As soon as the great National Winter Ales Festival moved to pastures new, the diary was filled with the newly minted Manchester Beer & Cider Festival in the rather interesting location of the Velodrome to the east of the city centre.
Firstly the venue is easy to get to by breaking the First Law of Beer Festival: the venue must be at least 3 changes of transport & 2 different modes of transport away from the majority of the people attending. Secondly it is interesting in its design, but also in that Team GB cycling team are racing around like protons in the Large Hadron Colider (well almost as they aren't colliding head on at almost the speed of light). It does suffer though from that common complaint of beer festivals - lack of toilets. I went on Friday daytime & the queues were lengthy - I'd hated to have had to hold it in during peak periods.
I visited on the Friday afternoon. Some unlucky friends visited Saturday afternoon when the fire limit was reached & a one-out one-in policy had to enacted whilst the rain reached biblical proportions. Soon after that the festival ran out of beer & some very disappointed beer drinkers had to disperse back to the city centre.
Blakemere, Hit & Run - Rasberry, orangey, fruity 7/10
Bradfield, Farmers Belgian Blue - blueberry / blackberry squash 6/10
Brightside, Amarillo - grapefruity American-style pale ale 7/10
Darkside, Stout - dark chocolate with sweet malt 6/10
Dark Star, Hophead - does exactly what it says on the tin. A hoppy pale ale 8/10
Elland, Head Brewers Reserve Kitty Hawk - citrus & fruity American-style pale ale 7/10
Quantum, Small Beer - hoppy, citrussy, light ale with bags of flavour. Super stuff & only 2.7% 8/10
Redwillow, Heartless - very chocolatey & sweetish 7/10
Riverhead, White Cloud - tasting notes say "extra pale, heavily hopped" but its neither so pale nor so well hopped. Still very enjoyable APA 8/10
Siren, Broken Dream - sweetish with milk chocolate 7/10
Tatton, Ruck & Maul - smokey with a very roasty & sweet maltiness.8/10
Tiny Rebel, Billabong - hoppy, citrus & floral very pale ale 8/10
Wilson Potter, In The Black - lots of burnyt & liquorice flavours 8/10
Wilson Potter - Rock It Fuel - no subtetly, but a perfectly pleasant ginger beer 8/10
XT, XT13 Pacific Red Ale - American-style pale ale with a very hoppy, citrus & fruity flavour leaving a gentle bitterness 9/10
Bollington, Eastern Nights - hoppy IPA with a big body to balance it 8/10
Bollington, Winter Reserve - very fruity, malt sweet beer 6/10
Hawkshead, Cumbrian Five Hop - excellently OTT American-style pale ale with loads of grapefruit flavour hoppiness 10/10
Hawkshead, NZPA - greatly hopped New WOrld pale ale 8/10
Marble, Chocolate Marble - very milk chocolatey with some alcohol warmth 7/10
Marble, Lagonda IPA - grapefruity OTT IPA 8/10