A NEW craft beer bar has opened in Knutsford inspired by American-style brewery tap rooms.

Project 53 in Minshull Street is part of the continued success of the Mobberley Brewhouse which has fast been growing since expanding its brewery set up, launching a £100,000 canning line and focusing on hoppy new world-style beers.

But for James Roberts, one of the UK’s youngest brewery owners, opening his own bars has been the ‘dream’ since setting up the business in 2011.

The 27-year-old, who has also opened a bar in Stockport, said: “We’ve wanted to do the bar since day one because when I started the brewery I was heavily inspired by the American brewery tap set up where you have a lot of direct contact with your consumers – with the real people who are drinking your beer.

“In the UK a lot of breweries can feel cut off.

“I’ve always thrived off meeting the people who enjoy our beer.

“That’s why we started doing the open nights and membership when we opened the shop.

“It’s been the dream since day one, it was just a matter of waiting until the time was right for us.”

Customers will have a choice of 11 keg beers and three cask beers from the Mobberley Brewhouse range as well as guest ales from craft breweries

Project 53 also specialises in gin and serves up seven types of pizza including a vegan pizza and a regularly changing special.

James, whose sister Sophie is operations director for the business, added: “I think people are becoming more knowledgeable and discerning when it comes to beer.

“I think that’s owing to the fact craft beer is way more widely available than it has been in recent years.

“The communication we have with the people drinking our beers has become way more important than it’s ever been.

“As opposed to the beer being new to them, they can tell us what they look for in specific beer styles.

“It’s becoming similar to wine.

“People know what sort of hops they like and they’ll actually look out for them in beers.”

James is also hoping to introduce special launches at the bar for his new beers – with a twist.

The former Mobberley Primary School pupil said: “One of the things we’re looking at doing is beer launches which I’m quite excited about, especially as we’ve got some pretty good beers coming up at the end of this year.

“We’d basically serve the beer in an interesting way to celebrate the launch of it such as ‘soft serve’ where you have an ice cream float on it.

“We’ve got a cherry saison coming in a few weeks’ time that we’ve fermented on oak chips so we’re looking at fun ways we can serve that.

“We’ve also got an imperial stout on the way made with toffee and cacao nibs.

“So we’re talking about lacing the inside of the glass with toffee syrup and then doing a chocolate ice cream float.”

The bar itself saw the former Tap and Bottle and juice bar The Shed knocked through to create one big unit and for the style James went back to his roots.

He added: “Both the bars have got a really nice feel to them but we’ve tried to carry this feeling through of our roots.

“A lot of it was inspired by our first brewing site which is now the shop so all the brick walls and the unfinished concrete floors are a nod to that.

“Everything else at the shop was kitted out with wood so it has a country farmhouse feel to it and that in essence is what I’ve tried to bring into here.

“The whole thing has been massively exciting.

“Although it’s the first time we’ve kitted out a bar it felt familiar as we kitted out the shop and we’ve been doing the open nights for about three years.

“So that’s got us very used to the atmosphere people want to be in when they’re out socially.

“It’s exciting to be able to put your beer on a platform to be seen by so many people.

“We’re well known in Knutsford but some people walk in and haven’t heard of us before and have been interested in finding out what we do and how we started.”

Mobberley Brewhouse currently has a membership scheme at its shop in Mobberley which offers perks to its regular customers.

So James is toying with the idea of bonuses for members at the bar like beer tokens.

He said: “Anyone who is a member has joined for a reason.

“It’s because they get what we’re about and we want them to continue to be a part of what we’re doing.

“We’ll include them as much as we can at the bars.”

James is also looking at potential options for taking beer away such as having new releases in the fridges behind the bar.