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Clitheroe Beer Festival – This Weekend!

On Friday 13 May we’ll be kicking off our Clitheroe Beer Festival fringe events with a tasting session all-dayer by Crossover Blendery.

George from Crossover Blendery will be pouring Pay As You Go tasters of Barbarian Lands, little moor and Walled Gardens. It’s going to be a really special afternoon, and if you’re a big fan of spontaneously fermented and sour beers, you’re in for a real treat. Do not miss this.

Then, on Saturday 14th May, Dick and Cath, the forces of cider activism behind many of the UK’s new natural cider movements, will be joining the Corto crew for a mini cider festival. Pay As You Go tastings will be available from a range of ciders by some of the country’s best cidermakers, including Little Pomona, Oliver’s Cider, Ross On Wye, Brutes and Eve’s Cidery.

IPA Tap Takeover at Corto

Throughout the weekend, we’re hosting a tap takeover with a difference—every tap will be pouring a different version of IPA, a total exploration of IPAs, if you will. The full lineup is:

  1. Pomona Island’s IBUKI VII Sorachi Ace and Yuzu IPA, brewed with Kveik for a soft and fruity flava.
  2. Cloudwater’s Acknowledge This, We Deserve Better WEST COAST IPA. A piney, bitter and zesty banger brewed in support of @endometriosis.uk on International Women’s Day.
  3. Cloudwater’s Hybrid FARMHOUSE IPA, brewed with @stigbergetsbryggeri using a farmhouse yeast for a saison session feel.
  4. Rivington’s Never Known Fog Like It NEW ENGLAND PALE. The OG. Our house beer. Not an IPA but…what is an IPA in 2022? Discuss.
  5. Rivington’s Double Fog DIPA. A big badboy version of Never Known Fog Like It. 8% and feeling fine. Juicy and a little bit dangerous. TRY THEM BOTH SIDE BY SIDE!!
  6. Buxton’s Black Axe BLACK IPA. Totally tropical, black as your heart. Cult classic, perhaps also bestseller.

CASK: Red Willow’s Weightless SESSION IPA. A fave around here. Lush citrus and satisfying bitterness. Yummo.

Taste Never Known Fog Like it side-by-side with Double Fog! Drink an amazing example of a Black IPA!

Keep checking our socials for more info.

WE ARE EXCITED. LET’S DO THIS.

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A Corto Coldstore Crowdfunder Update

It is coming up to a month since you lovely lot smashed our Crowdfunder target and then some, so we thought it was about time to let you know about the progress we’ve been making and the plans we have for Corto in the coming months. Exciting!

First of all, thanks to your generous pledges, we managed to pay three incredible local artists for commissioned work exclusively for Corto’s Coldstore Crowdfunder. 

Molly Bland’s stunning Corto artwork is being printed onto tote bags AS WE VERY SPEAK, Jonny Lindsey’s prints are already with us—if you’d like to pick yours up, you can, but we’re also waiting for some unbendable envelopes to send them with a thank-you note if you’d prefer to get yours in the post. Finally, Lucie Cooke’s gloriously cute and silly stickers are being printed RIGHT THIS SECOND and we’ll be sending them out very soon!

A note on availability: These rewards were exclusive to our Crowdfunder campaign. However, due to print runs being strict on numbers, we may have some spare to sell at their original Crowdfunder reward prices if you missed out. Keep an eye out on our socials.

The Coldstore

Where is it? Huh? Well, let us tell you! The quotes are in and accepted and we’ll be looking at having our lifechanging massive fridge room installed around the back of the bar within the next couple of weeks.

Expect to see many, many photographs of its progress as it happens.

We also have some super exciting news for when the Corto cold store is finally up and running. Ooh, it’s a good’un!

In the meantime, we advise you to make the most of the sign of either Tom or Katie heading into the cupboard under the stairs to retrieve bottles and change kegs. It won’t be happening much longer.

Crowdfunder Events

We have been working on all of our Crowdfunder rewards this week. Apologies for the delay—Katie who normally works on this stuff has had a very big project to finish at her other job.

More information will be sent out after the Early May Bank Holiday.

A Celebration Walk

We decided that our cold store was worth celebrating, so we’re organising a celebratory Pendle walk that starts and ends at Corto!

We’ll be meeting at 10.30am on Saturday 28th May and returning for around 3pm, with a stop at the Swan With Two Necks in Pendleton on the way home. Yes, there’ll be time beforehand to pick up some cans for the journey.

Check out our event page for more info.

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Corto’s Clitheroe Beer Festival Fringe Events – Crossover Blendery and a Cider Fest!

Clitheroe Beer Festival is back for 2022, and Corto is getting well involved!

On Thursday 12th May, Clitheroe Beer Festival opens for trade, but it’s on Friday 13th — lucky for us beer festival-goers — the event opens up to all, and we couldn’t be more jazzed about it.

This year, Corto has picked the beers for the Ale House-sponsored Keykeg bar, and we’ve got some really special beers on there to tempt you to the dark side. Yes, it’s Keykeg, but can you really pass up on trying some of the UK’s best beers being brewed right now? Come on. Live a little.

Katie will also be hosting some tasting events at Clitheroe Beer Festival throughout the weekend. These tasting sessions will be hour-long breakouts where five beers, chosen by Katie from the festival line-up, will be tasted and compared. Let’s get geeky!

Look out for her tasting sessions advertised in the official Clitheroe Beer Festival event guide; they’ll be priced at a few token’s-worth, so basically, a bargain.

Corto Official Clitheroe Beer Festival Events

Throughout the Clitheroe Beer Festival weekend, bars all over town will be hosting special fringe events to bring the festival vibes out into the wider town. 

It’ll be well worth getting out of the beer festival hall for an hour or two and stretching your legs to see what else is on offer around Clitheroe. There are going to be tap takeovers aplenty!

Crossover Blendery Tasting — Friday 13th May

On Friday 13th May, Corto will be hosting Crossover Blendery for informal tasting sessions and blending talks as part of the Clitheroe Beer Festival fringe events.

Crossover Blendery are an 100% spontaneous fermentation brewery and blendery based in Hitchin, Hertfordshire. They are visiting Corto especially for the beer festival weekend to show their beers and chat about the fascinating ways they are made.

Their beers are totally seasonal, and reference locality and terroir in their ingredients and blends. It’s very exciting to be welcoming them to Clitheroe — we can’t wait to taste their beers with them.

Sessions with Crossover Blendery will take place from 12pm — 6pm on Friday 13th May. It’s a drop-in, casual affair, but if you have a specific desire to make sure you can see them, please give us an email and we’ll try to reserve you a table: hello@cortobar.co.uk

Dick & Cath’s Corto Cider Festival – Saturday 14th May

Join two of Manchester’s most famous cider activists for a day of natural cider and perry tasting, exploration and adventure.

Learn all about the apples and pears that make up our favourite ciders, and the importance their trees and orchards have on our biodiversity and environment.

Taste delicious ciders and see or yourself that there’s much more to cider and perry than Strongbow and Babycham! (No shade intended.)

Natural cider is really important to us at Corto — it’s something we love and we hope we can share that love with you all.

Informal sessions will take place all day from 1pm, drop-in whenever you can and have a taste and a chat.

It’s going to be an amazing weekend. We’ll see you there!

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Duckworth & Duprez at Corto – Clitheroe Jazz Festival

You know ‘em and you love ‘em — Mark Duckworth and Ted Brunning-Duprez are coming back to Corto to perform for the Clitheroe Jazz Festival on Sunday 1st May from 4pm!

Bringing their super-chilled Latin jazz and flamenco vibes to Corto, this is a wonderful opportunity to see two extremely talented local musicians performing in a bright, intimate space.

Entry is £5 on the door — no tickets sold for this event and it is strictly first-come, first-served. We’ll have standing room as well as seating, but our maximum capacity is limited. We are a small bar after all!

Clitheroe Jazz Festival

We’re chuffed to be an official Clitheroe Jazz Festival venue for the town-wide Clitheroe Jazz and Blues Festival 2022.

Taking place from April 29th until the 2nd May, it’s a celebration of live music that takes place in venues around Clitheroe for the whole May Bank Holiday weekend.

It’s your chance to see live jazz and blues artists in their element, from international artists at The Grand to local musicians at pubs, clubs and bars (like Corto!)

Grab a full map of each official venue and a line-up list from us the next time you’re in.

Aside from Duckworth & Duprez, we’re particularly excited to see K.O.G at The Grand, Clitheroe — a multi-talented, multi-dimentional artist, Kweku Of Ghana (his full stage name) will be sharing his writing, poetry, singing, rap, percussion and “Shamanistic” live performance on Saturday 30th April.

It’s going to be an incredible weekend. See you there.

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An Inside Look at a Corto Sour Beer Tasting

At a Corto sour beer tasting, it’s likely you’ll come across drinks you’ve never tasted before.

On April 21st, Tom poured specially selected sour beers for ticketholders to showcase the range and talent within the often misunderstood style of sour beers, with a springtime feel. In the line-up were Pastore — La Primavera, Tommie Sjef — Sprong, Ammonite — Solera, Wander Beyond — Swoop and Cantillon — Rose de Gambrinus. 

Photographs © James Pinder

So many beautiful things to try!

Each beer was served at a leisurely pace alongside a likeminded friend: the Solera with La Primavera, Swoop and Gambrinus, to show how technique as well as spontaneous fermentation and additional ingredients (if any) can totally change the character of a similar beer. Tom worked his way around the tables chatting about yeast, barrels, malt and bacteria (all favourite subjects) and favourites were chosen and then re-chosen throughout the night.

Sharing these special beers in this way is something we absolutely love to do. There is something so satisfying about opening a big bottle of incredible beer and sharing it out among friends. What’s even more exciting is that we’d not tasted the Ammonite Solera ourselves before the evening, and we’d been super jazzed to try it. Sharp, resonant and blindingly bright, it’s going to be hard not to finish off our remaining stocks ourselves.

At the end of the night, super-generous guest Phil bought a magnum of Burning Sky Assemblage for the whole room to share. We also popped a bottle of Little Earth Project x Mills — Mire that was given to us by Tom and Dani of LEP when they visited a week earlier. It’s called sharing the wealth!!

“It just seems cruel to be given something it turns out I love, only to be told I’ll probably never be able to have it again!” said one of our guests about that bottle of Mire, and we know the feeling. There’s a special kind of sadness that accompanies the tasting of a very special beer (or wine, or cider.) It’s that knowledge that what you’re doing will never be replicable. It’s thrilling, but you can’t help that miniature sense of greed. You don’t want this to be the only one. You want more.

We liken it to visiting a perfect beach on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday, or if you want a less lavish example, like when you scrawl your signature absolutely perfectly totally by accident. It was a glorious fluke—a one-off. Our advice is to enjoy the moment while it lingers. And then book on to the next tasting session.

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Crowdfunder Target Reached!

Reaching our Crowdfunder Target and what that means for Corto.

We need to have a chat about how amazing last week was. You absolutely smashed our Crowdfunder target. We couldn’t be more excited or more grateful!

In the beginning we didn’t know if Crowdfunding was right for us. The fact is, though, that so many of you told us to set one up. It was actually your idea, and it worked! So for starters, you should feel proud of yourselves for convincing us to set up a Crowdfunder in the first place. 

Your support and motivation throughout the first year and a half of Corto’s existence has been incredible. We say this all the time, and you must be sick of hearing it by now, but if it wasn’t for our core group of regulars and the friendly faces we see online and in our emails telling us to keep going, we’re not sure where we’d be right now. 

The truth is, it’s been hard. We’re looking forwards into 2022 with positivity now, and a full Crowdfunder piggy bank, and we’re ready to get cracking on our next project — the Corto coldstore!

What’s a Coldstore?

A coldstore, for the purposes we’ll be using it for, is a refrigerated room. Unlike the cellar we currently have, this resource will be easily accessible to everyone on the ground floor, and will be kept at a consistently cool temperature — perfect for hoppy beers and fussy wine!

The coldstore will be safe, secure and well-organised, and won’t have issues like flooding to contend with. It will keep our beer, wine, cider and other goodies perfect and happy, and it’ll make our lives a lot more easy.

Since the coldstore will be easily accessible to everyone who works at Corto, we will be able to train every member of the team in cellarmanship — vital bar skills we think everyone should know!

What next?

We keep saying that the coldstore will change our lives. It really will.

By enabling everybody on the team to keep track of stock and change barrels, it means that Tom and Katie can work remotely more often, visiting breweries, wineries and cider makers, running events elsewhere and sharing the love wherever Corto is invited. 

It also means that we’ll be building covered seating outside the back of the bar, adding 10 more spaces to Corto.

We’re excited about what this could mean for the future of our little bar. Come with us on the journey!

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Get Your Tickets for our Putty 2022 + Vault City Irn Bru 2022 Beer Raffle for Ukraine

This weekend we’re raffling off two very special cans of craft beer.

We have one can of Verdant Putty 2022 and one can of Vault City Iron Brew Sour 2022 to give away. All you need to do is pop into the bar and get yourself a raffle ticket (or several!)

Both Verdant Putty 2022 and Vault City Iron Brew Sour 2022 sold out in record time at Corto, and we kept these little buddies aside for something special. This seems like a good reason to get them out of the secret fridge.

Win our last cans of Verdant Putty and Vault City Iron Brew Sour!

Raffle tickets are £1 each and all funds raised will go to War Child UK, who are on the ground with local volunteers and non-gov orgs in Ukraine supporting children seeking refuge across the borders.

Ticket draw will take place on Sunday at last orders (8.30pm.)

This might be the only giveaway of it’s type anywhere! So don’t miss out!

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Support Corto’s Crowdfunder!

We’ve launched a Crowdfunder to raise money for a new coldstore at Corto. You can help us take Corto to the next level!

At the moment, our cellar is great, but it’s far from perfect.

One of our main goals for the whole team was to be able to train everyone in cellarmanship. It’s an absolutely vital skill in any barperson’s pocket in our humble opinions, and it turns good beer into absolutely bang-fantastic beer.

Corto’s cellar is a great space, and was a hugely exciting find when we signed the lease on the building at 36 King Street in late 2020. However, it is older than the building itself, being from the original terraces that stood on King Street around 300 or so years ago, and hasn’t got much in the way of amenities or safety features. It’s also at risk of flooding, something it’s threatened to do several times during the multiple storms of 2022.

While Tom is able and willing to cruise up and down a fixed ladder to tend to his precious barrels and kegs, we can’t ask staff to do the same. And to make Corto’s future plans happen (ooh! Exiting secrets!) we need to expand our team and get on with the vital task of teaching cellarmanship to each and every member.

How you can help

Our Crowdfunder has been set up so that you can donate any amount you wish, whether that’s 10p or £100. It’s your call.

There are also some super rad rewards to choose from, including stickers, art prints and even a limited edition tote bag designed by local artists and made exclusively for the Corto Crowdfunder campaign.

Take a look at our Crowdfunder page to learn more about the project and find out about what a new coldstore will mean to us.

Thanks a lot for your support! It means the world!

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A chat with Jonny Lindsey – the local artist behind our upcoming Bog Gallery exhibit

On Sunday 30th January, we’ll be donning berets and dusting off our weariest withering looks for our Bog Gallery opening party at Corto — the launch of Jonny Lindsey’s first ever gallery exhibit.

Jonny has been making art in East Lancashire since 2020 under the name @paint_yer_brain, and every piece displayed in the Bog Gallery is brand spanking new, created between Christmas 2021 and the days leading up to the month-long exhibition in Corto.

You might have seen some of Jonny’s work already — he’s designed cans and pump clips for local breweries and pubs and he’s even painted something for us before, the brilliant portrait of Anthony Bourdain that’s hung in the alcove by the window. We love it!

We asked Jonny to tell us a bit more about himself and his art ahead of his opening party.

How would you describe your art?

I’d like to think it is as chaotic as a pigeon trapped inside a Greggs.

I’m a big believer in doing things a bit outside of the box, the more eye catching and strange – the better! Bright colours that pop into your eyesight and make you wonder what the hell you’re looking at. I don’t have any formal art training as I just started it out of boredom in (way back when) the first lockdown about March, 2020. It has largely and always will be trial and error (emphasis on error..!)

Who are your main artist inspirations or heroes?

This is one of those questions where I will immediately regret not mentioning about 10 other artists BUT here goes: David Shrigley is a big influence, I love his simplistic style be it his illustration or paintings, I think if I could be assed I’d stalk him. 

Picasso’s line work fascinates me. Francis Bacon had some mental paintings which look like nightmares which I can relate to, being from Accrington. I love the chaos of Noel Fielding’s work and how abstract and simple it is. Celeste Mountjoy is incredible, I love her line drawing! Jim Moir (Vic Reeves) bird paintings have me in stitches and awe in equal measure. More recently the writing of Babek Ganjei is hilarious, his writing style is so unique. also Albert Willem, Ruth Mora, Isabella Cotier… So many more!

What makes East Lancashire a unique place to draw inspiration from?

I think it’s the lack of seeing our accent written down the way we say it. I love local dialect, I use it in my poetry also. I think the scenery in a lot of England is so drab and grey, carbon copy towns with the same supermarkets. The thing that can set them apart are the independent bars, pubs, restaurants and breweries. There’s so much history in Lancashire’s pubs. 

I take a lot of inspiration from just listening to how people speak and the stereotypes some people play up to. I hope my paintings can brighten up a few of those places too. Also, “Oreet” is great to write with a Posca pen.

Where is your studio?

I was getting pretty sick of painting in my bedroom. I live in a house share with a mate, renting. Have you ever tried getting paint out of carpet? I wouldn’t recommend it personally. Especially if you’d been drinking out of boredom in lockdown. Anyway, my friend Becky Livsey mentioned she had a space in Accrington at Haworth Art Gallery Stable Studios so I took a trip down! There was one space available in the converted old barn up in the attic. It’s a magnificent building and I feel like an Earl when I’m there, it’s got a Facebook page too if you want a gander at it. I’ve got some videos of it on my instagram also! 

I paint every week, I think there is always room for improvement and practice makes perfect, I have quite a lot of paintings displayed there at my work bench, with some being displayed at Corto also!

What are your themes for the Bog Gallery exhibit?

It will look like someone has thrown a paint pot at the Sun filled with every colour in the rainbow, as God sprinkles you with natural wine and IPA beer. The theme is fun, enjoyment and celebrating how stupid and funny a night out can be and the wild things you’ll hear.

Why are you working with Corto?

It’s the most relaxed space to have some beautiful beverages in. It’s the perfect sized building to avoid the chaos of the outside world and drink some extremely potent IPA beer, some tasty natural wine or cider. I always feel so welcome there and to be honest, if I did it in Accy Wetherspoons all my paintings would be nicked within an hour.

Local artist recommendation?

This is where I start getting uninvited on nights out if I miss someone out…so here goes:

Becky Livesy & Steve Crowther plus all the other resident artists at Haworth Art Gallery Stable Studios! @Treeanon.Paints Sometimes does some amazing neon mountains! @CatFunted also creates some hilarious illustrations about a very annoyed cat. @ProperRude creates some distressingly offensive bathroom and kitchen utensils. @SadGurl_Art makes some great Simpsons inspired portraits! My mates at True Til Death Tattoo Studio in Accrington (special mention to Christopher Kenyon who has tattooed me for over a decade now, proper ink wizard I tell thee!) There are so many… @BronxCharlieArt is my mate Lee who creates some stunning realism, he’s got one of Jimi Hendrix on his instagram that blows my mind. I will await the beatings for forgetting probably loads of people..

Would I be able to buy your artwork at the Bog Gallery? 

I will have some prints available and may put price tags on selected paintings towards the end of February but I want them to be displayed as long as possible till the exhibits closing date! There will also be a donations box if you happen to want to help me buy more paint. Cheers!

Check out Jonny’s art from January 30th until February 27th at Corto in the Bog Gallery!