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Showing posts from January, 2013

National Winter Ales Festival 2013 - A Reasonable Farewell

Perhaps if this had been three years ago I would really have lamented the loss of the National Winter Ales Festival in Manchester . Not only has it long been held in my home city, but it was also my first ever beer festival, signifying a special place in my heart. That first visit was in 2006 and the event was then held in a co–operative building near Victoria station. At the time, my young ale loving mind was rather gobsmacked by the wondrous multi roomed, multi floored experience as barrels and casks of the good stuff stood waiting for me to try at no more than 90p for a generous half pint. Breweries and beer styles I had never heard of were present. It was also where I had my first taste of rauchbier, an encounter I have never regretted. I paid £3 to enter that day as a non CAMRA member. The organisations members that did travel with me on the occasion entered the festival for free (so they say, I’m inclined to believe they paid at least £1.) “They’re not a money making

Manchester - City of Irony (Or "Wine served in Tumblers")

Perhaps I'm too uncool these days to get "it." Perhaps my cynicism is the antidote to irony making my relation to the current trend in Manchester distant. For Manchester, my beloved home city that I have seen grow up and mature so in the past few years, has become the fresher year student of cities. No, I do not mean that it focuses on actual student nightlife, I mean that it is arrogant, sarcastic, rebellious and too cool for cool. It is a city that has found its own freedom and identity for the first time and is using this new found independence to put a proverbial middle finger to the rest of the cities. We are different. We are not compliant. We are irony. My new vision of Manchester has begun to form slowly over the past six months but was confirmed by a recent visit to Gorilla down the Oxford Road end of the city last Saturday night; my first to this bar. Gorilla is owned by the gurus behind Trof for whom I have a fondness for as well as their siblings. I am c

Advent Calendar Window Twenty-Four

Now that the Magi have arrived and the decorations have finally been removed, the mince pies have been forced down and the detox has begun, it’s presumably time to get writing again. It’s been an incredibly hectic festive period ever since I wrote about the joys ofwindow 21 and I’ve barely paused for breath to bring any updates. After all that effort, endurance and exertion, my Advent Calendar limped to a sorry finish. After my last post for Window 21, work finished for the holidays and the festive joviality took over. Windows 22 and 23 never happened due to time restrictions. (They would have been Leffe Christmas and Innis and Gunn’s Winter Treacle Porter) I did, however, manage to sneak in Window 24 on the correct date, just before leaving for another evening of social drinking. Window 24 was Mikkeller’s Santa’s Little Helper 2012 10.9% . I was rather excited about this, despite wanting to age it slightly. It may have been possible to get hold of a 2009 or 2010 version, but