Welcome to the beer festival that shows that CAMRA “do” UK Keg! Yes, I KNOW that the Campaign has had numerous kegged beers over the years! BUT…..These are beers brewed in the UK, mostly not designed to be dispensed from a cask. That is BIG news. To be celebrated.
And it has moved from the (“a little bit awkward to get to”) Velodrome – an iconic modern venue – to somewhere infinitely more “Central”. And more historically iconic. A Mancunian architectural masterpiece. And THAT should also be celebrated.
That out of the way, I’m a lucky sod. I get to see the beer list. And it is a big list. And – instantly removing anything from Marstons – there is something for everyone. Even me.
So. Being a “tactical drinker” at beer festivals, I compile a plan of attack – a “dance card” if you will, that panders to my Northern sensitivities. Others may list beers from that there London. Not I. With one exception (noted and explained below) mine are from no further South than Crewe and no further North than Malton.
A narrow focus.
But I care precisely how much?
Here we go, in strength order. Like I said, “tactical drinking”….. And, just in case you’re interested in trying any of these yourself, I’ve included the bar on which to find them. Because I’m nice like that!
No 2 Stout – Stringers Beer – Stout – 4% abv – Bar 3
A beer that I absolutely adored in bottle from the very first sip about 3 years ago. And I have NEVER had in on cask. I have often gazed at the pump clip on the wall at Port Street and whimpered. Envious.
Bitter and roasted. As black as Donald Trump’s evil heart. I will be distraught if I don’t get to try this. My #1 priority.
Admiral Porter – Brewsmith Beer – Porter – 4% abv – Bar 1
Why? Because it’s Brewsmith. And James Smith (see what he did there?) has yet to put out anything less than excellence.
And the Admiral hop gives the lie to those who whinge that UK hops are crap. It’s an aromatic beauty of a thing.
Sorachi Ace – Mallinsons Brewery – (Single Hopped) Pale Ale – 4.2% abv – Bar 2
Why? Stupid question. It’s Mallinsons. And it’s a single-hopped Pale Ale.
And – in the words of Carly Simon – “Nobody does it better”. I’ll be having a pint.
At least one….
Talisman IPA – Pictish Brewing – Pale Ale – 4.2% abv – Pictish Brewery Bar
A brewery that is in need of better PR. They should be HUGE. Possibly the most underrated brewery in Greater Manchester. Brewers of simply outstanding single-hopped Pale Ales.
Mr Scruff Pale – Squawk Brewing – Session IPA – 4.6% abv – Bar 3
Oliver Turton has been quietly brewing some of the best beers in Manchester for the last two years. That’s enough reason to do this.
And I love the Centennial hop.
Lupy Lager – Offbeat Brewery – Lager – 4.7% abv – Bar 2
A cask conditioned lager from one of my very favourite breweries? And it’s a one-off? Damn those CAMRA oiks! I’ll be having words with Miss Kelsall about that…..
Orange and Rosemary Belgian Pale – Bad Seed Brewery – Belgian Pale – 5% abv – Bar 1
Rosemary in beer can be herbal Marmite to some. But I love it. And Bad Seed would be just the brewery to pull this off.
Looking forward to trying this HUGELY.
Bitter Chocolate Stout – Runaway Brewery – Stout – 5% abv – Runaway Bar
A new beer to me from the best and most consistent new brewery in Manchester. Mark Welsby makes good beer. For those with no love of keg, prepare to be converted.
Mancunian Evil Keg Filth of the highest order. And you can quote me on that!
Two breweries unafraid to try something different. Or unusual. This beer can be safely said to tick BOTH of those boxes.
This sounds inspired. It’s certainly interesting!
OK. Track are banging out some tremendous beers with arguably the strongest core range of any Manchester brewery. I’ve been saying for AGES that Sonoma is a Manchester classic.
Factor in a collab with the best home brewer in the UK, Matt Dutton, this is going to be special! I have sampled several of Matt’s beers and he – should he choose to go commercial – is a star in the making. This beer rates as priority #2. Unmissable.
A Coffee IPA brewed especially for the festival by the most drinkable of breweries and Connor Murphy wearing his MBW head. Read the blog piece and it sounds AMAZING!
Centennial – Torrside Brewing – Porter – 5.4% abv – Bar 3
I have been lucky enough to try beers brewed at home by each of the Torrside triumvirate. It was therefore no surprise at all when they hit the ground running when they launched late last year.
My heart lies in darkness. Torrside make great beers. A marriage made in….
Nouvelle Saison: Beetroot and Horseradish –Alphabet Brew Co – Saison – 6% abv – KeyKeg Bar
I wouldn’t miss this flavour mix for all the tea in….. Intriguing to say the least!
Sorachi Grey – Five Oh Brew Co – IPA – 6.5% abv – Bar 1
If Jamie Hancock puts his beer in cask, it is both a rare event (wonder where he did it first?) and unmissable.
This man brews good beer.
Victoria Export Stout – Bexar County Brewery – Stout – 6.7% abv – Bar 1
My sole selection from south of Crewe. Why? Because I think that I have had 3 beers that this man has brewed. All excellent and two of those (a collab with HDM and his Pecan Coffee Mild) were among the best beers I’ve had in years!
And it’s pronounce BEAR. “The X is silent. The Beer speaks for itself” Indeed….
“Heavily hopped West Coast style IPA. Tangy bitterness & intense grapefruit, floral & tropical fruit flavours.” – Case rested!
Well. That’s that. As Rabbie Burns allegedly said “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley”, so (like last year) I’m bound to miss one of these. But it won’t be for the want of trying!
It’s Tryanuary. Get ticking!
And for those who want to plan ahead, here is the link to the full UK beer list! http://mancbeerfest.uk/beers-ciders/uk-beers/