Manual Brewing Co. are a new brewery based in Dundee. Recently, I kindly got sent three of their beers to try.
Create, Improve and Reshape
Before I talk about the beers, I thought it would be good to write a little bit about Manual Brewing Co. However, on the internet there’s not that much to go on at the moment! So, I’ll tell you what I do know and what I found out after digging a little deeper.
The box I received with the beers in was packaged with an A5 card giving limited information on the brewery and detailed descriptions of each of the three beers.
There’s a phrase printed on the card, that also re-appears across social media and their website:
“Involving human effort or skill – relating to or done with the hands. We all must create, improve and reshape our environment with the aid of practical experimentation, scientific knowledge and technology”
It’s an interesting phrase. And, if I tell you that the three beers I received were a New England Double India Pale Ale, a Salted Strawberry Gose and a Coffee Stout, this all leads to Manual being a modern focus, innovative, craft brewery.
The imagery on the cans and online is eye-catching and modern too. Uniquely, Manual sometimes replace the letter ‘A’ in their images and online posts with a dash or underscore. Not every time though:
Without much to go with on the face of it, I decided to do a bit more digging. The Companies House website has become a wonderful place of enlightenment, and that was my next port of call.
I couldn’t find a specific listing for Manual Brewing Co. So, I started looking at addresses and got a result! The address for Manual Brewing Co. matches exactly that of 71 Brewing.
I’ve come across 71 Brewing before. They recently did a collaboration with West Yorkshire’s EYES Brewing – a 6% ABV New England Hopfenweisse. They also took part in last year’s BrewDog Collabfest. In fact, the ‘Collaborator’ they brewed was one of my top three beers of the festival.
I digress a little. Putting two and two together, and thinking I was very quickly approaching four, I thought I’d tap up some information from a person who I thought would know a bit more about this than me. I wanted to confirm or disprove my developing theory.
As it happens, 71 Brewing and Manual Brewing are two separate breweries, brewing out of the same complex. The building they share is an old Iron Foundry, big enough for both, that looks pretty spectacular from the outside on Google Street View!
Time for the Beers
Satisfied that I’d found out at least a little bit more about Manual, it was time to remove my Deerstalker and do the one thing I could really explore properly. Time for the beers!
Tickets, Please | New England Double IPA | 8.5% ABV
With Mosaic, Amarillo and Azacca hops featuring and weighing in at 8.5% ABV, this immediately sets my expectations high. The look of this beer is very hazy/murky with an orange colour. The aroma is superb and noticeable as soon as the can is cracked open. Tropical fruit dominates with some pine – it smells really fresh.
The taste matches the magnificent aroma, tropical fruit, orange and initially is deceptively drinkable given it’s strength. As the tastes develop, it has mid to high bitterness, but the sweet fruit flavours maintain consistently too. At the end, a sticky, slightly alcohol finish, a classic indicator of the beer’s style. This was an excellent start to the trio!
My Favourite Hero | Salted Strawberry Gose | 4.5% ABV
Of the sour family of beers, Gose is my favourite. I think it’s the perfect gateway style for a first time sour beer drinker and many of them I find to be refreshing and palate cleansing.
Like the double IPA, the colour on this is orange, but much more haze than murk this time. Hold it right against the light and the colour lightens considerably. The aroma is predominantly tart fruit.
The taste is lightly tart strawberries, with salt developing and staying around for a bit. Bitterness is subtle to non-existent. This is an authentic version of the style and as expected, very refreshing. A great beer!
Comfort of Strangers | Coffee Stout | 6.0% ABV
The final beer of the three was a coffee stout, aged on Peruvian cold brew coffee. So I was expecting a big coffee profile. I definitely got it!
‘Comfort of Strangers’ is almost black in colour. The aroma is pretty much all cold brew coffee, lovely.
The taste also matches the aroma. A superb milk coffee flavour, with a really smooth body and a bitter, sightly dry finish. An excellent beer!
A Great Trio
All three of these beers drank really well. The thing that stood out wasn’t just the flavours though. From my experience with these beers, it really feels like a lot of thought has gone into delivering quality as well as taste. An excellent introduction to the market and I look forward to seeing more Manual beers soon.