Tryanuary's Top Ten Tipples

Manchester Beer & Cider Festival is back next week (20th-23rd January), in it's cavernous new home at the GMex (I don't care what you say, it may be called Manchester Central but it'll always be known as the GMex to me), so of course I'll be popping my head in for a swift half. Or three.

This year boasts an impressive 600 beers and ciders in cask, keg and bottle to choose from, so in true Tryanuary spirit I've had a little look and put together a small sample of the ones I'm going to make a Mancunian beeline for. I'm definitely at the paler end of the beer spectrum, so if you're drawn more to the dark side, may I suggest you look at Beers Manchester's dance card for the festival. A man who knows what he likes, and what he likes are dark beers!

Allgates (Wigan) All Day Coffee IPA - 5.1%
Brewed in collaboration with Manchester Beer Week, this golden coloured style-changing IPA brewed with Citra, Chinook and Mosaic hops and a late addition of a special blend courtesy of Atkinsons of Lancaster promises to be an interesting number. 

Brewsmith (Ramsbottom) Admiral Porter - 4%
Another collaboration (brewed with the festival), this American style hopped porter (but as the same suggests, brewed with Admiral, a super British hop) will be one nod to darker beers in this list. I'm a huge fan of Brewsmith's output, so if anyone can convince me to drink more porter, it'll be brewer James Smith.

Cloudwater (Manchester) Bitter - 4.3%
Out of an ever-changing, and seemingly ever-increasing output from Manchester's biggest and shiniest brewhouse, I've yet to have sampled their take on a traditional bitter made with new world hops. 

Drink Up (Horwich) Orange and Pineapple Pale Ale - 5.0%
I love citrus based beers, so this one will be impossible for me to pass up...

Firebrand (Launceston) Fallen Saison - 5.5%
Hopped like an American IPA but brewed with a saison yeast? I like the sound of that. Expecting plenty of fruity hop flavours with a spicy saison twist. I tried one or two Firebrand beers on a trip down to my old uni stomping ground in Cornwall late last year and was impressed with the output from this Cornish brewing powerhouse.

Fool Hardy (Stockport) Rash Dash - 3.8%
Turning down the ABV for a moment with this reliable copper ale from Martin Wood's cellar brewery. The very definition of a session ale, this is a super balance of malts and hops wrapped in a light floral aroma. I also recommend the pub which sits atop said brewery to sample direct from the source!

Runaway (Manchester) Double IPA - 7.2%
Then let's ramp that right back up again shall we? A hoppy, full-bodied American style DIPA from one of Manchester's brightest breweries. Aromas of grapefruit, tropical fruits and sweet caramel, this beer packs a flavoursome punch.

Siren (Finchampstead) Counting Vampires - 6.1%
Another fruit based beer, this time a blackberry IPA. Bonus points if you can make the connection between blackberries and vampires.

Vocation (Hebden Bridge) Pride & Joy Simcoe - 5.3%
One of my 'go to' breweries of 2015, the output from this Hebden Bridge based brewery has been nothing short of perfect. I really enjoyed the regular version of this American style pale ale, so this one-off edition of it hopped with Simcoe will be interesting to compare.

Wiper & True (Bristol) Pink Peppercorn - 5.5%
Again, a brewery I have yet to have a beer from that I didn't love, this porter sounds delicious. Sweet roast malts and hints of hedgerow berries with a kick of freshly cracked pink peppercorns for a spicy finale. Nice!

For tickets to the festival, visit the website here. Follow them on Twitter for up to the minute news here.


Mike Hampshire