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Commercially-viable homebrew competition

Homebrewers from across Greater Manchester are being invited to take part in a competition to see who can brew the best, commercially-viable beer.

The winner will get the chance to brew their beer commercially at Beer Nouveau and put it up for sale at the upcoming Left Bank Beer Festival.

The competition, organised by the Manchester Homebrewers Group and Beer Nouveau, will challenge the brewers to not only create a beer that tastes great but one that would also works to the same ingredient constraints faced by the professionals.

Entrants will be provided with a sheet to provide details of their ingredients, which will allow judges to work out the cost of producing the beer commercially. Drinkers at the MCR Homebrew Expo on Sunday June 19 will also be given the chance to rate each beer. The winner will be determined by combining the results from the two methods of judging.

How limited are the ingredients? There are only 24 hops available on the spot market at the moment, and brewers will be limited to using these for the competition. They are:

  • Atlas
  • Bramling Cross
  • Bravo
  • Cascade
  • Columbus
  • Crystal
  • Dana
  • Dr Rudi
  • Eureka
  • First Gold
  • Mittlefruh
  • Hekules
  • Lubelski
  • Magnum
  • Minstrel
  • Mount Hood
  • Northern Brewer
  • Pacific Gem
  • Pioneer
  • Progress
  • Sladek
  • Sovereign
  • Target
  • Whitbred Goldings Variety (WGV)

If you would like to take part in the competition, contact mancshomebrew@gmail.com for full details on how to enter.

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Brewing experiment set to explore the power of yeast

Yeast at work inside the fermenter

Yeast at work inside the fermenter

May 11, 2016 - Four breweries are taking part in a unique experiment for Manchester Beer Week to demonstrate the power of yeast in the brewing process.

The event, which is being organised in collaboration with yeast producer Lallemand, will see each of the four participants brew exactly the same base beer but fermented with a different yeast strain.

It is intended to demonstrate to beer lovers, both young and old, just how crucial yeast is to the flavour profile of their favourite beers. The massive explosion in popularity of the India Pale Ale (IPA) has resulted in hops being seen as the superstars of modern brewing, while yeast has become an unsung hero.

Each brewery will use the same malts and hops as the others, and will even follow the same brewing process, only altering the yeast used. Torrside Brewery will use a classic ale yeast, Runaway Brewery will use a saison yeast, Thirst Class will use a German wheat beer strain, while Tickety Brew will use their own house yeast, which is Belgian in origin.

Rob Percival, technical sales manager for Lallemand and a certified beer sommellier, said: “A lot of the more trendy hops used by modern brewers will dominate the flavour profiles of many beers, especially given the quantities used, and yeast is too often overlooked, except in a few obvious continental styles.

“It’s a shame because, in my opinion, the flavour contribution made by the yeast is the most fundamental to the final beer. I would love to see more respect paid to yeast and more brewers take greater care over the yeasts they use and the conditions in which they ferment. This event will help to bring yeast back to the fore and help drinkers to understand exactly what difference different strains make to the beer they drink.”

“Manchester Beer Week gives brewers the chance to try things they wouldn’t usually have the time or opportunity to do, and we’re really excited to see the outcomes of this experiment,” added Manchester Beer Week organiser Connor Murphy.

The four beers will be showcased during an event at Brewdog Manchester on Wednesday, June 15 at 7.30pm. Tickets will be priced at £7.50 and will include a third of each of the beers brewed. Visit the event page to get yours.

All four brewers will be on hand during the event to talk about their respective beers and the different yeast strains used.

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Historical beers to be revived as part of Manchester Beer Week

Historical beers to be revived for Manchester Beer Week

Historical beers to be revived for Manchester Beer Week

Long-forgotten beers from Manchester’s past are set to be given a new lease of life as part of Manchester’s first city-wide beer festival.

Four of the city’s modern microbreweries have agreed to revive extinct styles as part of an event designed to celebrate the city’s rich brewing heritage.

Three of the recipes have been plucked from the history books of Manchester’s oldest surviving family brewer, JW Lees, and adapted to account for modern tastes and techniques with the help of beer historian Ron Pattinson.

Blackjack Brewery will recreate Lees’ 1951 C Ale, a style of dark, strong ale that was specific to Manchester, Squawk Brewing Co is creating an interpretation of Lees’ 1952 Stout, while Beer Nouveau is looking back as far back as 1903 to brew Lees XXX strong ale.

Meanwhile, Stalybridge-based Tickety Brew will revive an Invalid Stout from the town’s now-extinct brewery, Heginbotham’s, which was once owned and operated by Robinson’s.

Manchester Beer Week organiser Connor Murphy said: “Although there has been a lot of talk about the recent beer boom in Manchester, it is also important to remember the city’s rich brewing heritage.

“This city has long been seen as one of the leading lights in British brewing and it is exciting to be given a rare opportunity to sample the styles that were used to delight the drinking public as far back as 1903.

“It represents an intriguing challenge for the brewers involved, as they will need to adapt these historical styles to suit modern techniques, ingredients and equipment, while staying as true to the original beers as possible.”

The four beers will be launched during an event at The Smithfield Tavern on Monday, June 13. This will include a talk from beer historian Ron Pattinson at 7.30pm, providing background behind the beers and insight into Manchester’s brewing history.

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Manchester Beer Week chooses Forever Manchester as charity partner

Manchester Beer Week has joined forces with Forever Manchester to raise money for a series of good causes during the city-wide beer festival.

The community foundation, which supports a wide range of grassroots projects across Greater Manchester, has been nominated as Manchester Beer Week's chosen charity.

Both organisations will work together to host events and initiatives designed to raise awareness and money for community projects, including the launch of a very special beer.

This year's Manchester Beer Week coincides with Forever Manchester Week, which runs from June 10 to June 17 and aims to inspire Mancunians to take part in eight days of creative fundraising activity. So keep an eye out for joint events that combine good beer with good causes.

"The partnership with Forever Manchester made complete sense to us," said Manchester Beer Week organiser Connor Murphy. "Not only does a strange twist of fate mean Forever Manchester Week coincides with Manchester Beer Week, but both organisations are focused on championing Manchester and raising awareness about the city's fantastic people.

"We're really excited to work with them to bring a charitable aspect to the Beer Week and give drinkers the chance to dig deep to support valuable community projects that benefit a wide range of people across Greater Manchester's 10 boroughs."

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Manchester Beer Week gains exclusive access to historic former Royal Brewery

The Heineken Manchester brewery

The Heineken Manchester brewery

April 8, 2016 – Beer lovers will be given a unique opportunity to see inside Manchester’s largest brewery, the historic HEINEKEN brewery, this summer.

The Princess Road landmark, formerly known as the Royal Brewery, will throw open its doors for two exclusive tours on Friday, June 10 to mark the beginning of Manchester Beer Week.

Beer has been brewed on the site since 1875, when it was opened as the Albert Brewery, and it has since produced iconic brands such as Red Tower, Harp and McEwan’s.

The brewery became known as the Royal Brewery when it was renamed to honour a visit by King Edward VII in 1907. It was renamed The Red Tower Lager Brewery in 1933 until being purchased by Scottish Brewers in 1957.

The Royal Brewery in 1961

The Royal Brewery in 1961

Rapid expansion occurred in the 1960s to cope with demand for Harp Lager, which was brewed on the site, and the current brewhouse was constructed in 1970. Now owned and operated by HEINEKEN, the Manchester brewery is responsible for brewing three million pints a day, including famous beers Foster’s and Kronenbourg 1664.

Normally, the general public are not allowed inside the brewery, but special access has been granted to visitors as part of Manchester Beer Week, which is Manchester’s first city-wide beer festival. The tours will provide a unique insight into operations at one of the world's biggest brewers.

The delivery yard at the Royal Brewery in 1984

The delivery yard at the Royal Brewery in 1984

Manchester Beer Week organiser Connor Murphy said: “It’s a major coup for us to gain access to HEINEKEN’s brewery as part of Manchester Beer Week. It has been a huge part of Manchester’s brewing scene for more than 140 years. “Manchester Beer Week is about celebrating every element of the city’s beer scene. We will be running a number of events at pubs, bars, restaurants and breweries across the city, which will celebrate fantastic products from local producers. But the tours of the HEINEKEN brewery will offer an entirely different perspective, showing visitors how things work at the biggest, most recognisable brewery in the region.”

Tickets for the tours will cost £10, with all proceeds donated to HEINEKEN’s chosen charity Addaction. Each tour will be limited to 10 places, with one taking place at 10.30am and the other at 1pm on Friday, June 10. Tickets can be purchased via DesignMyNight.

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Manchester Beer Week seals groundbreaking collaboration for official beer

JW Lees' Greengate Brewery in Middleton

JW Lees' Greengate Brewery in Middleton

April 6, 2016 – Manchester’s oldest family brewer is set to join forces with one of the city’s most celebrated modern breweries to create a groundbreaking new beer for Manchester Beer Week.

JW Lees and Cloudwater Brew Co have agreed to collaborate in creating the official beer for the city-wide festival, which takes place between June 10 and June 19 this year.

It represents a landmark moment for the Manchester beer scene, bridging the gap between the city’s brewing heritage and the rapidly growing craft beer movement. Consequently, the beer will aim to capture elements from both sides, combining a time-tested, traditional approach with bold, modern flavours and techniques.

It will be the first beer brewed by JW Lees in partnership with another brewer in 15 years, following on from a collaboration with Brooklyn Brewery in 2001, which resulted in the creation of Brooklyn Best and the award-winning Manchester Star. Details of the recipe are yet to be determined but the beer will be brewed at JW Lees’ Greengate Brewery and made available in cask and keg at participating venues across Greater Manchester during the festival.

Michael Lees-Jones, Head Brewer at JW Lees, said: “We love the idea of bridging the gap between nearly two centuries of brewing heritage and the modern craft beer scene. We love the beers brewed by Cloudwater and we can’t wait to see how our ideas and methods come together for this exclusive beer.

“We’ve already thrown some ideas about over a couple of pints and the seeds have been sown for something very special.”

Cloudwater, meanwhile, have made a big splash on the UK beer scene since launching early last year, championing a unique approach focused on seasonality. This means the Ancoats-based outfit has shunned the traditional practice of developing a core range, instead creating different beers according to the time of year, in a bid to showcase seasonal ingredients at their very best and take inspiration from the change of lifestyle each season creates.

Paul Jones, Co-founder and Managing Director at Cloudwater, said: “We’re excited to work with JW Lees to brew a bold, modern beer, seeking to make the best of both British brewing heritage and our forward thinking, flavour-first attitude.”

Manchester Beer Week organiser Connor Murphy added: “Manchester is renowned for both its rich brewing history and for an exciting modern scene that has made it one of the best beer destinations in the country. So it’s incredibly exciting to bring two of the most respected breweries from each scene together to create something unique for Manchester Beer Week. The beer will be symbolic of Manchester’s journey and the spirit of collaboration that will be key to the industry’s continued growth in this city.”

Events for the inaugural Manchester Beer Week will start to be announced over the coming month, with details released via the event website www.mcrbeerweek.co.uk.

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