Manchester Double – Two from Holt’s
Joseph Holt. A brewery that – being entrenched in Yorkshire – you generally don’t see a lot of on the bars of the White Rose County. In fact, now I think about it, I can’t think of a time when I’ve ever had a Holt’s beer on cask in Yorkshire. That’s some achievement, when you consider the age we live in.
I’m not moaning, actually. I find it slightly comforting, in a rose-tinted kind of way, that locality like this exists in Beer. It means that if I wanted to explore Holt’s properly, I’d have to jump on that train and get over to their pubs in Manchester. Trips like that are the heart of beer-hunting, of making journeys to experience beer – no matter how un-exotic the brand or style – from whence it came. You go to the beer; not the other way round.
Bottles are a different story. Holt’s bottles are widely available, but that doesn’t stop me reaching for them when I see them. Maple Moon is a great beer, and I drink it a lot – slightly nutty, very sweet, and super-drinkable. A beer that doesn’t get enough credit, for sure.
Manchester Brown Ale (3.8%abv) does exactly what is says on the tin. A brown ale in every sense, it’s smooth (really smooth, actually), with a body of Brown Sugar and creamy, sweet malt, and a dry finish that makes you want more. Yes, it’s not a flavour-explosion, but that’s not the point. Uncomplicated, but entirely pleasant. The Lowry on the label is a lovely touch, too.
Thunderholt (5%abv) is somewhat of a surprise after the Brown. Raisin-red with a rocky tan head, there’s loads of Simnel spice and bready, yeasty notes on the nose. It tastes slightly stronger than it actually is, and is all the better for it. It’s a big beer, with a dry, piney finish that comes out of nowhere. Fans of red-hopped ales (SummerWine’s Rouge-Hop, Cain’s Raisin and Thornbridge’s Colorado Red spring to mind) could do a lot worse than check this out.
Out of interest, where is the best place in Manchester to go to drink Holt’s wares on cask? And – more crucially, perhaps – is it worth it? I love the bottled range, but do they ever appear on cask?