For the third year running, the Greater Manchester Ale Festival returns and it’s completely free to enter.
Fifteen breweries and micro-breweries which will be displaying a range of local and regional real ale.
There are 80 beers to get through over the course of the festival - which runs until Wednesday - and 30 ciders, German hells (lager) and mulled wine.
As I was walking to the event it stunned me that people were sitting in pubs just a minute from the real ale tent instead of going down to try out the contents of the numerous casks.
The drinks range between £2.60 and £3.50 and you can buy a litre of German lager for £10 (including £3 deposit for the stein).
There is also a competition to find ‘The People’s Pint’, out of a total of 80! People will be encouraged to note down their favourite and a winner will be picked at the end of the festival.
The bar manager kindly talked me through a few beers, and I think we got through about five, or was it six? Anyway, here’s a few of the best:
Outstanding Red 4.4% - This rich yet, light beer was probably the best of the lot. Not too strong, you could certainly have a few and it’s flavour is very distinct without being overpowering.
Moorhouse’s Pride of Kendal 4.1% - A much lighter beer the flavour is far more subtle in the Kendal than the Outstanding Red. It is a quaffing beer, one you could knock back without knowing you’re drinking alcohol.
Chocolate Tom 6% - This one is a bit stronger but it’s still subtle and drinkable. As you would imagine the chocolate flavour is not at the forefront of the beer but it can be detected to the refined palate.
Ginger Tom 4.1% - Simply put, this is Christmas in Ale form. I’m not too keen on strong ginger flavours but this was enjoyable.
Veltins German Lagers 5% - A crisp lager from Germany, and it is currently their best-selling German beer, according to the manager. It is compact and flavoursome but not overpowering as some people believe all German lager is.
The bar staff were very attentive when I went and will allow you to try the beers before you buy (but, if it’s packed to the rafters it’s probably best not to stand around and taste six different ales before you buy!) and will be able to recommend the best sellers.
So, get yourself down there instead of the pub and try something new.