Key-keg beer wins Manchester Brewers Challenge

The inaugural Manchester Brewers’ Challenge was judged at Manchester Beer & Cider Festival on Wednesday 24th January. Brewers from across Greater Manchester were invited to nominate one beer each in whatever format they felt best presented their chosen beer. Beers were entered in all possible formats – cask, keg, key-keg, bottle and can.

Three rounds of judging panels made up of brewers, publicans, CAMRA tasting panel members and other industry experts whittled these down to a final six and then a final three.

1st: Alphabet Brewing Co Type A (key-keg format)

2nd: Wily Fox Karma Citra (bottle format)

3rd: Irwell Works Brewery Marshmallow Unicorn (cask format)

Alphabet’s Type A was a Double IPA weighing in at 7% ABV and described as an orangey juice bomb using Mosaic, Simcoe, Azacca and Rakau hops.

The other finalists were Donkeystone Javanilla, Hophurst Cosmati and Millstone Tiger Rut, all in cask format.


Can you have too much choice?

Organisers of Manchester Beer and Cider Festival are pushing the limits of choice

Drinkers heading for the North’s biggest beer and cider celebration are also heading for a problem. The choice of real ales, modern keg, foreign beers, cider and perry may overwhelm them…

IMGP2653The Manchester Beer and Cider festival marks its fifth year with an outstanding menu of the best brewers and producers can muster. This year, 22 bars will serve 750 different examples sure to appeal to lovers of traditional British ales, those seeking the cutting edge of modern brewing and fans of foreign beer styles. With ciders, perrys, fruit wines, mead and handmade sodas, there’s sure to be a drink for every taste.

The festival will offer a massive choice of over 650 beers from around the world (plus 103 ciders and perrys). The range of modern keg beers from both the UK and overseas will be the largest ever. However, as you would expect from an event organised by the nine Greater Manchester branches of the Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA), the focus is on cask-conditioned beers with almost 400 to choose from.

Three huge cask bars will occupy the width of the former rail station, Manchester Central offering a massive range of strengths and styles. Established brewers such as Marble Beers, Magic Rock, Salopian and Thornbridge will be pouring next to newcomers including Manchester’s own Pomona Island and Wander Beyond and Runcorn’s Chapter Brewing.

The beer selection runs from session supping ales like Track’s 3.0% ‘Equanot’ up to those definitely intended to be savoured – such as the 10.6% ‘Belgian Quad in Bourbon’ from Leeds’ Legitimate Industries (headed up by former Marble Beers head brewer Matt Howgate). Another beer to be sipped rather than supped is also likely to be one of the most popular – a return to the cask beer format for Cloudwater who will be offering up ‘Wizard King’, a 12% Belgian Imperial Stout brewed in collaboration with Manchester’s Port Street Beer House. (more…)