This event took place over the 10th – 13th October 2013.
I attended the ‘late’ session on the Friday.
Entry was £11 – bought some 7 months in advance.
The Indy Man Beer Con or IMBC or Independent Manchester Beer Convention (beer the only word not abbreviated) is now 2 years old. Held at Victoria Baths, this was my second time attending – only do one session per year, cost being most prevailing.
This is from last year, this became Room 1 in 2013 as I’m pretty sure their were only the 3 rooms last year, as I don’t recall a ‘Room 3’ (room with live music) being there last year.
Maybe it was – but the fact is when you get to Victoria Baths you can’t help but walk around and then sit down and admire the place.
Not just the building and the renovation, but the actual effort gone into hosting the event itself.
Why am I posting 2012 pictures with no comparison to this years event?
Because my pictures are crap and can not do this place justice.
To be honest, the place seemed quieter this year – I base this on two rather big things :
1) Very little waiting time to use the loo.
2) Very little waiting time to get some food.
Whether this was a facet of more rooms or more days, or less people per session I don’t know. It isn’t really important.
Ah yes, the food – as much a part of IMBC as the alcohol itself. Street food if wish to call it by its current trendy incarnation, overly expensive certainly, but nothing can be faulted in this place as regards being a most welcome change to burgers and chips.
Even if the pretentiousness of the occasion is always in your face, I suppose it is trying to find a niche in amongst a plethora of self-conscious, self-regarding dandies that currently pass for youth these days. But the clientele that make up the current ‘craft’ beer ‘revolution’ is a massive subject I’m currently lazing over.
This review is about the food, the beer, the event.
I had the Great Northern Pie Co. Ox cheek pie (with a lot more ingredients inside) with potato gravy (blitzed mash) and pea vinegar. You have to taste it because I can’t explain it, it just worked.
The Moocher also busted out some kind of chilli rabbit wrap. The cold salad off setting the wonderful and nicely spiced meat.
So much on offer, so little time, so little room in the digestive tract – this counts double for the beer.
To digress a while more – what really does set the festival apart from the rest is the chance to go to one of the events, tasting with brewers themselves, meeting them, debating with others. I went to the Sour Seminar hosted by the Lovibonds one man army that is Jeff Rosenmeier.
My review of that event and Sour Beers (Henley Gold (not sour), Sour Grapes, Magic Rock Dark Arts) in general can be found here
Look, you get a pencil on entry – a writing implement is always very important.
The glass is for 1/3 only – the beer to be honest is expensive for some on the things considering you only get 1/3, but square it with how often you are likely to get to drink it anywhere else.
Thornbridge Brewery had brought along a very, very good Barrel Aged Beadeca’s Well (5.3%). Rich and smoky.
I too also fell foul of the Quantum Brewery Imperial Treacle Stout (8.6%). There appears to be a lot of treacle stout around at the moment. Its a flavour that works well any dark brew and this was no exception. The taste and feel belies the strength of the drink.
Marble Brewery had brought along their 125 Barley Wine (10.7%). Sweet and delicious, this was a nice birthday treat for the Marble Arch’s 125th birthday this year.
Northern Monk Brewery Co. had collaborated with Allgates to produce the 8.2% (though curiously advertised as 9.7%) Northern Gates. This tasted every bit as strong as it was, but in that good way that makes you drink it slower and appreciate the depths of its flavours more.
Italian beers were represented in my tasting by Birra Del Borgo and their Genziana (6.2%) and ReAle (6.4%) – both were sweet, with the former tasting of apples but the later had the more rounded flavours for my palate.
Also from Italy was Ambrosia (4.5%) by Toccalmatto – Italians must like their beers sweet, this was very nice, very similar to a white beer.
Arbour Ales seemed to have created a bit of a fuss with their Breakfast Stout (7.4%), even the bar staff kept raving on about it. Oats, coffee, full and wholesome. Someone remarked it was a meal in a glass, and even at a 1/3 it was most filling and satisfying.
Liverpool Craft Beer Co. treated my to a taste of their Black Fox (6.5%). This was a very good beer, but sadly this feel foul of the keg cold syndrome that I feel can negate a dark beer’s characteristics more than it does for the lighter ones. Something to find on cask to enjoy fully I feel.
This brings me to my two favourite beers of the night.
Black Jack Brewery and their Blackberry King of Clubs (7.2%) – and if ever I could lovingly punch someone for making such a nice beer so strong it would be this one. Indeed a King of brews.
Wild Beer Co. and their offering of Ninkasi (9%) my also await the same fate as the brewers of Black Jack. This was too smooth, too drinkable, too fucking dangerous.
I leave IMBC always with a sense of never having tried enough. Not enough food, not enough beer, not enough of the venue, not enough of the chatter.
This place really does beg you to go for more than one session.
And that was IMBC – a place that is trying to be a different beer festival, and in many, many obvious ways it is. But in many, many ways it is also the same and this is to do with how people are when they get together with like-minded people and share a massive common bond. Generations may separate the drinking cultures of Britain, but the goal is roughly the same.
Like Kirk and Picard.
Thanks to all involve in the set-up, bar service, food service, talks, etc.
Same time next year, for more than one session.