Our so called 'regularly updated' blog is completely being misrepresented, in fact it's already April and to my shame its not been updated once in 2019! ooops.
Testament to how hard we're working to keep things at the bar fresh and exciting whilst also testing new waters with the brewery (not literally, the Bolton water is fine for us).
So a quick check in, in between Emmerdale!
As expected and to some extent planned for, January in the pub and drinking game is quiet but we still saw a steady flow of old and new faces in the bar and we're still loving the great feedback. We have increased our CAMRA discount which now applies to evil keg as well as cask, as unbelievably a huge amount of real ale and cask enthusiasts really like keg too (who knew!!!), but without getting into the debate on that, it only reinforces what we all love about beer in the first place, in that its each to their own, and personally I like our darker ales on cask but prefer the New England style on keg, but that's my two penneth.
February we began planning our monthly Artisan Market, held on the first Sunday every month 10am-2pm. We already have regular attendees to this event and returning traders, who doesn't love supporting local businesses in another local business, I already find myself the proud owner of a plant pot made in Edgworth, chocolates made in Rivington (where else!) and jewellery courtesy of a fantastic maker from Bromley Cross. Its great to see local people turning up in their droves to support this market and long may it continue.
We have had our first batch of cans produced and these have been quickly snapped up by some of the great beery shops locally. The popcorn stout has been a real revelation for us and true to the Northern Monkey way there's a tale about its name 'Film Club' ask me next time your in the bar ;) A big thanks to Tin Head for their advice and assistance alongside Cannit for helping us with this.
St Patricks day also saw the release of our Rattlin Bog, Irish Stout, which was well received both in our bar and elsewhere. Released to also mark Big Jims 60th (Liams Dad), hailing from County Mayo himself, so that's our claim to really knowing what an Irish Stout is all about.
There's quite a lot in the planning for the near future, including some great collaborations and something quite special for Bolton CAMRA's beer week in June! I've not managed to get my face in the paper this week so I think I need to have a work with our local press!
Final thought, I'm still seeing comments that quite honestly make my blood boil on social media that we are too expensive?! Can someone please explain to me why £3 for a pint of cask ale produced in small batches with as many hops for 20 firkins as carling use in 240000 pints? (Yes I did watch in the factory with Greg Wallace). Then imagine to my utter dismay, that when I had a drink in another of the town centres 'cheaper' bars I paid 25p more for a pint of Heineken. This certainly isn't a rant about good beer, bad beer, as I made the conscious decision to buy that beer. But I honestly believe, at Northern Monkey we are great value, notwithstanding the fact that the majority of breweries we buy from are much like ourselves, families running businesses to feed families! Too many people are quick to jump on the derelict buildings that litter town centres, but unfortunately if you choose to spend money in a national enterprise that cares nothing for the welfare of the town and will happily raise rents to breaking point for landlords until it becomes unsustainable to continue, then of course this will lead to another derelict building.
We are certainly in it for the long term and along with some other great local businesses whom we now call friends, we hope we're part of the regeneration of our once great town. So next time you're in the town centre give us a visit, and try out Bolton Little Town Hall, great ale at the market, the vaults bar.