This is a review for the 28th (and my first) Stockport beer festival.
It took place between the 29th – 31st May 2014, at Edgeley Park – the home of Stockport F.C, and as anyone will tell you, is the closest football stadium to the River Mersey.
Entry was generally £2, though free on the Friday afternoon and £5 for the Friday evening (CAMRA members get £2 discount on all session, well except the free one).
Oddly, this was my first (and second) ever time in Stockport. Driven through it many times, but through it on the train probably even more times, but never set foot on terra firma.
Easy enough to get to from Manchester centre with regular bus and train services. I obviously got the train, then it is a mere 10 minute walk to the ground.
The programme was an additional £1, the glasses were your standard returnable £2 deposit.
Glasses came in the pint (marked for halves), the 1/2 pint tankard (also marked for thirds) and those ever so posh glasses that probably have a proper name but I’m not going to look it up (also marked at 1/2 and 1/3 pint).
Lots of good, good food on offer here. Standards were Chicken Curry, Beef Lasagne and Beef Stew in Giant Yorkshire pudding (my choice). There were special foods on each day.
Seemed to be a lack of a veggie option, which given how most beers these days are even suitable for vegans, was the only bit of the festival I thought was lacking. Yes there were crisps and snacks, but I didn’t note anything hot for non-meat eaters, which I’m not one of, so didn’t look, so I may well be completely wrong.
And no, the sides of vegetables and rice would not be a suitable replacement. Veggie Chilli, there sorted. Few jacket potatoes (for all of course), Veggie sausages.
I got the feeling the best was chips for the van outside near the stand.
Talking of the stand, you’d think I would now provide a photo. I didn’t take one. I was too busy enjoying the beer, the planes going overhead and, that how this must be the only time adults in this ground can be trusted with glass.
Oh to be a Manc. When we have such strong brewers in the area (I’d say County but boundaries are moveable) and this bar went to showcase that with 10 brand new beers for local brewers, with an additional two from other counties. I tried all 12.
BlackJack Beers had provided the Calypso IPA (5.2%) a straight-forward no-nonsense pale ale.
Deeply Vale Brewery had provided a 4.2% red ale, rather obviously called Deeply Red and a good example of a red ale it was too.
Fool Hardy Ales brought along Radical Brew No.1 a 4.0%, slightly cloudy brew utilising elderflower, leaf tea and the dominating, though not over-powering root ginger. A very refreshing pint.
Next up is Gibble Gabble a mellow 4.6% golden beer by Rochdale’s Green Mill Brewery. Rather nice.
The wonderfully named Mouselow Farm Brewery (Glossop) had produced a 3.7% light and drinkable session ale called Acting The Goat.
The Nook BrewHouse (Holmfirth) caught my attention, if not entirely my taste buds with their 5.2% Liquorish Stout, the added star anise detracting from the usual warmth of a stout, not bad though.
Quantum Brewing had provided yet another antipodean influenced brew with their 3.6% Aussie Light. They are Quantum, they seldom disappoint.
Another of Stockport’s own was Ringway Brewery and their OK 4.0% Reddish Ruby.
What can I say about ShinDigger Brewing that doesn’t involve a seemingly ubiquitous mention of how young the are. Easy when they now have 3 very good beers to their name, with the addition of a Black IPA which was dangerously drinkable at 5.5%, despite meeting with some consternation from the older set with these “mixed-up” drinks. It was also nice to be able to get this drink at the first go and not have to chase it around the area like I did in search of their West Coast Pale.
I also tried the latest beer from Squawk Brewing Co. A 4.0% Pomegranate Porter. A good enough porter, but no taste of pomegranates, but this is me, so don’t take it as a slight against the brewer.
Tickety Brew’s new one was also a Black IPA and at 4.3% a far less daunting prospect that the Shindigger, though nonetheless tasty.
Finally, alphabetically were the ladies of Wilson Potter and their very lovely, fruity 4.0% pale ale called Dreaming Dreams.
Take note mega-corp brewers, the field of play is changing, slowly, but it is changing.
Other beers enjoyed at the festival were:
More from Black Jack in the shape of the Farmhouse Brown (4.8%), not really my thing but drinkable and their Red Rye Saison (which came in at merely £3 a pint for 7.2%) and was a joint winner for my beer of the festival.
The other joint winner was from Kirkstall Brewery (yes, from Leeds, forgive me) with their wonderful 5.5% Black Band Porter. I had previously had this on keg at the Leeds Beer Festival but this was on cask and only goes further for me to continue blaming coldness for the lessening of flavours in a beer.
The new Stockport Brewing Company (no further info at this time) had clearly had a good time, with only the 3.9% Citra remaining of the 4 the programme mentioned. A good crisp, citrusy pale beer. Only wish I’d remembered to go to their brewery after I left on the Saturday (Arch 14, opposite The Crown Inn, if you are interested).
Oddly I didn’t have much of anything else, quite a lot had gone on the Saturday afternoon (a good sign as far as I’m concerned), though I did get my tastebuds around 3 of Six O’Clock Beer Company’s offerings. The 4.2% Overtime I had had a few times, still a nice hoppy, pale session beer. The Special was the 5.2% bigger brother of Overtime, a bigger hit of the previous flavours. Finally was their Bolt. A tasty yet confusing 5.6% beer. Probably another of them Black IPAs.
After that it was a walk to (the derelict looking, not my words, exterior only) Ye Olde Vic, which is just down the road from the probably derelict Bluebell Hotel, opposite the Edgeley exit from the station. Pop along. I can’t remember what I had, but I know it was well-kept and pale.
That concludes this write-up.
Bollocks to O2 for making the ground a dead zone for me.
Thanks to all the staff, cooks, volunteers and anyone else associated with bringing this to the people again.