Monthly archives: January 2018

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…)

Strong line-up of special brews at festival

Innovative brewers from across the country are set to stagger drinkers with a bevy of new and collaboration beers launching at the North’s biggest beer festival.

Eluisve’s Andy & Jane with RedWillow’s Toby McKenzie

Now in its fifth year, the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival has developed a reputation for curating unique pairings of brewers to create new beers.  The festival, which returns to Manchester Central at the end of the month, also provides some brewers with a prestigious venue to launch new ales. And it’s a perfect opportunity for those following ‘Tryanuary’ – the antidote to ‘Dry January’ – where drinkers are encouraged to try different beers, pubs and venues to support the UK brewing industry in what is usually a difficult month for the trade.

Some local brewers have travelled far and wide to give birth to new collaborations while others have welcomed visitors to the Manchester area.

Locally, Macclesfield’s RedWillow hosted a visit from Andy & Jane Parker of Berkshire’s Elusive Brewing to brew MoreOrLess American Brown Ale generously hopped with Cascade and Columbus. North Wales brewer Cwrw Iâl travelled to New Mills to collaborate with Torrside. Their effort really took the biscuit – ‘Viennese Whirl’ promises vanilla and raspberry to create a biscuit in a beer.In early January

Manchester’s Runaway travelled to Newcastle upon Tyne to forge an alliance with Newburn’s Box Social; expect a dry double-hopped Nelson and Apricot IPA, ‘Metanoia’. Alphabet Brewing Company’s Tom Evans set off from his Piccadilly railway arch on a 490-mile round trip to the well respected Vibrant Forest in Hampshire. Their beer is a 5.4% ABV Dunkle Weiss with exotic citrus notes from the hops. (more…)

Barcelona brewers head to #MBCF18

Following a successful collaboration in 2016, MBCF is renewing its partnership with Barcelona Beer Festival and welcoming five of Spain’s best breweries to the Barcelona Beer Festival bar at the 2018 festival.

Visitors to MBCF can get a small taste of the incredible craft beer scene in and around Barcelona with five of BBF’s favourite brewers from Catalonia and the Basque region attending MBCF, each bringing two draft beers. The beers will rotate throughout the festival and brewers from all five breweries will be on hand along with Barcelona’ Beer Festival director Juan Fiol.

In return, visitors to BBF will be able to enjoy beers from our own Blackjack, Marble, RedWillow, Runaway & Track when Barcelona Beer Festival opens the doors to it’s 7th Edition on 16th March 2018. The Festival is one of southern Europe’s largest events with 30,000 people attending.