Manchester is arguably the best city in the country for drinking good beer, and given the chance I’ll argue this statement with anyone who disagrees.
People may claim that London, Sheffield, Leeds or any one of numerous other cities are better, but they’d be wrong.
Manchester not only has 71 breweries in its borders along with the pubs, clubs and bars to support them, and the drinkers to keep the bars not just open, but bustling in a friendly way only Northern cities can manage, Manchester also has some great beer festivals.
At the moment all the talk is focussing, as it should be, on this weekend’s Independent Manchester Beer Convention. Looking back memories of the Chorlton beer festival are still only as blurry as your notes in the programme, and looking forward the CAMRA Manchester Beer & Cider Festival in January in its new home at Manchester Central (formerly GMex) is sure to be a great event.
But there’s another beer festival held in Manchester (okay, in Salford) which I believe earned its place alongside these others in its first year, last year. The Independent Salford Beer Festival may be small, but like the venue it’s no it only in, but raises vital money for, is at the heart of the (beer) community. The beers are all from “The North” and chosen by someone who puts a lot of his own time throughout the year into promoting good beer. And his enthusiasm, kindness and dedication shows, because when he approaches the breweries that are invited each and every one of them jumps at the opportunity to brew something special for him in return. A lot of the beers are one-offs, some are the sole cask brewed, but all are brewed to help give something back not just to the beer community, but to the community someone grew up in, and where others are still growing up, and still in need of a community centre.
We ourselves did an Imperial Sorachi Bubblegum Stout collaboration brew with Clever Yeti Brewing, one of the last brews on our 9 gallon kit, and Clever Yeti are so new they’re still sourcing and fitting out their brew kit. And whilst the beer list hasn’t been published yet, the hints floating around on social media make it look to be a very special event indeed.
This is a ticketed event, it has to be. Last year there was a massive last minute rush that saw some sessions sell out. So don’t leave it too late, it’s a great festival with great beer for a great cause. Get yourself a ticket, you won’t regret it.