchester.

That was a tweet I sent on the train home from Manchester Saturday afternoon, a few weeks ago. The plan was simple; Meet Rich for My Brewery Tap in The Marble Arch in Manchester drink beer then go home.
Due to family commitments Rich couldn’t stay all afternoon and had to set off home at round 4.30pm-5.00pm. After a quick scout around the city and buying a few bits I received a text saying he was going to be early. So off I went in the direction of the revered and much loved Marble Arch and its connecting Marble Brewery. No brewery tour on the cards today due to our connections at the brewery being out of town. This brief time was all about enjoying great beer.

I always feel like an idiot asking for “A half of Pint, please”.

As I got there a little early I grabbed myself a sneaky half and to my great surprise Thornbridge’s Black IPA Raven was on one of the many hand pumps. Rich arrived ten minutes later and join me on a half of this hoppy delight. Next we moved obviously onto those stunning Marble beers and first up was “Pint” and the preferred measure, one imperial pint. Pint is an incredible pale ale, packed to the gills with fresh earthy hops. A generous squirt of citrus and smooth malt. To me its appears to be all about fresh Kentish hops with something light and aromatic like Cascade. But no doubt its some incredible New Zealand hop I’ve never even heard of. After thoroughly enjoying Pint we ordered two halves of Brew 14 and two of Dobber. Brew 14 is a golden ale with a hoppy aroma similar to Pint but with more juicy fruit, tangerines and toffee malt. Great hop profile and a satisfying bitter finish. Dobber is a whole different type of animal and one that sparked a great deal of discussion between us. At a meaty 5.9%ABV it has all the characteristics and taste of many stronger beers. It reminds me a bit of reined in version of Stone’s Arrogant Bastard Ale. A rich looking golden body that is full of sweet chewy malt, stewed summer fruits and crisp bittering hops. This is one of the few Marble beers I’ve had where you can start to taste the alcohol. Saying that it’s most certainly not off putting. Next beer up to the marks was another half of Dobber and a half of Pictish Dolmen. The Pictish website describe it as “An amber coloured ale with a delicate hop aroma, biscuity malt flavours and a lingering bitter finish”. It looked like a golden ale but tasted very much like a porter. Ok, not exactly like a porter but very much malt-driven. And bloody lovely it was too! We exchanged a few bottles each, but time was ticking away so we squeezed in another half before making our move. Rich opted for a final half of Dobber and I went for another half of Dolmen. Rich came back from the bar with an arm full of bottles of Marble brews. I wont divulge which ones or how much he spent, but they are seriously good beers and great ale comes at a price.

We then made a hasty retreat to Piccadilly train station.

Two crazy Scotsmen and one crazy beer.

Before we left Marble Arch, Rich pulled out a silver hip flask with a whisper of “S.T.B”. Sink The Bismarck! Brewdog’s latest claim for “The strongest beer in the world. We located a few plastic cups from a well-known coffee house and jumped on the train. First we shared a bottle of Opatuv Zajdlik from Rukodelný pivovárek Trebonicea, true artisan Czech Pivo. Amber in colour, malty and easy drinking. This was intended to get us ready for the “Main Event”. Rich delved into his bag once more and unscrewed the hip flask. Sink the Bismarck pours a super thick bright amber/orange colour with look of concentrated Lucozade. I guess it’s not the best may to drink “The world’s strongest beer”, out of plastic cups on a train from Manchester. The smell is a super strong yet fresh piney resinous hops. As you sip it, it has a very sticky mouthfeel, sweet and syrupy and very dry. There are subtle notes of citrus and malt along with a certain savory edge. I enjoyed this much more than Tactical Nuclear Penguin. It is much more balanced and drinkable. I love big sappy IPAs and this is like concentrated hop juice. Recently I’ve been trying to get my head around whisky but I just don’t like it. But as far as spirits go I’d happily drink this anytime. I was extremely surprised how good it was! To be honest I’d have never bought a bottle myself, so a big thanks to Rich for that.

A great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

2 comments to Another trip to the Marble Arch

  • A quality afternoon, I miss the Marble Arch on an almost daily basis! Did I dream it or were you discussing Sink! with some random woman on the train?

  • John Clarke

    The forthcoming Brew 43 promises to be pretty special, if my advance tasting at the brewery last week is anything to go by. Hopped with Citra, Amarillo. Willamette and a touch of Cascade. Out next week, I think.

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