Friday, 25 October 2013

Review // Indy Man Beer Con @ Victoria Baths

On a very rainy sunday, Georgia and I headed down to the Independent Manchester Beer Convention over at the phenomenal Victoria Baths to sample some ales. My piece will be live soon on Quays News but until then, you can read it below! Special thankyou to the lovely Jamie Hargreaves for hooking a Sister up!
Independent Manchester Beer Convention @ Victoria Baths
As a first-time attendee of the Independent Manchester Beer Convention this year, one could be easily reprimanded for their naivety in assuming that these events were awash with stodgy ales, poor pub nibbles and a population of middle-aged males' nursing their beer guts. Yet here in Manchester, the teams behind Common, Port Street Beer House and The Beagle have joined forces to present a four-day extravaganza of unique high-quality beverages, live music and an apex of local street food traders, to help soak up all that liquid indulgence. Held in the striking setting of the grade II listed Victoria Baths, the IMBC team managed to bring an element of alternative class, turning the Edwardian-era converted swimming pool into a bustling maze of interest.
With periodic features flowing rife alongside flags and bunting streaming wall from wall, we were nothing short of being blown away by the kitsch presentation, excellent organisation and brilliant value for money offered. With over ten tastings of your choice available for a mere ten pounds, we joined in with the noticeably unconventional crowd of attendees’ for the Sunday leg of the occasion, after a run of preceding sold-out developments. Being welcomed inside with a ‘grab-a-glass-and-jump-right-in’ attitude, as a multitude of locally and nationally-praised breweries presented their goods, specialists’ were also on hand to offer tasting sessions and an ear of advice for those of us who were uneducated in knowing the difference between the Kvasss’ and Weisses’ on offer. 
With mouth-watering offerings permeating their way through room two, the likes of smoky barbeque brisket, creamy mac’n’cheese and venison parcels for those with taste buds tingling for a more upmarket culinary delight, showcased that this event ran deeper than most in order to support resident companies, within the business. Take for example the stalls from Manchester native award-winners’ such as North Tea Power (roasting the perfect coffee to shake off those hangovers on the event’s final day) and winners of ‘Second Best New Brewery In The World 2012’, Magic Rock Brewing, hosting within the treasure trove of Turkish Baths; the variety available was mind-bogglingly impressive- and the entertainment didn’t terminate there. One of the country’s most burgeoning free publications, The Skinny, curated the weekend’s music portion, over in room three.
With DJ’s such as Andy Carroll and Rob Bright spinning the likes of Nouvelle Vague, alongside other continental delights, in order to get feet shuffling way into the evening, students of the Royal Northern College of Music also staged impromptu performances, injecting a sense of anticipation into the affair.
 What the Independent Manchester Beer Convention managed to exceptionally pull-off, was the forward-thinking approach and demeanour of something much grander than being presented on this scale, whilst also remaining loyal to it’s niche and breaking down the commerce to customer barrier. Sourcing every minute detail down to a tee, whether the full-of-character merchandise from artist Steve Hockett over to the intricate programmes provided free of charge, IMBC effectively bestowed elements of this ever-growing industry in a fresh and approachable light, overflowing with charm.

Words and Images by Yours Truly X

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