The art of brewing

If you’re having a dry January, look away. Thirsty ale lovers read on for a taste of the upcoming Manchester Beer and Cider Festival.

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With all the imbibing of mulled wine and port over the festive season, it’s time for something different to whet our whistles and see in the New Year.


While some are contemplating a dry January, lovers of the brewer’s art are set to descend on Manchester Central this month for the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival 2017.


Organised by the Greater Manchester branches of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), the event returns with around 700 beers, ciders and perries, ranging from traditional bitters to the very latest bold-flavoured beers from the very best of the world’s new breed of brewers.


The three-day festival, which opens on 19 January, attracts visitors from all over the world to sample beers and ciders from the UK’s booming brewing and cider-making industries.


The 2016 event featured more than 600 different beers and ciders with almost 15,000 beer lovers pouring through the doors of Manchester Central to sample them.


“Manchester has such a rich history in so many fields but the region’s beer revolution is perhaps better celebrated outside the city than in it,” says festival organiser, Graham Donning.


“Greater Manchester now boasts around 80 breweries, many of whom, from the oldest to the newest, are exporting around the world.”


With that in mind, the organiser has increased the size of the show to offer visitors more seating and more space to move around, with around 30 per cent more of the Central Hall.


“To ensure we serve over 70,000 pints in tip-top condition, we’ll be open to the public for one day less. We’ve also simplified the entry procedures with a single price each day that will minimise any queues inside and outside the venue,” he adds.


Offering 19 separate bars and generous samples galore, the festival has also lined up entertaining beer and cider speakers to share their liquid loves with visitors.


John Clarke, a Manchester-based beer writer and newspaper columnist will take a look at the rise, fall and re-birth of India Pale Ale; Charlotte Bulmer (no relation to the eponymous cider) lifts the lid on the traditional delights of the UK’s favourite fruit drink with cider tasting; and Clarke returns with ‘Holy Orders’, talking guests through the history of brewing in monasteries by introducing the audience to six different beers, all brewed by the Trappist Order of monks in Belgium and the Netherlands.


“There’ll be nothing dry about any of these talks,” explains deputy organiser, Peter Alexander. “The space we have at Manchester Central gives us the opportunity to put these tutored tastings on. I’ve been able to secure some of the best speakers whose expertise is nationally recognised. They will be entertaining as well as informative.”
With an empty pint glass at the ready, it looks like EN is in need of a top up.

Manchester Beer and Cider Festival will run from 19 to 21 January 2017.

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Rich heritage


The event’s new logo has been unveiled, featuring four of the pillars on which the city built its national and international reputation, while celebrating that the city is now equally recognised around the world for its brewing and beer scene. The fourth incarnation of the Campaign For Real Ale’s premiere northern beer festival is represented by four pint glasses, each containing an icon representing the city’s rich heritage in the fields of science, industry, music and sport.

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