Manchester’s beer scene has been going from strength to strength lately. With Indy Man Beer Con (read our review here), great breweries and some really good bars, they’re shining a light for great beer. But a good beer city is not a good beer city without a great bottle shop. Enter Beermoth. They opened earlier this year in the city’s Northern Quarter to serve beer lovers bottles from some of the world’s best and brightest breweries.
The shop is run by Jeremy and Scott, two self confessed beer geeks who have been involved in the Manchester craft bar scene for years. They opened the shop in February after seeing a gap in the market. We eagerly visited the shop while up for Indy Man Beer Con to see what they had to offer.
The shop itself is a homely mix of exposed brick, white cube shelves lined with beers, fridges full of the good stuff and hops lining the ceiling. It’s a welcoming, confident and more refined than your average offie’ style shop. The sign outside has the phrase ‘Specialist Beer Shop’, emblazoned on the window, and a large moth with a hop cone where its heart would be (don’t we all, in a metaphorical way?). It feels like a statement of intent. These guys mean business – Hoppy business.
From local breweries Marble to international heavy hitters such as Southern Tier, Mikkeller and Cantillion, Jeremy and Scott only stock beers they deem outstanding. Not just because they can get them, but because they’re the best. “We’re definitely avoiding the ‘world beer’ thing. We’ve found that people sometimes have fond memories of bad beer because they tried it while they were feeling good on holiday. It sounds ruthless but there are plenty of beers that we’d prefer to stock, without using up shelf space on sentimentality”, Scott explains.
On the subject of beers they’re particularly excited about right now, Scott says – “We’re both very keen on sour/wild ales, so it’s exciting to see quite a few UK breweries starting to experiment with brettanomyces and souring bacteria. As far as individual beers that we can’t wait to try – we introduced the guys from two excellent Dutch breweries, Oersoep and Rooie Dop, to four English brewers, Ilkley, Buxton, Quantum and RedWillow, for a series of collaborations”.
The shop has a tasting room downstairs that regularly hosts home-brewer meet ups and talks on beer related subjects. Most notably, the shop recently organised an IPA homebrew competition, giving the winner a chance to brew their recipe on Quantum Brewery’s kit and release it commercially. “There’s a bit of an independent record shop vibe to the shop, so a competition for home-brewers felt a bit like a ‘battle of the bands’ for local ‘unsigned’ brewers. We’re keen to help out home-brewers whenever possible”.
They’re also looking to create a much more casual type of tasting session, where people can just drop-in and try the beers before committing to a full bottle, something I hope a lot more bottle shops think about doing.
Where pubs have classically been a hub of beer, it’s great to see bottle shops such as Beermoth taking more active role in making themselves a part of the community, and actively working with local (and international) breweries. Jeremy and Scott are obviously putting a lot of effort into making Beermoth an integral part of the beer landscape in Manchester, and are filling their shelves with enough gems to make them a destination for any visiting beer lover. I for one will be making excuses to visit again as soon as I can.