Monthly archives: January 2016

Q&A with the people in charge of CAMRA

A unique opportunity to quiz CAMRA’s Chief Executive and Chairman arrives for branch members this month.

Both Chief Executive Tim Page and National Chairman Colin Valentine will be at Manchester Central in the heart of the city on the opening day of the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival. Organised by the Greater Manchester branches of CAMRA, the festival is moving and growing after two successful years at the National Cycling Centre.

And with some controversial regional and national issues affecting the country’s largest consumer organisation, organisers are expecting a lively Question Time “session”.

Festival Organiser Graham Donning said: “Recent changes to the local branch coverage, the rise of unfiltered and unpasteurised keg beers and the battle to save pubs from unwanted redevelopment or change of use are all topics I expect to be raised.”

The festival celebrates the diversity of British brewing with over 500 ales, ciders and perries on offer. Foreign beer fans will have a great selection of beers from the ‘big three’ – Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic – as well as a Rest of the World bar.

Tim Page and Colin Valentine will be facing questions from 5.30pm on Wednesday 20th January in the foyer area of Manchester Central. And unlike the BBC programme, this Question Time will welcome those with pints in hand.

National Chairman Colin Valentine is no stranger to the festival. “I was invited to the Velodrome in 2013 to see how the local branches had reinvented the concept in such a different setting. I’m sure the move to an even bigger venue will make for a great experience for all drinkers. It’s always great to hear from as many of our 170,000 members as possible. Greater Manchester is a growth area for members and breweries, so I don’t think there’ll be any awkward silences.”

The festival runs from Wednesday 20th to Saturday 23rd January 2016. Free or reduced price admission is available to CAMRA card holders. Advance tickets can be obtained through the festival website,


This month’s Manchester Beer and Cider Festival promises far more than just the amazing selection of 500+ beers, ciders and perries to sample. The move to Manchester Central in the heart of the city has given organisers space to develop events to appeal to beer lovers.

Probably the best-known champion of real ales and editor of the Good Beer Guide, Roger Protz will be sharing his knowledge of milds, porters and stouts with a tasting event on Thursday 21st and Friday 22nd. He is an experienced broadcaster as well as author of the best-selling ‘300 beers to try before you die’. It would be difficult to believe you’ve not read or heard Roger, as he is prolific in his output both here and in the USA.

Roger said:“Manchester is at the cutting edge of modern British beer brewing while keeping one eye firmly on its roots and traditions. It is a real ale Mecca, has stunning new breweries, pubs and bars and a wonderful traditional pub scene. Manchester Beer and Cider Festival will reflect that in the range and styles of beer on offer in its magnificent new venue, Manchester Central. I’m looking forward to it immensely.”

He will also be signing copies of his book before and after his session.

Two other highly-respected beer experts will also be in town.

Christine Cryne, a member of the British Guild of Beer Writers and chair of CAMRA’s London beer tasting panel enjoys challenging the perception that wine is the best accompaniment to food. She will be presenting six beers paired with different chocolates (beer and chocolate? What’s not to like?). Christine will explain how the beers were chosen to be the perfect match for each chocolate. You can be part of this event on Friday 22nd, and demand is sure to be high for tickets.

Travelling less far, but bringing his considerable knowledge of foreign and British beer styles is John Clarke. John is a leading member of Greater Manchester’s beer community and contributes a monthly beer column for City Life in the Manchester Evening News. He will be talking and tutoring two of his expert fields, India Pale Ales and Belgian beers. If you’ve ever wondered about the truth of those tales of IPAs brewed hoppy to withstand the sea journeys or what a Wit really is, John will enlighten you in his engaging style. He’ll present his IPA talk on Thursday and Friday, while Saturday festival visitors will have the chance to get the lowdown on the best of the Low Country.

Deputy Festival Organiser Peter Alexander said: “Our move to Manchester Central gives us the space to introduce new events to the festival. Beer is such a versatile product and we are delighted that three nationally recognised experts will be dispensing wisdom as well as drinks. Each presenter has their own individual style and subjects covered will include history of the style of beer and how the ingredients of beer interact to produce the taste that we all know and love. Demand is sure to be high for these sessions, so we recommend securing tickets early.” Tickets for these events are available from the festival website,


Alongside these, there will also be the Great Manchester Beer Debate, a free discussion held in the foyer on Saturday afternoon, and open to anyone with a opinion on the current issues of the day. CAMRA members will also have a unique opportunity to listen to and quiz Chief Executive Tim Page and National Chairman Colin Valentine who will be together from 5.30pm on Thursday 21st in the foyer.

Of course, you could just visit the festival to enjoy a few beers with friends…

Manchester Beer and Cider Festival runs from Wednesday 20th to Saturday 23rd January 2016 at Manchester Central M2 3GX


  1. If you would like to interview any of the presenters, please contact us, details below.
  2. Fuller pen pictures of presenters are available on request.
  3. Schedule of tasting events is at
  4. A selection of images from previous festivals is at

Contact David Rigby via contact page

Manchester Beer and Cider Festival supports Breast Cancer Care

The Manchester Beer and Cider Festival has chosen Breast Cancer Care as the official charity for 2016 and 2017.

Manchester’s biggest beer festival from 20 – 23 January 2016, will see over 13,000 people descend upon Manchester Central, to taste some of the best beers, ciders and perries from the UK and Europe. As part of the event, Breast Cancer Care will be raising funds and promoting local services for people affected by breast cancer.

Throughout Greater Manchester, Breast Cancer Care supports anyone facing breast cancer through a variety of services, such as their Moving Forward courses at Salford Royal Hospital and Wythenshawe Hospital.

Penny Berisford, from Stockport, helps facilitate the Moving Forward course and will volunteer at the Festival, says: “Breast Cancer Care was there for me when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I phoned the Helpline several times – they answered questions when I couldn’t speak to the medical staff or my breast care nurse. They really helped to allay any fears that I had about treatment.

“Since then, volunteering has been a rewarding experience and I love getting out in the community and telling people about the charity. I feel it’s important for me to help as all the money raised will go towards helping women who, like me, are facing breast cancer. Just to be able to tell one more person about Breast Cancer Care, will mean that one more person will not have to face breast cancer alone.”

Anna Foley, Community Fundraiser at Breast Cancer Care says: “We are incredibly grateful for the support of CAMRA and the festival organisers. Not only will this event help us to raise money for Breast Cancer Care’s vital services, it will also help ensure more people know we are here for anyone facing breast cancer. Whether it is your Mum, sister, aunt or uncle, we provide care, support and information from day one.”

Festival Organiser Graham Donning says: “Our visitors are attracted by the opportunity to sample some of the best beers in Britain, but we know they are also a generous lot. From a long list of charities, I’m pleased our organising team chose Breast Cancer Care as our charity partner. Their support will improve the festival experience, and swell the number of volunteers involved in staging this major event.”

Over 500 British beers, ciders and perries will be available to enjoy in the main hall, alongside foreign beers from Europe and further afield.

Organisers are anticipating bigger crowds than 2015’s record-breaking attendance. Advance tickets are available from the festival website, and its Facebook page.

– Ends –

For further information contact::


David Rigby, Festival Press Contact
Via contact page

Breast Cancer Care

Anna Foley, Community Fundraiser (North and Midlands)
Telephone: 0114 263 6482

Notes to editors:

In line with the NHS guidelines Breast Cancer Care recommends women should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week, no more than three units in any one day, and have at least two alcohol-free days a week. Men should drink no more than 21 units of alcohol per week, no more than four units in any one day, and have at least two alcohol-free days a week.

About Breast Cancer Care:

When you have breast cancer, everything changes. Time becomes measured in appointments. The next scan. The next results. The next challenge.

At Breast Cancer Care, we understand the emotions, challenges and decisions you face every day. So, from the day you notice something’s not right to the day you begin to move forward, we’ll be here to help you through.

Whether you want to speak to our nurses, download our specialist information or connect with volunteers who have faced what you are facing now, we can help you feel more in control.

For care, support and information from day one, call our nurses free on 0808 800 6000 or visit

About MBCF

Great Manchester Brew Off

The increased numbers of commercial breweries around the region has been matched by a growth in the popularity of home brewing. The city has two successful home brew groups in Manchester & Chorlton where amateur brewers regularly meet up to swap tips and recipes and try the beers of their contemporaries. Although brewing kits still adorn the shelves of supermarkets, many of these home brewers are brewing “full mash” beers from raw ingredients and many of the resulting beers easily stand up against commercial beers.

These beers normally only reach the lips of a few friends and family but we’ve challenged the two groups to put a beer in front of 13,000 people at #MBCF16 by brewing their recipes on full scale brew-kits at a commercial brewery.

Chorlton Home Brewers normally meet at The Font in Chorlton, but today (3rd January) they are at Beer Nouveua brewery mashing in a pale ale which will be on Bar 1 at #MBCF16 in just over two weeks time.
Torrside Brewery in New Mills will be the host for the Manchester Home Brew club tomorrow (4th January). We hear the club, who normally meet on the third Thursday of the month, downstairs at The Beermoth, Tib Street are planning an English IPA which will feature on Bar 3 at the festival.
Once their work is done, it will be for you, the drinking public to decide which is the best beer. We’ll have just over 400 third pints of each beer so the method of competition will be easy. We won’t do any blind tasting or anything fancy – just a simple judgement on which beer do you drink the most of. Will one, or both of them even be so popular you drink it all?
You’ll also be able to judge their efforts against the country’s very best homebrewer. Manchester can proudly boast being home to the current National Homebrew Champion, Matt Dutton who won the Best Of Show award in the 2015 UK National Homebrew Competition with his Coup D’Etat Brett beer.
Matt is a mainstay of the Chorlton Homebrewers group which meet up at Chorlton’s Font Bar and also a regular attendee at meetings in Manchester. he’ll be brewing up one of his own recipes for the festival with Sam Dyson at the Track Brewing Company. The beer will also be on Bar 3 when the festival opens at Manchester Central on 20th January.
Chorlton Homebrewers @ChorltonBrewers


Chorlton Homebrewers gather at Beer Nouveau

Chorlton Homebrewers gather at Beer Nouveau

Chorllton Homebrewers - Loading mash tun

The brewers prepare to brew

Chorllton Homebrewers - mash in

Mashing In