MANCHESTER Beer Week 2018’s official beer is a cross-Pennine collaboration between JW Lees, our oldest brewery, and Northern Monk, the avant garde of Leeds craft brewers. The resultant one-off brew, a Summer Pale Ale, already has ToM frothing at the mouth, but we’ll have to wait until the festival (June 29-July 8) to taste it on draught or in bottle, available exclusively from headline sponsor the Co-op.
The beer will aim to reflect the combination of JW Lees’ rich heritage and Northern Monk’s bold, cutting-edge approach. It will be made with a generous amount of New World hops and fermented using JW Lees’ 4,904th generation yeast, coming in at 5.2% ABV.
MBW organiser Connor Murphy told us: “Some people might question why a brewery from Leeds is helping to brew the official beer of Manchester Beer Week but we saw this as a great opportunity to foster collaboration between two great beer cities, as well as the old and new worlds.
“This year we are looking to highlight the great things happening throughout the UK’s independent brewing industry – particularly through initiatives such as the Manchester Beer Week City Clash (to find UK's best beer city, previewed here on Taste of Manchester) and Northern Monk are currently one of the shining lights in the North. We were excited to see what happened when we paired them up with Manchester’s oldest family-owned brewery.”
The Co-op, which will stock the official beer in 50 of its regionwide stores, seems an equally appropriate link-up.
Their head of local sourcing Simon Dryell said: “We are delighted to partner with Manchester Beer Week. Locally brewed ale is an exciting category, where we can see continued sustainable growth as craft ale followers look for something that tastes different, while retaining the passion, history and tradition that goes into brewing quality ales.
“As a community retailer, the Co-op is committed to investing in its local communities, providing what our members and customers want, when and where they need it, and exploring new ways to showcase, celebrate and support great quality locally produced food and drink."
JW Lees previously brewed the official beer for Manchester Beer Week in 2016, an equally eye-catching collaboration with Cloudwater, while Northern Monk is one of the best-respected breweries in the UK’s booming craft beer scene and is set for rapid expansion after crowdfunding an impressive £1,500,000. A brewery tap in Manchester is now on the cards.
Michael Lees-Jones, head brewer at John Willie's said: “Manchester Beer Week is unique, ian event that makes really interesting beer things happen for all kinds of breweries. We’ve developed a great recipe with Northern Monk that’ll show off what we’re both about.
“In a few weeks we’re launching a microbrewery to showcase the art, skill and fun of brewing. Collaborating with breweries like Northern Monk, Marble and Beer Nouveau gives you a flavour of what it’s all about.”
• Manchester Beer Week is Manchester's only city-wide beer festival, taking place between June 29 and July 8, 2018. Unlike most beer festivals, which take place in one specific venue, Manchester Beer Week will include a series of different events at venues across the city, including pubs, bars, breweries and restaurants.