Neil Sowerby makes sure your pint pot need never run dry this month

WEEPING into your IPA-flecked beard, you craft beer pariah? You left it too late to grab a hot ticket for Indy Man Beer Con (3rd - 6th October) and drowning your sorrows in Wetherspoons will be no consolation. You’ll be missing the best celebration of cutting edge brewing in the UK and beyond.

Well, we’ve got good news for you. There’s host of fringe events under the Indy Man Beer City umbrella. That’s umbrella because you’ll have to walk through the rain between venues rather than boozing under the one solid roof at Victoria Baths.

A replacement for the citywide excitements of Manchester Beer Week, which seems to have fallen by the wayside

Eight years since its inception, this independent convention of the craft beer fraternity still radiates hoppiness and creativity. Always sold out, it’s a kind of alternative Oktoberfest, less oompah and frothing litre steins, more tasting thirds and 'is that a hint of lemongrass or sage in my barrel-aged saison’? Embracing a wider world of beer styles, it’s inevitably cooler than CAMRA rivals. 

It has evolved, too, spawning all these ‘extra-curricular’ tastings and bar takeovers – a replacement for the citywide excitements of Manchester Beer Week, which seems to have fallen by the wayside. Inevitably many craft gigs are hosted by bars in the IMBC creators’ stable – Port Street Beer House, The Beagle, Common, The Pilcrow – but the reach goes much further. 

Here are six eclectic events to satisfy your beer craving…

2019 09 29 Thin Man Haisy Age

When - Wednesday 2nd October 

Where - The Pilcrow 

What - Thin Man takeover

From Buffalo in Upstate New York, cult brewers bringing you the likes of Peanut Butter Jenkins (double imperial stout, just the 11.7%) and raspberry sour Minkey Boodle. Our tip, if it makes the transatlantic trip – uber-hoppy The H.A.I.S.Y Age, which Thin Man describe as “super freakin hazy with tons of peach, grapefruit, mango, pineapple and orange”.

Sadler’s Yard, Hanover Street, Manchester, M60 0AB. 12pm-late

2019 09 30 Broaden And Build

When - Thursday 3rd October  

Where - Port Street Beer House

What - Jester King showcase

This authentic farmhouse brewery from Texas Hill Country outside Austin, ticks all the ‘terroir’ boxes – well water, local grains, foraged ingredients, spontaneous wild fermentation – and, yes, the beers taste great too. Expect special bottles alongside tap. Look out perhaps for Vernal Dichotomous, an ale brewed with in-house roasted rice and lemongrass, then re-fermented with foraged loquats or Snörkel, made with oyster mushrooms and alder wood smoked sea salt.

Port Street, Manchester, M1 2EQ.12pm-12am

When - Thursday 3rd October 

Where - Beatnikz Republic Bar 

What - Broaden & Build takeover

There may be a sore head or two at this once since the previous evening the NQ bar is celebrating its first birthday with the launch of a special Beatnikz Black Rye Ale. Worth saving some room for seven B&B beers on tap (and array in cans) from the Copenhagen brewery/casual eaterie created by Amass restaurant. Head chef there is ex-Noma, so no surprise about sustainable ingredients to the fore in the likes of Piquant (sour ale with sea buckthorn and mugwort) or the 8.2% Ample, a DIPA with green gooseberries.

35 Dale Street, Manchester, M1 2HF. 12pm until 3am

2019 09 30 Galibier

When - Thursday 3rd October 

Where - 57 Thomas Street 

What – meet the French brewer

All week the Marble-run NQ bar is pouring beers sourced from French beer distributors, Hoppin’ Rabbit, culminating in this chance to quiz (and sample the beers of) Marc, head brewer of France’s highest brewery, Brasserie Galibier, based in ski resort Valloire. Chill out with beers made with glacier water – and in the case of his Matchut IPA seven different malts. And maybe tackle 57’s new cheese menu?

Marble, 57 Thomas Street, Manchester M4 1NA. 6pm.

2019 09 30 Donzoko

When - Friday 4th October 

Where - Port Street Beer House 

What - Donzoko 2nd birthday party

From nearer home, a wicked transatlantic and UK tweak on traditional German beer styles from a brewery in the Hartlepool hinterland. Try these refreshing unfiltered Biere – Northern Helles, their Bavarian-style flagship lager, and the 8% seasonal Doppelbock, Rock Bottom, which this year is fermented on a blend of sweet and sour cherries. Donzoko is Japanese for ‘rock bottom’, the brewers favour Kiwi hops Sticklebract and Taheke – it’s a global beer world. 

Port Street, Manchester, M1 2EQ 12pm-12am

2019 09 30 3 Fonteinen

When - Saturday 5th October 

Where - Beermoth Bottle Shop 

What – 3 Fonteinen tasting

Only 25 venues worldwide have been selected to sample four of this legendary Belgian brewery’s ‘Rare Releases’. They specialise in dry and sour lambic and gueuze beers with Kriek a speciality, made with cherries from their own orchards.

70 Tib Street, Manchester, M4 1LG. 3pm-4pm

£25, limited availability. Tickets here

2019 09 30 Indyman Siren

Indy Man Beer Con takes place 3rd - 6th October at Victoria Baths, Hathersage Road, M13 0FE 

For full festival beer list (just released) visit this link 

For the lowdown on amazing street food from Bundobust, Dim Sum Su, Firebird Hope, Honest Crust, Siop Shop and more go to this link (SOLD OUT)