Move over Herbie, we’re parking the bus

There’s a special vehicle heading for the North’s biggest beer festival – but it will remain stationary when it arrives at Manchester Central.

The ‘Jaipur Beer Bus’ is a 1975 VW campervan lovingly restored and owned by one of the most popular British breweries, Thornbridge of Bakewell in Derbyshire. Last seen at the Great British Beer Festival in London’s Olympia, the eye catching vehicle heralds the debut of the brewer at Manchester Beer and Cider Festival.

The festival will have beers from over 100 breweries, as well as a remarkable selection of foreign beers and ciders. It has always invited some brewers to promote their beers at their own bars, where festival-goers will have the chance to meet brewers, talk all things beer – and, of course, drink their ales. Demand for space has been exceptional and organisers have been busy whittling down the choice for the January event. But they are pleased to have tempted Thornbridge to the Manchester festival for the first time.

Returning to Manchester Central, it is organised by the combined expertise of the nine Greater Manchester CAMRA branches. It has become an essential entry in most beer and cider lovers’ calendars.

Brewery bars manager Caroline O’Donnell said: “I’m delighted to bring back some of the very best breweries to showcase their beers. Five of the dozen brewery bars are from Greater Manchester, reflecting the county’s position in the brewing industry. Festival beer sales tells us which are most popular with our visitors, and I’m pleased we have so many returning favourites. But I am always on the lookout for a new treat for drinkers, and Thornbridge fits the bill.

“We expect the beer selection will include Championship winners, traditional favourites, key-keg conditioned and some new beers never seen before. With such a great choice, Manchester will again be the UK’s beer capital in the New Year.”

Alongside the main bars, the breweries exhibiting are:

  • Blackjack Beers – replicating their popular brewery taps, the Manchester brewer promises a rotating selection at the festival.
  • Bollington Brewing Company – a long-time favourite, this award-winning brewery near Macclesfield sat out 2018, but is back to delight drinkers in 2019.
  • Brass Castle – its third appearance at Manchester, this brewer from Malton in North Yorkshire makes vegetarian and vegan beers in both cask-conditioned and keg-key formats to enjoy.
  • Brewsmith – a family brewery from Ramsbottom nudged its 10-barrel microbrewery just over the county boundary into Lancashire to allow expansion. Expect a new beer launch at the festival.
  • Brightside Brewery – the Friedrich family started brewing in 2010 at the back of their bakery in Bury, and have proved to be festival favourites. They will also showcase Wildside – a brand with some intriguing and unusual flavours of beer.
  • Hawkshead Brewery – one of the most successful of the new wave of independent breweries, the Cumbrian brewer is expected to have their popular range available and maybe some surprises.
  • Mallinsons – the Huddersfield brewsters enjoyed their first appearance in 2018, and drinkers responded by enjoying their hop forward beers.
  • Outstanding Beers – a long-time supporter of the festival, the Salford brewer has doubled capacity in recent years to keep pace with demand for their quality ales.
  • Runaway Brewery – the Manchester brewery was at the forefront of key-keg beers, and their bar has always been a great draw for discerning drinkers.
  • Thirst Class Ales – in-demand beers from the inventive Reddish brewery mean they are a popular addition to the bars of the best pubs in the city.
  • Thornbridge Brewing Company – debuting at the festival, this hugely-popular brewery from the Peak District is well-known to beer lovers courtesy of iconic brews such as ‘Jaipur’ and ‘Cocoa Wonderland’.
  • Tiny Rebel – this Welsh brewer from Newport has been a big hit with festivalgoers who have broken records consuming ‘Stay Puft’ and ‘Peaches & Cream IPA’ among the stellar beers in its lineup.