The beer celebration will take over Castlefield's Upper Campfield Market in March

A new Manchester beer festival will pay tribute to six 'trailblazing' UK breweries that laid the foundations for the modern independent beer scene.

Taking place inside Castlefield's Upper Campfield Market on the 1st and 2nd of March, the unique and not-for-profit Friends & Family & Beer festival is being organised by Manchester's Cloudwater Brew Co, who have invited six other breweries to participate - all of which either boast 'major historical significance' or have 'contributed to the more recent evolution of beer'.

Tickets are priced at £60 a session, which seems a lot, but includes all beer, plus profits go to charity

Among these Trailblazers is Manchester’s oldest brewery, JW Lees, which was founded in 1828 by retired cotton manufacturer John Lees and remains family-owned today. The brewery is probably best known for its traditional English Barley Wine, Harvest Ale, and a rare wooden cask of this beer will be available at the festival.

Upper Campfield Market Interior
The beer festival will take place at Campfield Market

JW Lees will be joined by fellow Greater Manchester breweries Marble, founded in 1997 in the back of the famous Marble Arch Inn, and Rochdale-based Pictish, both of which have played prominent roles in the more recent development of Manchester’s beer scene. 

Joining them will be Harvey’s Brewery, a family-owned business from Lewes in Sussex established in 1790, as well as Fyne Ales and Rooster’s, both of which have 'acted as an important bridge between traditional cask ale and the modern craft beer scene'. 

The six headline breweries will be joined by another 58 breweries from the UK, Europe and North America, including many of those considered to be leaders in the global field and a number of which are making their first UK festival appearance.

Cloudwater Brewery
Friends & Family & Beer has been organised by Cloudwater Brew Co.

More info:

Session tickets are priced at £60 per head, which seems heavy for 4.5 hours, but includes all of your beer, plus profits from ticket sales will be donated to Mustard Tree and Coffee4Craig. You can buy a ticket for all four sessions for £220 - which is a LOT of beer.