Note to the reader – parts of this were originally written on Sunday 19th October 2014. Then after a quick review half my ranting went to some unrecoverable pit of erased writing , therefore if this piece seems unbalanced it is because the rest is now being written two weeks later…now…tonight.
So, Part 3 of my reviews of the Independent Manchester Beer Convention 2014
Yeah, sorry, I lied in Part 2 – I started writing about the beers and realised, hey, its late on a Sunday evening and this post will be huge (if not massively detailed), so instead I’m going to cut loose with rants about IMBC14 because it is a lot easier.
Right off the bat I will state that this now completely undermines my original post about IMBC14
That was merely supposed to be a light-hearted piss take of all sides following some rather odd fall-out from this year’s festival that would sate my need to rant. This obviously has not worked – but as that was my most popular blog post to date I’m not entirely frustrated.
Anyway, I love my cask beer. I don’t have any problem with keg at all other than its tendency to be too cold, too cold with detriment to the beer.
What IMBC seemed to do wrong this year was to have the kegs all nicely written out on chalkboards/whiteboards – the cask beers – meh, just some marker pen on a sheet of paper sellotaped to any available pole.
Readable and to the point, but with the cask also segregated to the ends of each bar from which the beers were sold you could get the impression that any beer in casks was inferior, even if it was provided by a brewer who also had keg beers and was also, more than likely, in attendance.
It’s not for me to say how the brewers felt, but with regards inclusivity it does smack of double standards, as did the pricing.
Now cask is harder to keep. And whereas the part full kegs wing their merry ways to Beagle or Common or Port Street Beer House, the cask will more likely be binned.
Hence, come the last hour of the Sunday the cask (which was already being sold at £1 a third, regardless of strength; yep £3 for a pint of 11% Fattest Stout by Mad Hatter Brewing) was given away for free, both to anyone with a glass, and to take away with anyone who got a growler carry-out.
Pricing has led to the festival being called *elitist.
£11 last year increased to £13 this year.
Alcohol, keg of course, priced usually by strength would cost up to £3.50 a third.
People will pay it.
I will pay it to drink beers I doubt I’ll get a second chance to drink.
So indeed you then get the inverse reaction to pricing – if the beer is cheap then it must also be inferior.
But this is just a minor quibble, my other slightly negative point will probably have most of you scratching your heads – it is basically:
Can you have too much of a good thing?
As noted above; IMBC doesn’t just do beer, they don’t just have the brewers their to sell and talk about their beer, they don’t just have bottle tastings and seminars that you pay a (in the scheme of things) stupidly cheap amount of tokens to go and try, they don’t just have talks about various and the varied aspects of the brewing process, what they also do are beer pop-ups.
Special bottles are given away to the first come first served of those who run over to a bell being rung. Who knows where, who knows when. Sometimes the brewers are there to continue to talk about this special beer they’ve brought.
What you are left with is people following around a bell, from room to room, waiting, not necessarily because its free beer on offer, but exclusive beer.
What I think these do; what all these additional things that happen at IMBC other than the beer do, is make you unable to relax, enjoy a beer, listen to a conversation. It is almost like beer hysteria can take over some people. A fear they may miss out on every little facet of the festival.
It’s also bloody disrupting having a bell rung in your vicinity, some might think there’s a fire, and given the rush towards the bell it can seem like a mild panic has set in.
Again, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing there is so much going on, it just sometimes seem a little too frantic.
Plus they have bean bags – bean bags are not conducive to sitting on, or more importantly getting up from, with beer in hand, if worse for wear – they encourage booze lounging and beer spilling, they must not be tolerated.
Beer People Are Good People
That probably is a neon sign in some bar somewhere and if it isn’t, it probably will be and when I see it, I’ll probably get a bit of sick in my mouth.
Because the above statement is a feeling, it isn’t a marketing gimmick.
I’m 3 for 3 with Indy Man festivals.
My first two IMBC’s were me and my mates having a few drinks on the Friday evening session, going to a few talks, once having some stupidly hot chili sauces, but it was never really about the beer, the beer was secondary, in so much as we only really talked about what was good and what wasn’t, but story behind the beers were never discussed.
This year I managed to still do the Friday evening social, but expanded it, not only by volunteering, but also by finally meeting (after a few drinks, I never go into these things sober) some people I’ve only ever exchanged written words with.
I got to meet a few more too.
It is just an extra layer to IMBC and the story of beer from hops to glass.
Points of further reference can be found here, at Connor’s Blog (Beer Battered) and here, at Crema’s Beer Odyssey Blog and, just published yesterday while this post was on hiatus; this Total Ales blog by Mr. Matthew Curtis
Of course the above posts by superior bloggers already cover a lot of the ground I have, but put it together in a far more concise write up of Indy Man 2014 than I’m doing, over what will be 4 parts.
Talking of which – Part 4 will (promise) be about the all important beer.
Along with the Independent Salford Beer Festival, you’re pretty much spoiled for choice for beer festivals in October.
Let thee thirst no more and not go on a pub crawl afterwards.
*Note: The elitist tag is part of a larger debate that I’ll admit I was going to tackle in this, but it is too big to get into on one post and covers far to many facets of drinking strata. Ergo, I’m copping out for now