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Corto’s First Natural Wine Tasting Event!

We’re hosting our first natural wine tasting event!

On Thursday 12 August 2021 from 7pm until around 9.30pm (no rush), Katie will take you through five of our latest bottles from around Europe that have sparked our imagination and made us close our eyes and go “woah”.

You’ll learn about the winemakers behind the wines and find out why they do what they do in the way that they do it. Of course, you’ll get to taste the five wines and learn about why they taste the way that they do. And there’ll be paired snacks too! (Vegan options available)

If you’ve never been to a wine tasting before and don’t know what to expect, here are some tips:

  • Sniff the wine
  • Sip the wine
  • Chat about the wine
  • Have a blast

This is the first of, we hope, many wine tasting events at Corto where we can make wine less intimidating and more fun. We might even play some games.

Get your tickets to our FIRST EVER WINE TASTING EVENT here via Eventbrite: https://corto_firstwinetasting.eventbrite.co.uk 

A bit more on Natural Wine

Natural wine is one of our favourite things.

It’s wine that’s been made with as little intervention as the winemaker sees fit — at the very least it’ll be grown without pesticides, although often you won’t find organic hallmarks on the bottles we sell. It’s an expensive cost winemakers prefer to avoid, using organic practices because they prefer to, not to tick a box.

As much as we love the eco aspects of natural wine, there’s another side to it that’s just as compelling. 

The wild way these wines express themselves is something, we believe, is hard to recreate using conventional methods. The experimentation, innovation and creativity of natural winemakers is something, we think, is worth celebrating. They are using ancient methods to care for their vines and make their wines, in a modern setting where low intervention techniques and a mind towards the environment has never been more important.

So that’s why we love natural wine. We hope after you taste some of our latest bottles, you will too!

Buy your ticket to our first ever wine tasting here

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Soft, Low and No – Non-Alcoholic Drinks to get Excited About

Not everybody wants to drink alcohol. Not everybody can. Sometimes you just want a delicious beverage without the booze. Nobody should judge!

We’ve put together a list of soft, low alcohol and no alcohol drinks for Corto that quench thirsts and tickle tastebuds so efficiently you’ll never even notice the negligible ABV.

Continue reading Soft, Low and No – Non-Alcoholic Drinks to get Excited About
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Natural Wine — What is it? And why do we love it so much?

If you’ve ever popped into our little temporary bottle shop (two weeks until it turn into a bar!) or you had a look on our webshop when it was online during the Delivery Days, you’ll have noticed our natural wine selection.

Spanning France, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Argentina, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, we’ve had natural wines from all over the world on our shelves, from regions that you might never have heard of or drank wine from before. We love that. Finding unusual and amazing wine unexpectedly is a total joy and we will NEVER get bored of it.

But what exactly is natural wine? And why do we love it? Let’s have a bit of a chat about it.

Natural Wine is made with “low intervention”

When we say “low intervention” or even “low intervention wine”, what we mean is wine that’s been made with as little extra fuss and faff as possible.

Natural wine isn’t an official term (although some certifications are available… we’ll maybe talk about that another time) and it’s mainly used as a way to single out wines made a certain way.

Natural wine is essentially the way wine used to be made in the olden days: grow some grapes, squish them, let the juice ferment with it’s own natural yeasts, maybe filter it, store it, bottle it (maybe with a dash of sulphur, maybe not), drink it.

Some winemakers like to go a bit further and use Biodynamic processes to make their wine in connection to the land and things like the moon’s phases. We’ll write about that another time!

What’s “conventional wine”?

Wine you might find in the supermarket can still taste great, but it’s normally what you call “conventional” wine, meaning that it’s not made in a low intervention way. In fact, it can be made with a whole ton of intervention, from using reconstituted concentrated juice, to having additives added in to improve flavour, colour and texture. And that’s not even mentioning additional sugar, preservatives, co2 or the unnatural pesticides and fertilizers used on the grapes as they grow.

We aren’t against conventional wine. In fact we sell some, sometimes. We choose our wine based on how it tastes and how much we can appreciate the care and attention to detail the winemaker has given their wines from vineyard to table. 

What we often say is that we choose mostly natural wine because this way of making wine can prove that the winemaker has thought about every aspect of the winemaking process, and is making the best possible wine from the raw materials at hand — and that’s what really excites us about wine anyway.

Natural wine at Corto

When Corto opens as a bar on Friday 4th June 2021, we’ll be serving natural wine alongside a huge range of natural cider and craft beer. To us, each of these tasty things is just as important as each other.

Natural wine can be a little more expensive compared to mass-produced wine, and so we’ll be selling a range of different wines by the glass (BTG) every week to give you the chance to try them. Making delicious things accessible is something we’re really keen on at Corto and often a whole bottle of something unfamiliar can seem offputting. 

Come in for a glass and see what you think — wine shots will be available too if you can’t make your mind up!

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Corto (the bar) is opening on Friday 4th June!!

We have a date! We’ve set it! The day is nearly here!

Corto will open on Friday 4th June 2021.

Book your table!

Email us to book your table at hello@cortobar.co.uk

Opening Hours from June 4th

Friday 4th June: 12pm – 11pm

Saturday 5th June: 12pm – 11pm

Sunday 6th June: 12pm – 10pm

Thursday 10th June: 12pm – 10pm

Friday 11th June: 12pm – 11pm

Saturday 12th June: 12pm – 11pm

Sunday 13th June: 12pm – 10pm

*We can seat tables of up to 6 people due to current Covid guidelines*

More fun details to come!

We’ve got a ton of ace announcements to make between now and our Grand Opening Weekend (unofficial title) so keep your scrolling to a minimum and look out for more news on our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages.

Also, if you’ve not signed up to our newsletter yet, make sure you get involved! That’s where all our most exciting news gets broken first.

Sign up here.

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We’re shutting down the Corto webshop — and we’d love to tell you why

From the start, Corto was meant to be a place to chill. Somewhere deliciously relaxed and vibey, where we could pour drinks and serve snacks, run tasting events and generally have a great time.

A webshop is none of that.

Webshops done well are great sources of excellent products, run by people who have the time and expertise to upload fresh drops on the daily, keep everyone up-to-date, and maybe even have the warehousing space to buy in large numbers to pass savings on to customers. They almost certainly have the resources to ship their products cross-country (something we never really figured out how to do inexpensively and quickly — sorry Clitheroe post office).

The Corto webshop was a means to an end — a way to keep connected to you while we were ford to close over the third lockdown at Christmas. It was a quickly-built site that did the job well (and we were super proud to have been able to do it all by our clever little selves) but it was never our intention to keep it going. It was a temporary fix, and that word “temporary” is important to us.

It meant that closures and lockdowns wouldn’t last forever. It means that someday, and that day is getting closer, we won’t be a shop at all. 

Corto (the Shop) as it currently is

Now that we’ve been able to open our little shopfront for a couple of weeks and been able to talk to you about whether you like using click and collect, we’ve made the decision to close our webshop for good. It turns out you don’t like click and collect. You prefer coming in for a chat. This is great! So do we prefer that!!

Katie especially hated updating the webshop because it reminded her of all the digital marketing jobs she used to do. All that metadata. No thank you.

Owning your own business is a responsibility, but it also means that every now and again you have the absolute authority to not do things you hate.

So GOODBYE, CORTO WEBSHOP! It’s been real. But we’re ready for the next thing now.

COME VISIT US AT 36 KING STREET, CLITHEROE IN PERSON!!

Your Reviews

We want to take a sec here to say thank you so much for all your amazing reviews. They were pretty much the only part of the webshop we loved. 

We’ve kept them for posterity, they meant that much to us.

If you’d like to keep leaving reviews for us, please remember that there is always Google and Facebook! But also, message us. DM us. We always want to know what you thought of that thing you bought — especially if you loved it.

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Corto May Bank Holiday Opening Times — come and visit!

This bank holiday we’re open on Friday and Saturday for take-out beer, wine and cider. So come and visit us for some delicious bevs and a bit of a chat!

May Bank Holiday Opening Times

Friday 30 April – 11am — 7pm

Saturday 1 May – 11am — 2pm

Sunday 2 May – CLOSED

Bank Holiday Monday – CLOSED

We are closing early on Saturday 1 May and closed on Sunday 2 May and Bank Holiday Monday because we’re going camping. No excuses here! The building work is going great, we’re on schedule (more on that next week!) and we’re excited to get decorating. We’ve decided that before we open the bar we need a proper break. We haven’t stopped for months, especially Katie, who alongside Corto works as a writer and an editor.

Camping is gonna be boss. We’ll send you some pics.

New In Stock

While we’re here, have a look at some of the freshies we’ve got in stock!

Belching Beaver x Deftones – Phantom Bride

Deftones-branded beer. A gimmick? Yeah, but so what. It’s DEFTONES-BRANDED BEER.

A lip-smacking west coast IPA clear, crisp and precise like Abe’s drumming and bitter-as-you-like. Swiftly drinkable and totally delicious.

Yeastie Boys and North End Brewery

We’re big fans of Yeastie Boys. Does that surprise you?

They may have a core range in supermarkets but their beers are always on point. Also, their ethos is banging — they are good people, making good beer, working hard to do good things.

We were invited to a tasting they ran alongside fellow New Zealand brewery North End a couple of months back and we just loved their story and the brilliant mixed ferm beers they’d created.

So, of course, we nabbed a few for our shelves.

Yeastie Boys x North End — West Moon

An old ale made with the old British brewing technique of boiling the grist for a long period of time to leech all that flavourful malty strength from it and bring it to a deep colour. When we say this beer was boiled for a long time, we mean looooong. They stayed up all night, watching the wort turn from straw-pale to deep copper as it caramelised in the kettle. 

Then, the wort was inoculated with a strain of wild yeast cultured with love and care (honestly, head brewer Kieran Haslatt-Moore couldn’t have been more excited about this when he was chatting about making the beer) from a 1977 bottle of Bass Jubilee Ale.

West Moon was put to bed in 500L oak puncheons to referment with the wild yeast for 6 months.

What’s happened in that time is magical. A beautifully tangy, deeply earthy and leathery beer reaches your tastebuds and chucks fun little flavours in every direction. Fruit! Toffee! Toast! 

But it gets better with age. That’s the idea. Kieran told us that West Moon was brewed to be laid down in cellar and aged, and to be brought out and enjoyed on a special occasion — just as old ales were in the past. Old ales were a present on a birthday, a gift to mark the birth of a baby or given to celebrate a promotion, and then enjoyed years later on the baby’s 18th birthday, or years later whenever drinking delicious beer with loved ones was the order of the day.

On the label is a painting of a photo of Kieran as a baby with his dad, a special image for him and an homage to his deep belief that beer should be enjoyed with the people you love.

We’ve got a bottle for ourselves stashed away for a special occasion way in the future. One we’ve not even decided on yet. But also, drinking together with people you love is a special occasion in itself — which is why we’ve already had one. Drink the beer. You only live once.

North End Brewing — Saison de Terroir

Another beauty from North End, we were absolutely thrilled to be able to grab a case of this deliciously delicate farmhouse sour beer.

They say: “We have helped add a big dose of ‘terroir’ into this beer by taking our Saison and re-fermenting it in barrels with a blend of wild yeasts from Waikanae. The result is tangy, lightly tart and extremely fruity.”

On top of these we’ve got a load of super special bottles stashed away for our opening weekend (which we’ll announce the dates of in NEXT WEEK’S NEWSLETTER. Subscribe now if you don’t already so you don’t miss out.) 

Did somebody say… Rose de Gambrinus?

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Brewing up a storm with Rivington Brewing Co. and Exchange Coffee Co.

Exciting beer-related news everyone! We’re collaborating with Rivington Brewing Co. to brew a unique beer for our opening at the end of May — with the help of local tea and coffee company Exchange Coffee Co..

After months of operating as a delivery service and as a bottle shop, we’re super chuffed to be almost ready to open. We’ve not announced our grand opening weekend dates yet because we want to be absolutely sure we won’t be delayed by last minute building work or government lockdown surprises. But, we will be announcing it soon. Make sure you’re signed up to our newsletter to hear about it first.

Brewing with Rivington Brewing Co.

We’re collabing with Rivington to make a Belgian Wit with a citrussy twist, using Orange Oolong Tea from Exchange Coffee Co. in Clitheroe to give it a citrus boost. Ideal with El Dorado, the delightfully fruity, orangey hops we’ve used.

The beer will be available in pubs and bars around the North West from late May in cans and in some kegs too, and will also be poured at the Rivington Brewing Co. tap room at Home Farm, Rivington.

Opening Corto has been a long time coming, especially after the disaster that was 2020, and we’re really excited to be able to create a beer to celebrate its opening weekend with a brewery we rate so highly. When we open we’ll have their flagship Pale Ale “Never Known Fog Like It” on a permanent draught line at Corto, exclusive to us within Clitheroe.

Rivington are up there with the best breweries in the country for us — the fact that they’re local is absolutely ace! We’re so lucky to have them so close by and to be able to count them as friends.

The yet-to-be-named beer brewed by Rivington Brewing Co. and Corto will be available in can as well as keg in local independent bars and bottle shops later this Spring.

Corto’s opening date will be announced at the beginning of May. Anyone interested in making reservations should sign up to the Corto newsletter via www.cortobar.co.uk where opening announcements will be made first.

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Corto (The Shop) Lives Again! It’s Alive!

Just like Frankenstein’s monster, we’re back. Of course, it’s only Frankenstein’s monster if it was built from body parts in or near Geneva — otherwise it’s just a sparkling reanimated corpse.

Today we’re opening our lil door on King Street, Clitheroe from 12pm — 6pm, offering real life recommendations and full-on chats for the first time in, ooh, four months? Come in and talk to us about your fave beers, wine and cider that you’ve tried since then. We want to talk to you!! It’s been too long!

Opening Hours

Friday 16 April: 12pm — 6pm

Saturday 17 April 12pm — 6pm

Sunday 18 April 12pm — 4pm

What’s the plan, then?

As you know, we’re a bar. That’s the main thing to remember. Our shop is temporary, but for now, it’s all we’ve got, so we’re making the best of it.

From this weekend we’re reopening as a shop while building work continues on our bar area. This means that in the next few weeks we may need to move our opening times around to fit in with the building schedule — we hope you can bear with us. You should see the plans. It’ll be totally worth it.

The shop will be fully stocked with amazing beer, natural wine and natural cider, from independent producers and brewers. What’s even more exciting is that this time around we can offer tasters, so make sure you pop by for a wee drop of something cool. It’s not exactly table service, but it’s a start!

By the end of May we’re hoping to be open fully as a bar, and the bottle shop will be no more. Stay tuned for announcements about this in the coming weeks. Our newsletter subscribers will be the first to hear about our opening dates so if you’re not already signed up, what are you waiting for?

Deliveries are Over. Come and Visit!

We’re no longer operating our delivery service. Now that the shop is open again, we can’t operate both at the same time.

We are, however, enabling click and collect via our webshop, so if you feel more comfortable with a contactless system please continue to order online and we’ll pack it up and leave it for you by the door or at your car.

See you soon! Can’t wait!

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Our Final Deliveries This Weekend. The End Of A Mini-Era!

Lockdown restrictions are easing next week. You know that already. The pubs are opening, we’ve been counting down the days, and we’re sure you have too!

We never planned to open during the first phase of re-opening for a couple of reasons. Firstly, we don’t have outdoor space that would be enjoyable to sit in — the pavement is too narrow, it would cause too many tuttings and congestions. Secondly, our building work was always planned to continue through this time, and we can’t really expect you to come in and enjoy yourselves while all the powertools in the world rave on in the background.

Better to wait, and open when we’re as near to perf as possible.

Launching Corto Click and Collect, and Re-Launching the Kiosk

While we get ready for opening (not long now! More news coming soon!) we’re re-launching the Corto kiosk.

Pop by every Friday and Saturday from 12pm — 6pm and Sunday from 12pm — 4pm to come in and BUY STUFF IRL!

We’ll be there to help with recommendations, to refill growlers and refillable wine bottles, and just to have a right good catch-up. Come and chat to us. We’ve missed you!

We’ll also be offering click and collect, so come by to pick up your orders during the kiosk opening times and we’ll have them ready for you.

Having Time to do the Things We Love

A big part of why both of us decided to open our own business was to give us the opportunity to pursue things we love in life. Corto is a huge part of our life now, and we’re planning to make sure we give it all of our best energy. That means setting boundaries, and opening at times that work for you and for us too.

This is our way of saying that we’re not opening on Monday because we’ll be at the pub. 

Our opening times will be updated on our website, on Google and available on our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook profiles. So don’t worry, there should never be a time when you turn up expecting to come in and we’re not there!

Looking forward to seeing you at the shop soon x

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Get to Know Strata Brewing Co. — Ace Craft Beer From Whitworth, Lancs

Strata - Thalweg

If you’re familiar with Strata Brewing Co. already, you’ll know that Andy Morrison started brewing his delicious beers in Bolton as part of Rammy Craft Brewery. Since then, he’s gone solo, starting up cuckoo brewery Strata Brewing Co. and moved into Mighty Medicine’s 10bl brewery in Whitworth, Lancashire.

It’s been a while since we caught up with Andy, so we decided to hop on Zoom and ask him how his day was going. 

Strata Brewing Co - Thalweg at Corto, Clitheroe

Hi Andy! It’s been a long time since either of us came to visit you on a brew day. What’s been going on in Strata world since your move from Bolton?

“Since Bolton I got speaking to a friend with a bar in Rochdale called The Medicine Tap. He’s got a 10bl brewery just outside of Rochdale in a town called Whitworth, and he asked me if I’d like to lease it as a cuckoo brewery.”

“It’s quite a traditional cask-style brewery, with these big tall tanks. They’re massive actually. A lot of people think you need shiny, conical tanks to make trendy beer, but I’ve been having a lot of fun brewing beer that’s become fashionable in the ways they were originally made — using Boddies yeast in an open-top fermenter, finding workarounds to make what I want with the equipment that I have.”

“I’m given free reign in the brewery which is really cool, and so I’m enjoying finding ways to use it differently. Tweaks, not bodges. A friend called it “stoner engineering”— those quick fixes and overrides to overcome challenges in the brew. The brewer who was here before me used to do the same thing, and he was old-school. To keep the seal for one of the fermenters in place he’d used a split hosepipe as a sort-of guard. Worked a treat.”

It’s great to see you picking up momentum again. How have you been since lockdown 1?

“Last January was big; I got through to the Indy Man Beer Con Thirsty Games final, I had some wicked collabs organised, some beer festivals books that I was really excited about, and then obviously it all just fell away.”

“Everything being cancelled last year was a bit gutting because I’d felt so good about 2020 at the start of the year. But, it’s happened, and I just hope it all picks up again once everyone’s vaccinated and stuff.”

“So since lockdown I’ve been concentrating on canning and small-pack: things like bag-in-box have been quite popular with my regulars. But honestly, I’ve only done about 6 brews since the first lockdown. I’ve not been eligible for any government grants or financial help of ay sort, so it’s been quite tough just brewing when I needed to and keeping the business going on a shoestring.”

“It’s a little frustrating at the moment just brewing bits and pieces, you can’t really release a full representation of what you’re about. I just want to get back brewing!”

What are you most looking forward to brewing and releasing into the world?

“I’m looking forward to brewing the latest iteration of my Vietnamese Coffee Porter. It always goes down really well. Vietnamese coffee is just one of these things that I really like, and I don’t know why more people don’t brew with it! The chocolatey taste you get from the coffee beans is delicious.”

“I’m also hoping I can bring my hoppy pale Strike out in keg, I think it’ll work really, really well. It’s only 3.6% ABV but the Vienna malt in the base gives it much more body than you’d expect. I use Mosaic and Centennial for it which I love — it’s untrendy but I like it!”

What have you been enjoying brewing recently?

“It was Strata’s first birthday in August, so I got hold of some brand new Strata hops (we were named Strata first!) and made a single hop Strata pale. I really enjoyed that one, and I want to make it again.”

“Also, for the Independent Salford Beer Festival I brewed Tutoku, a 4.5% NZ Pale, which was hopped with a field blend of different New Zealand hops from an organic hop farm over there. I really enjoyed how this beer turned out and I love the idea of field blended hops. I wish more hop growers and companies did it. I used a blend of London ESB — a Fuller’s yeast — and Windsor yeasts to create these like, stone fruit esters and I was just really, really happy with it.”

“Thalweg is my Cascade pale, and in it I use Cascade and Idaho 7, which is actually related to Cascade, it’s like a modern version of it. I enjoy finding ways to brew modern, progressive beer but keeping to the aspects of old-school or more trad beers that made them so good. Thalweg is old-meets-new, a gateway beer, an easy drinker, and I think it’s translated really well to can.” 

And as luck would have it, we’ve got Thalweg in can on the Corto webshop right now! Go get it!

We love Andy’s beers and we can’t wait to open Corto so we can pour them by the pint! Wishing Strata Brewing Co. all the best of luck for 2021, and we hope they get all the attention they deserve 🙂