Tryanuary It Is, Beer Must You Try


Manchester Beer and Cider Festival reveals over 500 beers

Drinkers heading for the North’s biggest beer and cider celebration are also heading for a problem. The choice of beers – real ales & modern keg may overwhelm them…

Photo: James Darcey

The festival, now in its sixth year, has revealed the full list of beers and ciders which will feature at Manchester Central in just over a week’s time – a massive choice of 745 different drinks for drinkers participating in the national Tryanuary campaign to sample. The region’s largest celebration of beer and cider will feature 24 bars with a choice sure to appeal to lovers of traditional British ales, those seeking the cutting edge of modern brewing and fans of international beers. With ciders, perrys, fruit wines, mead and even a gin bar, there’s sure to be a drink for every taste.

The range of beers combines traditional favourites, popular modern craft beers and some very special one-off beers produced just for the event. There will be over a dozen new beers appearing at the festival for the first time anywhere and many making exclusive appearances in cask-conditioned form.

Many of the rarest beers will be on the Beers From The Wood bar. Brewers across the country have put special beers into wooden casks where they become genuine one-offs, taking on complex flavours from the previous contents of the casks ranging from rye whiskey to red wine. There’s innovation in ‘Tonka Shake’, a brand new 10% stout from Hawkshead brewery combining flavours of coconut, almond, bitter cherry and chocolate enhanced by maturing in an oak cask. History is represented by an 1800’s Stock Ale brewed with heritage grains and traditional malts by Manchester’s own Beer Nouveau. Another highlight will be ‘Fudge Brownie Stout’ from Scarborough’s North Riding brewery – one of 2018’s faster selling beers returns, but after three months maturing in a wooden cask.

If you’re looking to take it easy, the beer selection starts an alcohol free beer and a 2.2% ‘Table Beer’, a collaboration from London brewers Five Points and Wiper and True. At the opposite end of the offerings is the gloriously-named ‘Triple Nightmare on Bold Street’ from Liverpool brewery Gibberish. This imperial coffee milk stout at 13% is the strongest beer of the festival, alongside a bottle from Norwegian brewers Lervig, ‘3 Bean Stout’. These just pip the ‘Morello Cherry Barley Wine’ from Rammy Craft – a last chance to sample this brewery who announced last week that they will be closing down at the end of January. Another beer to be sipped rather than supped is also likely to be one of the most sought-after – a cask beer from Cloudwater, ‘Red Wine BA Chocolate Porter’. Festival organisers are delighted to have secured one of only four casks produced.

A partnership with leading Irish Brewery The White Hag brings a whole host of rare casks from them and their friends from the Irish Craft Beer Scene on both sides of the border. The festival has scored a notable success, encouraging many Irish brewers to cask-condition their beers. Cask is comparatively rare in Ireland and it is hoped the 31 examples will spur more interest from brewers to go down the traditional route. Highlights include ‘Bourbon Coffee Extra’ from Dublin’s DOT Brew – a rich coffee, chocolate & vanilla stout aged in Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels and a gluten free IPA which is the result of a collaboration between Belfast brewers Farmageddon and Knockout. The White Hag & Friends bar will also feature some fine craft ales and stouts in keg form – showing the dark stuff is not monopolised by Guinness.

A couple of the country’s oldest breweries will be launching brand new beers at the festival. Festival deputy organiser Peter Alexander recently travelled to JW Lees’ new Boilerhouse brewery in Middleton to help brew a new British Red Ale – lightly bitter with plenty of hop character on a rich toffee malt background. Meanwhile Moorhouses of Burnley will also unveil a new beer, ‘M34’, a New Zealand Pale Ale. Both breweries will feature on The Hundred Club Bar which is dedicated to thirteen brewers who have stood the ultimate test – the test of time of time.

The choice doesn’t stop there. Thirteen brewery bars will offer visitors a choice of cask and keg beers often served by the brewers themselves. There’s a new big name – Thornbridge – and the return of favourites Hawkshead, Brightside and Outstanding. Several will showcase the same beer in both cask and keg including Mallinsons ‘Citra’ and Brewsmith’s ‘Oatmeal Stout’, giving drinkers the chance to spot any difference. Overall, sixteen new beers will be launched at the festival, including an amazing four each from Collyhurst brewer Blackjack and Radcliffe’s Brightside. Blueberries are used in ‘Fruit Lupe’, a new beer available in both cask and keg from Brass Castle. Organisers expect considerable interest in the Tiny Rebel bar where festival exclusives include ‘Peaches and Cream’and ‘Lush’ in cask.

Two further bars of international beers will bring a superb range of beers in draught, bottle and can from Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Norway, Sweden, Canada, the USA and more.

Manchester Beer and Cider Festival runs from Thursday 24th to Saturday 26th January 2019 at Manchester Central. Tickets for entry and special tasting events are on sale at the festival’s website, www.mancbeerfest.uk