Eight Manchester brewers have partnered with leading, independent restaurants in the region to promote beer as a suitable bedfellow for high-end food.
Cloudwater Brew Co, which was recently voted the second-best brewery in the world by RateBeer, is working with Stockport restaurant Where the Light Gets in, while Thirst Class Ale is working with vegan eatery The Allotment. Showcasing the diversity of beer for food pairing, Runaway is brewing up a Japan-inspired beer for Jay Raynor’s ‘hidden gem’ Umezushi sushi bar, and Squawk is creating a special drop for Bundobust, which specialises in Indian street food.
Full list of partnerships
Cloudwater Brew Co & Where the Light Gets in
Thirst Class Ale & The Allotment
The Runaway Brewery & Umezushi
Squawk Brewing Co & Bundobust
Blackjack & Rudy’s Pizza
Alphabet & The Drop
Rivington Brewing Co & The Creameries
Marble Brewery & One 88
Connor Murphy, who organised the initiative as part of Manchester Beer Week, told Imbibe that the project would go far beyond rebadging existing beers.
‘In one case, the brewer has been working with the restaurant to create a beer inspired by their food and using core ingredients from one of their dishes,’ he said.
‘In another, the beer has been designed to match the most popular dish created by the restaurant. By giving a fairly open brief, we should get a varied set of results, which makes this even more exciting.’
Murphy said he finds it infuriating that restaurants put so much effort into sourcing the best ingredients and championing provenance of their food, yet stick to standard, big-brand lagers on their drinks menus.
‘Wine has traditionally been seen as the only suitable pairing for food, possibly because of the strong French influence on modern, high-end cuisine, with beer being viewed as merely a working man’s drink,’ he explained. ‘Too many people view beer as simplistic and one-dimensional, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
‘Few people genuinely understand its history, process and different flavour profiles and so there’s a lack of confidence when it comes to adding beer to a menu – brewers, particularly at the smaller end of the scale, need to get better at coming together to collectively market their products to the wider market.’
The beers will launch in Manchester Beer Week, which runs from 29 June to 8 July, but Murphy hopes the collaborations, and conversations engendered by them, will continue beyond.
This is the third year that Manchester Beer Week has been organised, and it's caught the imagination of the city from the off, with 94 events held across venues in its first year.