Last time I visited Manchester I was on my way to see Bruce Springsteen play at the Etihad in the pouring rain. Apart from the fact I lost the tickets and had to buy two tout-price replacements, I had a jolly good time. So much of a good time in fact that I haven’t been back since.
So, needless to say, I’m very excited that whilst everyone else is sat at their desks this Friday morning wishing away the hours until the weekend, I’ll be on a train headed for the wettest city in England (apparently, anyway) and the Holy Grail of UK craft beer festivals, The Independent Manchester Beer Convention.
Now in its third year, IMBC is set to be bigger, better and beerier than ever, as more than 30 craft breweries from the UK and beyond are set to descend on Manchester’s Victorian Baths this weekend. Now, I’m terrifically excited about the prospect of skiving off work to go and drink amazing beer all day, so excuse me if I get a tad carried away whilst I go over what punters can expect from the 2014 instalment.
Unsurprisingly, for a craft beer festival ran in partnership with, Brewdog, Beavertown, Thornbridge, Magic Rock and Summer Wine breweries, the selection of keg and cask beer is extensive and will really be showing off the quality that the UK now has to offer, with all five sponsors heading up their own bars scattered across the venue.
The kind folks at IMBC have released the complete beer list for each of the sessions so if you’re super sad like me you can plan your beer journey appropriately and not get blown away with indecision as you stare in wonderment at all the pretty pump clips.
Here’s what I’m planning on ticking off my list early doors:
– Camden Town – India Hells Lager
– Beavertown – Quelle
– Northern Monk – Kiwi Saison
– Red Willow – Timeless Barrel Aged (Rhubarb Sour)
– Indy Man Brew House/Black Jack/Hopcraft – Ultimate Warrior
Now I’ve prepared my trail for the day and already sorted where I’m going to be having breakfast when I arrive in Manchester, the only question is what train beers do I opt for.
Besides the bounty of beer on show, I think one of the biggest things I’m looking forward to about IMBC is the food, particularly the pies. I do bloody love a pie and knowing that the Great North Pie Co. will be making an appearance makes me feel all fuzzy inside.
Don’t worry though, if pies don’t get your motor running, they’ve lined up an impressive array of street food vendors for you to gorge on, including:
There’s also a a four-course, beer-matched meal with Masterchef finalist Jackie Kearney taking place on Thursday and twice on Friday and Saturday, and the menu looks incredible, although the four sittings are now all sold out so I imagine it’ll just be pies for me.
Indy Man opens its doors on Thursday (9th October) evening and doesn’t close them until the Sunday, so there’s plenty of time to fill your boots with beer and even learn a thing or two, with talks and tastings taking place during every session. There’s still the odd ticket left for the Thursday evening, and Sunday sessions here but I wouldn’t bank on them staying around for much longer.
As gutted as I am that I’ll only be partaking in one day of antics throughout the whole convention, I know I’ll still be feeling pretty satisfied/merry when getting the train home – IMBC chalice in hand, belly full of beer, drifting in and out of a pie-coma.