last week I was very chuffed to be invited to the Indy Man Beer Con as a member of the press. I know! Me? I just write a blog now and again. However, these uncertainties did not prevent me from accepting the tickets....
Having never been before I made sure I got there as quickly as I could and stayed as late as I could on my ticket. Here is what I found.
The festival is held in a stunning location, the Victoria Baths on Hathersage Road in Chorlton On Medlock. You may have seen this venue on the Restoration programme on that there telly a while ago. Sufice to say, as a lover of ornate architecture and tiling, I was as excited about seeing the venue as tasting the beer!
A short taxi ride deposited me outside and straight away there were tiles. Many, many, many tiles. There was also a room with beers and food and people in it. This made me feel surprisingly thirsty all of a sudden and I had the Burning Sky Saison L'autumne on keg, using my white beer tokens, marking the beer off on the programme with my Camden pencil. Assumedly they aren't copyright claiming that....
I sat down briefly to assess the beers on offer and concluded that there must be other rooms. There was. I headed next to the Green Room, awash with fabulous green tile work and two bars, one selling overseas beers at a higher cost, and one with two handumps and keg fonts from the Port Street Beer House. I had the Indy Man Brewhouse Pale and a half on cask and it was bloody excellent. I was, now, officially a very happy punter.
Off next to the Turkish Baths which is where Beavertown were hanging out. Here I had their Qyelle, a dry hopped saison on keg. This was an interesting and very enjoyable beer, but I wanted a good ole fashioned cask ale next so headed through more magnificent tiling and stairways to room 1, where I had a Squawk Bean Brothers coffee porter at 7.0%, which in line with all the beer so fat, and indeed thereafter, was excellent.
I moved onto the other rooms for a while, went outside to look at the Brewdog bar, and up above room 3 where there were old doors awaiting fixing and brilliant sunlight through the glass roof. I then got sat in room 2 with an American Couple and tried some beers with them, including Against The Grain Citra Ass Down, a 6.7% keg beer, Hawkshead Green Juniper and hemp double IPA at 7% and Wiper and True Triptych Pale ale on cask at 4.9%. I also chatted with the brewer for a while, which to be fair, everyone else seemed to be doing.
I soon met up with Jules and Will from Hop Hideout off license in Sheffield and we started making our way round and through some of the other beers on offer. I also splashed out a large amount of money on a hot dog, as the beer was taking effect having started supping at 11.30. Its fair to say that I lose track at this point of the order of ales tried, but I did reliably tick my programme, so the others I tried were :
Lovibonds 69 IPA (keg) 6.9%
Arbor Indy Girl (Keg) 9%
Rooie Dop Back to Black (Keg) 8.6%
Burning Sky Aurora (Cask) 5.5%
Northern Monk New World Pale (cask)
Kernel Pale Ale Columbus (Keg) 4.8%
Alechemy Monumental - 1 yr aged Octomore (Keg) 11.5%
As you can see i tried a lot of kegs, but mainly the kegs were serving the stronger beers on offer. I think overall there may have been more kegs but as I said already, there were no bad beers that I tried. The issue of serving beers in 3rds came up at previous festivals but to be honest I never really noticed. That said, it was never mentioned to me, which is a bit slack, and it did mean that the beers were on the whole very expensive - not so bad for the kegs but not good value for the cask offerings.
Overall however this was my first and a very enjoyable beer festival in an exemplary setting which sold some cracking beers. The atmosphere was good, the food smelled amazing and once again, I must mention that I didn't try a bad beer from the 12 or so I had. Here, potentially, are some photos I took as well.
Lets hope the beer quality at the last two festivals I have attended recently can be matched at Kelham Island in a fortnight...