What has got Neil Sowerby frothing at the mouth this year?
MANCHESTER Beer Week is nearly upon us. Now in its third year, this citywide celebration of unbridled hoppiness is more eclectic than ever with more than 100 events over ten days (29 June 29 - 8 July).
Expect the usual avalanche of tap takeovers with brewer invasions from the US to Croatia, Portugal to Scandinavia, Belgium to Yorkshire, brewery tours and quizzes, plus continuing strands of beer and food matching (Didsbury restaurant Hispi is offering a beer-paired, four-course menu throughout) and championing women in the industry (recommended on Thursday 5 July at 57 Thomas Street, beer sommelier Jane Peyton on ‘The Story of Women in Brewing’).
On Monday 2 July at Fairfield Social Club doyenne of UK beer writers Melissa Cole will unveil a new industry-wide diversity manifesto, which is designed to make bars, pubs, tap rooms and festivals a more welcoming and inclusive space.
Beer yoga has been a thing for a while, but have you ever done a class in a working brewery?
Equally serious on the festival’s opening day (Friday 29 June) at Plant NOMA in Sadler’s Yard Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham will take part in a panel discussion asking whether the craft brewing industry can do more to engage with the wider community.
If all that makes you want to move on swiftly to that second pint, fear not – diversity comes in many forms. Here are my ten meandering routes to keg and cask Beervana. Enjoy…
FROM THURSDAY 28 JUNE
Scandinavian Beer Week at PLY
The NQ bar in conjunction with Bottle Shop London are running a nine-day-long in-house beer extravaganza featuring brews from the legendary Mikkeler, Omnipollo, Dugges, Brewski, Rocket, Stigbergets, Warpigs and many more. A big bonus – they'll be giving away 50 special Scandinavian themed pizzas to kick the week off and running a Scandinavian beer art exhibition throughout the entire event with works from world class artists associated with the breweries such as Karl Grandin (Omnipollo), Keith Shore, pictured above (Mikkeller & Warpigs), Neale Payling (Stigbergets) and Kasper Ledet (Toøl).
Any beer lover that wants to indulge his or her (piss) artistry more hands-on should get down to Common on Edge Street on Wednesday 4 July, 6pm-9pm, and join a special edition of their Colouring Club with Beavertown Brewing’s creative director Nick Dwyer (free).
PLY, 26 Lever St, Manchester M1 1DW / Common, 39-41 Edge St, Manchester M4 1HW
FRIDAY 29 JUNE
Battle to be the UK’s Best Beer City
If The Pilcrow Pub’s three-day Summer Beer Thing (200 beers and counting) weren’t already the perfect launchpad for MBW, it’s given extra spice on the opening Friday by being the fulcrum of City Clash, where two teams from Manchester breweries go up against rivals from Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool and London in a battle for the unofficial crown of England’s best brewing city.
Each city will launch all the beers on the day at The Pilcrow, with odds stacked in favour of the home teams, since we also have subsidiary venues across Greater Manchester – Bunbury’s in Bolton, Stalybridge Station Buffet, Burnage’s Reasons to be Cheerful and The Northern Type, Eccles.
Vote for your favourite beer via this link from Friday June 29 or by contacting @mcrbeerweek on Twitter while using the appropriate hashtag. A percentage of profits from each of the beers will be donated to charities in each of the five cities, including Manchester’s Mustard Tree.
Here are the two beers Manchester are putting up:
Manchester One (#MBWMcr1Wins) from Cloudwater, Track, Runaway, Wander Beyond. Pale and bitter DDH IPA, 6% ABV. 'Pale, bitter and hoppy', with golden syrup also added to mimic honey, as a vegan-friendly nod to the Manchester bee.
Manchester Two (#MBWMcr2Wins) from JW Lees, Marble, Beer Nouveau. Porter, 6.0% ABV. A modern interpretation of a recipe from the JW Lees record books, this full-flavoured porter is designed to be fruity and sweet with a firm bitterness.
Summer Beer Thing, The Pilcrow, Sadler’s Yard, Hanover Street, Manchester M60 0AB. Fri and Sat, 12pm-11pm, £8adv ; Sun, 12pm-8pm, £6 adv. Glass and beer token on arrival.
SATURDAY 30 JUNE
Beer x Food at Station Hop, Levenshulme
Equally exciting, though more collaborative than competitive, is this first chance to try eight one-off beers inspired by some of Manchester's most exciting indie eateries.
Eight of them have teamed up with eight of the region's best brewers to create these new brews, either inspired by their signature flavours or designed to accompany their food. Eclectic really describes this sample trio.: Much-loved sushi bar Umezushi have whipped up something Japan-inspired with Runaway, Indian street food stars Bundobust have created something special with Squawk and, farthest flung collab, the wonderful Rivington Brewery and The Creameries, Chorlton.
Station Hop, 815 Stockport Road, Levenshulme, M19 3BS. 1pm onwards. Free.
WEDNESDAY 4 JULY
Melissa Cole and David Gale kitchen takeover at Marble Arch
This is Ready, Steady, Cook with a beery twist. Melissa Cole and Dave Gale are taking over the Marble Arch kitchen, cooking a special menu with a surprise list of ingredients that they’ll find out on the day. The special menu is 'pay what you feel' with all donations going to Emerge Recycling projects.
Two days later Gale, chef/patron at One88, Whitefield, will host a beer dinner there with Melissa. It will highlight the beer the pair collaborated on for Beer x Food, above, in a parade of multiple courses and matching beers. David’s CV is impressive – Soho House and the Hudson in New York, Abode and the Hilton hotel..
Marble Arch, 73 Rochdale Road, Manchester M4 4HY. 4 July from 1pm, free. / One88, 188 Bury New Road, Whitefield, M45 6QF. July 6, 7.30pm. Price tbc.
THURSDAY 5 JULY
Namast-Ale – Beer Yoga at Wander Beyond
Beer yoga has been a thing for a while, but have you ever done a class in a working brewery? Join yoga teacher and beer fan Helen Simpson for an hour long fun and flowing yoga class. No yoga experience is necessary, just wear comfortable clothes. Mats and yoga beers are be provided. All profits will be donated to the Mayor’s Homelessness Fund.
Wander Beyond, 98 North Western Street, Manchester, M12 6JL. 5pm, £15. Entry from 6.30pm- 8.30pm for non-participating pals and the public.
FRIDAY 6 JULY
I’m On A Boat With Pomona Island
Who was it who said: No Pomona is an Island? Now the cult new brewery are running a fun cruise with tunes from Spinningfields down the Irwell to Mode Wheel Locks, where you’ll disembark and regroup at the brewery. It all starts with beers at basement bar the Gas Lamp at 6pm.
Gas Lamp, 50A Bridge Street, Manchester, M3 3BW. 6pm-11pm, £15 from the bar or £20 online. Sold out but more tickets may become available if weather remains fine.
Cloudwater at Where The Light Gets In
We suspect this event may be sold out too (check for returns) as it pairs the region’s most cutting edge craft brewery and its restaurant equivalent. Chef Sam Buckley will serve up a series of challenging small plates, matched with the inventive seasonal beers, which earned Cloudwater runner-up in RateBeer’s World’s Best Brewery list.
Where The Light Gets In, 7 Rostron Brow, Stockport, SK1 1JY. £110 a head. Email email@example.com
SATURDAY 7 JULY
A Very Marble Tea Party, Beerhouse
The Chorlton branch of the Marble mini-empire have collated a cracking line-up of tea and coffee beers, a side of cake (cake inspired beer as well as actual cake) and some vegan food and activities for all the family. And if tea’s not your tipple, even with alcohol in the mix, step forward a day…
Marble Beer House, 57 Manchester Rd, Chorlton M21 9PW10. From 12pm, free.
SUNDAY 8 JULY
Coffee Beer and Coffee Cupping, Ancoats General Store
Roasters from neighbouring Ancoats Coffee Co will cup coffee on one tasting table, while a second table features a selection of beers created using coffee, including one made with ACC’s own beans. Find out what types of bean work best in beer, what flavours they can bring out and what beans work best with each beer style.
Ancoats General Store, 57 Great Ancoats Street, corner of Blossom Street, Manchester M4 5AB. 1pm-6pm, Free.
Craft beer meets grapple as Failsworth-based wrestling promoters Futureshock join forces with street food organisers GRUB to host Futureshock Untapped! at the Fairfield Social Club. You get three hours of pro tussles plus beers from Liverpool’s wrestling-themed micro-brewery Top Rope Brewing, whose motto is “putting hops in a headlock”, and a strong street food line-up.
After all this if you just want a beer that tastes, well, just like a pure beer look no further than the Official Festival Beer. We’ve tasted this 5.1% Summer Pale Ale and it is absolutely delicious. It’s a collaboration between Manchester’s oldest brewery, JW Lees and Leeds craft newcomers Northern Monk. Both perspectives shine through in the beer, which uses oodles of American hops Citra and Mosaic but is fermented using JW Lees’ distinctive 4,904th generation yeast.
Bottles are available exclusively in 60 branches of MBW main sponsors the Co-op until the end of the festival as well as on draught at JW Lees pubs and some free houses.