I was a staunch Republican from the start. Before Paul Greetham launched his Beatnikz Republic brewery up on Manchester’s Red Bank back in June 2017 there hadn’t been much incentive to ‘cross the tracks’ towards The Green Quarter. Since when pioneer Three Rivers Gin has been joined by GRUB and The Spärrows. Sadly after last week’s shock closure announcement Beatnikz will no longer be on the block and the city will have lost one of its finest breweries. Another victim (and not the last) of difficult times.
The name was inspired by the founder’s love of the US Beat movement of the Fifties and Sixties and iconoclastic kindred spirits who have revolutionised the American (and world) beer scene since. The Republic bit came from Paul’s view of beer as a democratic, affordable drink. This very drinkable manifesto was spread by a weekend taproom in the rail arches housing the brewery and then the Beatnikz bar, the Northern Quarter’s most copacetic watering hole.
Happily the latter is surviving under devolved management. Fingers crossed I will be able to get down there to purchase remaining cans of Tropic Fiesta Session DDH IPA as base for my own person cocktail tribute to Beatnikz Republic.
The back story? In March 2019 Paul generously donated a couple of cases to fuel a beer cocktail I was concocting for a ‘Too Many Critics’ fund-raising dinner at the Manchester branch of Dishoom. The annual event, where food critics cook dishes to be judged by chefs, raised over £20,000 for Action Against Hunger, as I recall.
The beer cocktail remit was an add-on I took more seriously than I might have. With guidance from Dishoom’s bartenders I came up with a winning formula. My original plan has been to use one of Russian Riot, a 9.4 per cent Imperial Russian Stout that would have put hairs on even Vladimir Putin’s chest – Beatnikz’s dark beers were exceptional.
Second thoughts, and bearing in mind the need for something exotic yet light to match all that Indian spice (my dish was a Goan fish curry with lashings of coconut and curry leaves) I changed tack to Tropic Fiesta, a sessionable 4 per cent packed with tropical hops.
Next move, it had to playfully resemble an actual glass of beer – ahead of a cocktail explosion dancing across your palate. After all, it was to be called Bhangra Beatnikz.
To create a creamy head I purchased ProEspuma powder online. This stabiliser gives volume and holds to make a light foam from liquid state.
I mixed it with the Tropic Fiesta to give a properly bitter edge. The body of the ‘beer’ was blended from pineapple rum, stem ginger syrup, lime juice and at the suggestion of the Dishoom-walla, a British aperitif new to me: Kamm & Sons.
Created in his garden shed by celebrity bartender Alex Kammerling it features 45 difereent botanicals, including crucially four variants of ginseng, macerated for 72 hours in neutral spirit. It’s herby, honeyed and bitter-sweet.
I got windfall bottle of the stuff four months ago when I was lucky enough to win over £1,000 worth of assorted spirits in the Tipples of Manchester liquor store’s Christmas draw. To complete the reassembled ingredients I am going to have to splash out £42 there for the required Plantation ‘Stiggins Fancy’ Pineapple Rum.
Not over-sweet, this slightly smoky, spicy pineapple-flavoured rum was created by Plantation’s Alexandre Gabriel as a tribute to Reverend Stiggins, a hypocritical character in Charles Dickens’ Pickwick Papers with a penchant for pineapple rum.
Below are my ingredients with appropriate ratios. Enough for an ample toast to Beatnikz and Dishoom…
Plantation Pineapple ‘Steggins’ Rum 25ml; stem ginger syrup 10ml; lime juice 15ml Kamm & Sons 15ml. For an ample reservoir of beer foam 440ml Beatnikz Tropic Fiesta;
40g ProEspuma powder; 40ml simple syrup.
Method: Add the above ingredients (minus the beer foam) into a shaker, then shake hard, top with whipped beer foam, sip with relish.