Manchester Beer Week 2016 – It’s a Wrap

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So. That was the week that was. People came from all over the country. Manchester partied. Manchester rained. Manchester didn’t care.

This is Manchester after all.

And here is the man who pulled it off…. Looking like Ralf Hutter….

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Yes. Connor Murphy is a Kraftwerk robot body double.

The great and the good turned up for the opening bash at Manchester’s iconic pub, The Marble Arch. I turned up too.

Was a nice touch for the Arch to put beers from several Manchester breweries on the bar for the opening do too, including the collaboration Festival beer Manchester Fold.

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The t-shirt got an outing. THE t-shirt.

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The band were superb.

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And the pub looked as stunning as ever.

For a drinker who’d done weird shifts all week – and fell asleep on the way to the event – it was the perfect way to end the week. That and the Runaway Keg tap takeover at the Crown & Kettle later that evening.

With my work patterns, there were¬†way too many events that I couldn’t go to. Especially when I hadn’t finished planning my own event at The Brink 2 days later!

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Frightening isn’t quite the word I’d use. But it was damned close. My name was Thumper and there was a brightly headlit truck heading right towards me!

But with a little bit of Salfordian waffle and 5 fabulous beers from Pictish, Runaway, Brewsmith, Thirst Class & Serious Brew Co, we pulled it off, with no little skill from Kate & Sarah behind the bar. Thanks to Gareth for hosting us.

It was almost a sell-out and it was especially pleasing that each of the beers received some excellent comments that the brewers were there to hear first hand. Once the presenting bit was over, I got to enjoy it too. Way too much.

And it gave me an idea…… For ISBF.

I tried to get to the Heritage Brew night at the Smithfield, but work intervened. Went in the next night – all those beers had gone. Those Monday night drinkers must have been like hungry vampires in a blood bank!

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On the Wednesday, we had (what was for me) the unmissable “The Power of Yeast” event at Brew Dog on Peter Street.

Whilst I am no amateur brewer (I simply detest the phrase “home brewer”) and have no intention of being one, I was fascinated about this clever experiment. 4 local brewers. Each with the same malt & hop bill, just 4 different yeasts. A bit more science based than the Pete Brown music and beer experiment from Manchester Science Week.

Rob from Lallemand (yeast company) spoke eloquently and informatively about yeast strains and variants and the flavour effect that these can each have on beer. This was backed up by 4 different beers.

A “control beer” with a neutral yeast from Torrside – a clean and refreshing Pale Ale.

A Belgian yeast variant from Tickety Brew – typically spicy

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A refreshing and punchy Saison from Runaway and then a spicy, banana tinged Wit from Thirst Class. All superb and all demonstrating the different flavours that can be imparted by those enzymes that turn the sugars into the stuff that makes you fall over. Or makes you pull strange faces….

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And that – with a fleeting visit to the events at Black Jack & Runaway on Saturday was it for me – both relaxed and excellent as always (by the time I got to Runaway it was rammed! But still – strangely – with a really chilled out feel. Nila’s Burmese food was fabulous BTW…)

Using social media as oversight, all the events seemed to go really well judging by comments. Even Manchester’s customary weather failed to dampen the party spirit. If anything, people got off the tables and did a rain dance!

I was pleased to be there near the start of this process with Connor back last September. I was pleased to have watched the event grow in scope as his plans came to fruition. I was honoured to be asked to contribute in my own small way.

But be under no illusions. The boy had vision. The boy had energy (and boy how he needed it!). And he pulled it off with Mancunian wit and style.

I take my proverbial off to him.

Beer People Are Good People – There Are Exceptions

A while back now, I posited my truth about the people I’ve met through beer. To a contradictictory reaction of simultaneous praise and mockery.

I freely accept that it is not a universal truth. But it is MY truth.

And I invited others to tell theirs and had one or two rewarding conversations as a result. Conversation and debate is the lifeblood of blogging and all opinions are welcome.

But there are marks that are not to be overstepped. Abuse should not be tolerated.

I am a beer blogger. But I adore music just as much – if not more. I am also overtly political in that I am an avowed Socialist. The s is capitalised deliberately.

The “debate” about “In” or “Out” regarding the EU referendum in the media has been toxic and offensive. This appears to have shifted onto Social Media too, the nearer we get to polling day.

I have recently had reason to “unfriend” two “Beer People” on Facebook due to comments that I found – in order – ignorant/offensive and just downright offensive. I have met neither person physically, but felt that I had shared interests. Not being politically aligned is no reason to not get on – life has too many shades. It’s not all monochrome.

But I do draw lines.

My hashtag remains a truism to me. It is my truth. The people I have actually met on my ongoing beer adventure have been warm, welcoming and generous – both emotionally and with their time, products and effort. Brewers, drinkers, landlords and landladies. All good people.

My love of – and belief in – those people hasn’t altered one iota. Irrespective of their politics.

Beer People are still Good People. But there are exceptions.