Tag: MBCF2019

Manchester Beer and Cider Festival 2019

Manchester Beer and Cider Festival 2019

It’s impossible to miss

Whatever the weather, the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival (MBCF) is the North’s biggest crawl. Safely protected from the winter, the Manchester Central hosts the January drinkers’ treat for the fourth year.

2019 will mark the 50th anniversary since the former rail station saw its last locomotive. And with 750 or so different drinks, there’s bound to be something to whet all whistles.

The festival is a great way to ‘Tryanuary’ – a drinkers’ response to the killjoys promoting Dry January. This campaign aims to inspire people to seek out and try new beers in what is often a slow month for the trade. And the festival beer and cider orderers never disappoint with a selection which will feature specially commissioned beers, collaborations and ales rarely, if ever, seen in Greater Manchester.

MBCF has a winning formula, evidenced by the record-breaking attendance of 15,558 in 2018. But organisers, mainly drawn from the nine Greater Manchester CAMRA branches, carefully examine trends to refresh the parts other festivals can’t reach.

Retained from the last festival is the popular 100 Club bar, featuring some of the historic names in UK brewing with at least a century of brewing experience – including local favourites J W Lees and Holts alongside Harveys of Sussex and Wiltshire’s Wadworth among others. The Little Ireland bar sold out last time and will be back with an extended and improved selection from both sides of the border – so, not so Little…

New for 2019 will be a bar featuring beers all served from the wood. The festival is working with the Society for the Preservation of Beer from the Wood to encourage breweries to provide interesting beers in a range of aged oak casks. Expect a strong representation from the North East and Yorkshire where several breweries including Osset, Elland and Wylam have consistently supplied beer in the wood, but maybe also a few surprises. And if you’d like to know more about the history of beers from the wood, esteemed beer writer and Good Beer Guide editor Roger Protz will be running a special tasting event on the Friday.

The huge main bars will be split into two, not three as in past years. But tickers and traditionalists will still be treated to a fantastic range of cask ales from across the UK. The line up of brewery bars looks formidable with a baker’s dozen of local and national favourites. Bollington returns alongside the perennially popular Hawkshead, Tiny Rebel, Runaway and Blackjack. And another big name, Thornbridge makes its debut at the Manchester festival.

Key keg was introduced by the festival in 2016, and the dedicated bar has grown gradually since. Many drinkers relish the chance to sample and compare the same beer in cask and keg. The cider and perry bar will have the largest selection in the North and will provide all five of your ‘five-a-day’. Fans of the foreign stuff can expect a superb range of beers from Belgium, Germany and the Czech Republic supplemented by a curated choice of beers from the rest of the world. And for those who like their ales in bottles – or would just like to take some home – the Real Ale in Bottle bar will have a UK-wide selection.

Organisers are grateful to the generosity of the many sponsors who support the festival, mainly drawn from the brewing industry.

The public sessions are from Thursday 24th to Saturday 26th January 2018 and advance tickets are on sale from the festival website. Card carrying CAMRA and SPBW members are also welcome admission-free to the preview evening from 5pm on Wednesday 23rd January. And if you’re a CAMRA member, have you considered volunteering at the festival? Such a mammoth event needs around 330 helpers and you’d be most welcome – details on the website, www.mancbeerfest.uk

David Rigby