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Get your hands on our official beer at Co-op

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A Leeds brewery helping to brew the official beer of Manchester Beer Week? OK, we admit it's bound to raise a few eyebrows.

The two cities on either side of the Pennines have been positioned as rivals more often than friends, so it might not seem like the most obvious union to some.

But when thinking about which brewery could work with long-time festival supporters JW Lees on this year's official beer, which will be available in 60 Co-op stores throughout the region, we decided to go a little left-field.

Collaboration has always been a vital element of the festival's ethos and this partnership extends that idea even further than in the past. By bringing in Leeds brewery Northern Monk, the aim was to emphasise the current strength of the North's brewing scene and the potential for it to continue growing through a collaborative approach.

Although Manchester Beer Week's main focus, inevitably, is Manchester itself, we have also been keen to celebrate those people doing great things throughout the beer industry in the UK and beyond. Northern Monk certainly fit that mould, having left an indelible mark on this country's beer scene in just five years.

They combine ambition with unbounded creativity and a sense of pride grounded not only in their northern location but also the wider creative community they have taken their place within. Their Patrons Project, for example, was set up to foster collaboration, creativity and community between artists, athletes and creatives across the North.

JW Lees, meanwhile, epitomise Manchester's long brewing tradition better than any other brewery. Founded in 1828 by John Lees himself, they continue to be a family-run business dedicated to maintaining Mancunian tradition but now also looking towards a bold future, particularly after opening their new, experimental microbrewery earlier this month.

The beer aims to reflect the different backgrounds of the two breweries by drawing on important characteristics from each. This limited edition Summer Pale Ale uses Northern Monk's core pale ale Faith as its main reference point, aiming to pack a resinous soft fruit punch from the use of Citra and Mosaic hops, but was fermented using JW Lees’ distinctive, 4,904th-generation yeast. Pale coloured and coming in at 5.1% ABV, it should be the ideal beer to suit the recent sunny weather.

It will be available on cask and keg at participating venues throughout Manchester Beer Week, while bottles will be available exclusively at 60 Co-op stores throughout the region. The Co-op is acting as the main sponsor of Manchester Beer Week for the second year running, as part of its commitment to investing in local communities and producers.

Simon Dryell, head of local sourcing at the Co-op, explained: "We are delighted to partner with Manchester Beer Week. Locally brewed ale is an exciting category, where we can see continued sustainable growth as craft ale followers look for something that tastes different, while retaining the passion, history and tradition that goes into brewing quality ales. As a community retailer, the Co-op is committed to investing in its local communities, providing what our members and customers want, when and where they need it, and exploring new ways to showcase, celebrate and support great quality locally produced food and drink."

Summer Pale Ale will be available in the following stores:

  • 349 Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton
  • Ambleside Road, Flixton
  • Angel Square, Manchester
  • Ashton On Mersey, Sale
  • Barton Road, Stretford
  • Berrycroft, Stockport
  • Blackley
  • Breightmet, Bolton
  • Bromley Cross, Bolton
  • Brooklands, Sale
  • Chorlton
  • Chorlton - Wilbraham Road
  • Corporation Street, Manchester
  • Cross Street, Sale
  • Cutgate, Rochdale
  • Dairyground Road, Stockport
  • Didsbury
  • Edgeley, Stockport
  • Ellenbrook
  • Great Moor, Stockport
  • Green Quarter - Cypress Place
  • Grosvenor Street, Rochdale
  • Hall Street, Stockport
  • Highfield Road, Bolton
  • Holcombe Brook, Bury
  • Horwich - Chorley New Road
  • Hulme - Birley Fields
  • Irlam - Liverpool Road
  • Ladybarn
  • Manchester - High Street
  • Manchester Pop Up Shop
  • Maple Road, Sale
  • Mason Street - Innovation Centre
  • Mile Lane, Bury
  • Northenden Road, Sale
  • Palatine Road, Northenden
  • Parr Lane, Bury
  • Petrol Hopwood, Heywood
  • Petrol Marple, Stockport
  • Petrol Princess Parkway
  • Rooley Moor Road, Rochdale
  • Coppice Avenue, Sale
  • Washway Road, Sale
  • Chapel Street, Salford
  • School Lane, Stockport
  • 206 Heaton Moor Road, Stockport
  • 76-78 Heaton Moor Road, Stockport
  • Didsbury Road, Stockport
  • Wellington Road South, Stockport
  • Taylors Road, Stretford
  • The Gables, Manchester
  • Tottington, Bury
  • Unsworth, Bury
  • Vernon Road, Bury
  • Walmersley, Bury
  • West Didsbury - Burton Road
  • Westhoughton
  • Whalley Range
  • Whitworth, Rochdale
  • Wigan Road, Bolton
  • Winter Hey Lane, Bolton
  • Withington - Copson Street
  • Woodsend Road, Urmston
  • Worsley Rd, Swinton