The Manchester Beer and Cider Festival

On Wednesday we took a visit to something I’d been looking forward to for a while – The Manchester Beer and Cider Festival at the Velodrome. Because of work and various other commitments they only day we were able to go down was the opening evening and despite it being a school night we managed to sample  a fair few beers as I predominately stuck to thirds.

I documented everything we both had but alas I didn’t remember to leave myself any notes or reviews other than the name and percentage so I can’t quite remember everything!

I’ve never been to the Velodrome before but it’s a pretty snazzy venue. The bars and shop stalls were all in the middle of the track while the food stalls and toilets were all up near the entrance. Minor flaw of the venue as it meant down one flight of stairs and up another two to get to the toilets but not too much of an issue.

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One of the things I was most looking forward to was the foreign beer bar so we made a beeline for there on arrival.

I started off with the 5.1% Karg Helles Weissbier (no third option available for these so went for a half). This was a lovely thick Weissbier with a really good aftertaste.  If I was in a pub, I would have stuck to this all night.

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Meanwhile Ross had the 5% Andechs Dunkles Weissbier.

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But after a read through the programme, with all beers helpfully labeled with their type so you could easily pick your favourites Ross went for some English wheat beer.

This is the 4.2% Green Jack Orange Wheat Beer. A brewery I’d not heard of before (according to their website England’s most easterly brewery) but the orange flavours worked really well and after looking at their website I’d be keen to sample some of their others.

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I was still on my first one (I’m a very slow drinker) so it was a stout next for Ross. Cornish brewery Harbour’s 5% Oatmeal Stout.

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By this point I’d finally finished by first drink so decided to go for the 4.3% Church End Pooh Beer. As the name suggests it’s made with honey with a great colour and a sweet aftertaste.

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Then Ross went for a choice by one of his favourite breweries, Coniston. We went to their pub the Black Bull  a few months back when we were in the Lakes and he’s been a big fan of their beers ever since. This is the 5 % Winter Warmer Blacksmiths Ale (we were sat on the floor by this point!).

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Meanwhile I took a trip over to the Isle of Man to sample the 3.6% Manx Pale Ale by Okell’s. Big fan of pale ale so I enjoyed this. My dad, who is of Manx heritage, told me Manx beer is “usually horrible” but I enjoyed this one and would definitely like to try some more of theirs.

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Meanwhile Ross decided to stay local and try the 4.4% Porter by Pictish in Rochdale…

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..followed by the 5.5% Stout by Bury’s Outstanding.

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I then went back to wheat beer with Offbeat’s Way Out Wheat. I’ve tried this 4.5% wheat beer in bottle before from Beermoth in the Northern Quarter but I enjoyed it a lot more on cask.

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Ross stayed local again with Inn Crowd, a 3.8% dark mild from Brightside in Bury.

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I went hunting for more wheat beer and selected White, a 4.2% pale beer brewed with 20% wheat, by Enville.

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Sticking local yet again, Ross went for 3.8% Rum Porter by North Manchester’s Boggart Brewery.

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I was then after the only other wheat beer I hadn’t tried, which was Cherkeby by Kirkby Lonsdale, but there was none left so that will have to wait for another time. Instead I went for Liverpool Organic’s 4.2% 24 Carat Gold which was nice and hoppy.

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By this time we’d decided it was probably time to head home (it was a school night after all) so for Ross’ last drink he wandered over to the Bollington bar and went for the 4.1% Cheshire Ginger Brew. Near the end of last year we took a trip down to the Bollington Brewery  (partly for work, partly for play!) and had sampled most of their beers and really enjoyed them, but this was one neither of us had tried before. The ginger taste really added something but wasn’t too overpowering so definitely a good choice.

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For my final drink I went for Allgates’ Gin Pit, which was 4.3%. Alas by this point I can’t really remember what it was like but I know I enjoyed it and it was a great way to round off a fun evening full of great beer.

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Overall the event felt organised and not too chaotic with a great choice of beers available to sample.

Roll on next year!

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