Monthly archives: January 2014

Beer, Cider & Perry Of The Festival

Punch TavernsCustomers of the Manchester Beer & Cider Festival were invited to vote for their Beer of The Festival – sponsored by Punch Taverns.

The result of the vote was:

1st: Bateman’s Mocha Amaretto

2nd: Pictish Blue Moon

3rd: Bridgehouse Porter

Customers also voted for their Cider & Perry of The Festival

Cider Of The Festival: Millwhites Hedgelayer

Perry Of The Festival: Troggi Perry

Thanks to all those who voted and congratulations to the winning breweries & producers.

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Competition Results



Gold:         Hawkshead Cumbrian Five Hop

Silver:        Bank Top Dark Mild

Bronze:      Offbeat Way Out Wheat

4th:           Ulverston Fra Diavolo

5th:              RedWillow Heartless

6th:           JW Lees Moonraker

Champion Winter Beer Of Britain
North-West Regional Round

Old Ales & Strong Milds

Gold: Ulverston Fra Diavolo

Silver: Ulverston Bad Medicine

Bronze: Cumbrian Grasmoor Dark Ale

Bollington Winter Reserve
Jennings Sneck Lifter
Marble Chocolate Marble
Saddleworth Shaftbender
Tatton Yeti

Barley Wines & Strong Old Ales

Gold: Lees Moonraker

Silver: Robinson’s Old Tom

Bronze: Coniston No 9 Barley Wine

Dunham Massey Winter Warmer
Hawkshead XXX Brodie’s Prime
Hydes XXXX
Thwaites Old Dan
Wapping Winter Ale


Gold: RedWillow Smokeless

Silver: Blakemere Deep Dark Secret

Bronze: Boggart Hole Clough Rum Porter

Bank Top Port O Call
Dunham Massey Dunham Porter
Hawkshead Brodie’s Prime
Pictish Porter
Wapping Smoked Porter


Gold: RedWillow Heartless

Silver: Dent T’owd Tup

Bronze: Beartown Polar Eclipse

Coniston Special Oatmeal Stout
Hawkshead Drystone Stout
Kirkby Lonsdale Jubilee Stout
Liverpool Organic Kitty Wilkinson
Liverpool Organic Imperial Russian Stout

Advice for disabled visitors

Day one of festival was very popular and we’ve had some great feedback on the beers but it is a new festival and there is always room for improvement.

We acknowledge that anybody who has any disability will find the stairs (initially 48 down and 18 up) difficult to get to and from the “beer floor”, we did instruct our foyer staff to point this out to anybody who appeared to have some difficulties in walking. We did offer a “flatter” route with lift access – though quite a convoluted route via areas of the Velodrome that we are not hiring – to the floor. We also pointed out that due to staffing difficulties we could not escort visitors one at a time and they would have to wait until we could gather together a relevant number for escort.

The advice we would offer is that if anybody has any difficulties in negotiating the stairs that they sit in any one of the 1500+ seats available with a magnificent view of the festival and that they get somebody from within their party to fetch drinks to them. For this purpose we do have drink carriers available (cardboard “trays”). This way all such customers would be adjacent to the other facilities provided.

We also acknowledge that there is little (if any) seating on the floor as the building is not geared up for providing any real quantity of seating in the centre as it has over 3,500 seats in the auditorium. We are seeking to get as many seats and tables put on the floor today but as with most beer festivals there is always great demand for seating which we thought we had overcome in this venue. The expectation was that many customers would have a couple of drinks on the “beer floor” then return to the seating available for the refreshment breaks required.

In Search of the Champion

The hunt for the North West’s top winter beer and best Overall Champion Beer of the North West will be coming to the Velodrome at the National Cycling Centre in January.

To say it is no easy feat being crowned the best winter beer in Britain would be a bit of an understatement. At the turn of the 21st century traditional winter beer styles such as Old Ales and Strong Milds were under threat, with many historic recipes overlooked in the face of dwindling consumer demand.

Fast forward a decade, and with the nation boasting over 1100 breweries regularly producing way in excess of 5,500 different real ales, a renaissance has occurred in recent years, and particularly in the field of outstanding dark, malty, rich and roasted beers for those colder months of the year. British beer drinkers are faced with more variety and choice than ever.

Such huge variety means that it has never been a more difficult time to judge the Regional winners that will then go forward to the National Champion Winter Beer of Britain competition in Derby. That winner will then go forward to the Supreme Champion Beer of Britain at the Great British Beer Festival held in London in August.

While only a select number of real ales make it to the North West Regional Finals which are being held at Manchester Beer & Cider Festival – falling into the categories of Old Ales/Strong Milds, Porters, Stouts and Barley Wines – in reality the competition itself begins at grass roots level right across Britain soon after the previous year’s Finals have taken place.

With its vast local branch structure, CAMRA relies on its 150,000+ members to put forward branch and tasting panel nominations for the finest beers produced by brewers in the North West. Beers then make it through to the Finals held annually, with a judging panel usually consisting of brewers, publicans, drinks writers, CAMRA members and even the odd celebrity deciding upon the overall winners.

The Manchester Beer & Cider Festival is also pleased to have been chosen to host a new competition to find the Overall Champion Beer of the North West. The winner will be judged out of the 4 Winter Beer winners found here and the 6 other North West Region Beer categories which have been judged at other events around the North West during 2013.

With the future looking bright for all traditional beer styles, you’ll find champions both past and present at the festival – including the current Supreme Champion Beer Of Britain – Elland’s 1872 Porter and it’s predecessor – No 9 Barley Wine from Coniston Brewery. Each style has their own unique flavour profiles and the Manchester Beer & Cider Festival with over 300 beers to choose from offers a chance to explore the wonderful world of beer.