Mancs for the Bitters
A Review of Manchester Bitter by Marble Beers Ltd
Posted on 12/12/2013 by Chops
                   
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As an American beer fan, I find the pub scene in the UK to be a fascinating experience. Pubs overseas almost always have more history and personality than those in the states. Our scene is dominated by sports bars and pitchers of piss water. But on a recent trip to Manchester, UK, I once again found myself mesmerized by the English beer culture. Dark worn woods, hand pump taps, cordial conversation, and of course, bitters. The English bitter, a.k.a. English Pale Ale, dominates the UK pub scene, much like pale lagers do in the states. But what always gets me is that these beers are weaker, yet much more flavorful. It's rare to find a bitter over 4% ABV, yet they always come with a malty sweetness and balanced hop profile. It's the kind of beer you want to present to Anheuser-Busch and say, ''You're doing it wrong.''

BrewChief's Manchester beer tour kicked off at the Marble Arch Inn on the north side of the city. It's home to Marble Beers, one of the region's most popular craft breweries. They offer an array of craft delights for thirsty Mancs, everything from big Belgians to IPAs. But of course, being in the UK means that there must be a bitter on tap. So, Marble gives patrons the option of, and aptly named, the Manchester Bitter.

In the glass, this beer has a golden honey coloration. It comes with a frothy light tan head that has really nice retention. On the nose, I was greeted by a candied malty aroma, some floral grassy notes, and a touch of fruity sweetness. Yup, that's the quintessential English beer. Simple, straight forward, satisfying. I resisted the sudden urge to speak with a British accent and dove in for that first taste.

One of the best qualities of good bitters is that they are never surprising. These beers taste exactly like they smell and this one is no different. Marble's version starts with a candied malty sweetness, continues into a crispy toasted middle ground with a hint of fruity sweetness, then exits with a light floral citrus note. The hop profile is earthy and restrained, allowing you to chew on the beer for as long as you like. The body is light, smooth, and easy drinking. The beer finishes somewhat dry and exits with a bitter grassy aftertaste.

Overall, Marble's Manchester Bitter is a delightful brew that is easy to grasp. And like any good bitter, it has great flavor and high accessibility. Bitters are the original session beers, perfect for seasoned drinkers and novices alike. They are the beers you can come back to at any time and never grow tired of. Marble's version in particular is a breath of fresh air because as a craft brewery, they are able to infuse their own personality into an otherwise commonplace brew. The result is the Manchester Bitter, a brew that can lubricant good conversation as well as be the topic of said conversation.

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Manchester Bitter by Marble Beers Ltd
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