IT’S that time of year when you start seriously pencilling in your diary the festivals that dominate the Manchester beer year (with apologies to CAMRA’s Manchester Beer and Cider Festival which made its thirst-slaking statement at Manchester Central back in January).
First up this weekend (May 31-June 2) is Stockport Beer and Cider Festival at Edgeley Park, very much a traditional real ale event but a reflection of what a great beer town Stockport remains.
IndyManBeerCon is a very different kind of festival. This celebration of the UK’s contemporary craft beer scene returns to the iconic Victoria Baths from Thursday, October 4 to Sunday, October 7, but the excitement is already stirring. IMBC’s launch events are scheduled for Port Street Beer House and The Beagle, Chorlton on Tuesday June 12, 6pm-8pm, when there may be limited pre-sale tickets available. Keep an eye on @IndyManBeerCon for Twitter updates.
The Pilcrow Pub in NOMA’s Sadler’s Yard has strong links with IndyMan, whose founder Jonny Hayes runs the artisan bar’s craft beer offering with Cloudwater Brewery’s Paul Jones.
So the Pilcrow’s Summer Beer Thing (June 29-July 1), back for its second year, is very much IndyMan in embryo with 200 beers from across the UK, divided into styles, 60 pouring at each session. Food comes from Honest Crust pizza, Common Kitchen (burgers from NQ mainstay, Common), Vaso Kitchen, and Shoot The Bull. Tickets are on salenow, just £6 for each session. Full info here.
Summer Beer Thing is the focus for one of the most fascinating events in Manchester Beer Week (Friday, June 29 to Sunday, July 8) – the Battle of the Cities, where two teams from Manchester breweries go up against rivals from Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool and London in a competition to find England’s best brewing city.
Each team, a collab between four breweries in each city, will produce a beer to debut at Summer Beer Thing on June 29 with simultaneous launches held at venues in each of the other participating cities.
This is just one of countless delights announced for MBW’s third year when Manchester’ only citywide beer festival packs 111 events into 10 days
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham will be in attendance at the festival’s opening day to take part in a panel discussion at Plant NOMA (Friday June 29, 4.15pm) that asks whether the craft brewing industry can do more to engage with the wider community.
In a similar vein, MBW will also act as the launchpad for a new industry-wide diversity manifesto, which is designed to make bars, pubs, tap rooms and festivals a more welcoming and inclusive space. It will be unveiled by respected industry figure Melissa Cole at Fairfield Social Club (Monday July 2, 7pm).
Of course, all this serious talking makes you thirsty and it would be wrong not to sample the one-off official festival ale, a collaboration between Manchester’s oldest brewers, JW Lees, and Leeds’ Northern Monk Now successfully brewed at Lees’ Middleton brewery, this 5.2% Summer Pale Ale will be released during the festival and will also be available in selected Co-op stores.
Beer Week organiser, Connor Murphy, stold us: “The festival continues to grow each year and we’ve been really impressed by the enthusiasm and creativity shown by participating venues and breweries. There are a huge variety of events taking place, designed to suit all tastes, and exploring beer’s relationship with art, food, history and social issues.”
Food will once again feature heavily this year. Highly-rated Stockport restaurant Where the Light Gets In is collaborating with Cloudwater Brew Co to create a carefully-curated food and beer menu on Friday July 6. Marble Brewery, meanwhile, is working with well-known chef David Gale and sommALEier Melissa Cole, to put on a beer dinner at Gale’s One88 restaurant in Whitefield on the same evening.
Didsbury restaurant Hispi is also offering a beer-paired, four-course menu for the duration of the festival. Meanwhile, eight one-off beers created in collaboration between independent restaurants and breweries will be launched at Levenshulme’s Station Hop on Saturday June 30.
On the final Saturday of the festival (July 7), a street party will be hosted on Temperance Street in the heart of Manchester’s brewing district. It will include bars featuring 15 different breweries, music and street food, but will also cater for families by providing child-friendly games and a small-batch soda bar.
For full details of all events, visit this link.
In the weeks building up to Manchester Beer Week ToM will be filtering in our pick of the festival’s more ambitious events. To kick off…
PLY goes all hygge beer with pizza giveaways
From Thursday, June 28 NQ bar PLY in conjunction with Bottle Shop London are running Scandinavian Beer Week, a nine-day-long in-house beer extravaganza featuring brews from the legendary Mikkeler, Omnipollo, Dugges, Brewski, Rocket, Stigbergets, Warpigs and many more.
A big bonus – they’ll will be giving away 50 special Scandinavian themed pizzas to kick the week off and running a Scandinavian beer art exhibition throughout the entire event with works from world class artists associated with the breweries such as Karl Grandin (Omnipollo), Keith Shore, pictured above (Mikkeller & Warpigs), Neale Payling (Stigbergets) and Kasper Ledet (Toøl).