by Ben McCormick
There must be something in the water. One of those glib phrases often trotted out when people announce a pregnancy or perhaps have a small run of success.
When it comes to making beer, it’s no accident many of the first brewers located themselves in areas famed for the existence of a high quality, plentiful water supply. And that’s exactly what the Permo-Triassic Sandstone aquifer, situated on the north eastern edge of the Cheshire Basin and the second most important aquifer in the country, provides.
The main aquifer outcrop extends from Macclesfield in the south to Prestwich in the north and incorporates Stockport, where one of the newer members of the north west’s burgeoning artisan brewing industry has set up home.
Quantum Brewery has been operating out of a tiny industrial estate in the shadow of the former Royal Oak brewery since 2011 and produces a core range of four beers plus a whole raft of other one-off ales, often collaborating with other beer-makers in the region.
One of it’s core range and the first beer Quantum made, American Amber Ale is the brewer’s homage to a stalwart of the US craft beer repertoire, but with a north western twist. That’ll be the water, then.
It hits you first with a metallic orangey smell. No surprise there. Stockport, and Greater Manchester in general, is a place more than anywhere I’ve been that looks a lot like it’s been Tangoed. Maybe it’s the bus stops or the orange bricks all over the place. The beer is lively out of the bottle too, welling up like a Galveston gusher. The smell’s pretty powerful too; floral, fragrant, filled with sugar-dusted macaroons.
It’s safe to say it tastes nothing like Tango. While there is citrus, it’s way more subtle than that. Rather it creeps up on you like some kind of skulking miscreant bent on relieving you of the price of a cup of tea. It’s beautifully smooth at first, but little by little it peels thin layers of buds off your tongue till only raw, sharp hoppy bitterness remains. American Amber Ale is truly a beer that speaks softly and carries a big stick.