BrewChief returned to the United Kingdom for a few weeks of fun and imbibing. Only this time around, I chose to explore the brew scene without a concrete plan. And you know what I discovered? That's definitely the way to do it.
I started my jaunt in Manchester by combating jet lag at the nearest local coffee shop. That turned out to be Caffe Nero, a European favorite specializing in Italian-style coffee. I downed cup after cup of their house roast, which abated my lingering fatigue. Nero cafes were common and easy to find, I didn't walk more than a few blocks without stumbling upon one. They seemed to be the European equivalent of Starbucks, a happy option for any weary traveler.
Museum of Science and Industry
I followed up my Nero coffee with some dark roasts at MOSI, the Museum of Science and Industry. Sounds like an odd place to enjoy a cup of Joe, but I did just that before exploring the museum. Nothing fancy, just a few house drips to maintain a happy level of caffeine. Much to my surprise, these cups ended up being some of the most satisfying brews of the trip. And of course, I forgot to ask what style beans they used before I left. Well, looks like I have to plan a return visit.
Peveril of the Peak
My first craft beer of the trip came by way of Peveril of the Peak, a quirky corner pub nestled in the heart of downtown Manchester. The entire experience hinged on a "that place looks weirdly intriguing" comment. The tiny lime-green pub seemed out of place in a really cool way, like it existed hundreds of years before Manchester became a city, and planners just built up around it. As I sat inside its dark wooden walls, I enjoyed a Copper Dragon, a tasty golden lager from the Skipton Brewery.
English Premier League
From there, it was off to a few Premier League games (Everton vs. Bournemouth at Goodison Park, and Manchester United vs. Leicester City at Old Trafford). And what goes best with some killer EPL games? Tasty craft beer of course. Before the Everton match, I enjoyed a Deuchars IPA from the Caledonian Brewing Company (Scotland, Click Here
) as well as one of my favorite UK beers: a Punk IPA from the always bitchin' BrewDog (also Scotland, Click Here
). I stuck with a cold pint of Guinness before the Manchester United match. Due to the epic nature of the game in question, the last thing I wanted was a dulling of the senses.
I will pause here in order to send a huge shout out to XL Sports Tours (Click Here
). They provided an unforgettable experience in Manchester. The tour staff went above and beyond to treat us right every step of the way. I highly recommend their services should you wish to travel as an international sports fan. BrewChief approved!
From there it was off to the Scottish Highlands, also known as the Land of 1,000 Screen Shots. Sweet mercy is this country beautiful, the perfect backdrop for cold beers and steaming coffee. While at the picturesque Ardanaiseig Hotel (Click Here
), I enjoyed an array of delicious brews. Kessog, by far my favorite of the trip, was a delectable dark ale from the local Loch Lomond Brewery (Click Here
). I even sampled a few ciders, including the Sheppy's Vintage Reserve from Taunton, England (Click Here
I concluded the trip with a leisurely day in the tiny Scottish town of Inveraray, known as the ancestral home to the Duke of Argyll. After a few hours of roaming, I stumbled upon the Inveraray Woollen Mill and Coffee Shop, a quaint establishment that serves pastries and specialty brews. I enjoyed their house drip with a shot of espresso, the perfect compliment to a cool and rainy day. Nothing quite like sipping on a hot cup of Joe while appreciating the gorgeous Scottish countryside.
Overall, I adored my return trip to the UK. It's always a special experience and I love exploring the stunning countryside. Plus, pairing the adventure with an assortment of tasty brews made it all the better. I look forward to a return trip, and I dare say the next one will be an exact repeat through and through.