I kind of grew up in Eccles – in a drinking sense. The town is embedded in my psyche, it holds some precious memories. The night I met TLO (New Year’s Eve 1987), I left to go to The Duke of York. You don’t forget some stuff, even with a memory like mine.
Eccles was where I learned to love beer. To go from lager to ale. From Carlsberg to Taylors. In those days, Golden Best, Landlord and Ram Tam were exotica compared to Holts, Wilsons & Boddingtons.
Pubs like The Crown & Volunteer were special places. Free Houses like The Duke of York were few and far between. And Sam Smiths at The Albert Edward was…… tolerated – I’ve never liked Old Brewery Bitter. I don’t care how cheap it is. Especially now.
Many of the pubs on the (locally) legendary “Patricroft Crawl” are long gone. The Crown & Volunteer, White Lion, Golden Cross. All gone. Hopefully The Stanley is still around – I really must check, retrace part of my youth.
But life is about looking ahead.
Last year – was it really? – myself & TLO paid a visit to what was a property in development. A shell, with more exposed brickwork than a Lake District bothy.
But it was exciting. To be in before the birth of a new bar. A Craft bar, In Eccles? We chatted with Dave. He was full of plans, ideas. It was BONKERS to do this in Eccles I thought. But he had a plan. A bit of a dream.
And – as I was told before the first ISBF in 2014 – if you build it, they will come.
This was Dave’s “Field of Dreams”. In Eccles.
If you haven’t been, trust me, Dave & Jennie have done good. Oh have they!
I’ve been a few times. And that quote from “Field of Dreams” was spot on.
This is a belting bar. And it’s attracted a devoted following. Justly so.
Dave & Jennie set the tone. Warm, welcoming and friendly. There’s always a smile on entry and the sound of chat. It feels like a little community of friends building here.
Yes. The beer is a draw. It must be great to have a bar on your doorstep (relatively speaking) that means you don’t have to get the train, bus or Metrolink into Manchester.
That to get the good stuff, you just have to walk up Church Street. That you get the best of Craft to take away from the amply stocked fridges. That you don’t have to drive miles to get the best.
And – do you know the best thing? It’s about 45 seconds from Eccles train station. Which is a mere 7 minutes from Victoria Station…..
We’re going for a Saturday morning excursion soon. You ought to join us!
Below is a small selection of beers I’ve had from this excellent bar recently. Some I bought a few weeks ago. Some more recently. But they give you a idea of what is likely to be available in terms of the range of breweries.
And it gets me back into writing about packaged beers…… With a little twist afterwards…
Wrapped In Simcoe – Twisted Barrel Ale – NE IPA – 6% abv – 440ml
Total Murk Bomb. But stick your nose on this hazy beast and the fruit aromas do a smash and grab on the nostrils punching with apricot, orange and a little hint of passion fruit.
All. The. Yum.
That fabulous aroma does its job as I’m salivating like a rabid dog.
Oh Yes. It’s all in here. Stone fruit, citrus, tropical nonsense. That rabid dog is a happy puppy! Just lovely stuff. A fruity hoppy treat.
Low on bitterness, this is fruit, the whole fruit and nothing but the fruit. And is bloody delicious.
Dry and resinous in a sticky finish, this is just a pretty thing. SUCH a pretty thing.
Sorachi Noir – Mallinsons Brewery – Session Black Ale – 4.1% abv – 500ml
A black beer from Mallinsons? Every one I’ve had – and they are rare beasts – has been a joy. I expected no difference.
But Sorachi? That awkward bastard of a hop? In a low abv beer?
I feared for nought. This is delicious.
An initial earthy aroma with hints of Bounty Bar lingering beneath a creamy tan head is followed by a relatively full bodied and quite rich mouthful. Initial flavour being a light slightly roast flavour with a creamy coconut and then a moderate bitterness.
The beer finishes dry with that pleasant lingering bitterness and a little slightly herbal thing going on. Very nice indeed.
I’m not overly keen on low abv Sorachi beers, but Mallinsons pull it off. Unsurprisingly.
Deep Water – Time & Tide Brewing– Whisky BA Imperial Stout – 10.5% abv – 375ml
Oh my. I’ve been impressed by Time & Tide before, but this….. Oh yes.
An incredibly dense and rich aroma, deep dark chocolate, roast notes, a gentle waft of a slight peatiness…..
Then BOOM. Get in that mouth!
Rich, decadent chocolate, malted milk biscuit, a touch of licorice and that lingering slightly smoky whisky. This is gorgeous.
So full bodied and smooth, perfect gentle carbonation, silky smooth, just such a lovely luscious thing. Warming as it slides down. Like a deep chocolate Ovaltine with a little tiny whisky bomb chucked in.
Aftertaste is slightly smoky chocolate with a little alcohol nudge on the back of the tongue.
Simply lovely stuff.
Peanut Butter & Jelly Brown – Northern Monk / Against The Grain –
Brown Ale – 7% abv – 330ml
I have a confession. I’m a bit of a fanboy for Brown Ales. The words American & Brown in sequence have me reaching for my wallet. This beer however, I took some persuading about. Then I had a sniff in the bar…… And grabbed a can.
The words American & Brown in sequence have me reaching for my wallet. This beer however, I took some persuading about. Then I had a sniff in the bar…… And grabbed a can.
Looking at the pour, it’s the colour of the 70s Irwell. Utter murky depth and darkness. Dark. Forbidding. Trust me, I fell in the 70s Irwell! You didn’t do it twice.
But this. Hell yes.
Closing my eyes, I could be smelling a tub of peanut butter ice cream mashed up with a dash of Raspberry ripple. Its aroma pulls the glass to the mouth.
Oh wow. I have no idea how you’d do this. But it’s bloody delicious. Nuttiness, both peanutty and earthy from the slightly darker malts and a fruity jammy sweetness – but so far from sickly – slightly tart too, making me think of raspberries.
The finish is simultaneously sweet and earthy dry. And so moreish. I just wish I’d bought two.
This kind of beer can be a dividing line. Marmite. Love or hate.
Me? I think it’s a work of twisted genius.
If they repeat this. Grab a case. It’s a Beergasm.
Who Made Who – Left Handed Giant / Odyssey – 6.5% abv – IPA – 440ml
THAT AROMA!!! Gooseberry, mango, pineapple. Stunning. Drool inducing. And isn’t that the point of aroma?
This golden slightly hazy thing is just pumping out all the fruit! Like the freshest ripest fruit stand, just gorgeously tropical and sharp.
That’s the hors d’ourvres….. The mouth is where it’s at. And Mmmmmmmm…….. Oh yes.
Full mouthfeel. Smooth carbonation. And that fruit! Just luscious. It’s a beautiful hop marriage of some personal favourites. Tart Nelson, tropical mango with that Citra.
There’s a little passion fruit too with a little earthiness and gentle bitterness from that Simcoe…. Just a little mind. This is all about the fruit.
The finish is dry and fruity with a little resinous stickiness clinging to the tongue.
Yum. Just yum.
Wish I bought more…..
To change things a little bit, these posts will feature the owners. Let them tell their story, their journey a little bit.
Jennie, Dave….. Introduce yourselves!
Hi all, we are Jennie and Dave from The Northern Type in Eccles, located on Church Street (a minutes walk from the Metrolink and 45 seconds from Eccles train station) we are a bottle shop and tap room stocking as much of the finest UK Craft beers we can get our hands on with the odd few foreign beers thrown in for good measure.
Although our focus is good beer we also stock locally produced cider, gin, vodka and soft drinks.
How did you get into beer?
This has been a dream of ours since we met 6 years ago, having both worked in pubs our whole lives but never really having the funds to go it alone.
After having several experiences of running pubs for other people (some good, some not so good) we always felt we could achieve more on our own.
After a nasty car accident, we came into a small amount of money and decided to go for our dream.
Why this location? And what inspired you to set up an independent beer business?
The Northern Type was born from a sunny day in Eccles (where we live) after going to a Makers Market and seeing the potential in the area, then noticing the transport links.
Also, on a personal level, we needed somewhere to drink!! It was becoming more and more difficult to find somewhere local that had a good selection, was family friendly and easy to get to.
We started pestering local businesses about empty units and luckily enough the old newsagents on Church Street (where the last tenant had just upped and left 6 months prior) was available……boy was it a mess, but God DAMN it had potential! And BIG fridges!!!
Luckily enough we have good friends, family, grit and determination.
We started small, modest, very modest.
We were already down to our last £200 in the bank when we opened…..it needed to work.
What if all the people who told us ‘it wouldn’t work in Eccles’ were right?
Are we really bonkers enough to think people would pay over £5 for a pint of beer around here??
Well the people were wrong!
We now feel we are a welcome addition to the street and everybody knows what we are about….It’s a great pleasure when we introduce a new person to the world of craft beers and ciders that are produced on their doorstep or where they are originally from (or something they can relate to at least).
Since we’ve opened, a local coffee house has introduced craft beer, a Bangladesh restaurant is due to open and a new planning application for artisan coffee and real ale house over the road has been put in……..we feel like our gamble has paid off.
What was your first Beery Love?
First beery love? Dave’s was a fresh cask of Thornbridge Jaipur in The Magnet Stockport, which Jai Koria made him wait over an hour for to come on the pump. But as soon as he tasted it he knew why!!
Jens…. Northern Monk Neapolitan Ice Cream…..no explanation needed!!
Who are your “Beer Heroes/Heroines”?
Dave : Christine Windebank, my mum, at the age of 16, I knew how to tap, vent and look after a firkin of Robinsons’ Unicorn cask ale.
She was an old school landlady who knew how to look after her beer as well as her regulars.
Further along the line standout heroes would include Madhatter Angus, Joe Murphy, Les and Julie O’Grady for all their support whilst we were in Liverpool and beyond. But Jai Koria has been an absolute legend…..
Jai has always been there for us, whether it be an opinion or sound advice, he is always just a phone call away no matter what time it is. His knowledge has been worth its weight in gold.
Jen : I’ve worked/ran pubs from the age of 18. I’ve always loved the cellar work and getting good beer in but craft beer wasn’t always the main focus in these places. I didn’t realise the scale of the craft beer movement until I met Dave… so he’s my beer hero.
Which Breweries are “doing it” for you at the moment?
We’re constantly impressed every week by the standards of brewing at the minute….
All we’d say is we are always pestering Cloudwater, Track, Northern Monk, Verdant, Deya and Wylam, Rivington, Neptune, Mad Hatter, Wander Beyond and Marble to name but a few.
You’ve obviously done really well to establish fresh modern beer in Eccles – previously a bit…. of a desert – but how do you see The Northern Type building. Moving forward?
We’d like to do growler fills and further improvements within the shop.
A lot of work has been done with our own hands and could probably use a freshen up, get more fridge space to further expand the range.
Also more events within the local community i.e. street food, tap takeovers, meet the brewers etc. And just making sure we keep on top of our game.
Oh and of course, with Manchester Beer Week and The Independent Salford Beer Festival fast approaching, I am sure you will all have plenty to keep an eye out for!
Last Orders At The Bar Please! (Anything you’d like to add?)
We would also like to take this time to mention the amazing support from all of our customers, local and further afield. It’s been absolutely fantastic and we wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for them.
So, thank you all! x
The Northern Type is located at 20 Church Street, Eccles.
Personally, I think it was one hell of a brave move to set up a bar in the modern beer Kalahari that is Eccles. But Dave & Jennie did it. And they’ve built something they can be (and are) rightly proud of.
It’s small. But not too small. It’s comfy, friendly, welcoming. Needless to say, it’s got great beer.
And do you know what the really best thing is? It’s a single bus ride from me. And only 7 minutes on that train from Victoria Station.
Treat yourselves. You won’t be disappointed.