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Beer and Cider festival to feature 750 different drinks

by Olivia Powell

The Manchester Beer and Cider festival has announced the beer lists for the event.

Now in its seventh year, the festival will feature 25 bars serving more than 750 different drinks including ciders, perrys, fruit wines, mead and gin.

The event is organised by the nine Greater Manchester branches of the Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA), and so the event is focused on cask-conditioned beers, with almost 400 to choose from.

New for 2020 is the Coast to Coast bar, showcasing breweries from the Mersey to the Humber. Visitors sample beers fromseven countieswithin the space, which features156 hand pumps plus 15 on the cider bar. Highlights include a white stout from Liverpool’s Gibberish, Walnut Whip and Vimto beers and several collaborations between brewers. Other ones to look out for are Pomona Island and Elusive’s ‘It’s Dangerous To Go Alone, Take This With You’ (6.8%), which promises pink peppercorns and coriander seeds.  Thebrewing scene across Greater Manchester means 22 breweries are repesented, withWest Yorkshire coming second with 19.

The Beers from the Wood bar, which premiered in 2019, has been enlarged to feature more than 70 beers, many making their debut in wooden barrels. Beer orderer John O’Donnell  has persuaded some breweries to use barrels for the first time, and persuaded others to supply favorites in the style.

When asked for recommendations, O’Donnell said:”There’s a three-year aged unique beer in wood from Marble brewers that I’m delighted to put on, ‘Rioja Barrel Aged Old Ale’ (10.8%). Across town, Beer Nouveau has supplied two heritage beers the brewery has resurrected, as well as an interesting ‘Chocolate Orange Surplus’ (8%), using surplus food, all in wood. Elsewhere, the Coast To Coast bar has two small batch beers from Moorhouses and Bad Seed of North Yorkshire’s ‘Juice Bar’ (5.3%) promises to be very fruity. Bradfield’s Farmer’s Belgian Blue (4.9%) is bound to appeal to the curious as it has a slight blue tint to the head.

“And I don’t need to recommend a visit to Tiny Rebel’s bar – drinkers clearly know their way!”

The Kegstar bar will showcase modern keykeg and keg beers from both the UK and overseas. More than 70 beers will be served, including two beers Cloudwater and Kernel both have two beers available, Manchester Union’s ‘Lager ‘ (4.8%), Stubborm Mule’s ‘Wake Me Up Before You Cocoa’ (3.3%) and Vocation’s Purple Grain (6.2%).

Eleven brewery bars will offer visitors a choice of cask and keg beers often served by the brewers themselves. New to the festival isRoosters of Harrogate wereas returning names includeTiny Rebel, Brass Castle, and Bollington. Brass Castle’s ‘Fruit Lupe’ will be available in both cask and keg, giving drinkers the chance to spot any difference. Runaway has put one of its beers, ‘Farmhouse Pale’ (3.9%) in a wooden barrel and sent it to the Beers from the Wood bar, whilst RedWillow returns with ‘Imperial XXX Mild’, a 9.2% special.

Another new feature will be the microbars, giving drinkers the chance to sample ales and talk to the brewers in attendance. Local representatives include Brewsmith, Donkeystone and Joseph Holt, who marks the festival with a new beer, ‘Fiesta Express’ (4.9%).

The beer selection starts with a bottled alcohol-free Budvar, and a 2.5% ‘Grapefruit Radler’ from Tiny Rebel. At the opposite end of the draught offerings are 10% and over strong beers from Brass Castle, Marble and Maghull’s Neptune. Marble’s collaboration with Aberdeen brewers Fierce is the strongest draught beer with ‘Chocolate and Hazelnut Imperial Stout’ (12.2%), closely followed by Sweden’s Beerbliotek brewery with a 12.1% barley wine, ‘Wood I Lie To You’.

Two further bars of international beers will bring a variety of beers in draught, bottle and can from Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Japan, the USA  and more.

Manchester Beer and Cider Festival will take place from23-25 January 2020 at Manchester Central.

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