Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Marble Brewery: The One for 2010

My beer of the year was Marble Pint. It was totally deserving – it’s clean, hoppy, pale, so fruity and drinkable and rammed with flavour; a marvel at 3.9%. In a year where I’ve been chasing big, brutal and hoppy, this just side-stepped in and took all the glory from beers of much bigger fame, and it was also able to change my mind about ‘boring pale ales’. In truth, I would’ve happily drunk pints of Pint every single day. It’s a quality British beer, made to be drunk in the pub, brewed by a great brewery.

And it’s not just Pint that deserves praise. Earlier today I had a couple of pints of Manchester Bitter, a 4.2% pale bitter, fruity hops, delicious body, bitter but not too-bitter, juicy, gluggable. The word ‘Bitter’ has come to stand as a negative thing. It’s one of those old-style English beers, murky brown in colour, autumn fruit flavour, dry hoppy finish... It’s a classic style but one which, in its frequent incarnation, drags English beer back a peg or two from where it deserves to be. Manchester Bitter raises the bar on what a Bitter is. I just hope others follow it.

Beyond these there’s Dobber; Marble Pint plus a bit more - big bitterness, loads of fruity hops, so clean and fantastic. There’s Ginger, a fruity-spicy ale rich with the fresh ginger and tongue-tinglingly good. Chocolate Marble is a quality, full-flavoured stout. Then there’s Decadence and Special, two 750ml champagne-corked and wax-sealed bottles; one imperial stout, one barley wine.

BrewDog were my Brewery of the Year for 2009. More than anyone else they’ve kicked the arse of British beer and pushed it forward. For the quality of the beer, BrewDog also stand up to their media hype, and that’s very important. Part of why they are my brewery of the year is their social media presence, which cannot be denied or overlooked – they use and exploit it to their benefit better than anyone else (but the beer still stands up to it). If I were to stick my neck out then I’d say that Marble are the British brewery to look out for in 2010. They won’t be as loud and obnoxious as BrewDog but they will make a lot of incredible beer. I know for sure that I’ll be watching them and trying to drink their beers as often as possible. I hope that a new brewery will mean more beer and more availability. I also hope they bottle some more of their specials. Remember Marble. Drink them as often as you can. Taste just how good British beer can be in 2010.


  1. Why the sudden big fuss about Marble? They have some v good beers but aren't exactly a new brewery on the scene like BrewDog.
    Each of the beers mentioned above have been around for a while. Can also recommend Stoutly Stout and Port Stout currently available from the Marble Arch in Manchester

  2. They're pretty new to us down here in the Dirty South.

    Amen to all of the above, Marky!

  3. Looks like I'll have to check out Marble sometime.

  4. I think the difference between Marble and Brewdog is that Marble haven't yet made a bad beer while Brewdog, despite the hype, have produced a couple of, er, dogs. I also think that Marble score against Brewdog due to the sheer drinkability of all their beers, whereas Brewdog seem to revel in being "challenging". While fun, this doesn't always equal quaffability. Marble also avoid the tooth-grating, over-hyped, ego-centric publicity of Brewdog (publicity which I fear they are starting to believe which does not augur well).

    By the way look out for Marble Decadence Kriek and Frambozen, both due for release in the next few weeks.

  5. Agree with you wholeheartedly Mark, absolutely love all of the Marble stable, haven't had a bad, or even average pint yet, It's all top quality.

    Probably my brewery of 2009 as well... unless I count Thornbridge of course :)

  6. Don, they may have been around for a while but they haven't got down south, like Dubbel says. Plus it takes a while for a brewery to establish and sort out their range and now it seems that Marble have got the mix of pub beers and bottled specials just right.

    John, I always rely on you for the latest news on bottled Marble releases! I only wish they were easier to get hold of. And I totally agree on everything you say about Brewdog there.

    Kelly, yup, they are doing something right up there!

  7. Always happy to oblige, Mark. Talking to the brewers today, it looks like the Kriek (which has had sone gueuze added, too) and Frambosen will be pretty dry but definitely taste of the fruit that as been added. Some weeks away yet - I'll let you know when they are released.

    On the cask front early talk is of a strong brown ale and a proper triple some time in 2010.

    Look forward to seeing you in Manchester some time in the New Year. Have a good one, by the way.

  8. I do love a visit to Marble Arch every time I'm in Manchester. For me my appriciation has grown massivly from them in the last six months.

    My last visit was fantastic. Pint was much better than my first encounter, JP Best was gorgeous and Dobber is aways a blinder!

    On the bottled front I've really enjoyed Lagonda IPA and Tawney, both are outstanding. I've also got a bottle of Decadence and Special tucked away in the cupboard awaiting thier outing in a year's time.