Although the fabric of Chester’s Market Hall may be growing a little tired, there’s a quiet revolution going on within those walls. There’s a steady trickle of new traders joining the well-established favourites and strengthening the breadth of the Market’s offer, as traders and customers await the development of the smart new market hall anticipated to be included in the Northgate Development. Chester Market is becoming a showcase for quality food and a popular spot for an informal meal. Following the opening of the Market’s new beer hall, That Beer Place, you can now enjoy a beer with your pizza, Thai curry or Pie & Mash.
Lisa Lord and her husband Dale have opened That Beer Place, which offers a large range of 300 craft beers. When we visited earlier in October to talk to Lisa, That Beer Place was quivering on the edge of being a fully functioning temple to all things Beer. The Bavarian Bierkeller style benches and bar were in place and waiting to accommodate cheerful rows of enthusiastic beer lovers. Banks of refrigerators stood awaiting their stocks of bottles from far and wide.
Lisa and Dale have worked together previously but this is their first venture into the beer industry, inspired by a visit to San Francisco where they were charmed by a bar which served a range of around 40 beers with a wide variety of flavour and strength. They decided to deliver their experience and beyond in Chester, including beers from around the globe. There’s a mix of keg and bottled beer and That Beer Place will eventually serve some traditional cask ales. In addition, wine and a range of gins are available.
Having searched around Chester for suitable premises the decision to become part of Chester Market was an easy one. Their landlords (Cheshire West and Chester Council) were very helpful as the unit was transformed into a fit-for-purpose space. When talking to Lisa it becomes apparent that the businesses in The Market are a very collaborative and strong community which works together to enhance the offer for customers. Lisa and Dale are preparing beer matching menus; recommending beers which complement the dishes offered by other traders in The Market food court. The food court is a unique space in Chester; the various tastes and preferences within a group can be catered for at the same venue.
I was delighted to discover that The Market will now stay open late every Friday, until 8pm – the perfect end-of-week wind down with friends.
That Beer Place has signed up to the Tryanuary scheme which encourages consumers to support the beer industry, especially the independents and try different beers in January. Rather than going dry, try to drink just a little after the Christmas excesses, little, but quality.
That Beer Place is open 9-5 Monday to Saturday (and until 8pm Fridays)
Here are a few suggestions from the owners from their wide range.
- For the traditionalist this has to be something like Oracle by Salopian. This beautifully crisp ale goes down well and is a firm favourite of the Market butchers.
- For the lager drinkers you really can’t look any further than the current batch of Oktoberfest beers we’ve had in stock. Whilst only a seasonal release they will always fly off the shelves.
- For the craft beer lover then very few breweries are held in as high esteem as Cloudwater from Manchester. Their double IPAs maintain legendary status amongst their fans. For an even more local (and in our opinion, equally as good) choice we’d suggest Loka Polly from Mold.
IF YOU LIKE…
- Euro Lagers (Stella/Kronenbourg/Peroni) – As the birthplace of the style, Germany is home to of some of the greatest lagers in the world. For a fuller flavour and a more satisfying mouth feel, but all the refreshing features of your favourite lager we’d opt for a Kellerbier or Kolsch style.
- Cider/White Wine – Crisp, dry, fruity and with a hint of acidity, these drinks are actually relatively easy to swap out for some lesser known beer styles. Belgian Geuze, fruit Lambics and modern craft sours have a range of flavours, textures and aromas to please both cider & white wine fans alike.
- Red Wine – Rich tannins with often big chunky flavours, perfect for roasted food or simply for supping by an open fire. Here we turn to some of the bigger beer styles. Deep, rich, raisiny Barley Wine (yes, it’s actually a beer style), barrel aged & imperial stouts or even a Flemish red ale, tart, full-bodied and perfect with a haunch of venison.
- Salted beers: The German style, Gose, is an interesting oddity. A style originally brewed in the 16th century in and around the city of Goslar, from which it gets its name. with large amounts of wheat and flavoured with coriander and salt this is a style making a dramatic comeback. One to try: Salty Kiss by Magic Rock
- Pastry Stouts: Probably first invented by Swedish super brewers Omnipollo. Take a big, thick stout and add flavours of deserts… including the likes of ice cream! In recent years we’ve seen Pecan Pie, Raspberry Donut, Peanut Butter Biscuit and even Neapolitan Ice cream. These are high percentage puddings in a glass. One to try: Yellow Belly by Buxton Brewery
- Spontaneously fermented beer: Unlike many beers where the brewer adds specific yeast strains to ferment the wort (unfermented beer), these styles often use whatever airborne cultures descend into the cooling wort to brew their magic concoctions. Before the discovery & isolation of brewer’s yeast all beers were brewed this way. Flavours tend to be more complex, often a little more unpredictable and will change over time, although will almost always have what can only be described as an air of “funk” about them. One to try: The Belgian trappiest classic, Orval by Brasserie d’Orval