Andy Heggs, blogger and creator of the Tryanuary campaign, previews what he plans to look out for at Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from January 21 to 24.
Manchester Beer and Cider Festival is back at Manchester Velodrome for a second time, and it looks to be bigger and better than ever. With over 500 ales, ciders and perries on offer, as well as countless independent breweries, big names and interesting collaborations, there’s going to be something to suit everyone’s tastes and interests. No excuse for not getting in the spirit of #tryanuary – the new initiative encouraging the nation to try new beers and support independent pubs, breweries and retailers during the month of January.
Wiper and True: Small Beer (2.5% ABV)
One of the popular “table beers”, this is a full-bodied, but relatively low-alcohol ale. Knowing this Bristol brewery, it will still pack the same big hop hit you might expect from a stronger pale ale. Wiper and True have been putting out some truly exciting beers in their relatively short history, so this should be no exception.
Fixed Wheel: Single Speed Mosaic (4.5% ABV)
Keen cyclists that we are, this caught our eye due to the brewery name! Single hopped beers are great as they allow the hop to do its thing free of distraction, so this one with Mosaic should give over lots of tropical fruit, berry, citrus and pine flavours.
Cwrw Lal: Limestone Cowboy (4.5% ABV)
A great dark copper ale from this Wales-based social-enterprise brewer. Using big-tasting American hops and a West Coast yeast for a hop-forward-style ale, it’s a very moreish pint. Yeehaah!
Atom: Bragg’s Law (5.2% ABV)
The tasting notes bill this as a fruity and very hop-driven ale which employs Galaxy and Topaz hops to do their work. Atom have a passion for science as well as beer – as the brewery and beer names testify. You’ll have to ask them why this pale ale is named after a law that gives the angles for coherent and incoherent scattering from a crystal lattice, though….
Blackjack: One Eyed Jack (6% ABV)
A sorachi ace-smoked porter from the ever-popular Manchester brewers. Heavily hopped, slightly smokey porter using sorachi ace which imparts a unique flavour.
Cromarty: Husky Brown (5.2% ABV)
A new one from this Scottish based brewer. We’ve had and enjoyed their Happy Chappy and Rogue Wave pales, so we’re keen to see what this American brown ale brings to the party.
Dark Star: Hophead Vic Secret (3.8% ABV)
A special version of the stone cold classic Hophead, made with Australian Vic Secret hops, which impart clean, distinct fruit and pine characters apparently. We’ve yet to sample a beer using them, so this should be an interesting pint.
Out There: Star Child (3.5% ABV)
A “light” saison from Newcastle’s outer-space-obsessed small-batch brewery. The poetic notes have this one as a drink that “drifts across the tongue like a summer cloud, with a tingle of grapefruit, a hint of fennel and a gentle breeze of juniper”. Sounds good to us!
RedWillow: Directionless (4.2% ABV)
We’ve had this one many times before, and it’s difficult to resist! A classic easy-drinking session ale, warm amber in colour, with Amarillo and Centennial hops providing a subtle candied orange fruitiness.
Bridestones / Offbeat: Sprocket Wort Orange (4.6% ABV)
A tastebud-tantalising combination of chocolate, orange, juniper and sorachi ace hops have gone into this collaboration between Crewe-based Offbeat and Bridestones of Hebden Bridge. The gin lovers in us are quite intrigued how that certain berry will make itself known amongst all those flavours.
This is just a tiny selection of what’s on offer. For the full listings, check out the festival website at www.manchesterbeerfestival.org.uk.
Don’t forget to share what you are looking forward to trying, or indeed what you are enjoying at the festival, on social media using the #tryanuary hashtag.
As well as creating Tryanuary, Andy runs beer and cycling blog www.hoponthebike.co.uk – a series of interviews, videos, commentary and images on cycling trips to breweries around the UK. Andy is founder and director of digital agency Drumbeat, based in Manchester.