RUN&FELL Tour Guide: Top 10 Things to See and Do in Barcelona

Posted by Naomi Jackson on

"...It's the most wonderful time of the year..."

Here at RUN&FELL, being based in Manchester, the Rainy City, we pretty much live for any precious moments of summer sun. It's our fuel. Can't get enough. We're basically like woodland creatures, getting our fill before hibernating over a long, cold winter. So any opportunity to travel somewhere warmer and sunnier is eagerly snaffled up.

We recently visited the glorious Barcelona, and among the usual tourist spots we were impressed to stumble across a variety of sustainable options for the conscious traveller. So, rather than compiling a list of the most obvious, we've wandered round, explored the back streets, and headed off the beaten track to round up the best ethical, unconventional or creatively inspirational places; our own personal recommendations. Here are 10 of our favourite things to see and do in the Catalan Capital.

Boats at Barcelona MarinaBarcelona Marina, and the famous Christopher Columbus Statue 

1. Start the day right with an ethical Breakfast at The Juice House 

Offering more than just juice, this little place is situated in the trendy, burgeoning area around Sant Antoni. Rustic decor, with hand-drawn art on the walls, and the sun pouring in through the windows, The Juice House has a laid-back, hip vibe. Their "clean eating" menu caters to vegetarians, vegans, people with a gluten free, lactose free, and raw diets. Meat lovers, fear not, they haven't forgotten you. They carefully select their produce from local suppliers, based on proximity and quality, and any eggs and dairy is chosen for its free range credentials. We had the vegan chia seed pancakes with blueberries and maple syrup, and they were spot on. We also thoroughly enjoyed their choice of music. There are some independent boutiques and bars on Carrer del Parlament and neighbouring streets which are well worth checking out after breakfast.

Online: | | Location: | Carrer del Parlament, 12, 08015 Barcelona, Spain |

The Juice House BarcelonaThe Juice House

2. Rock The Boat

It's about a ten or fifteen minute walk from The Juice House down to the Port of Barcelona, where immense cruise liners pull in one one side, and private yachts hang out in the marina to the other side. Just in front of the Christopher Columbus statue, you'll find some small boats and catamarans lined up, and kiosks selling tickets to tourists. It might be super touristy but what the heck, who doesn't love a good boat trip? Our favourite (so nice, we went twice!) is the "Jazz & Chill" Catamaran Cruise. Lounge on the nets at the front of the boat whilst a guy in a hat serenades you with his sweet, sweet sax. Out at sea you'll enjoy a different view of the city, and it's fun to play "Spot the Landmark", with a background soundtrack of chill-out house music, sipping on some (locally sourced) Cava. Live that life.

Online | | Location: | Moll de Drassanes, Portal de la Pau, s/n, 08039 Barcelona, Spain |

Jazz Catamaran Cruise BarcelonaSetting sail on a Jazz Catamaran

3. A walk in the Park

On a sunny day, Parc de la Ciutadella is an absolute vibe. We walked through the park on a Sunday afternoon, and although it was quite busy with families strolling, children playing, and couples lying cosily on the grass, we heard some distinct rhythmic sounds luring us from the main sandy path over to some trees. Amongst the vegetation was a large drum circle, beating complex patterns, expressive dancers, and onlookers enjoying the bohemian ambience. The park is also home to Barcelona Zoo, the Catalan Parliament, a spectacular fountain "Gran Cascada", and the beautifully constructed "Umbracle", a greenhouse home to a variety of tropical plants.

Online: | | Location: | Passeig de Picasso, 21, 08003 Barcelona, Spain |

Parc de la Ciutadella, BarcelonaParc de la Ciutadella

4. Time for a little Paella?

No, not the rice dish (though we do highly recommend sitting down with a beach view and enjoying a plateful with a nice glass of something cold). Part fashion boutique, part art gallery, Paella Showroom, is a truly unique place. Rummage through quirky vintage fashion, discover new pieces by local Barcelona designers, or browse their unusual knickknacks, curiosities and gifts. Towards the back of the shop is where the art happens. There's a studio space, the walls lined with paintings, prints and illustrations. If you're craving a little creative inspiration, this place should spark off some freshness. There's a sense that this is quite a hub for local artists and makers, and we love that proud "Made In Barcelona" vibe. 

Online: | @paellashowroom | Location: | Calle Sant Pere Mes Alt 48, Barcelona, Spain |

Paella Showroom, BarcelonaPaella Showroom

5. La Sagrada Familia

It's an obvious choice but we couldn't leave it off the list. This city has Gaudí's handprints all over it, and whilst we fully appreciate each one of his works, this is surely his masterpiece. You basically can't go to Barcelona and not see it. If you want to venture inside, you will need a ticket and we recommend booking online in advance. But it is oh so worth it. The man was a genius. Yes it's a Cathedral, and there are exquisitely thought through details of his personal beliefs about God incorporated into every inch. There is meaning behind his every decision here. From the colours he has chosen for the stained glass, to the shapes of the pillars, he devoted each element to represent and convey something significant (you know what they say, God is in the details). Whilst other cathedrals can feel archaic and sometimes lifeless, this is fresh, vibrant, incredibly modern (it's hard to believe that construction started in 1882), and awe-inspiring. Even the most unreligious spectator can appreciate the majesty of the building and its design. It is as complex and intricate as it is huge. We recommend venturing up into the turrets of the building, and surveying the city from up on high. 

Online: | | Location: | Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona, Spain | 

Inside La Sagrada FamiliaInside La Sagrada Familia

6. Getting Around

There's so much to see in Barcelona. Each street you go down offers a new vista. Stunning architecture, unique street art, and quirky shop window displays compete for your attention. We thoroughly enjoy walking the streets for this very reason. By the end of each day, yes, you've done a good 20k steps, but you've immersed yourself in the heart of the city, and explored and discovered new things. There are great public transport links here, but why would you want to go underground on the Metro when it's sunny overground? If your legs are aching from the walking, or if you have a need for speed, there's a better solution. And it's environmentally friendly too! Yugo is an electric scooter with zero emissions. First you'll need to download the app. This uses your location to show you on a map where the nearest scooters to you are. Use the app to pay for the amount of time you'll want to hire it for, and off you go. Super convenient, and sustainable. Plus you'll look really cool.

Online: | | Location: | Wherever you are |

scooters in gothic quarterCollect and drop off your Yugo scooter anywhere in Barcelona

7. Park Güell

It's a bit like stepping into a fairytale book or a film set. As you walk up the hill to the main park gates, you'll spot gingerbread house style buildings. White mosaic "icing" tiles contrast the sandy stone "biscuit" walls. Inside the park, it's a playground of quirky colourful structures, with a brightly coloured mosaic salamander fountain "slithering" down the steps. It's an exceptional space and Gaudí clearly let his imagination free. The park is situated on a hillier part of the city with panoramic views stretching out to sea. You can visit much of the expanse of the park for free, but the main Gaudí structures are in the middle section which requires a ticket to enter. 

Online: | | Location: | Carrer Olot 5, 08024 Barcelona, Spain |

Park Guell, Barcelona, Antoni GaudiThe View From Park Güell

8. Street Art

This city has an insatiable appetite for creativity. Its creative heritage has definitely birthed generations of artists here. And you can't help but notice the amount of street art, pretty much on every single street. As Barcelona Street Style Tours puts it, "It is easy to see that this Mediterranean city is one big contemporary Art Gallery". If you want to delve deeper, and take a look at the best works, Barcelona Street Style Tours offers both cycling tours and walking tours, weaving through the city streets. As well as showing you the best works you'll also be able to check out hard to find contemporary/underground galleries and boutiques. Amazingly the walking tours are FREE and the bicycle tours cost 18 euros.

Online: | | Location: | Choose from various routes through the city |Barcelona Street ArtMind-blowing street art covering an entire building

9. Dinner and drinks in El Born

The Spanish can teach us a thing or two about night life. Maybe the secret is in their siestas. Shops open in the evenings, dining and drinking is leisurely and late, and clubs are open 'til dawn. Barcelona is magical in the evening. And we can recommend, perhaps after a stroll through the Gothic Quarter listening to some of the (really talented) street performers singing opera or playing their instruments down dimly lit narrow streets, heading across to El Born. Like the Gothic Quarter, buildings in Born have that beautiful old charm, and the meandering streets are made for exploring. There are plenty of places here to have dinner, and many restaurants spill their seating out into the squares and pavements with awnings and umbrellas. We opted for some pre-dinner "craft cocktails" at Creps al Born, a small, fun little bar (which serves crêpes, hence the name). They were playing decent music, the staff were fun and chatty, and we liked their decor. Rustic, cluttered, with Hawaiian shirts hanging from the ceiling, the place feels friendly and festive and ready to fiesta!

Online: | | Location: | Paseo de Born, 12, 08003. Barcelona, Spain |

Creps Al BornCreps al Born

10 . Bar Marsella

Allegedly frequented by the likes of Picasso, Dalí, Gaudí, and Hemingway, this bar must have some stories to tell. The oldest bar in Barcelona, Bar Marsella dates from 1820, and remains seemingly unchanged. The walls and ceiling were probably once a different colour, but have clearly acquired a caramel tinge from decades of nicotine and dirt. Shelves around the room hold ancient, forgotten bottles, cobwebbed and dusty. Old signs and adverts, and flickering chandeliers add to the antique charm. It has a mysterious, fascinating, theatrical appeal. It's not hard for your imagination to wander, especially after a couple of drinks, to picturing scenes of people meeting here through the decades, discussing art, philosophy, and life. Famously this bar serves absinthe, but it offers decent cocktails too. Not quite brave enough for the absinthe, we opted for a classic; can't go wrong with gin & tonic, right? 

Location | Carrer de Sant Pau, 65, 08001 Barcelona, Spain |

Bar Marsella, BarcelonaThe beautifully decadent Bar Marsella

If you'd like to visit more ethical and sustainable shops and cafes in Barcelona, we can recommend picking up one of these Barcelona Sustainable Maps by Good Goal. It contains information on a number of vegan, organic, and zero-waste places to eat, as well as independent boutiques selling slow, organic, or upcycled fair fashion.

Barcelona Sustainable Map Good Goal

If you follow us on Facebook, you may have spotted this video we filmed on the way home. Turns out, we were sitting surrounded by members of Barcelona Ukulele Club (yep, that's a thing.) who were on their way to a Ukulele convention (I know!) in the UK. As the plane started to begin its descent, the tray tables were locked in their upright positions, the seatbelt signs were on, the cabin crew were seated for landing, and the cabin lights had been dimmed, this happened: 

RUN&FELL Made In England
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Made In Manchester Series - Part 5 - Design by Neb Abbott

Posted by Naomi Jackson on

We proudly manufacture and print our garments here in Manchester, the city where the Industrial Revolution began. The city once nicknamed Cottonopolis, home of Britain's cotton industry. A city renowned for its creativity and innovation.

RUN&FELL is on a journey, delving into the creative community of Manchester, meeting people who share our values, and make things here. We're passionate about local people embracing and excelling in their own forms of craft, launching initiatives which have a wider impact for good, and choosing to pursue positivity in their work to inspire others.

In our Made in Manchester series, we're connecting with visionaries who are cultivating their own innovative enterprises; artists and designers creating inventive new visuals; musicians driving the heartbeat of the city. This week we met Neb Abbott. Let's shed some light on his designs...

Made In Manchester Series - Part 5 - Design by Neb Abbott

He might not realise it, but Neb Abbott is living the dream. He's doing what many people fantasise about. The man has a workshop in his shed, and he's started a business there, making beautiful things that people want to buy. 

His story is one of those tales that would light up the slightest flicker of entrepreneurial desire in any of us. A professional contemporary dancer for ten years, Neb had a major career change when he was made redundant. Funding to the performing arts project for young people he was working at, was stripped back, due to government cuts. "I went and re-trained and did a furniture and product design degree in London, worked for a small company in London, and then moved up here." he explained. 

Neb Abbott In His StudioExciting-looking Inks On Neb's Hand-made Shelves

Having faced redundancy with such resolve, with a completely new direction for his life, and a fresh start, Neb has started to build his own business, making incredible sculptural light fittings.

Drawing on the skills he learned at University, Neb began by making furniture, shelves, stools and tables. "I discovered FabLab, run by The Manufacturing Institute. They're a little digital manufacturing place, based in Altrincham, and they've got laser cutters and 3D printers. I developed a lot of the ideas there and thought "This is a potential business."

Having access to the laser cutter machinery, Neb's designs were directed by the materials he came across. "I discovered this very thin plywood, and it is quite flexible". The plywood, sustainably sourced from Finland, was the ideal component for the creation of his complex light structures, "Being interested in geodesic shapes (yes, we had to Google it too), and how to create them, I managed to achieve the initial shape. I decided to keep the base of it and play with the pattern on it and add some surface pattern to it."

It's a complex process. Rather like an intricate, three dimensional jigsaw, the sculptural lights are made up of precisely designed, laser-cut pieces, which are then assembled in his home workshop. But the appeal of these lights is two-fold, "They are these lovely sculptural things on their own, but when the light goes on they are quite radically transformed and depending on how close to a wall they are, or in what environment, they cast some spectacular shadows. I like the mathematical forms and geometric shapes, that's the start in terms of the structure. I play with surface pattern and how it affects the shadows."

I'm loving being in Manchester, I've got lots of creative friends here. There's so much energy in the city, and there always seems to be so much going on.

Each piece is made to order, and Neb constantly explores colour, variations in the electric cable cords, scale, and materials. Having only launched his business in October last year, it wasn't long before he started getting attention. "The first market I did at Altrincham, I had my first order, my first sale, and from there I got asked to do the Sale Art Trail Christmas Bazaar. There was lots of other high quality craft and art there, and it was really nice to be asked to do that without having done anything." He's also been selected for the forthcoming Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair later this year, and is regularly selling at Altrincham Market as well as the Didsbury Makers Market and Northern Quarter Makers Market.

Neb's Workshop     Neb's Workshop

Not a native Mancunian, we wondered how Neb had found living and starting his here business in Manchester so far. "I'm loving being in Manchester, I've got lots of creative friends here. There's so much energy in the city, and there always seems to be so much going on. It feels like there's lots of exciting things going on and lots of local people doing exciting things, so it feels ideal for a business start up like me. I'm confident there's a market for me, I don't feel like I need to be in London to reach it."

He's so far found Manchester to be a place of support and that there is a sense of community amongst creatives here. He has ambitions to expand and grow his enterprise. "I'd love to see them in a small chain of boutique hotels or restaurants. They have the potential to suit that environment really well." 

To us, it seems that is what Design is all about. Making life better, and making life beautiful.

Working for himself from home, following his own rules and creative ideas, Neb has something so many crave. Freedom. He has taken what he had in front him; a desire to create, new skills and experience in a new trade, access to equipment, and a simple, readily available raw material, and he's started to build a new life out of what would have otherwise seemed to be a hopeless situation. To us, it seems that is what Design is all about. Making life better, and making life beautiful.

You can buy one of Neb's stunning pieces online, or go and meet him at his market stalls and see them in person.  


made in england RUN&FELL menswear

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Competition - Win a RUN&FELL T-shirt

Posted by Naomi Jackson on

It's probably a bit of a bold statement, but I'm just going to come out and say it. You will have never felt a T-shirt as soft as this before... probably. Our "Bottle" T-shirt is made from a ridiculously luxurious blend of Organic Cotton & Bamboo, and it's so unbelievable to the touch. Furry baby kittens? This is softer*. Freshly tumble-dried bath towel? Definitely softer*. Okay, you get the picture.

And now you can experience this incredible luxury for free... by entering our competition. We're giving away one of these and if you win, you'll get to choose from a Small, Medium, or Large sized Tee.

The design is pretty cool too. And as with all our T-shirts, its got a little story behind it. It's from our "Stark" collection, and is a nod to pop-art with its Warhol-style repeat grid-like layout. The concept behind the image is a political statement, representing the stark austerity and economic cuts since the global recession. The milk bottle is a subtle reminder of the Thatcher era and the "milk snatcher" title she became known for. The print started off as a lino cut (you basically dig out bits of lino with a tool, carving the negative space out, then apply ink), and was then translated into this repeat digitally-printed design. The T-shirt was not only made from sustainable fabrics (Did you know, Bamboo is naturally grown without the need for pesticides?) but it was also made and printed in Manchester, England, sweatshop-free.

To enter, simply enter your details below. For extra entries, look out for our competition posts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and follow the steps.

Subscribe to our mailing list

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The competition will end on the 31st August, and winners will be notified shortly afterwards. UK entrants only.


*verified by a panel of two people.

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Made In Manchester Series - Part 4 - Manchester Bees

Posted by Naomi Jackson on

We proudly manufacture and print our garments here in Manchester, the city where the Industrial Revolution began. The city once nicknamed Cottonopolis, home of Britain's cotton industry. A city renowned for its creativity and innovation.

We've decided to feature a few different projects from around Manchester; visionaries who are cultivating their own innovative enterprises; artists and designers creating inventive new visuals; musicians driving the heartbeat of the city. We're passionate about local people embracing and excelling in their own forms of craft, launching initiatives which have a wider impact for good, and choosing to pursue positivity in their work to inspire others.

Manchester famously has a bee as its emblem, a symbol of the city's industrial heritage and it's worker bees working together in a "hive" of activity for the common good. The iconic golden bee logo is proudly stamped on bins, lampposts, and planters all over the city centre. And the Manchester Bee is something which has really been celebrated in recent weeks, on posters and signs, street art, and not least on hundreds of people who have had Manchester Bee tattoos in solidarity with the victims of the recent Manchester Arena terrorist attack, donating the proceeds to the families of the victims. 

We love the sense of unity and pride the Manchester Bee evokes. So when we heard about some real Manchester Bees, actual hidden hives in the city centre, we thought we better got togged up and go investigate.

Made In Manchester Series - Part 4 - Manchester Bees

We met with Canon Adrian Rhodes at Manchester Cathedral. He's a chaplain there, and also an apiarist (aka a beekeeper). He looks after 6 beehives on the roof of the Cathedral, as well as a few more on the roof of the Printworks, and some in his own garden at home. The Canon set up his first apiary at home after taking a course in beekeeping. Not long after, the cathedral beehives were commissioned as part of the "Dig The City" summer garden festival in 2012. Since then, the set of beehives has grown, as has the bees' role at the cathedral.

"We do this as part of a project called Volition." the Canon explained. "It is a cathedral project for people who are long-term unemployed. They come on a ten-week project, a day a week, and they are taught things like how to prepare for interviews, how to write CVs, how to present yourself, and as part of this they're put on placements half a day a week, and I usually have 4 or 5 of them as volunteers as I look after the cathedral bees and the bees on the Printworks."  

Manchester Bee Lamppost

A secret, spiral staircase led us up to the cathedral roof, through a tiny, beautifully ancient wooden door at the top. The hives stand on the roof with views over Shambles Square and The Corn Exchange, a charmingly historical part of the city, and perhaps one of the most beautiful, full of handsome old architecture, gracefully maintained and working in a contemporary landscape.

The Canon made sure we were decked in the protective bee suits, and proceeded to fire up his smoker, "Bees are very inquisitive and we want to keep them out of our way and we want to keep them quiet." he said. "Everybody thinks we use smoke because it calms them down. It actually doesn't. It makes them slightly more agitated. They are afraid of two things. Bears and fire, as fire will burn the hive. So when they smell smoke, they start to get scared that there might be a forest fire. So we smoke them and they go down out of our way."

Fascinatingly, they go back into the hive rather than flying away. "They have a thing called a honey stomach which is a special stomach for nectar. They fill up their honey stomach with honey or nectar from the hive, because if they need to flee the hive, they will need some food" the Canon explained. "They make wax from the honey, so they need to take honey supplies in order to make a new home." 

The smoker is filled with small shreds of paper and wood chippings... but Canon Rhodes adds a personal touch to the mix, "I put a little bit of incense in. After all we are in a Cathedral and I am a Canon of the Church of England" he says, "It makes it just smell beautiful. The bees don't care but I do!"

It was incredible to learn so much about the Canon's bees. He explained how there are three sorts of bees; the Queen, of which there is just one, the worker bees, which are all female and make up about 90% of the bees, and the drones - the male bees which are bigger than the females but do nothing except mate. There are also unique roles within the hive too, including bees which forage, nurse bees and undertaker bees. It really did start to make sense how the community of bees could be linked to a city.

Their industry, of course, is to make honey to live on. The bees bring the nectar in from flowers, collect it when foraging in their "honey stomachs", and add enzymes to it when back at the hive. Amazingly they waft their wings, mainly over night, to reduce the water content of the nectar, rather like a fan. Canon Rhodes explained, "When it gets to just under 20% moisture, at that point it's honey, and then they cap that with wax."

Asked if Manchester honey had its own unique flavour, the Canon replied that he didn't think it did in particular, although the different pollen and nectar collected when foraging really has an influence on the flavour. He mentioned how there's lots for the bees to forage nearby, despite being in a city, be it wildflowers by the rivers, or nearby parks, but the best thing for bees is keen suburban gardeners who like to have flowers throughout the year in their gardens. 

Canon Rhodes bottles his own honey from the cathedral bees, with the help of a team of volunteers. The "Heavenly Honey" is sold in the cathedral shop (though it won't be back in stock until around September when it is harvested). Last year the team harvested enough honey for 70 jars, however he's expecting more this year. "Last year was a funny year for weather. What happened was from May to well into August, we kept having four or five days of really nice weather, and the bees would go out and forage. They'd bring lots of nice nectar and pollen back, and they'd bring it into the hive. Then it would go cold rain, and so they couldn't go out, so what did they do? They ate it!"  

Genuinely, these Manchester Bees really do seem to represent and embody our city. Each bee has its own role, its own part to play in the hive. They work together as a community. They create, they have their own industry, and are very skilled at what they do. One thing that Canon Rhodes mentioned, which really resonated, was that honey bees like these are the only species of bee which live through the winter; they all live to support each other and to protect the queen bee. Our city has had its own fair share of "winter"; times of hardship and struggle, but in those times we have been shown to rally together.

Buzzin' arr kid. 

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Made In Manchester Series - Part 3 - Marble Brewery

Posted by Naomi Jackson on


We believe in ethical garment production and quality workmanship, which is why we choose to use local suppliers and manufacturers to create our goods.

We proudly manufacture and print our garments here in Manchester, the city where the Industrial Revolution began. The city once nicknamed Cottonopolis, home of Britain's cotton industry. A city renowned for its creativity and innovation.

We've decided to feature a few different projects from around Manchester; visionaries who are cultivating their own innovative enterprises; artists and designers creating inventive new visuals; musicians driving the heartbeat of the city. We're passionate about local people embracing and excelling in their own forms of craft, launching initiatives which have a wider impact for good, and choosing to pursue positivity in their work to inspire others.

We followed the unmistakable yeasty scent of brewing beer down one of Manchester's backstreets to an unassuming railway arch, home to Marble Brewery.

Made In Manchester Series - Part 3 - Marble Brewery

"We've grown out of one of the older pubs in Manchester. The Marble Arch Inn is nearly 130 years old, it's a pretty unique place." Jon, one of the chaps at the brewery explained, showing us round. The ornate, Victorian pub on Rochdale Road is one of those hidden gems in Manchester. It's a bit off the beaten track, (a short walk North of the Northern Quarter), so you'd be forgiven for not knowing about it. A pretty unique place it definitely is though, standing out as it does surrounded by bland, modern apartment blocks and car parks. Its beautiful tiled interior is perfectly preserved, and it really has such character, selling independent beers from its own brewery which started out twenty years ago in a back room in the pub.

"The story goes that it was a debate between having a karaoke room and a brewery. And you know, twenty years later, we're pretty happy with that decision on the whole." Jon explained. But their success meant Marble Brewery needed more space, so the beer is now brewed just a few streets behind the inn, "We moved down here to this railway arch in around 2010 and upscaled at that point."

Whilst the beer brewed here in Manchester, the hops themselves are mostly sourced from the USA and New Zealand. Jon explained that they need a lot of sunlight to grow, and let's face it, Manchester is not known for its sunny climate. The American hops are better suited to modern, fruitier beer, pale ale and IPA. "In Britain, hops are mostly grown in places like Kent. Traditional British varieties suit different styles of beer than we are mostly brewing at the moment. The flavours we get from British hops are a little bit more earthy, a little bit more kind of herbal and spicy. Current tastes of the beer drinking public are really into big bold citrus tropical fruit flavours that you get from New World hops."


And apparently the current tastes of the beer drinking public are propelling what Jon described as a "massive explosion worldwide in creative brewing", where independent breweries like Marble Brewery are pushing boundaries and are pursuing inventive new ideas. "There are loads of breweries that want to do exciting stuff. Linked into that there are people within hop-growing programs that are constantly breeding new varieties of hops and are realy expanding these incredible flavours you can get which just aren't something that people liked 20, 30, or 40 years ago."

What's great is that there seems to be a real sense of community amongst these smaller, creative, and independent brewers. Last week was Manchester Beer Week, and amongst their various events, Marble Brewery have been supporting and joining forces with not only other breweries but also local food producers, "We're part of collaborative projects with other local folk, so we did an event on Sunday at Runaway Brewery, that was with local food producers. We did a collaboration with some ladies that make some seafood street food snacks, they call themselves Holy Crab. We brewed a beer with them, a style called a Gose which is a sort of salted sour wheat beer, and we actually brewed that with langoustines and pineapple in it so that's pretty cool. I guess it's all about breaking down boundaries between different areas of food and drink"

The Langoustine-infused Gose beer, "LanGOSEtine" (pictured in cans below) is just one of many quirky and creatively named products in the Marble Brewery range. And collaborative beers like this one are quite a common thing in the industry, "it's a nice way of networking and having fun with friends, either working out a concept or a mashup of your two brand names; it's quite a fun way to come up with a name for a beer." Jon explained.

Often the team will create a series of beers by taking inspiration from something personal to them. "One of our well-loved classic beers is called the "Lagonda IPA", which is named after a classic car which the father of our owner and director had. Just earlier in the year we did a series called The Marble Metal Series, because our Head Brewer, JK, is a massive fan of heavy metal music. We do a lot of beers named after favourite bands/favourite songs. We've done a range called The Marble Gothic Series which is a bunch of different stronger, barrel-aged beers, old ales and stouts; quite intensely flavoursome beers, named after characters from Gothic stories by the likes of Edgar Allan Poe and Ann Radcliffe. We take these themes and run with them a little bit."

We asked Jon if he thought Manchester beer has its own taste. "Obviously Manchester as a city, has always been very creative and unafraid to push boundaries and do exciting stuff," Jon noted, not a native Mancunian himself, "I think one of the things about this city that I really enjoy is that it's a fun, exciting city that people who come into it from outside can feel like they're welcome, and that they can a be part of something exciting." He pointed out that a lot of the smaller, independent breweries in Manchester like Marble Brewery are embracing the exciting and fun elements of contemporary beer production, and pushing creative boundaries. "Not everybody that brews beer here is from Manchester but a lot of the drinking public are, so you're still tapping into a feeling of people wanting to drink good quality interesting, locally brewed stuff, not just the same old same old. The beer scene here is really healthy. Better than pretty much anywhere else in the UK, I think." 

Maybe for this Mancunian beer, it's not so much the taste of Manchester, but the spirit, that they're bottling here. From their humble beginnings in a back room of the historical Marble Arch Inn, there's a real sense of that entrepreneurial spirit Manchester is known for; that same creative force that launched the industrial revolution. There's also a certain ethos of fearlessness and determination here too from the legacy of a 130-year-old pub which has held on so tenaciously to its character, its tradition, and its identity, defying decades of bulldozing and modernisation. Not to mention the incredible sense of community spirit, so evident in the network of people behind an array of independent food and drink ventures, working together with such camaraderie and really supporting and celebrating eachothers' businesses. And finally, that creative spark; the inventive, clever, witty imagination that is poured into concocting each new flavour.

We'll drink to that.



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