Five breweries to check out at IMBC + MFDF's best beer events
IndyManBeerCon can be a bewildering and ultimately befuddling sensory assault. Yet it’s hard not to get carried away at the UK’s ultimate celebration of craft beer.
It’s back in its sixth incarnation this week (Sept 28 - Oct 1) at its customary venue, the Victoria Baths, with a definitive roster of groundbreaking breweries and mind blowing brews. Not to mention a better than ever food list that ranges from British Street Food Awards ‘People’s Choice’ champion Dim Sum Su to everyone’s favourite bakery, Pollen, which shows how far this event, organised by Jonny Heyes and the team behind Common, Port Street Beer House and The Beagle, transcends the beer festival norm.
The full beer list will not be announced until Wednesday 27 via the new IMBC app. If wading through that is one for the completist, here are our five breweries worth checking out. To give you focus, eh?
Self-styled Nano-nomad beers from food and drink writer Daniel Tapper. He's been gypsy brewing small batches of un-fined, unfiltered and unpasteurised beer, but now has a 100 litre nano-brewery at Silsden on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Entirely dependent on seasonal ingredients, every release is a one-off and available for limited runs only. Expect random spontaneity from this way of working. Hence his reverence for Belgian style Lambic beers, which are known for their fermentation with wild yeasts and bacteria. A signature example of his creations is Pine Wood Smoked Scotch Ale (7%ABV), brewed with pine-smoked lapsang souchong tea, evoking aromas of whisky, toasted oak and fresh tobacco. Past fermentation, the beer is aged with crushed juniper berries to complete the evergreen hit.
A star turn in Ireland’s craft beer revolution, the Ballymote brewery’s name comes from the chameleon like witch of Celtic myth. Tasted in Derry recently, there is something otherworldly about their Beann Gulban, Irish Heather Sour (7.2%ABV). This tart ale a resurrection of an ancient Irish style from the neolithic era to the 1700s, using wild yeasts and heather tops in place of hops to balance sweet, rich malts. Fingers crossed for the special version ahed in French red wine barrels.
The name sums up the freshness of their hop forward, unfiltered and vegan friendly beers that scooped this Falmouth-based newcomers ‘Best New Brewery in England 2016’ from Ratebeer. Quirky, juicy fruit bomb sums up their I Played Trumpet On That Tune, a 6.5%ABV Citra/Columbus IPA. Like hops, pine and mega mango? This one’s for you.
Finally, an ambitious gypsy brewer from Macclesfield that triumphed in last year’s inaugural IMBC Thirsty Games, an initiative to give a leg up to the best up and coming UK brewers working out of a small facility or who are operating on a cuckoo brewery basis. Reward – being showcased at the Thirsty Games bar, which will be back this year. A major boost for an operation based on a small taproom in the silk town’s Market Place
DEYA Brewing Co
You want hops, lots of them? Look no further than this Cheltenham brewery, notably inspired by the US craft brewing scene (and not just the IPAs). We recommend their tropical American pale ale, Steady Rolling Man (5.2%ABV), a homage to hops (Mosaic, Amarillo, El Dorado) and old time blues records. Alongside IMBC, they are also running a weekend long (Sept 28-Oct 1) at Kosmonaut in the Northern Quarter.
Line your stomach…
Here’s the aforementioned amazing food line-up: Dim Sum Su, (Chinese street food) Honest Crust pizza, Chaat Cart, Great North Pie, Al Pastor Paul (Mexican street food), Patty Smith’s Burgers, Diamond Dogs, Nasi Lemak (Malaysian street), Holy Crab (ToM’s fish-driven fave), In Truffle We Trust (artisan chocs), Karkli (spicy crunch), Pollen bakery and, of course, those headline doughnuts from Blawd, Common’s on-site bakery, who are collaborating with coffee gurus Idle Hands.
Download the new IMBC app via iTunes or Google Play, it will allow you to sign up for notifications to specific breweries so you are alerted when their beers change. Other handy features include a link through to Untappd, a map so you can get around and find breweries, plus the full run down of the IMBC 17 Fringe line-up.
@IndyManBeerCon, Sept 28-Oct 1, Victoria Baths, Hathersage Road Manchester M13 0FE. Tickets are still available at £8.50 for two sessions: Thursday, September 28 (5.30pm-11pm) and Sunday, October 1 (1pm-7pm). Buy them here.
Manchester Food and Drink Festival kicks off the same day as IndyManBeerCon (though this stretches to October 9). This year, toasting its 20th anniversary, the MFDF has placed a greater emphasis on beer, recognising Greater Manchester’s craft revolution – witness the new ‘Best Brewery’ category in the 2017 Manchester Food and Drink Awards. They are also collaborating with Connor Murphy, organiser of the influential Manchester Beer Week, to curate a series of events.
20 Years of Beer - A Celebration
Murphy himself and Paul Jones from Cloudwater will be teaming up with some of the best brewers in Manchester to give an insight into the difference two decades have made to the Manchester brewing industry – from the continuing legacy of the big family breweries to the explosion of independent microbreweries, which has brought global fame to operations, many of which started up under railway arches. A prime example is Cloudwater, open just two years but recently voted fifth best brewery in the world by influential US website RateBeer. Oh, and don’t worry, for your money on the night, you do get to taste some incredible beers, too! Festival Hub, Albert Square, M60 2LA. Saturday, October 7. 7pm. £15, book via www.foodanddrinkfestival.com
Brasserie du Mont Salève tap takeover
Well-regarded French brewery Brasserie du Mont Salève is making a rare trip across the channel for an evening of beer and cheese at 57 Thomas Street. Join the brewery team to sample four beers on keg and four bottled, each introduced by one of the brewers. A range of cheeses will also be available for you to snack on throughout and create your own beer pairings. 57 Thomas Street, M4 1NA. Friday, September 29, 7pm. Free
Meat the butcher with Littlewoods
The award-winning microbar teams up with neighbours Littlewoods Butchers to offer some BBQ delights to accompany your beers. Staff from Littlewoods will be on hand to offer BBQ brisket, burgers and butchery demos, while Heaton Hops is planning some treats on its taps. Heaton Hops, 7 School Lane, Stockport, SK4 5DE. Saturday, October 7, 4pm onwards. Free.
Weird is my happy place
Throughout the history of beer there’s always been the more – unusual – side of brewing. From the infamous Cock Ale of the early 17th century, brewers have been adding more than just water, malt, hops and yeast to their creations. For this weekend, Beer Nouveau have rebrewed Cock Ale with chicken and Mercer’s Meat Stout with beef extract alongside more modern creations such as a Berliner Weiss dry-hopped with a new experimental hop from New Zealand, a Blackberry fruit beer fermented with a Norwegian Farmhouse yeast and a beer recipe from the States that smells, and tastes, of pizza! A weird collection of beers to help you find your happy place. Beer Nouveau N Western St, Manchester M12 6DY. Friday September 29, 2pm-10:30pm and Saturday September 30, 12 noon-10:30pm. Free.
Runaway meet the brewer
Join a member of the brewing team to learn more about their range and sample a range of their latest seasonable bottles. Oddbins Chorlton, 603 Wilbraham Rd, M21 9AN.Thursday, October 5, 6pm-8pm. Free