After a very busy weekend I thought I would share with you all what I’ve been up to. On Saturday, the boyfriend and I attended the Beer and Cider Festival in Manchester. The festival was being held in Manchester Central not far from the Bridgewater Hall and ran from the 19th-21st January. We arrived not long after the doors had opened by long enough to avoid the long line of people we saw waiting outside as we passed on the tram. This is the first time I’ve been to the festival and we had such as great time that we’ve planned to go again next year. We’ve also got our eye on the one in Stockport in June.
After we paid (we got £1 back when we showed our Metro link ticket) we were given the option of taking either a pint glass which you returned when you finished and were given £3.00 back (I may be wrong about whether it was £3 or £1 the boyfriend couldn’t remember, he’d had a few) or you can take a 1/2 pint glass which you get to keep.
The hall was filled with row upon row of tables moderately full when we first entered. However, as the photos above show, by the time we left the place was full. Around the outside snaked bars serving, I’m reliably informed, 165 different types of beers and ciders. I’m more of cider than a beer drinker so I made my way over to the cider bar. The ciders were ranked from 1 = very sweet to 5 = very dry. I like my cider sweet so I opted for what looked like the only number 1 on offer, the Morgan Sweet Cider from Westcroft in Somerset. The guy behind the bar told me that the ‘sweet’ in the name was because of the type of apple used, it just happened to also be sweet. Of all the ciders I went on to taste, this was by far my favourite. I also tried, amongst many, Three Cats from Derbyshire which was medium sweet as was the Waterloo Sunset Perry by Udders Orchard. Neither was to my taste.
The boyfriend sampled a rather scary sounding beer called Cryptic U.S.B at 6.9%, a cask conditioned beer. For only 1/2 a pint you were looking at £2.10(£1.40 for 1/3 ). Of all the beers he tried this one was by far the strongest and darkest, almost Guiness-like in colour with a toffee/treacly taste and smell. He followed it up with a Manchester Star Ale and one I think was simply named Manchester Ale (I was starting to lose track at this point).These were not only cheaper, the Manchester Ale was £1.00 for 1/3 but also less alcoholic.
Alongside the beer there was also a splattering of food stands including ones selling pies, burgers and cheese toasties.
If you’re a big beer and/or cider fan or just looking for a good day out (you have to be over 25 sorry), then I would strongly recommend this for next year. Can’t wait that long? Sign up to CAMRA and they’ll notify you of the other festivals taking place including the one I already mentioned in Stockport and in Bolton and Wigan to name but a few.