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Manchester Beer And Cider Festival 22-25 January

Neil Sowerby is already polishing his antique pewter tankard

Written by . Published on January 15th 2014.


Manchester Beer And Cider Festival 22-25 January
 

THE Velodrome, Manchester’s National Cycling Centre, is on track to host the largest ever beer event in the city’s history. Well not exactly on track. The 16 bars (yes 16) of the Manchester Beer & Cider Festival 2014 will be located in the centre of the Velodrome, with access via a tunnel under the circular Olympic track. 

A festival wouldn’t be a festival without a parade of champions. Stand-out here is the current reigning CAMRA Champion Beer of Britain, Elland 1872 Porter 

Punters can stay there or carry their foaming brews back to the concourse, where there is seating for 1,500 plus food outlets and the festival game area. 

With over 300 of the country’s finest cask (real) ales from 100 breweries, 75 traditional ciders and perries, plus oodles of bottle-conditioned ales and imported beers, it’s definitely time to shed the stabilisers. Organisers the Campaign for Real Ale have even used the C word in their spiel – Craft Beer. It’s a term that upsets diehards because some US-influenced ‘craft brewers’ keg their products up. IndyManBeerCon offered a less tethered approach in the autumn at Victoria Baths.  

A hard act to follow for the Manchester festival – the first since the days of the Upper Campfield Market in the 1990s – which will run from Wednesday 22 to Saturday 25 January. It won’t have the Veldodrome to itself. The track will remain operational throughout. Check out who from GB Cycling or Team Sky may be riding in practice sessions (click here). 

Manchester Velodrome

 

Manchester Velodrome 

There will be no fewer than 13 cask beer bars at the festival including 10 individual brewery bars. Leading the way will be Manchester's own Marble, whose bar will feature eight of their own beers, ranging from the 3.9% Pint to the multi-award winning Stouter Stout. 

The full list of cask beers is available at here – changes can be monitored by following @MancBeerFest on Twitter or liking the festival here. 

We expected more breweries to be going down the cycle route with the names on the pumps – Phoenix’s Wobbly Bob would fit just. All we’ve got is Bridgehouse of Keighley’s On Yer Bike – one of three beers specially commissioned for the festival. Another comes from Middleton's Wilson Potter Brewery, produced in conjunction with Real Radio XS, while the third is the most special – only one cask has been produced. 

North Yorkshire's Brass Castle Brewery have taken their multi-award winning Bad Kitty Stout and blended it with a range of spices including nutmeg and cinnamon then added a couple of bottles of rum for good measure to make their Christmas Kitty special. Then for the Manchester festival they have racked one cask of it into an oak cask which was formerly full of port and left it to mature. It hasn’t even been given a name yet. 

A festival wouldn’t be a festival without a parade of champions. Stand-out here is the current reigning CAMRA Champion Beer of Britain, Elland 1872 Porter (a huge personal favourite) and close 2013 runner-up, Jarl from Fyne Ales of Argyll. Both of these beers will feature on Bar 1, where you will also find Amarillo  from Bury’s Brightside, which recently took Gold in the Society Of Independent Brewers North West Competition.  

There will be more champions crowned at the festival with the finals of the North West round of the Champion Winter Beer Of Britain competition being held on the Wednesday morning. The gold medal winners in the winter categories (Stouts, Porters, Old Ales & Strong Milds, Strong Old Ales & Barley Wines) will then go head to head with the winners of the other six competition categories seeking to be crowned Champion Beer Of The North West.   

Marble range Manchester

 

Marble range Manchester

The four-day festival effectively fills the large pint-shaped hole left by the CAMRA Winter Ales Festival, which has decamped, after nine successive years in Manchester to distant Derby. Hence the continuing concentration on stouts, porters, old ales and barley wines – some hitting 9 per cent. In contrast, try Stockport's Quantum Brewing Co’s Small Beer (2.1per cent). 

In the weird and wonderful category there’s a Chilli Plum Porter, Sloe Stout and – from Crewe’s Offbeat – Weird Whiskey Mac, which takes the brewery's Unhinged Ginger and conditions it in Glenfarclas malt whisky casks to give the beer equivalent of the traditional Scottish cocktail of whisky and green ginger. Judgement reserved. 

Getting there:

The National Cycling Centre centre is located on the SportCity complex in Eastlands, close to the Etihad Stadium. It is easily accessed from the city centre via its own Metrolink station Velopark and buses from Piccadilly – 216, 188, 217, 218, 231 & 237. It can be reached on foot (or by bike) via a short walk from Ancoats up the Ashton canal. In a special offer, on Wednesday and Thursday, visitors holding a valid Metrolink ticket can receive £1 discount off the cost of entry. 

Open: Wednesday 4.30-10.30pm, Thursday and Friday 12pm-10.30pm, Saturday 11am-7pm. Tickets: No advance tickets – pay on the door. See website for prices. CAMRA members get free entry on Wednesday and Thursday and a discount at all other times. 

 On cold evenings Neil Sowerby likes nothing better than to Brasso his pewter

 

On cold evenings Neil Sowerby likes nothing better than to Brasso his pewter

You can follow Neil Sowerby on Twitter here.

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Anonymous

Agreed, a right dump

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Who remembers The King? Now that was a pub, before the NQ was the NQ. No hipsters in there.

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Yet people pay 20 pounds plus for terrible American burgers at other places in the northern quarter…

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Particularly Canal street, I believe that someone saw a gay man and a lesbian down there last week.…

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