Thanks to you

Thanks to all 14,402 who came to MBCF20, supped our beers and ciders and (we trust) enjoyed yourselves at the North’s biggest festival.

We doubled the size of our Beers from the Wood bar, laying our hands on every wooden cask we could find. Despite this, you conspired to drink the bar dry on Saturday afternoon. Unlike the other 24 bars in the festival, we can’t simply have a reserve stock to replenish if demand exceeds supply. Perhaps we’ll hide that bar in a dark corner next time…

The number of repeat visitors – we know, thanks to those of you who completed our three-question survey while voting for your favourites – suggests we get most things right. But as organisers we commit to reviewing each part of the festival. No event flourishes by saying “but we’ve always done it this way.”

Several of our team are standing down – to be confident of putting on the festival next year, we’re going to need new people (with new ideas) to join us and shape the future of MBCF. Learn more about joining the team here.

Speaking of visitors, we know we had drinkers from Spain and The Netherlands among foreign fans. We hope you enjoyed your time in Manchester and managed to sample some of our great pubs in the city and further afield during your stay.

Hawkshead Brewer John Major

This year, the Discovery Zone was enlarged with a full programme of tastings, assisted by regional and nationally-renowned brewers and cider makers.

Thanks to those who helped educate and entertain visitors – shout out to beer experts John Major from Hawkshead, Brett Ellis from Wild Beer Co, Charlotte Cook & Robyn Bell from Cloudwater and  Alex Pembroke from Chorlton Homebrewers. We also thank cider makers Dave from Bartestree, Chris from Dunham Press, Steve from Beardspoon and the volunteers from Manchester Cider Club.

And those fortunate to be there on Friday will not forget the hugely impressive display of cooperage from Theakston’s Jonathan Manby and Euan Findlay, a noisy reminder of a traditional brewery craft.

Euan Findlay ©James Darcey

Drinkers supped at a rate of more than 42 pints a minute, and you gave us plenty of votes to count  for festival favourites. Beer of the festival was Brass Castle’s Bad Kitty, no stranger to the accolade here, as it has been a winner and twice runner-up in previous years. The 2020 runner up was Tiny Rebel’s Salted Caramel Stay Puft, with unusually a tie for third. Tiramisu Imperial Stout, a collaboration by Lost Industry and Navigation couldn’t be separated from North Riding’s Fudge Brownie Stout. These were all cask dark beers – yes, we’ve noticed.

Pilton’s Pomme Pomme took the cider of the festival back to Somerset, just pipping Hogan’s Wild Elder. And there was a local success as Dunham Cider Press’s Peterloo Perry was a popular winner of the perry of the festival, with Blue Barrel’s Colwick Perry a worthy runner-up.

A vote of thanks to all our sponsors. We couldn’t do it all without you!

CAMRA’s membership stand again recruited new members, mainly from Greater Manchester – if you were one, you’d be welcome at any of the many branch events and meetings. Beer festivals across the region depend on members offering their time and skills to make these enjoyable, so why not consider volunteering?